Everybody gets a little bit sad sometimes. Hell, I got a little sad yesterday when 7-11 had run out of the Cola flavoured slurpee.
Granted, I wasn’t really that upset when I found out that the coke machine was broken; perhaps it’d be better to say that a flicker of disappointment fluttered through my veins. And the sadness (disappointment) evaporated just as quickly as it came.
And that’s the thing about sadness: it’s transient.
Sadness comes and goes, much like states of the weather. If you wake up one morning to find that your loved one has left you, in varying degrees, typically, we’d feel a little bit sad. When someone you love dies, sadness will – if you are, that is, accustomed to the collective consciousness comprising our culture – inevitably ensue. If it rains on a day that you’d planned to spend at a music festival that you’ve paid good money for, sadness may, perhaps, trickle down your spine.
And just like the phenomenon that I experienced yesterday when the coke machine was broken; once the event making you sad has come and gone, the sadness, like everything else, evaporates into a near past.
Depression doesn’t work like that.
First off, depression doesn’t need a reason to lead a person to feel, what we’d conventionally call “sadness.”
Depression can strike a person when everything is seemingly “perfect,” in the said person’s life. It’s only prompt is a chemically imbalanced navel, through which any hints of logic, reason, or rationality, are slayed by broken synaptic connections.
Further, and aside from the above point, this means that, where a person, a non-depresso, would typically experience a pang of sadness, recover, and then move on, contrarily, a person who experiences something more akin to depression will continue to feel “sad,” for an indeterminable period of time. The death of a loved one, for instance, could catalyst a depressive disposition into months, even years, of morbid sorrow.
So does that mean that the difference between sadness and depression can be found in a) the duration a person experiences “sadness;” and b) whether or not the “sadness” has an actual, tangible, “normal” cause?
If only it were that easy.
The first issue with this painstakingly obtuse distinction is this: depression and sadness are very different emotions.
I’m no expert on the matter, and I’ve never really thought to articulate this division hitherto. But if I were to attempt to impregnate this differentiation with words, I’d say this: Depression resembles more of a will for non-existence, a yearning for nothingness, an extinguished flame for life, a deflated version of reality – or somewhere in between, or a combination of all the above; whereas sadness resembles more a feeling of disappointment, a sense of loss, a temporary abolition of hope, a state of grievance – or somewhere in between, or a combination of the above.
This distinction, however, is too, very vague.
For one, it doesn’t at all deal with the extent to which a person experiences these feelings/emotions/states of being.
I personally think that most people on this earth are suffering from a mild case of depression on a daily basis. From a young lad, when I looked into people’s eyes, mainly adults, I always wanted to know what was wrong, cause there seemed to be something wrong. Then, as I got older, I came to the flaccid conclusion that as a collective body, composed of many individuals, we are far less “happy” and “joyful” than we present ourselves to be, mainly, I think, because in some strange, subconscious way, we feel that this is how we should act; with an air of indifferent jolliness; much like we feel a pressure to be thin, or beautiful (as per Hollywood standards), or smart, or humble, or whatever else. And I also deduced from my flaccid conclusion, that, for the most part, if you asked someone whether they were “content” or “happy” – or whatever other adjective you’d want to use to describe feelings of so-called “positivity” – with their lives, they’d probably answer yes, either because they don’t want to reveal to you the truth, or because they’ve not yet even realised the state of their perpetual humdrumness. Not sad, but not happy, either; which is a state resembling closely some sort of depression, if you think about it.
But that’s just me being delusional.
Anyway, the difference wedged in between sadness and depression is a peculiarly subtle one, and I’m not so sure that it can be so easily outlined. While I’m sure that it is certainly there to draw, words often fail to slice this distinction perspicuously.
I’d love to hear what you guys think, and how you see it?
Humans-are-funny-creatures. And we’ve a penchant driver to label everything, including tricky emotions.