Mental Health Mindful Living Self Improvement

How to Spot if Someone is Depressed or Just Sad?

How to Spot if Someone is Depressed or Just Sad?

“You know I was so depressed the other day, I don’t think you’ll understand what depression feels like.”

“I get anxious when I have to share something about my life.”

“I was so depressed that I didn’t talk to anyone for a day.”

Here are some statements that I hear every now and then from kids, teenagers (especially), and adults as well. 

If I were to be honest with you, such statements do piss me off. Hey! I have a legitimate reason for that. When such statements are made to someone who’s diagnosed with depression and anxiety, it makes me want to realize them the depths of the words being uttered. I feel that it’s the influence of western society and the reason that our Indian society wants to be like them so much that we end up copying this too. 

Now that Indian society is imitating the western culture (just like always), we love to use the fancy terms because it makes you look cool, I’m guessing? We have started to use fancy terms to an extent that even regular stress is labeled depression and the feeling of being in an uncomfortable situation is labeled anxiety. 

Let’s Face the Music

First and foremost, stress is not depression. Please. It’s high time that we understand what depression really is. If you don’t feel like talking to someone for a day or two, that is not depression. If you don’t feel like eating a meal, that’s not depression. There are always ups and downs in one’s life, and it’s okay to feel upset or be sad.

Depression is beyond what we think of it.

  • It is more than a constant sadness – a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.
  • It has an impact on everything in you and around you – how you feel, think, and behave with others. 
  • Here are a few things which are the consequence of depression –
  • The negative mood states, such as anger, restlessness, irritability
  • Emotional well-being is disrupted, as you may feel empty or hopeless
  • Loss of interest in everything including your favorite activities and feeling tired easily or thoughts of suicide, this combined impacts the behavior of an individual.
  • Your cognitive abilities are affected, as in there’s inability to concentrate or you might face difficulty while completing a task.
  • There’s a possibility that your sleep pattern is messed up. You are always hanging in between both the ends of the extreme – sleeping too much or not sleeping at all. 

Now when such statements are made with amazing confidence, it gets on my nerves. Here’s why.

Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs

One is I know the person and I just know how they’re misusing the terms not only to label themselves but others too. 

We must understand that it is the labelling which is the root cause of all damage.

The other reason is that I am a Psychology student and the fact that I have been there myself I kind of can tell whether the term being used is apt or not.

And lastly, depressed beings are rarely vocal about their depression. They like to keep it to themselves.

Why the Confusion?

I often encounter this question as to why there’s a confusion between psychological disorders and regular feelings of distress. The answer to that is – lack of awareness. Despite the trend of using fancy terms and come out to be cool (I want to believe that the ratio of such people is less) lack of awareness is one major factor which creates the havoc. It is necessary that proper measures are taken to make students/adults aware of mental health. 

Why should only Psychology students be studying mood disorders? 

Isn’t it important for everyone to know the basic idea of psychological disorders just like they make us study in Biology?

Why is only Intelligence Quotient important for academics and not Emotional Quotient? I mean, you can’t be productive as long as your mind is stuck somewhere else, can you?

I do realize that these are more questions to answer but these questions are for you to ponder because the answer lies within you.

Are You Depressed or Just Sad?

Now, here’s a question which we should be asking often but… Well, anyway there’s a fine line between being sad and depressed. Even though feeling sad is an integral part of the depression, it is necessary to know and understand the differences in order to recognize when to seek treatment.

7 Ways to Spot Depression
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On one hand, sadness is a standard emotion which each of us experiences at somber or stressful times. There will be a number of events which will leave us unhappy or sad. Be it the absence of a loved one or financial trouble or failing an exam can trigger sadness or affect your mood in a negative way. 

When we experience sadness, it is a relief when we’re all cried out, vented out or talking out frustrations. 

Also, sadness usually passes with time. However, when it does not pass or if it becomes difficult to resume normal functioning, it could be a sign of depression.

Now, on the other hand, depression is a mental disorder which has an overpowering effect on several aspects of a person’s life. There’s no specific gender or age group which is affected. Depression alters behaviors and attitudes. Symptoms of depression can include sadness(for a prolonged period), hopelessness, lack of motivation, the feeling of discouragement, or loss of interest in your favorite activities.

how to spot depression?

7 Ways to Spot Depression

Depression is not a one-size-fits-all disorder. There are several symptoms and experience may vary from individual to individual. Here are 7 physical signs of Depression to look out for

  •  Lack of energy or feeling lethargic all the time
  •  Agitation and restlessness
  •  Sleeping too much or too little
  • Poor appetite or significant weight loss
  • Self-harming
  • Unexplained physical pains
  • Substance Abuse
7 Ways to Spot Depression
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If you spot these signs it is likely that the person is depressed and either they’re hiding it or are not aware of themselves. You can try to help them to open up or begin talking but one must be careful of how you approach the topic. Using statements like “pull yourself together”, “cheer up”, or “it’s all in your head, you’ll be okay” will make the other person even angrier and they may never really open up to you.

The other thing that you can do is listen to them. Sometimes talking out does a great amount of work. It is not necessary that you have to give out advice every time, in such cases words like “I understand”, “I’m there for you” are invaluable.

One more thing that you could do is encourage them to see a professional and try to be with them every step of the way.

Here are few Tips on Managing Stress

Even though feeling unhappy or sad is one of the common emotions that we all go through, but we still need to get back at normal, right? Stress wreaks havoc o emotional equilibrium and your physical health as well. It narrows the ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem as if there’s nothing that can be done about it, but you always need tips to manage stress

Though, It is true that stress will always be there of something or the other but with stress management tips you get a hold on your life, you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. 

Tips on Managing Stress
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The ultimate goal of these tips to overcome stress is balanced work-personal life, and the resilience to hold u under pressure and meet challenges bang on.

  •  Avoid or reduce the consumption of alcohol, nicotine and drinks containing caffeine. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and end up in increasing the level of stress rather than reduce it. 
  • When you indulge in physical activity, it metabolizes the excessive stress hormones and restores your body and mind to a calmer and more relaxed state.
  • When you have a lack of sleep, it causes stress. Ironically, stress interrupts our sleep as negative thoughts keep on whirling through our heads. Try to do a calming activity before you go to bed in order to sleep peacefully. Get more sleep as it helps in managing stress.
  • When you maintain a stress diary, it helps you to become more aware of the situations which are the root causes of your stress. 
  • It is important that you understand that not everything can be done at once and you need to start prioritizing your daily tasks. Manage your time and do one thing at a time.

Wrapping Up on Signs of Depression

These tips to manage stress have proved to be really helpful in stressful situations. It must be understood that stress is just a phase of life and we must not hold on to it. 

Mental Health is real; so is the Depression. Depression, when goes unnoticed can take a serious turn and change our lives forever! Just like with one of the most successful actors of
Bollywood, Sushant Singh Rajput. If you feel that you or your friend needs help, you can always talk to us at GetSetHappy. We’re always here to hear you out. You can also get professional help from AASRA – 022 2754 6669 or mail them at

Nothing is permanent. This too shall pass. 

This post is shared by Vanika Bajaj. Varnika is a Psychology Student and creative writer @ GetSetHappy

Featured Image by Grae Dickason from Pixabay

7 ways to spot depression

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  • Reply
    Chris Kosto |
    June 17, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Very well-reserached & to-the-point post. Being sad sometimes is toatally normal as it’s part of our lives, we cant avoid it as you wrote.On the other side, Depression needs exeprt’s help if a person can’t quickly deal with it on himself.

  • Reply
    Brenda West
    June 17, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    This is truly a great post, and hits home for some many people. With the current state that the world is in today, sadly there are so many more people suffering from depression. Thank you for sharing and take care.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    What a helpful post! Thanks for shedding light on this important topic and explaining the difference between depression and sadness. I know all about depression and those 7 symptoms you referred to above are definitely true. My mother also suffered from depression for quite some time and exhibited those symptoms of sleeping too much, lethargy, self-harm, etc.

  • Reply
    July 19, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    I agree! I was diagnosed with anxiety, which I was also told by my doctor is connected to my epilepsy. And it makes me mad that people just say they have anxiety. Like, I feel it’s normal to feel anxious, but when it interrupts daily tasks is true anxiety

  • Reply
    July 19, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    This is a great post. It is so important to have these discussions and talk about what depression and sadness are and how they are different. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    Ajay Sharma
    July 19, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    This is really well done!

  • Reply
    July 19, 2020 at 10:52 pm

    This is an amazing post! So informative. Thank you so much for this great read!

  • Reply
    Ming Qian
    July 19, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge on depression. It is important that people can recognize the signs of depression. To me, the first step to getting better is to realize you have such a problem and because of this realization, be willing to seek help. It is great that you are spreading the message and ensuring that people know how to identify the signs!

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