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Healthy Sadness - All sadness is not depression.




All sadness tends to get labelled as depression these days. Clinical depression is a mood disorder that needs to be evaluated by a competent professional. Not everyone who is feeling sad is depressed. The word depression is stronger than the word sadness and needs to be used judiciously.


There is what we can call Healthy Sadness. Sadness is an emotion that you feel when you have lost something. It could be a material loss, an emotional loss or an intellectual loss. It could be a tangible loss or an intangible loss. If you have lost your wallet, your jewellery, your car you will feel sad. If you lose some property due to court cases or family settlement, you will feel sad. If someone else has withdrawn money from your account due to fraud, it does cause sadness. These are tangible losses.

Same way, if you have broken up with a friend, a partner, a colleague, a spouse or someone else close to you, then the feeling of loss is inevitable. Even if the breakup is temporary and you know you will get back to them, you can still experience low mood.

If you lose intangibles like, respect, prestige, position, designation, power then also you will feel sad. Feeling sad in all the above-listed circumstances is a natural outcome and one need not feel perturbed over it. This is healthy sadness. The sadness you will when death snatches someone close to you including a tree or a pet is a healthy sadness.

The emotion of healthy sadness is a way of grieving and coping with the loss. Healthy sadness conveys what was important to us and what it meant to us to have those things/people/pets in our lives. You will feel sad in such situations and that is a healthy sign that you are normal.


Most of these kinds of sadness will stay in strong intensity for a few days and then the intensity reduces and the sadness begins to dissipate. There is no need to artificially cheer ourselves up or distract ourselves in such a situation. Even if someone close to you is experiencing this sadness, allow them the right to that. The grieving process is not going to be for long.

Emotions can last from a few seconds to a few days. When the emotions last for a few days, we label it as a mood. Being withdrawn, morose, melancholic during this phase is common. It is not depression.

Only when the sadness does not go away even months later, and it has seeped into the person can we say the person has become depressed and might need clinical help. Using the correct choice of words is vital to convey to ourselves and to others how we view an emotion. To label your child who is crying because she broke a toy as depressed is different from saying she is sad. The word sadness does lack the potency of the word depression and is more appropriate for such common events.

To label all sadness as depression is doing a disservice to the person. By not allowing them to experience the needed emotion fully, we are taking away their right. Healthy Sadness has an important place in all our lives.

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