What Is Depression, And Am I Depressed Or Just Sad?

Are you just sad, or is this more serious? | <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=depressed+girl&search_group=#id=63514975&src=f925f38e24b082b9b986693a9e5e8140-1-24">Source: Shutterstock</a>It’s absolutely normal to feel sad. Sometimes really sad. But depression is different than sadness. It goes deeper, and it’s something that you can (and should!) get help for if you’re dealing with it.

But what is depression, and how do you know if you’re depressed or just pretty sad? Doctors use a checklist to diagnose depression (yes, doctors, because it’s a medical condition!), and it’s a handy one to refer to if you think you or someone you care about might be battling depression. The nine things they look for are:

* A bummed out mood during most of the day, particularly in the morning like you can’t bear the idea of getting out of bed

* Feeling exhausted or just really sluggish almost every day

* Feeling guilty or like you don’t matter almost every day

* Not being able to concentrate or make a decision

* Gaining or losing a lot of weight

* Weird sleeping patterns, like not being able to sleep or sleeping way more than usual almost every day

* Feeling restless

* Not being able to enjoy stuff you used to really like

* Any thoughts of death or suicide

First off, if you even for a second think about hurting yourself or ending your life, STOP and call a help line like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Your life is important, even if you don’t think so right now. You do not have to face this alone.

And if you haven’t ever thought about hurting yourself, but still match up with lots of things on that list, talk to someone. Anyone. Your teacher. Your dad. A counselor or even your boss. If you are, in fact, clinically depressed, you could be feeling a lot better if you reached out and got some help. Your smile is too pretty to go into hiding like this, girl.

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  • Jonny

    I have suicidal thoughts every day, not long ago I tried hanging myself. It made me realise that I am an alcoholic. I have not had a drink now for nearly 3 months and all desire to drink has gone.

    Anyone who can say and finally admit to being alcoholic is halfway there. It is an illness and never goes away. AA does have all the right answers. I know suicidal thoughts are going away.

  • lily

    Another thing not everyone who is depressed even thinks about suicide. The two don’t always go hand in hand. Just like cutting.

    • Jonny

      I have tried cutting also. It hurts, makes a mess and leaves scars, some people have asked how I got the scars I just say by accident.

  • Aly

    I was wondering, what if you are too afraid to talk to anyone or even go call the hotline. I know I am, I don’t know what to say about it. I never attempted suicide, but lately all I’ve been doing is thinking about how I mess everything up. Plus, I barely have anyone to talk to. I had friends, but I’ve just stopped talking to them, and everyone else. It’s been kind of hard to really tell anybody since I don’t really see the need to talk. And one other thing, what if you know your family or friends won’t take it well? And really, I don’t want to talk to a stranger about my problems. It’s uncomfortable for me. And I don’t interact with people well.

  • em

    i told my mom, she screamed at me. I cut and think i have csp as well as having all the things on the checklist above.

  • Anna lee

    I;m scared to tell my parents

  • Mykaela

    Speaking from experience; if you are depressed, at least in my case, you don’t want to talk to anybody; you feel hopeless, like you’re a lone in this world, no one to confide in. Depression just isn’t something you can just bring up in a regular conversation. I’m too afraid to try to tell anyone.

    • Georgia


  • Axiality

    I have seriously been depressed for as long as I can remember. And this is no run of the mill depression. This is the I had to drop out of school because all I did was sleep and cry depression. And I agree with Kiera, I called one of those hotline things once. 5 minutes before I swallowed half a bottle of sleeping pills. If you are thinking about suicide, just really think. About the people you will leave behind and how people will react and the reaction of whoever finds your dead body and just anything that might scare you out of it. But hey, maybe you’ve had major depression for the majority of your life like me and you just don’t see the point. Which is cool cause I still don’t but I’m just too lazy to try suicide again lmao.

  • kate

    I thought I had depression this past year, but over the summer my friend informed me that I didn’t have it. She seemed to know everything about depression just because a member of her family had it (I know all about that), and said I would have tried to kill myself. I really don’t wan’t depression, but I also have chronic migraines and its just too much. It really isn’t something you can push away.

    • Cat

      Not everyone with depression just ups and commits suicide. Some people do and some people cry out for help. I’m one of those people who cry out for help. I tried suicide a couple times and have thought about it so many times I can barely count. It’s been almost 6 years I’ve been like this. I’m starting to feel better. Still depressed, but I’m beginning to have a peace of mind and I know god has something planned for me. Sometimes depression isn’t really about certain tragic situations. Sometimes it can be an iron deficiency or some type of chemical imbalance. Either way depression is a disease and it’s not anything anyone wants to have. I hate when my friends say ”just perk up” Ya know… ignorant things like that when they know nothing about my condition. Anyways.. girlies hang in their.. I totally understand the feeling of being depressed, having anxiety, and being suicidal. If anyone wants to talk , I’m here always.. Gotta help my sisters out.. 🙂 We’ll make it through this yall.

  • Krystina

    I discovered I was depressed just about a month ago. I reached out to my closest friends and my boyfriend. Having someone constantly checking up on me, even though it’s hard for them, is a life-saver. Literally. I still struggle every single day, but those are days that I choose to continue living.

  • Annie

    I realise that this is an American website, but could Gurl put any UK telephone helpline numbers on here too, as this website is accessible from the UK.

  • Kiera

    I’ve had depression for years now. This article is just like the others I’ve read, it’s not helpful at all. I was suicidal, and calling a hotline to TALK about my “condition” made me want to pull the plug faster.