Jennifer Sanford, LMFT

Relationship & Transformational Counseling

Call Jennifer:  916-899-6632

How Depression and Sadness are Different:

The death of a loved one, loss of a job, or ending of a relationship is a difficult experience for a person to endure.  It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such a stressful situation.  But sadness and depression are not the same:  while feelings of sadness will lessen with time, depression can continue for months, even years.  Unlike sadness, however, depression is more than just feeling "down in the dumps" or "blue" for a few days.  When a person is sad they are able to exhibit emotions, such as crying and laughter. Depression is a "stuck feeling."  For example, when people are depressed their long-term behavior changes; some people might sleep extensively while others can't sleep at all.  Others might have extreme increase of appetite, while some people find that they have absolutely no appetite.  

What is Depression?

Depression is a common medical condition.  It is nothing to be ashamed of.  Every year more than 19 million Americans suffer from clinical depression.  It strikes men, women and children of all races and socio-economic groups, causing them to lose motivation, energy and the pleasure of everyday life.  Clinical depression often goes untreated because people don't recognize its many symptoms.  The good news is that almost everyone who gets treated can soon feel better.

​Read the following list, check those that apply to you and bring it to your therapist or health care provider.  Checking these items does not mean you have depression, but because many depression symptoms overlap with other illnesses, this information can be useful during your visit.

Symptom Checklist

Check all that apply:

□   I am often restless and irritable.

□   I am having irregular sleep patterns--either too much or not enough.

□   I don’t enjoy my hobbies, friends, family or leisure activities anymore.

□   I am having trouble managing my diabetes, hypertension or other chronic


□   I have nagging aches and pains that do not get better, no matter what I do.

□   Specifically, I often experience:

            □  Digestive problems

            □  Headache or backache

            □  Vague aches and pains, such as joint or muscle pains

            □  Chest pains

            □  Dizziness 

□   I have trouble concentrating or making simple decisions.

□   Others have commented on my mood or attitude lately.

□   My weight has changed considerably

□   I have had several of the symptoms I checked above for more than two weeks.

□   I feel that my functioning in my everyday life (work, family, friends) is suffering.

□   I have a family history of depression.

□   I have thoughts about suicide