Hello, this is Margo rose as Body Aware Grieving, and I’d like to talk about two emotions that can look and feel really similar to each other, sadness and depression can tend to be hard to discern one from the other sometimes. And here at Body Aware Grieving, our hope is to go as efficiently and smoothly as possible from some of the kind of darker, heavier emotions that like grief and sadness, depression, stress, and how to move as smoothly as possible into some of the emotions that people tend to enjoy a little bit more feeling joyful, feeling productive, feeling satisfied. And each of these emotions can tend to respond best to a different set of actions. And so speaking specifically for myself, I don’t want to act like I’m a mental health professional, I’m not a therapist, I’m a personal fitness trainer, but I’ve had experience with both sadness and depression. And in myself, they can look very similar, but I have to just catch it at that right moment. Because sadness, I think, has responded best to just kind of leave it be or even goes into it a little bit more.
When I’m feeling sad, I really just like to let myself stay relaxed, and think or reflect on what I’ve experienced this made me sad, and just kind of stay in that place for a while. And then I eventually feel it sort of lift on its own. during times when I’ve experienced what I would call depression, I think it’s kind of the opposite. When I’ve had something like depression, it feels heavy, it feels like if I don’t make an action to change what I’m feeling, and if I don’t change the depression, that it’s likely to feel like I’m being pulled deeper into it.
So when I feel sadness, I tend to feel rather passive and accepting of it. And when I feel depressed, I consider that I need to start doing something that’s going to pull me out of it, whether it’s calling friends or becoming more active, or seeking out some kind of help. So how to discern between those two things becomes important because in my experience with myself, again, I’m not trying to diagnose everybody, and I’m not trying to act like I’m a mental health professional. But in myself, I’ve needed to respond, as I said very differently. So some of the things I noticed when I’m feeling sad, are that I can feel very creative sometimes, whether it’s wanting to take photography, whether it’s really enjoying music, whether it’s some of the more creative arts, poetry, writing, I’ve done some really good things.
Under depression, I felt more stagnant, like, just really not having a lot of creative impulses, and sadness, I felt very sleepy and my body felt very relaxed, and I felt like I wanted to sleep for long periods of time. And depression has tended to be something different, where I feel sort of fatigued and drained. But muscles are very tight and it’s hard to sleep. And when I sleep, it doesn’t feel thorough, it doesn’t feel deep, it feels more restless. Even though I actually could use the energy from a good sleep. In sadness. It seems like very heightened senses.
My sensations are all very hypersensitive, whether it’s everything seeming too loud or too bright, or my skin feeling very sensitive. And in depression, it can feel kind of different from that it can be very shut down and very low sense of sensation, kind of like a fog and kind of like not really having a lot of my sense is not really working really well. Sadness just makes me cry. And the tears feel good, they feel kind of wet and juicy inhaling and the way you want tears to really feel, and then afterward I feel refreshed. And at times that I would have what I’ve called depression, I feel like I could be I guess should want to cry or that I could make myself but I can’t I feel kind of stuck. I feel like I can’t even get that kind of release and that lack of crying can feel very tight in my throat and in my chest and in my muscles. And even wanting to cry doesn’t come as smoothly as a good healing kind of medicine as easily.
In sadness, I feel drawn towards very minimal exercise, just kind of some gentle stretching, some walking, just really keeping the physical activity to things that are very safe and calming. With depression I’ve had huge success, enormous success at getting myself out of depression by doing vigorous physical activities and cardio, walking along at the beach and there’s wind and you’re in the sand and it’s effort or some kind of simple, but rather vigorous physical activity Whether it’s you know, hiking or stairs has really worked to lift me out of depression and get me functioning and thinking a whole lot better and a whole lot differently.
So there are other similarities, and there are other differences that I could be talking about. I don’t want this to be too long, but in sadness about two other things that I would say, in sadness, I feel very comforted. If I’m near my friends, I feel like being near my friends, is very consoling, and very uplifting. And I know I’m kind of in trouble and kind of dealing with something that’s more like depression, if I feel kind of lonely and disconnected, even when I’m with my friends. And even if I’m with friends who are trying to help me, and trying to feel very connected, and kind to me, it just doesn’t seem to sink in the same way. So that’s how I would know that depression would tend to have this sort of downward feeling like something’s kind of grabbing at my ankles a little bit.
Whereas sadness tends to feel more peaceful, it feels like just a stillness and serenity. And, you know, sadness by far to be the more enjoyable emotion compared to depression. So I would say that those are some of the things that helped me figure out, when I watched some of these behaviors over the years, I can start to figure out, okay, what do I need to do next? am I sad? Or am I depressed? Or am I some mixture of both? But I hope some of these discussions are helpful to other people out there. And I would really like to open up a discussion because this is just one person’s, own opinion. And I know this is a very important topic. Because if we can be skillful with sadness, we can get better at grieving and mourning more efficiently and feel better sooner, having paid attention to why we were feeling sad. And if we can get better at figuring out when we’re depressed and changing that and improving that, you know, of course, we would spend less time you know, in that emotion, that’s really not a fun one. And obviously, that would reduce some of the risks of depression turning into something more like suicidal inclination, or suicidal tendencies. So catching depression, earlier on, would have those kinds of helpful possibilities.
So kind of a heavy topic, I’m curious to hear what people think if there’s any similarity or differences that they’ve had. And I would invite people from the mental health world to give their opinion and give their analysis of what I’m saying because again, I’m only representing myself as just a person who’s experienced both and I’m not trying to take your job at all. So, good luck. I hope we learn a little bit more about this and get better and better at, enjoying our time as often as we can.
So that’s Margo Rose for now. Please chime in with your own opinions. Best wishes to you, take care.