Don’t Mistake Sadness for Depression

Ana Silva

19 December, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Don’t Mistake Sadness for Depression

Ana Silva

Everything you need to know in understanding your feelings, your mind and your-self.


People often get confused between the difference of sadness, happiness, anger, depression, mania or bi-polar disorder. In the Social Science perspective, it is important to view the psychological and sociological judgements, for a better understanding of the overall thesis of this presentation. In terms of how bi-polar disorder affects a family and its correlation and after effects it has with schizophrenia, suicide, PTSD and disorders of childhood and adolescence. Hence, within the general idea of how this topic is relatable to disorders of mood within the family. It is crucial to analyse the two sociological perspectives, one that generalises a macro-level analysis and another micro-level evaluation that only views within the family perspective. There are many mood problems occurring in people world-wide and two groups of disorders. There are many individuals suffering from depressive disorders in which becomes a pattern; thus, becoming a unipolar depression. However, bi-polar disorders are alternative experienced periods of mania with alternative periods of depression (Comer, p. 171, 2016).

Bi-polar disorder is a social problem that has been dated since Earnest Hemingway who committed suicide, or Jim Carrey who suffered from depression. Also, Queen Victoria of England and Abraham Lincoln were known to have experienced mood difficulties. Artists until this day, depict depression, suicidal thoughts, mood swings, anger, sadness, loneliness in their acting, music, blogs or books. There often tends to be the likelihood of stating “depressed” when one feels unhappy or undergoing a stateless feeling of unhappiness, responding to events negatively, or experiencing fatigue; when in fact, you’re just overwhelmed by work or physically or emotionally exhausted. And that’s okay; however it is crucial to not confuse the difference between sadness and depression. Per Comer, depressions “can bring severe and long-lasting psychological pain that may intensify as time goes by” (Comer, p.172, 2016.)

In Bi-Polar Disorder a macro-level analysis affects a large part of the population and thus is viewed as social problem, affecting those not only in the family but at a larger-scale. In relation to the micro-level analysis, the sociological perspective views it as family only. For example, when an individual is experiencing feelings of depression and mania it is solely affecting the family and how they choose to deal with this person’s disorder. However, when poor people tend to have a higher prevalence of mild or severe depression rather than wealthier people can be the result of: PTSD, schizophrenia and suicide. The fact is, women are at least twice as likely to experience episodes of severe unipolar depression than men. And that is also prevalent in the topic of suicide, three times as many women attempt suicide than men, yet men succeed four times the rate of women (Silva, p.2 2018).  The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person; one can experience different emotions in relation to certain social life events. An example is being able to function while suffering from depression although extracting the pleasure of effectiveness of the activity. Individual experiencing depression tend to have negative thoughts, Dr. Comer situates the example of Derek, who often had images of his own death, whether it’s on a bicycle or plane crash. The areas in which depression/mania which is in fact, bi-polar disorder has span five areas of functioning, that include a. motivational, b. emotional, c. cognitive, d. physical and e. behavioural (Comer, p. 173, 2016).

The emotional symptoms are when people tend to lose their humour, reporting almost too little pleasure on anything and they describe themselves as feeling “empty, miserable, or humiliated.” Secondly, the motivational symptoms typically report lack of drive and initiative. In this area, people force themselves to communicate, eat meals, have sex or go to work. A vast majority of the world’s population has experienced what is known by the DSM-5 as binge eating. To binge means to have an uncontrollable eating during which a person ingests a very large quantity of food (Comer, p.269, 2016). Eating disorders can also be correlated to bi-polar disorder because of ones preceded feelings of great tension, during the binge the person usually is unable to stop. The causation of eating disorders are ego, cognitive, and mood disorders, one can simply feel sad and not develop the feeling of not wanting to eat, which can transform into many eating disorders (Comer, p. 274, 2016).

Bipolar disorder can affect not only the person suffering from it, but the people around him/her and the things they want to pursue in their life; education, jobs, families, etc. For example, if the affected person in the family is the father, this could then impact him ability to provide for the family, making him unable or functionally able to work. Bipolar disorder is also something that can come along over tim; therefore if someone in the family is diagnosed with it later on in life, tasks that were once done may not be something that the person can accomplish anymore. Family anger can also be a result of a family member suffering from bipolar disorder as family members tend to get angry and upset when they see that their loved one is suffering and it is not going away. Grief and anxiety are other factors that tie in when dealing with a loved one who suffers from this disorder.

We can all experience emotions such as anger, sadness or joy. Usually, we feel that we control our emotions and we are able to manage them on a daily basis. A person suffering from bipolar disorder experiences their emotions with excessive intensity and sometimes has difficulty controlling them. For example, the person can live the events of his daily life with deep sadness or a feeling of extreme happiness. Are you happy or sad? How do you determine your happiness? Well, the longest study in history on happiness was conducted and lasted a significantly 70 years, not to mention it was solely based on the analysis of 765 men in which 60 are in their 90s and well of health. The study concluded that happiness to living a long-lasting life is simply based on the relationships you, reading this right now have built with people along the way. Not to mention, it is not necessarily based on every day communication or affection but to maintain relationships, family and friends close and care to know that there is always people that will support you, be there for you in which you can count on.


The writer is an international Brazilian student, from Rio de Janeiro, born in New Delhi is a polyglot, photographer, feminist, writer, fashion critic and journalist.