What's the difference between unhappiness and depression?

I think many times unhappiness and depression get confused for one another, although they can be very similar and have comparable symptoms. I think this misunderstanding is one reason for the stigma against mental illness. Some people are confused and think the person is sad...not depressed.

The main difference is that unhappiness is not an illness and it is usually tied to the circumstances in your life, such as the end of a relationship, not getting the job you wanted, being stressed out, etc. It is more temporary while depression is chronic. You bounce back from unhappiness, while depression affects your life in every aspect, from your sleep to your eating habits to your own feelings of worth and even your desire to live.

"Sadness is often connected to a life change, something negative, but depression can rear its ugly head whenever it wants," writes author Natalie Jeanne Champagne on Healthy Place.

According to WebMD, "Major depression is a medical condition that goes beyond life’s ordinary ups and downs. ... People with depression cannot simply 'pull themselves together' and get better. Treatment with counseling, medication, or both is key to recovery."

Depression can be caused by genetic predisposition or environmental factors such as trauma or major psychological stress. If you experience some or all of these symptoms for at least two weeks all day, nearly every day, you are not just sad. You are depressed and should seek treatment.
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Social isolation
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Loss of appetite or eating too much
  • Inability to sleep or excessive sleeping
  • Feeling worthless
  • Low energy levels
  • Irritability and difficulty concentrating
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
For resources, call the national Crisis Call Center at 800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863. Michigan residents, call or text the nonprofit Common Ground at 800-231-1127.

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  1. Anxiety and depression can be challenging to manage on their own, but combining them with cards and teamwork can be a useful way to alleviate symptoms and improve overall mental health.

    Playing cards can be a fun and relaxing activity that can help distract from anxious or depressive thoughts. Additionally, playing cards with others can provide a sense of social connection and support, which is crucial for managing these conditions.

    Teamwork can also be beneficial for managing anxiety and depression. By working together towards a common goal, individuals can feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment, which can help boost their self-esteem and overall mood. This can be achieved through activities such as team sports or collaborative projects.

    Combining cards and teamwork can be a powerful tool for managing anxiety and depression. For example, a group of friends could get together to play card games, while also working on a collaborative project such as organizing a charity event or completing a puzzle. This provides both the benefits of social connection and a sense of purpose, while also providing a fun and engaging activity to distract from negative thoughts.

    It's important to note that while these activities can be helpful, they are not a substitute for professional treatment. Individuals with anxiety and depression should always seek the advice of a mental health professional for personalized treatment options.