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How To Tell Sadness From Depression

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Author: Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW
Copyright: by Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW
Web Address:
Word Count: 740
Category: Mental Health


You have and will experience sadness. It might be the loss
of a job, pet or a loved one. Yes, even a loved one. The
trouble is, particularly here in the United States, we have
a quick-fix for everything... why not sadness too?

Our quick-fix for sadness is that it's simply not allowed.
Healthy purging of sad feelings is great for you physically
and wonderful for your mental health. When you stuff the
expression of healthy sadness it may lead to health
problems, interpersonal issues and depression.

So, the first lesson is FEEL your sadness over whatever
issue is at hand. It doesn't make you weak or less a man
or woman to do so. Yes, I have to say "woman" today too,
because women have also begun to place the same negative
meaning on expressing feelings of sadness; so they hold
back too.

There are Five Basic Stages you will go through with a
significant change or loss in your life. They are:

1) Shock/Denial
2) Anger
3) Asking "What if..." questions
or making "If only" statements.
4) Sadness
5) Acceptance

Please keep in mind several points about the five
statements made above. First, each one is NORMAL! You may
cycle through the steps several times and may not do so in
the order listed above.

The only time these steps become a problem is when you
become stuck at a particular step. Here's an example.

I met a woman about a year ago. She'd been married over 25
years. She and her husband were planning on traveling
after he retired. He died within a year of retirement from
cancer. She came to see me three years after his death.

She had become stuck at step 3 above. She questioned, over
and over again, whether she had done everything she could
for him and all their family during those last days before
his death. After about a year of ruminating minute-by-
minute, she became quite seriously depressed. Then later,
she was referred to me by her physician.

We worked through her questions from step 3. She then went
through a normal period of being angry over the loss of her
husband and how that had changed her life and retirement
plans. She felt appropriately sad about the loss of her
best friend.

She's not terribly happy about working, but she's been
working full-time now for about six months. She is hoping
to begin dating. She's insecure about it. "It's been so
long since I've dated!" She quips. But, she is on her way
to a new life and her level of acceptance is growing each

Other times depression may set in from a traumatic event,
or a series of negative life events that overlap and
overwhelm your usual ability to cope. If this is you, you
are often bewildered as to why you can't simply shake out
of it as you normally would. Or if it was a trauma event,
you will often find that simple security issues (e.g.,
walking out into a dark parking lot at night after
shopping) will trigger panic and later deep depression.
Sudden trauma threatens your sense of general safety in the
world at large.

If you are wondering if you have Major Depression here are
some guidelines to help you to the correct answer. For the
best possible solution please seek professional evaluation.
I offer professional consultation for individuals through
email, making this step easy and convenient.


1) Depressed mood nearly every day.
2) Diminished interest in regular activities.
3) Significant weight loss or weight gain.
4) Sleeping difficulties.
5) A feeling of being "slowed down."
6) Fatigue and energy loss nearly every day.
7) Feeling worthless or excessive and inappropriate guilt.
8) Difficulty in staying on task or making decisions.
9) Frequent thoughts of death, including but not limited to
suicidal thoughts.

Having a few of these symptoms does not necessarily qualify
your for the diagnosis of Major Depression. You need to
have at least five symptoms consistently over a two-week
period of time or longer.

If you decide you have Major Depression please confirm this
with a depression screen which you may find on my website
html Additionally, please consult your family doctor and a
trained professional who specializes in depressive
disorders. A family doctor can assist in ruling out a
possible medical condition and a therapist knows how to
assist you in digging yourself out of that deep depression

Dave Turo-Shields is an author, university faculty member,
success coach and veteran psychotherapist whose passion is
guiding others to their own success in life. For weekly
doses of the webs HOTTEST success tips, sign up for Dave's
powerful 'Feeling Great!' ezine at www.Overcoming-

About the Author

Dave Turo-Shields is an author, university faculty member, success coach and veteran psychotherapist whose passion is guiding others to their own success in life. For weekly doses of the web's HOTTEST success tips, sign up for Dave's powerful 'Feeling Great!' ezine at


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