Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a devastating breakup, or a super sad movie, plenty of things in life can bring you down. And it can happen to anyone. (Even the most optimistic people in the world aren’t always happy.)
Feeling all the feels is common—and even beneficial, research shows. “Sadness is a normal part of the range of emotions that humans typically feel,” says Russ Federman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist based in Charlottesville, Virginia. “These feelings will occur throughout your life as appropriately sad events happen.”
But if you’ve been bummed for a long time and can’t seem to snap out of it, a nagging thought may come to mind: Am I actually depressed? Read on for a few ways to tell if you’re experiencing more than just the usual blues.
What It Means to Be Sad
“Sadness is attributable to a situation,” says Margaret Wehrenberg, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and author of The 10 Best-Ever Depression Management Techniques. In other words, you can fill in the blank: “I’m feeling sad because ____”. (I broke up with someone I loved. My grandfather died. I lost my job. My best friend and I had a fight.)
Any of those situations would leave you in a tough spot. But if you can see the silver lining or know you’ll find an eventual solution, it’s likely you’re experiencing sadness—one of the emotions that make you human. (Side note: You should never feel ashamed to seek help for any emotion…