What is the difference between feeling depressed and having depression?
The difference is, when you’re depressed, you feel better. It might be a bad day or even a bad week, but you get over it because it’s just the situation that hurt you. When you have depression, it’s not just a bad day or a bad week. It’s not something you can just get over or ignore.
Depression is a sickness. It’s not based on a situation. It’s a state of mind. You don’t just have a bad day or a bad week. You don’t wake up the next day, after crying yourself to sleep, and feel better. You wake up the next day and the day after that and the day after that, and you still want to die. Everything goes perfectly and life is amazing, but you still want it to end. You want the pain that shouldn’t exist to end.
And you don’t get over it and you will never get over it until the depression goes away. And there’s no good explanation for it. And you try to convince yourself that it will be okay, but you can’t because it isn’t and it won’t be, at least not now. You don’t just feel sad; you are sad.
And it’s a sadness that cuts you to the core, that permeates the very essence of your being. And you forget what it’s like to not feel this way. And you forget that life has ever or could ever feel any different. And you drown in yourself. And you try everything to get out.
You spend time with people, and you exercise, and you eat healthy, and you try to make yourself useful and serve and help others, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change you. It doesn’t dispel the darkness. And you drown again because you don’t understand what you’re doing wrong.
And that’s the problem with depression. The problem is you think you’re doing something wrong, and maybe everyone else does too, but you’re not. You’re not doing anything wrong, and it’s okay.
It’s okay to be depressed. It’s okay to have depression. It’s okay for your normal to be most people’s worst day. It’s okay to want to die, to want the pain to end. It’s okay to be unable to function normally for a while.
I say it’s okay, not to suggest that it’s good or that you shouldn’t want to be better, but to say that when you’re sick, you get better. When you’re hurting, you don’t have to hurt yourself more. You don’t have to degrade yourself, or hate yourself, or put yourself down for feeling this way. It’s okay to be sick, and you will get better.
And when you find yourself depressed again, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have depression again. It could just be a bad day. But if it isn’t, and it doesn’t go away, it’s okay. It’s okay to be kind to yourself. It’s okay to love yourself and take care of your brokenness. It’s okay to have depression just as much as it’s okay to have a cold. It’s a sickness, and you will get better. It will be okay.