Is it Sadness or Depression? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself - Mental Health Help - Shorelines Care

At some point, everyone feels sorrow, despair, or even might face depression. When we feel frustrated, grieve, mourn, or fight with someone we care about (and countless other reasons), our mood might go from relatively pleasant to being agitated or sad. These emotions of sadness might persist for hours, or even a day. 

While feeling sadness is natural and expected, it is critical to understand when you may require professional assistance. Here are ten questions to ask yourself to ascertain whether your sadness is maybe depression. Always consult a professional doctor if you have any concerns regarding your mental health.

Do you experience sudden, deep sadness that lasts more than a few days? 

Significant life events such as loss of a job, failure (perceived or actual), illness, divorce, and more can introduce a prolonged feeling of sadness or despair. However, if you are unable to boost your mood with new activities or find yourself reliving every negative moment until it exhausts you, it could be that you need to seek professional help to process these feelings and move forward.

Are there noticeable changes in your appetite or weight?

Persons who suffer from depression may experience a significant change in appetite or weight. Though depression is often linked with dramatic weight loss, dramatic, sudden weight gain can also be a sign that you need help. 

Do you experience a lack of physical and mental energy?

Individuals suffering from a depressive disorder frequently experience physical and mental exhaustion. Depressed people often feel fatigued for days or even for weeks. They also find it difficult to get out of bed or go to work. 

Additionally, the term “brain fog” is a frequent complaint among individuals diagnosed with depression. If you are normally energized and intellectually bright, but recently started to feel low energy or suffering from a foggy memory, this might be a symptom of a more serious problem.

Have you lost interest in activities that you once enjoyed?

One of the most distinguishing signs of depression is a loss of enthusiasm for things you once found entertaining and exciting. Some describe this as feeling numb or empty. Some examples may include: socializing with friends, attending athletic events, exercising, and engaging in sexual activity. Psychiatrists refer to this state to a term named “anhedonia,” which is a word that refers to the inability to feel or experience pleasure.

Do you feel guilty? 

When people are depressed, they may feel guilty even if they have done nothing wrong. Medical professionals say it is a symptom of depression when feelings of being guilty or worthlessness persist for weeks or even longer.

Do you feel hopeless?

Belief that your life will never improve or that you are trapped in an uncontrollable situation can be an indication of depression.

Have you noticed that you are getting irritable more often?  

When people are depressed, they can feel more anger and can even become hostile. If you feel easily triggered by things that did not bother you previously, this can be a symptom of depression.  

Do you use drinks or drugs to control your mood?

Individuals who are depressed frequently turn to alcohol or drugs to help them cope with their emotions of despair or sadness.

How long do you think your negative feelings last?

So, you are sad, blue, and want to cry. That might be normal if the feeling is only brief and will pass in a day or two. When overwhelming negativity persists for weeks or even for months and you are unable to escape it, it’s time to ask for help.

Do you consider suicide, have recurring thoughts of death or suicide? 

You might be shocked to learn that suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. A survey of college undergraduate students revealed that 55% had considered suicide at some point in their lives.

If you are experiencing suicidal ideation or thoughts of self-harm, please get help immediately or call the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

At Shorelines, we specialize in helping those with depression with telehealth counseling services, as well as medication management. Get in touch with us today and learn how we can help.


  • Lim GY, Tam WW, Lu Y, Ho CS, Zhang MW, Ho RC. Prevalence of depression in the community from 30 countries between 1994 and 2014. Scientific reports. 2018 Feb 12;8(1):1-0.
  • Youngyun JI, Jinkyung CH, Inhwan LE, Soohyun PA, Donghyun KI, Jiyoung KO, Hyunsik KA. Involuntary weight loss and late-life depression in Korean older adults. Iranian journal of public health. 2020 Apr;49(4):637.
  • Jacobsen PB, Donovan KA, Weitzner MA. Distinguishing Fatigue and Depression in. seminars in clinical neuropsychiatry 2003 Oct (Vol. 8, No. 4, pp. 229-240).
  • Griffiths MD, Mamun MA, Misti JM. Suicide of Bangladeshi medical students: Risk factor trends based on Bangladeshi press reports. Asian journal of psychiatry. 2020;48.
Get your free mental health resource.

Get your free mental health resource.