Sadness often gets confused for depression, and depression often gets downplayed to sadness. How can we be so confused?

 

Allow me to shed some clarity by sharing with you a personal story.

 

It’s early morning and I am sitting under a tree in an area that is deserted at this time of day.

 

It suits me just fine, that isolation, because I am now feeling safe enough to let my tears run down freely.

 

No matter what I say to myself, this so-called sadness is permeating every area of my life.

 

 

Have you ever felt consumed by an emotion?

Maybe it was sadness, depression, rage, jealousy, resentment …

 

 

This tree where I am hiding is located in a children’s park. To my left are swings with sky blue seats. In front of me are earth brown curvy slides. And to my right is a roped knitted dome where little ones exercise their climbing skills.

 

Suddenly, a little boy comes running into the park. About three or four years old, he squeals with happiness at the sight of the sky blue swings. Without further ado, the child runs up to them.

 

The contrast between me and him is so sharp that I instantly wipe my tears. I do not want him or his caretaker to see me cry.

 

But within seconds, the little boy starts howling “No! No! No!”

 

Not knowing what was happening, I think to myself,

 

What can possibly have happened? 

 

He leaves the swings area and walks up to me. Immediately, I swallow a big lump in my throat. Planting both feet firmly on the ground in front of me, he says, crying, “Someone pooped in my swing!”

 

“I don’t understand.” I anxiously replied.

 

“Someone pooped in my swing! There are two pieces of big poop in my seat and I can’t sit on it now!”

 

As he shares his sadness with me, his shoulders are heaving and he is swallowing snot and tears.

 

I watch him, fascinated. Here is a kid feeling all his feelings and emotions, completely unafraid.

 

“I am sorry you cannot use your favourite swing right now,” I tell him. I do not know what else to say. He nods gravely at being acknowledged.

 

I point to the slides. “Do you see the slides over here? No one has pooped in them. Maybe you can play there instead?”

 

His face brightens up immediately. The tears stop. He looks at me with a big smile and says, “Yeah!”

 

And just like that, the little boy turns around, runs to the slides, fully emotionally present to receive each moment.

 

I get up and feel my heart squeezing in my chest. As I walk back towards my place, I think I am so sad that I might actually never know what real happiness is.

 

 

How to tell between sadness and depression?

 

 

Sadness

 

The little boy was sad. Something happened that displeased him and he allowed himself to feel it fully.

 

When he found out someone had pooped on his favourite swing, he did NOT repress his sadness or push it down.

 

On the contrary, he allowed himself to feel his sadness fully.

 

He did not seem to care who was looking at him and what others might think of him.

 

What he cared most about was acknowledging all his feelings and emotions.

 

He also wanted the world to know he was sad and it was okay to be sad.

 

Because he was able to honour his feelings and his emotions, he was able to easily let them go.

 

Depression

 

I was depressed.

 

I took walks early morning so I did not have to face or talk to anyone.

 

Every chance I got, I isolated myself.

 

When the little boy walked up to me, I quickly wiped my tears because I did not want him to see me sad.

 

If I shared about my sadness, I thought it might scare him the same way it was scaring me.

 

Most of my time was spent thinking about things that either made me sad, resentful, or angry.

 

Since anger is a blanket emotion covering emotional hurt, my main emotion was “emotionally wounded.”

 

Let’s recap.

 

How to tell when sad:

 

When feeling sad, we are 

  • acknowledging our hurt and openly sharing with others what is troubling us.

  • feeling all our feelings and emotions without rejection.

  • using gratitude to bring ourselves back into the present moment.

  • letting go of sadness easily.

 

How to tell when depressed:

 

When feeling depressed, we are

  • hiding our sadness from others and feeling guilty or ashamed for feeling sad.

  • suppressing all our feelings and emotions, even pushing down positive feelings.

  • staying stuck in the past, not able to feel grateful for what we have now.

  • clinging to sadness as an identity.

 

 

My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence coach who assist her clients is allowing themselves to feel their sadness fully so they get out of depression. Book a chat with me at https://walkinginside.com/contact-us/

Your EQ coach,

Anne

www.walkinginside.com