Unhappiness is a normal human emotion. We’ve all experienced it and we all will again. It is usually triggered by a difficult, hurtful, challenging, or disappointing event, experience, or situation. In other words, we tend to be unhappy over loss, disappointments and emotional hurts etc. This also means that our emotional hurt fades and we become happy when we’ve adjusted or gotten over the loss or disappointment.
Depression, on the other hand, is an abnormal emotional state, a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors in pervasive and chronic ways. When we’re depressed we feel sad about everything. Depression does not necessarily require a difficult event or situation, a loss, or a change of circumstance as a trigger. In fact, it often occurs in the absence of any such triggers.
Depression colors all aspects of our lives, making everything less enjoyable, less interesting, less important, less lovable, and less worthwhile.
Depression saps our energy, motivation, and ability to experience joy, pleasure, excitement, anticipation, satisfaction, connection, and meaning. All your thresholds tend to be lower. You’re more impatient, quicker to anger and get frustrated, quicker to break down, and it takes you longer to bounce back from everything.
The differences between unhappiness and depression illness
1. Many people with depression illness have an abnormal special blood test, as they have a chemical imbalance. In unhappiness, this blood test remains normal.
2. Depressive illness is always with you; it may be less severe at various times, but you are never free of the blackness creeping over you. In contrast, unhappiness fades away completely, pretty quickly, usually within hours or days. Unhappiness may return when you meet the same problem again, such as problems at work or at home, but it does disappear completely for periods of time.
3. When nice things are happening, such as being with good friends, unhappiness is usually wiped out completely, so you feel you are back to your normal self. If you are suffering depressive illness, it may be less severe during nice times, but you still feel you are not your normal self.
4. When you are unhappy, you can still concentrate on things that interest you, and remember them. When you are depressed, your concentration and memory are usually impaired, so you do not absorb TV programs, reading or even conversation as well as before, and you find you keep losing things, or keep repeating yourself in conversation, or forget what you have been told earlier.
5. If unhappiness lasts a long time, or multiple causes of unhappiness develop in your life, or one severe event distresses you considerably, you may slide into depressive illness, due to the stresses involved. For example, everyone is unhappy when someone close to them dies, but 40 – 50% of us will ALSO be pushed into depressive illness as a result of the distress involved.