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No, Depression and 'Feeling Sorry for Yourself' Are Not the Same Thing

We have all seen movies and TV portrayals of people who encounter a situation that doesn’t go their way — and get “depressed.” Sometimes these characters find themselves feeling sorry for themselves until they gain some perspective — usually by finding someone who has it worse than them — and their depression is magically gone.

That is not depression.

Depression and feeling sorry for yourself are two separate and unrelated concepts.

Depression is a biological, psychological, social and spiritual heath condition.

Feeling sorry for yourself is a way you might react after a disappointment.

Feeling sorry for yourself is a temporary attitude — depression is an emotional overcast.

Depression typically requires major intervention to progress toward recovery.

Feeling sorry for yourself usually goes away on its on.

The effect of feeling sorry for yourself is usually contained to one area of a person’s life.

Depression affects every aspect of a person’s life.

To say someone is “feeling sorry for themselves” is a judgment.

To say someone is “experiencing depression” is a fact — as it would be to say someone has any other illness

It takes courage to acknowledge we are struggling and to choose to reach out for help. Depression is no one’s fault and to seek recovery from depression is an act of strength. Recovery from depression is absolutely possible, but it takes more than a change in attitude or perspective. There is no place for judgment in recovery.

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Thinkstock photo via Natasha-R-Graham

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