Why Am I So Sad: Why This May Not Be A Passing Feeling

Updated June 08, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH

Feelings of sadness are part of life. After all, the total range of emotions that we experience regularly can include a lot more than just happiness and sadness. There is, however, a distinct difference between a sad mood and having sad feelings all the time.

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And while sad feelings are okay from time to time, there comes to be a point where you ask yourself, “why am I so sad?” This could indicate that there are greater forces at work and that it is more than a simple, sad mood.

Persistent sad feelings can actually be clinical depression. Understanding that there is a difference between those times when you feel sad and depressed is important as the latter is a mental health issue that needs to be addressed.

Understanding Sadness Vs. Depression

Sad feelings are one thing. Consistently feeling sad and thinking, “why am I so sad?” is entirely another. Prolonged feelings of sadness can mean more. Sure, maybe it could be merely a bad time in life. We all go through them. But what if it isn’t that simple?

Depression is much more serious. It’s about more than sad feelings. It is a clinical chemical imbalance in the brain that can have far-reaching effects on the rest of your body. Ignoring those signs is not something that you should do, as it can be dangerous to your overall health.

There are signs to look for that could indicate that your sad feelings may be something more. Instead of ignoring those sad feelings, take heed of some of the following signs.

A Lack Of Focus Or Drive

It can be easy to dismiss a lack of focus or drive as being bored or not interested in the task at hand. But if it happens more often than it should, and you have sad feelings that accompany it, this could be a sign of something more.

Even if you have a “great life,” you may feel like you have no direction or don’t know what to do with yourself. Taking the responsibilities in your life with less than the utmost seriousness can lead to trouble as well. Taking things for granted becomes part of everyday life.

Not seeing the good in life may be more than just not having a positive attitude. It can be one of the many signs that there is an imbalance with the chemicals in your brain. There are thoughts that you can change everything with your mentality, but it isn’t that simple.

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Environmental Factors

Just because you feel sad or have sad feelings doesn’t automatically mean that it is depression. Perhaps there are factors in your life that are contributing to the way that you are feeling. And the thing about external factors is that they can encompass anything.

Maybe things are going poorly at work or school. Perhaps a relationship just ended. Money problems are one of the most common factors of stress. If this sadness persists even when those environmental factors have turned around for the better, it may not be those external factors that were the problem.

Examining your life and looking at the things that cause you to stress is an essential first step towards figuring out if it genuinely is depression or something else. Many factors in our daily lives can result in stress and sadness, but they can be difficult to spot when those things persist.

Self-Deprecation

We all know that person who seems to make fun of themselves all the time. They point out their own flaws and try to pass it off as though these feelings are simply them poking fun at the things they perceive as negatives.

But more times than not, those feelings are because there is a negative self-view. When this happens, that person can feel worthless, like they are not important enough to be cared about or loved. Speaking negatively about oneself is toxic, even if it seems harmless at the time.

Stress and low self-esteem can bring on sadness to all of us. But some of us respond by talking poorly about ourselves instead of taking a deeper look at the problem. More often than not, the people who poke constant fun at themselves feel sad or have consistent sad feelings.

What To Do About It?

The first step is to ask yourself, “why am I so sad?” and make it a point to do something about those sad feelings. If you think that it truly is an issue in your life, the first step is to talk to a professional like ReGain. It may not sound like the most fun to speak to a therapist, but they can open avenues within you that you may not have known existed.

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Talking to a professional about those sad feelings can open up more about how you feel and think in general. And being able to speak about these feelings also means that those professionals can perform a diagnosis.

Some feel as though depression is a fad and that it is all about our own mentalities. But the fact of the matter is that depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Those chemicals dictate how you think and feel, and if there is an imbalance, you won’t ever know it.

If you have seen a professional and it has been determined that it is not clinical depression or you want to try a different avenue, there are other courses of action.

Be Clear About Values. When we feel sad, it is easy to lose sight of the things in our lives that hold value to us. It could be a job, friends, family, a pet; whatever those things are, they bring you happiness, whether you realize it or not.

Identifying these values can give you a greater sense of perspective. If you value your job, perhaps it can give you a sense of achievement and accomplishment. Whatever those values are, identifying them can provide you with something to focus on. Having these focuses can then lead to an improved feeling of happiness in your life.

Focus On The Enjoyable Things In Life. When it seems like nothing is right, focusing on the good things in your life can help combat those negative feelings. Taking part in the things that bring joy to your life can be enough to get you out of that rut and bring on feelings of happiness again.

It isn’t about “being positive” or doing things because people tell you that you should. It’s about finding something that you truly enjoy that can give you purpose and light to your life. It won’t make those bad feelings go away completely, but it will help them from overtaking every fiber of your being.

Accept The Sadness. We think that being sad or bad is not okay, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, it isn’t a great thing to let it dominate our lives and become a preoccupying thing. But the fact of the matter is that feeling sad is completely normal.

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Acknowledge that you’re sad. Don’t hide it, don’t fight it, accept that it is a thing in your life. Avoiding sadness can actually do more harm than good. Don’t try to numb the sadness (drinking is NOT a good idea if you feel particularly sad); just let those feelings exist.

Take a minute to acknowledge those feelings. Cry if you have to because crying is a great way to get out some of those emotions and has actually reduced pain and improved mood. And once you have gone through that process, try to move forward. Wallowing in that sadness is where we begin to slip into depression truly.

Set Small Goals. If you have been struggling with feelings of sadness or failure or any other particularly negative feelings, getting out of those feelings can begin by laying the groundwork for success. It can start with something small: get up on time and get to work. Make some coffee. Get moving.

These small things can build that foundation so that you can begin to feel better about yourself as the day moves forward. If this doesn’t help you – and you are really, truly trying – then it may be time to consult a professional. Simply accepting that you are sad all the time is not healthy and requires some professional intervention.

It is okay to be sad. When that sadness persists, it becomes a mainstay in our lives that it is a true problem that needs addressing. Don’t ignore that persistent sadness. Don’t write it off as a feeling you seem to have.

Truly evaluate your life, and do not be afraid to seek help if there is no readily available answer to the rhetoric questions in your life. Sadness is okay from time to time, but don’t let it become a dominant factor in your life. If these feelings persist, reach out to a trained counselor to assist.


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