Often when we grieve, we are uncertain about how to define our feelings. This can lead to confusion and frustration.

Sadness and depression are often used in the same sentence to describe one’s feelings.

The dictionary defines sad as…”feeling sorrow; unhappy…”

The dictionary defines depression as…”severe despondency and dejection, especially when long-lasting and accompanied by physical symptoms.”

From these definitions, it clearly sounds like depression is more serious. But how do you know when you have crossed the line from sadness to depression?

The other day I heard Gloria Steinem give an excellent answer to this dilemma. She said when you are depressed, nothing matters. But when you are sad, everything matters in deeper and deeper ways.

She was speaking in reference to the time when she lost her husband and everything became so precious to her.

I too have had these feelings. I believe that the sadness which comes with grief opens the heart in ways that nothing else can.

Sadness is part of the process of letting go. Depression is about attempting to hold on rather than allowing and letting go.

Author's Bio: 

Sandy Clendenen lost her husband and best friend in 1999, after twenty-one years of marriage. Her grief process was lengthy and complex. Sandy felt stuck in layers of unresolved grief. As part of her heaing, Sandy filled numerous journals with her thoughts and feelings. A review of these journals several years later revealed insights into the grief process which Sandy is now committed to sharing with other grievers. Sandy attended seminary for 3 years. She also received her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. Sandy has also worked in various areas of hands on healing. Sandy incorporates her vast personal experience and education into her grief coaching products and services. http://movebeyondgrief.com

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Sandy Clendenen is The Official Guide to Grief and Bereavement.