Sadness and Depression

If parents are splitting up, everyone in the family will probably be feeling sad.  Sadness is an entirely normal and natural response to the loss and change of separation.

People who are sad find that feelings of loss and sadness come in waves, but they are still able to enjoy things and are able to look forward to the future.

Depression is different and more intense. Sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish between sadness and depression.

People who are depressed have a constant feeling of sadness. If you’re depressed, you often lose interest in things that you used to enjoy and you have little sense of a positive future.

Depression is an illness that tends to be more severe than unhappiness and lasts longer. Depression can interfere with your school, social and family life.

Feeling Sad?

It is normal to cry or feel hurt about parents separating. If you are feeling sad, then try to share your feelings with someone you trust. Read our article Who Will Listen? for more on talking to others.

Talking to someone will help you process these feelings and share your story. It will also help you stop sadness turning into anger and other harmful thoughts.

Feeling depressed?

Depression is different for everyone but there are a few emotional, physical and social signs. Most people only suffer from a few of these rather than all:

Signs of emotional depression include:

  • Always feeling low or sad
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Not feeling good about yourself (known as low self-esteem)
  • Tearfulness
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feeling irritable and intolerant of others
  • Lack of motivation and little interest in things
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Lack of enjoyment
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm or harming someone else
  • Feeling anxious or worried.

Signs of physical depression include:

  • Slowed movement or speech
  • Change in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
  • Constipation
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Difficulty with sleep.

Signs of social depression include:

  • Taking part in fewer social activities
  • Avoiding contact with friends
  • Reduced hobbies and interests.

Where can I find help if I am feeling sad?

If you are feeling sad:

  • If you need someone to talk with and would like support from our partners, The Mix, use this tool to find more content, a freephone helpline, online forums, apps and more: open tool.
  • Use our Share Your Story tool to write down your thoughts and read about others feeling the same.

Where can I find help if I am feeling depressed?

If you feel you may be suffering from depression, speak to your doctor (GP) about how you are feeling and what may be the best options for you.

Most people recover without treatment but treatment can help you recover more quickly. For example, counselling can help you to express yourself and get to grips with the root of your depression. This can be one-to-one or within a group setting.