At this point, you might have some questions about depression and soul. This is because it’s sometimes difficult to differentiate depressed mood from being sad.
When you’re depressed, you might feel hopeless and helpless. You may be unable to muster the energy to do simple tasks. You might also feel sad or angry.
You might have recurring thoughts about what’s missing from your life. You might also feel like you can’t do anything right.
It’s also common to experience bouts of extreme sadness. This can be called “soul searching,” where you might try to figure out why you feel sad in the first place.
SAD vs. depression
While depression and soul searching feel similar, they’re not the same thing.
You might feel depressed if you have low self-esteem, are sadder than usual, and have lost interest in things you usually enjoy.
The difference between soul searching and depression is that depression is a persistent feeling of sadness and hopelessness. It doesn’t go away.
Depression can be caused by a variety of factors. You can even have more than one type of depression, which is known as dysthymia, or “middle” depression.
It’s important to distinguish between depression and soul searching because treatments such as therapy and medication can help treat depression, but it can’t help with soul searching.
How do you know if your soul is depressed?
You might notice that your soul isn’t as happy as it used to be. Or that things seem to drag on endlessly.
You might also find that you’re unable to muster the energy to start or complete things you usually do.
These symptoms may be caused by depression, but they’re also symptoms of soul searching.
Although soul searching can be a symptom of depression, it’s not always the case. Sometimes, soul searching can be caused by other issues, such as stress or anxiety.
If you feel like you’re stuck in soul searching, but you’re not depressed, you might be experiencing something else.
What are the symptoms of soul searching?
You might feel like your soul is searching for something. You might try to figure out why you feel sad, but you may not know what that could be.
You might also find it difficult to figure out how to make yourself happy.
Symptoms of soul searching might include:
- Feeling like you’re stuck, not moving forward, or not progressing in your career
- Feeling like you do everything wrong, or that you have no control over life
- Having recurring thoughts about what’s missing from your life
- Having recurring thoughts about things that are going to happen or that you’ve already done
- Feeling like you can’t do anything right
- Feeling like you have no connection to the world around you
- Finding it difficult to connect with others
How is soul searching different from being depressed?
Symptoms of depression
Depression is a persistent sadness or low mood.
You might feel like things aren’t as great as they used to be, but you may not feel like you can change anything or that you’re stuck.
You may also find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
Symptoms of depression may include:
- Having low energy
- Feeling tired or fatigued
- Having low self-esteem
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Experiencing feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Experiencing a lack of enjoyment in life
- Having difficulty making decisions or doing things
- Experiencing feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
- Experiencing feelings like you’ll never find happiness
Symptoms of depression may be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Past trauma
- Illness or injury
- Substance use
- Loneliness or social isolation
- Depression or anxiety disorders
- Personality traits, such as perfectionism or low self-esteem
- Relationship issues
How is soul searching different from anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry or apprehension. You might feel anxious about something that has already happened, or you might worry about something that might happen.
You might also have an overwhelming anxious feeling that keeps you from doing the things you usually do.
These symptoms might include:
- Anxiety or worry about the future
- Fear or dread of something bad happening
- Fear of the unknown
- Constant fear of danger or an event in your life happening
- Feeling nervous, on edge, or restless
- Feeling like you can’t relax
- Being easily startled
- Worrying about things that don’t matter
- A strong desire to avoid things that cause anxiety
- Worrying about having a panic attack
Symptoms of anxiety might include:
- Having difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Feeling stressed or on edge
- Fearing something bad will happen
- Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Being overly sensitive to noise or other stimuli
What can happen in the meantime?
You might feel lost and aimless, but this is not necessarily a sign that you’re depressed.
The main difference between depression and soul searching is that soul searching isn’t going away.
Depression can be a persistent feeling of sadness or hopelessness, but it’s not a permanent condition. You may feel depressed, but you might not always feel like that.
SAD vs. soul searching
SAD is a type of depression that occurs because of a lack of sleep. It’s also known as “seasonal affective disorder.”
Symptoms of SAD include:
- Feelings of gloominess and sadness
- Irritability and irritability
- Restlessness and a lack of focus
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleeping too little or too much
SAD can last for weeks or months at a time. It’s not a lifelong condition.
If you’re experiencing prolonged sadness or hopelessness, you may be experiencing soul searching.
Symptoms of SAD and soul searching can also overlap.
Symptoms of SAD can include:
- Feeling irritable and angry
- Difficulty focusing
Symptoms of soul searching can include:
- Feeling stuck
- Unsatisfied with life
Is there a treatment for soul searching?
There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for soul searching. You may need a treatment plan that’s tailored to your specific needs.
Talk to your doctor or therapist if you’re experiencing soul searching. They can help you figure out the best way to cope with it.
It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor if you have any of the following:
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
They can offer guidance on how to best address these issues.
What’s the outlook for soul searching?
You may find that you’re stuck in a place that you can’t seem to improve or change. This is sometimes called an “anchor” or “rut.”
You may feel like there’s no way out of the situation, but this isn’t necessarily a sign of depression.
Living with soul searching can be difficult. It can be tempting to give up and say to yourself:
- “There’s nothing out there for me, and that’s OK, too.”
But it’s important to remember that you’re still living your life.
SAD can last for weeks or months at a time. It can have an impact on your ability to go to work and school.
You may also find that it’s difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
If you’re experiencing prolonged sadness or hopelessness, it’s important to understand that this is a phase that you’re going through.
It’s OK to feel sad or hopeless sometimes. It’s also OK to feel like you have no control over your circumstances.
You can learn to cope with these feelings and move forward.
If you’re experiencing soul searching, there are some things you can do to help yourself.
These steps might include:
- Getting enough sleep.
- Practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation.
- Eating healthy meals.
- Getting regular exercise.
- Talking to a therapist or counselor.
- Getting counseling or support from family and friends.
You can also try these tips to help you cope with soul searching:
- Practice mindfulness meditation.
- Practice deep breathing exercises.
- Get enough exercise.
- Find a hobby that you enjoy.
- Talk to a trusted friend or professional to help you process your feelings.
- Find a therapist or counselor who can help you address your feelings.
What causes soul searching?
You may feel like there’s no point in trying to change anything.
But soul searching is a normal human reaction to dealing with certain life events.
For example, you may feel like you can’t move on from a relationship if you’re still dating that person.
You might also feel like you can’t move on from a traumatic experience if you’re still experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Some people experience soul searching when their relationships become toxic or when they experience a loss of self-esteem.
There are many other potential reasons for getting stuck in soul searching.
When to see your doctor?
If you’re experiencing prolonged sadness or hopelessness, you may need to see your doctor.
They can help you figure out the best way to cope with these feelings.
They can also provide guidance on how to best address these issues.
Soul searching is a way of coping with feelings that you don’t feel like you can change.
It can include self-reflection, introspection, and rumination. These feelings can become overwhelming and cause anxiety or depression.
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