Melancholy is a state of deep sadness. It corresponds to what we call depression, a mental illness that gives a feeling of incapability, of pessimism, of sadness and a lack of will to live.
This state can be temporary or last for a long time. It goes with a bad mood, a feeling of nostalgia and a form of disgust for oneself and for life itself.
However, if today we distinguish between melancholy and depression, it’s because melancholy is a form of sadness that can lead to other feelings, other states. Indeed, this form of sadness is seen by some people as a bittersweet feeling that can lead to daydream and meditation (see contemplation). Melancholy allows some artists to find their inspirations, this state is necessary for them.
Melancholy isn’t only a state of profound sadness, it encourages a form of daydream where one can think about life, which can lead to artistic creation. We may consider melancholy as a form of meditation or contemplation. We may even enjoy it as long as it doesn’t become a depression.