Mental health, emotional wellbeing & personal development

Why Am I Depressed?

Depression is not the same as unhappiness. There is no particular reason for depression, it feels as if you are in a dark tunnel with no light to lead the way. A deep lack of enthusiasm and a sense of futility pervades. Being told you have won the lottery would probably not jolt many out of depression as it carries with it an odd detachment from the world around us. It does no good to tell a depressed person to “snap out of it”. That is probably one of the most ignorant responses and shows a complete lack of understanding.

The ‘nature versus nurture’ debate is still ongoing when it comes to depression. It depression caused by genetics (nature) or the environment(nurture)? In most cases, it is caused by a combination of both. Depression often runs in families. Sometimes it is merciful and skips a generation.
The environment also affects depression – constant stress that leads to many people staying in ‘fight or flight’ mode. We live in a pressurised society and the constant demands on our bodies leads us to feel threatened and constantly alert to danger. Inevitably, if this is not well managed it can lead to depression and this is evidenced in the fact that depression seems to be growing and anti depressants are being prescribed more than ever before.
Whether that it due to an increase in the number of depressed people, pharmaceutical politics or increased awareness is unknown.

There are ways to counteract depression however:

  • If depressive symptoms have persisted for longer than two months it may be worth a trip to the Doctor. Symptoms such as: lack of enthusiasm, not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to wash, withdrawing from friends and family, socially isolating oneself, not enjoying activities that used to bring joy and constant negativity can indicate depression.

  • Force yourself to get out and experience a change of scenery. It can be one of the hardest things to do but it usually improves state of mind.
  • Create a gratitude journal – include entries every day of events and experiences that made you smile, no matter how small
  • Don’t isolate yourself from others, this will only compound the situation
  • Keep busy – being alone with your thoughts is not healthy when depressed as depression is usually associated with a negative filter and is not a true reflection of what is going on. 
  • Challenge your thinking. Acknowledge negative thinking and try to look at the world with a more balanced perspective. There is always another way to look at what is going on in your world.
  • Listen to uplifting music and watch funny movies
  • Refuse to let depression run your life. See it as temporary and find a way to reduce it’s effects. Consider anti depressants if nothing else seems to work
  • See a counsellor for psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy. This can be very helpful although it is less effective with chronically depressed clients. This is when talking therapy and anti depressants combined are the most effective.
Don’t suffer in silence. Depression is not uncommon – don’t suffer alone. Reach out to others.
Mandy X
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For a bit of fun..try Mandy’s iphone app: Life Wisdom https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/life-wisdom/id392898772?mt=8 

More on Mandy: http://www.mandyjane-lifedesign.com The author of this blog lives in Surrey, UK and offers counselling to couples and individuals. All names have been changed to protect the identity of clients. Personal client stories shared in this blog have been published with prior permission from the relevant clients.