I find all to often people do not understand the difference between sadness, and depression. Everyone experiences sadness in life whether they have had the loss of a loved one, or the end of a relationship etc. This also means that when that something changes, when our emotional hurt fades, when we’ve adjusted or gotten through the loss or disappointment, our sadness subsides.
Depression is an abnormal emotional state, a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors in pervasive and chronic ways. When we’re depressed we feel sad about everything. Depression does not necessarily require a difficult event or situation, a loss, or a change of circumstance as a trigger. In fact, it often occurs in the absence of any such triggers. People’s lives on paper might be totally fine, they would even admit this is true, and yet they still feel horrible. That is not to say there cannot be triggering events, but there does not need to be a triggering event for a person to experience depression.
There are many factors that may make a person more susceptible to depression:
Abuse: Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can increase the vulnerability to clinical depression later in life.
Certain Medications: A medication you are taking for another issue may make you more vulnerable to depression.
Conflict: Depression in someone who has the biological vulnerability to develop depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.
Death or a loss: Sadness, or grief from the death, or loss of a loved one, though natural, may increase the risk of depression.
Genetics: A family history of depression may increase the risk. It’s thought that depression is a complex trait, meaning that there are probably many different genes that each exert small effects, rather than a single gene that contributes to disease risk.
Major events: Even good events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to depression. So can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring. However, the syndrome of clinical depression is never just a “normal” response to stressful life events.
Serious illnesses: Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition.
Substance abuse: Nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have major or clinical depression.
There are many reasons why a person may be vulnerable to depression, if you have been diagnosed I would urge you to keep a journal of how you are feeling it may help you discover a trigger, or at least help you understand, or make sense of your thoughts, and emotions. If you feel as though you are experiencing depression please reach out for help there are many resources, and you are NOT ALONE.
Karen is a great listener and a solid shoulder to lean on. She has a degree in History and English and a diploma in Counselling Skills. She struggles with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Depression. She understands the importance of having someone to talk to about your struggles. She loves singing, researching her genealogy, cheering for her favorite hockey teams, swimming, hiking and spending time with friends.
You can follow Karen on Twitter @KareBearNS