[Warning: This is a resource, not a diagnostic tool. Please consult a trusted health care professional about the causes for the depression before making any decisions about treatment.]
Depression is something everyone will likely go through at some point in their lives and yet, not a lot of people really understand what depression is or what causes it.
What depression is not is the kind of everyday sadness you may get when something doesn’t go your way but then passes in a day or two never to be remembered the same way again. What depression is is being enveloped in a darkness that’s a bottomless pit. Depression is an endless night where you neither know the causes, nor when, nor if it will ever stop.
Dr. Margaret Paul, a therapist with over 40 years of experience, talked about other misconceptions that have been debunked in an article she wrote about depression and its causes for Mind Body Green. Including a fact that she pulled from best-selling author, Dr. Irving Kirsch’s, book The Emperor’s New Drugs, that the pharmaceutical industry created the idea that depression can be caused by an imbalance in the brain and that anti-depressants may only work due to the placebo effect. Whether that’s true or not is up to each individual to decide for themselves. This is not a judgment about what works for anyone, in terms of living and coping with clinical depression.
Dr. Paul also writes about three major causes that can lead to depression and how you can get past them.
Depression Can Come When Life Punches You In The Gut
No matter what you do, bad things are going to happen that you have no control over that will likely cause you to make a turn directly downhill into depression.
– Death of a loved one
– Loss of a job or significant possession(s)
– Relationship challenges
– Financial difficulties
– Or any situation where you feel out of control and can’t see away to correct the balance
As a society, we have gotten used to instant gratification, which causes these kinds of challenges, that take time to work through, to be difficult. What’s needed to get through this kind of depression is patience to work through the grief and a lot of love for oneself on the journey.
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) September 5, 2015
Depression Can Come When Your Gut’s Out Of Balance
Then there comes the realm of the strictly physical cause for depression from the balance of the good and bad bacteria in your gut.
An article for Scientific American suggests both diet and the gut bacteria that follows from it affect mood, behavior, and thoughts and therefore could be one of the causes of depression.
Proper nutrition is a large subject to wade into, but the basic things that are sure to help, with this kind of depression, are to avoid sugar, gluten, chemically processed foods and stick to clean, healthy, organic foods.
— Fitness Republic (@FitnessRepublic) July 24, 2015
Depression Can Come When You Regularly Abandon Yourself
Most of us go through our days without truly thinking about what we’re doing because we’re running on an autopilot based on past programming. We do this because we have so many demands on our energy and time in today’s society and it’s just easier to do the same things we’ve always done. But, if like most people, you’re running programs that you created when you were only a child who had limited information on which to base the decision, then you may need to rethink whether you’re being loving or abandoning yourself and whether it’s helping or hindering depression.
– Not being in touch with, or simply ignoring the feelings that come up within you
– Being your own harshest critic
– Addictions to food, alcohol, drugs, etc.
– Giving the responsibility for our feelings to those around us
– Not taking good physical care of ourselves (food, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, etc.)
– Putting off until tomorrow what needs to be done today
– Financial irresponsibility or withholding
– Allowing chaos to reign by being late, unprepared and not on top of things
– Backing down when you should be standing up for yourself
Certainly not an exhaustive list of the ways you might be abandoning yourself and falling into depression. But a good way of sorting out the love from the abandonment is to check in with how you feel — if you feel good, it’s a loving action, if not, then question it. Would you treat your best friend the same way?
How To Move Past Depression
– Seek help from a respected therapist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, etc.
– Learn to truly love yourself and where you are in your life (remember wherever you are, no matter how difficult, has something to teach you)
– Take care of yourself — eat healthy and clean, get plenty of exercise, spend time in the sunshine, get the sleep your body needs, learn to manage your stress
– Allow yourself to see that there is an answer to your challenge, you can find it and you can heal
Just like learning anything new, there is no quick and easy way to get to the other side of the crater that depression seems to make in your life, but it’s most definitely a worthwhile and priceless journey.
[Image courtesy Ryan McGuire]