Depression is a term which is often thrown around casually. The true definition of depression is that it is not simply an emotion or a state of mind; depression is a real, medical illness. Although depression comes in various forms, it is characteristically recognised by an atypically long duration of sadness and isolation. The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person. However, the most typical symptoms are persistent sadness, seclusion, feelings of negativity, hopelessness and worthlessness, insomnia, decreased or increased appetite, fatigue, restlessness, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and loss of libido.
Have you ever wondered why some people become a victim of depression while others don’t? Perhaps someone close to you is exhibiting the signs of depression, perhaps you have been diagnosed with it, or perhaps you feel as though you might be depressed. These prompt one to ask: why does depression occur? What are the causes of depression?
Depression is a vastly complex and multifaceted psychological illness. There is no singular definite cause of depression; it can occur due to a number of reasons. For some, depression may develop as a grave medical illness due to their genetics and family history. Others develop depression as a result of life changes, such as relationship problems, moving to a different place, or the death of a loved one. One thing is certain; some people are biologically vulnerable and more likely to develop depression than others.
There are certain life events and circumstances which increase the chances of developing depression, or make a person more vulnerable to depression in later life. Some people become depressed because they currently are or have been a victim of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in the past. Depression is also sometimes a result of personal conflicts and disputes with family or loved ones. Yet another life event which is the cause of depression in many is the death or loss of a loved one. The grief and emotional turmoil experienced during this period is likely to increase the risk of depression.
Other major life events which can increase the likelihood of developing depression are getting fired from a job, having financial troubles, or getting divorced. The pressure and anxiety which emanate during stressful life events are what predispose a person to depression.
However, it is important to remember that depression does not occur as a “normal” reaction to nerve-wracking or hectic life events. You may be wondering, “plenty of people go through such life events every day and they are able to withstand the stress just fine. So why is the stress of so-and-so life event affecting me/my friend/my family member to the point of depression?”
Even if you or someone you know is suffering from a milder form of depression, this disorder can affect numerous facets of your life. Depression interferes with a person’s sexual desires, performance at work and school, as well as sleep and eating habits. Depression even leads people to experiencing physical pain regularly such as headaches and backaches.
Depression will have an impact on everything you do in your everyday life. It is not possible to quickly and effortlessly recover from depression as one does from a cold or stomach-ache. Many of us with depression make the mistake of assuming that they are just feeling sad, and that it will go away with time by itself. Even though for some it does, but for millions of others, depression is a constant experience that does not go away. Think of it this way; feeling down is a fleeting emotion, whereas depression is a constant battle with oneself. It slowly chips away at your mental, emotional and even physical strength until you begin to feel constantly fatigued and hopeless about life.
Depression affects the way we think, our outlook on life, and our behaviour with friends and family. Depression can cause you to become disinterested in school, work, or even hobbies and activities you used to love. Depression makes you become withdrawn from society, and makes you feel constantly tired and weak. Concentrating or focusing on anything becomes hard, negatively impacting your productivity. You will notice yourself either sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little. Even basic everyday tasks such as brushing your hair or teeth, or taking a shower, begin to seem strenuous and exhausting, and almost impossible to do. People suffering from depression are also more prone to other physical and psychological illnesses.
Don’t forget that depression doesn’t only affect the lives of those who suffer from it – depression affects everyone around them as well, like family members, friends, and co-workers.
It is therefore abundantly clear that depression acts as a figurative monster which is out to destroy your life. Depression causes a person to slowly become alienated from society. Depression affects one’s personal and academic lives, as well as one’s career. People lose their jobs, their friends, and at times even their loved ones. Their studies and career are severely impacted, sometimes permanently.
It is important to know as much as possible about the complications of depression, so that we don’t let it go untreated. If we ignore depression, or neglect seeking help for it, we run the risk of further complicating and destroying our personal and professional lives. It is crucial that we seek out help for depression, not just to save our jobs and our relationships, but also for our own sake. That is the only way to fight the monster called depression, and to not let it completely consume your life.
And, it is most important to remember that depression is not more powerful than you. Your strength is greater, and you can fight depression and overcome it. The best thing you can do for yourself when you’re a victim of depression is to seek help. Reach out to friends and family, seek help from a professional, and express it and acknowledge it to yourself. Confronting it and seeking help for it is the only way to prevent the enemy called depression from seizing your life.