Depression is often a complex compilation of various factors. Although, some cases of clinical depression are said to be caused by a chemical imbalance, the following are several factors that can contribute to depression.
You may be able to do something about many of these things on your own to assist your recovery from depression.
Of course, a trained therapist is always a plus in sorting through the throws of depression, helping you to address the following:
- Isolation – Social connection is vital for our well being. We are social creatures. Furthermore, social connection is one of the most proven ways to prevent and cure depression. If you are isolating yourself, be intentional about reaching out – join a support group, join a team, call a friend, do some volunteer work, get involved in the community. In short, think of ways to increase your contact with people.
- Grief – If you have been through a major life transition or loss, then grief is most likely contributing to your feelings of depression. Major transitions include those that are planned, sudden, wanted, or unwanted. Job loss or change, death of a loved one or pet, a move, graduating college, marriage, a breakup or divorce. These are all ridden with grief on some level. Grief resembles depression – feelings of sadness and hopelessness, being unmotivated, loss of interest in usual pleasures, sleep disturbances or changes in eating habits, feelings of irritability, inability to focus, or feeling disconnected. These symptoms are likely related to your adjustment to the transition or loss.
- Missing meaning – Having meaning in our lives is essential to our happiness. Some ways to find meaning in your life are through: work, relationships, helping others, learning, creativity, and spirituality. Depression may be a result of your living a life that’s not aligned with your values and desires. Consider a change in one of these areas of your life. You may be surprised how fulfilled and satisfied you can feel.
- A strong inner critic – A critical inner voice may be contributing to your feelings of depression, particularly if it is very strong. Begin to notice your self-talk and what the themes are and how it feels. Studies have shown that learning self compassion can be effective for treating depression. If you are internally talking to yourself in a way that you would never do with a friend, then your inner critic needs to be softened. Therapy can be a great help in learning how to do this.
Stacey Wald, LAPC, RD
swald @ growcounseling.com
Photo Cred: Erin Nicole Photography