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Is Your Depression Situational Or Chemical?


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I think it's situational but it's hard to say.

True. I think mine is likely chemical related due to crashing down out of nowhere. I'm not on meds at the moment though due to some physical health issues making me worried to be on meds at the moment.

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There is a mounting body of research that strongly indicates that what & how we think or behave has a physiological effect on our brain, just as the physiology of our brain (chemicals, cell structure, etc.) has an impact on our mood and temperament.

Far more promising is the research (and centuries of practical history) backing the notion that altering our habits and thoughts can have a curative effect on depression. I say "curative effect" instead of "cure" because I'm still not 100% sold on the possibility, but in my better days I try to keep the angry, belittling and guilty thoughts out while doing my darndest to get even a few minutes of meditation in. It helps.

My take on depression is that it is a physiological response to external triggers (trauma, specific behaviours by or towards us, etc.) and internal reactions (unhealthy nutrition, poor sleep, drug ingestion, toxic thoughts). The body turns down the dimmer on our vitality. How much pain that leads a person to feel then depends much more on the person's psychological state - their core beliefs about themselves and the world around them. The more negative their core beliefs are, the more miserable the experience of depression.

I believe that many people experience physiological depression throughout their lives, to varying degrees, but those who truly suffer its effects have a storehouse of painful thoughts, memories and perspectives that tear at their conscious and bring great misery.

An analogy I've drawn up:

Each life is a pond.

We, our conscious, is the person treading water in the center of that pond.

Our subconscious lies at the bottom of the pond. For some, perhaps a tiny handful, the bottom of the pond is soft and sandy. However, most people end up with at least some garbage and toxic waste in their pond, thrown in by others and even themselves as their life progresses. For many, the bottom of their pond is layered with broken glass, sharp edges, hot spots and other nastiness painful to touch.

The water in the pond is our vitality. The more water, the greater our level of vitality. The lower the level, the less. Depression is often defined as depleted vitality.

When depressed, the water level is low. The more painful objects we have strewn down below, the more painful the experience.

Medication helps to refill the pond. Therapy teaches how to swim around the pain and avoid touching it. Spirituality clears the murky water, allowing one to truly feel and experience the pain, and in bringing it into awareness, remove it entirely.

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Chemical. 1. Family history of depression and anxiety make me think this is genetic. 2. Even when things are going well I can feel incredibly low unless on medication. I can feel depressed for no reason whatsoever if not medicated.

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I think my genetic make-up predisposes me to it but I agree w/a few other posters that certainly some situations can cause the depression/anxiety and all that goes along w/it to worsen. For instance, weekends, my depression/anxiety seem to increase on most weekends..I think it's because I have little interation w/others over the 2-3 day period and for me personally, that is not good. I don't have friends, don't socialize other than work related stuff at work. For a long time I resisted working a full-time job because of my mental health issues and while some days are difficult to get up and moving, I have found the job has actually helped ease a great deal of the stress of not working or working very little as well as lowered my depression. My anxiety pretty much stays at a dull roar no matter what.

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I think if anything it's a little of both, because even when things were truly good I often haven't felt quite right. For the most part, though, I just struggle with things like anxiety, loneliness, and a poor upbringing.

Anxiety is decreasing for me and I'm no longer ashamed of the way I was treated as a child, because it was my parents' failing - not mine. No child deserves to be hit, left alone for a week, or left alone with people who have an unhealthy interest in children.

But, I'm still lonely and that often leaves me unmotivated, isolated, and struggling to enjoy or feel at home in the things I do. I've spent many, many years trying to improve myself socially so that I could better get along with and understand others, with little success. I actually had more success when I was young and bratty than I'm having now when I feel bad because a client felt stupid because he had trouble understanding some papers, when really he was just very new to English. Younger me wouldn't have empathized or tried to defuse the situation.

I can even do what many can't and deal with rejection gracefully, always picking myself up to try again and never hating, grudging, or obsessing. Once in awhile I don't react well, but for the most part I let it go and let people have their opinions. And I am still not good enough? Most people have to do zero self-improvement to be likable to at least a small selection of people who'll notice and be drawn to them, no matter their flaws.
Edited by Licorice
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