What people get wrong about depression:
- You could make it go away if you tried harder.
- An incident must have happened to make you depressed. Otherwise you wouldn’t be sad.
- If you practiced more gratitude, you’d feel better.
- Anxiety and depression are unrelated.
Depression is not a matter of will. People who are depressed would strongly prefer not to feel this way. Depression is usually a combination of several factors: biological, environmental and psychological. People may be biologically pre-disposed (it runs in their family) or their brains lack sufficient neurotransmitters (Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine) to help them regulate their mood. They may have persistent stressors in their lives which don’t resolve (poverty, trauma, unhappy home or work situations). They may suffer from low self-esteem and lack confidence. While a single event can lead to feeling depressed (loss of a loved one, prolonged unemployment, etc), some people simply become depressed without a ‘cause.’
When you’re struggling with depression, you often don’t see any options for yourself and the depression itself prevents you from seeking assistance from others, including therapy or medication. It can be hard to manage daily living, take care of yourself or appreciate anything. Changing your perspective on things would be great but usually it’s out of reach because everything seems difficult and dark. Sure, more gratitude is always a good thing but a depressed person has to start noticing a few positives in their lives first. They’ve lost a sense of agency and getting back is a top priority.
Untreated anxiety has been found to lead to depression. When people feel worried and powerless over time, they can develop an anxious depression. They’re preoccupied with things that might go wrong or they can’t control and feel discouraged about their alternatives. It can be overwhelming to act on anything.