Depression can affect us all at some point in our lives. Many people experience a mild form of depression, which they can get through without treatment. However, if your symptoms are severe or persistent and you’re struggling to cope, then it may be time to seek help from your GP or mental health professional.
In 2014, after a build up of stress from some life-changing events, I was diagnosed with double depression. It was really hard to work through however I was determined to get better. I went through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with a licensed therapist and my psychiatrist prescribed me the right medications at the right dosage which helped me feel better almost immediately.
I did the work to be able to heal and I’ve come through to the other side. I no longer have depression and have been living a happy and healthy life for many years now. I do get sad from time to time and emotionally depleted, but now I have strategies to recover and I never let it get out of hand. My advice? If you are feeling down or not quite yourself, speak with your doctor about treatment options that may help you feel better quickly!
The following are 5 reasons why you might be depressed:
1. You might be feeling burnt out.
In my early working life I experienced burnout multiple times. I thought I was doing the right thing working very long hours. I loved the job and wanted to put in the work to achieve my career goals. My body, however, began to break down and my mental health took a beating.
While burnout is pointedly job-related, that doesn’t mean one has to work a classic 9-to-5 to experience it. Burnout can also apply to other aspects of life that innately involve an element of work or emotional labor like parenting, caregiving, or activism. Of course, frequently toggling between some — or all — of these different roles can expedite burnout as well.https://www.headspace.com/mindfulness/burnout
The symptoms of burnout are similar to those of depression:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of being overwhelmed
- Lack of interest in activities that used to bring pleasure
Exhaustion is the central symptom of burnout. It comprises profound physical, cognitive, and emotional fatigue that undermines people’s ability to work effectively and feel positive about what they’re doing. This can stem from the demands of an always-on, 24/7 organizational culture, intense time pressure, or simply having too much to do, especially when you lack control over your work, dislike it, or don’t have the necessary skills to accomplish it.https://hbr.org/2016/11/beating-burnout
2. You might be feeling stressed.
Stress in small doses is normal and can sometimes be good for our bodies. Prolonged stress, however, is what can cause us to unravel and become depressed. We have to get good at managing daily stress so that it doesn’t build up, causing further problems.
I used to run on the adrenaline I felt from stress, going and going until I had nothing left in the tank. That is so unhealthy. It didn’t do me any good and was not sustainable in any way. As a go-getter and someone who is constantly wanting to achieve more in my life, I have to be very deliberate about stopping and making time to de-stress. If I don’t do this, eventually I will feel emotionally depleted and it could lead to depression.
Sometimes we suffer a crisis or catastrophic event that causes us to be in an immense amount of stress. It may come out of nowhere and completely send us off course. When this type of stress happens, the management and action we take to de-stress can be different from when we face everyday challenges. We may need to take time off work, seek professional help, take medicine to help our brain, or stop and take charge of the circumstance by focusing on nothing else other than our healing.
3. You might be feeling overwhelmed.
One of the most common reasons that people feel depressed is that they are feeling overwhelmed. Perhaps you are experiencing a lot of distinct issues in your life, or maybe you’re just feeling stressed out about life in general. As a new mum to a toddler, I find that I get overwhelmed easily. When this happens, I’m strict on myself and ensure that I pause, reset and refocus. I don’t continue with the week as planned — I stop and regroup. This ensures that the overwhelming feeling doesn’t get out of hand. I am then able to remain happy and attentive to the needs of my son.
4. You may have been overworked or sleep-deprived.
If you’ve been overworked or sleep-deprived, that can lead to depression. It’s important to make sure you are getting enough rest. I know that it is not as easy as it sounds. When you have small kids, deadlines to meet, or a gruelling week-long conference to attend, sleep can be difficult. I have a toddler who has woken up every night for almost 2 years. This means that I have to be very deliberate about how I get sleep. I try and take naps during the day when he takes naps. I have also organised a trusted family member to come and stay once or twice a week so that I can get a full night’s rest.
Here are some other habits you can do to help with sleep deprivation:
- Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
- Limit your caffeine intake after lunchtime and avoid alcohol before bedtime (if possible).
- Make your bedroom dark and quiet, avoiding interruptions during the night. This may necessitate turning off the TV, phone, and light alarm if they are disturbing you in any way.
People with depression may find it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night. They can also have excessive daytime sleepiness or even sleep too much.
When people with depression find it difficult to fall asleep and have excessive daytime sleepiness it can lead to high blood sugar and weight gain, which can affect heart health. Talk to your health care provider for tips on getting better sleep, especially if you have high blood pressure.
One possible, treatable cause of lack of sleep contributing to high blood pressure is obstructive sleep apnea. This sleep disorder causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. Talk with your care provider if you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, especially if you snore. Obstructive sleep apnea may be the cause. Obstructive sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure and other heart problems.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/sleep-deprivation/faq-20057959
5. You might have suffered a relationship breakdown.
Depression can occur after a relationship breaks down and it seems difficult to recover. It is often triggered by the feeling of low energy and being unhappy in normal daily activities.
Following the loss of a relationship, you may also feel lonely. Some other
reasons breakups are hard are that you may experience low self-esteem or have
an altered sense of who you are. A relationship is a key part of your identity,
and losing that can change the way you see yourself. In some cases, the loss of
a relationship can leave you feeling empty, as if you do not know who you are.
In some cases, a breakup may mean that you have to co-parent
children with your former partner. This can mean giving up time with your
children so that your former partner can spend one-on-one time with them.
It’s no secret that depression can be a serious condition. It’s also not something that you can just ‘snap out of’ or ‘get over’. Depression is more than just feeling down for a bit. If you are experiencing symptoms and they are interfering with your daily life, don’t hesitate to reach out for support from those around you.
Identifying the underlying cause of your depression is the first step in treating it. If you’re not sure why you’re feeling depressed, speak with your GP so they can help identify what’s causing your symptoms and develop a treatment plan suited to your needs.