I’ve Had a Great Life... Why Do I Struggle With Depression?
I get this question a lot. And then there’s a lot of #guilt and #shame attached to it. The thought is, “if I’ve had a nice life with nice parents and have not had anything bad happen to me, there’s no reason for depression.” Then ensues the damaging self-talk including being “ungrateful,” “selfish,” or “lazy.”
Lets get a thing or two out of the way. Feeling #depressed is a normal human emotion. Situationally, most people feel depressed at some point. Maybe it’s been a rough few months at work and you’re just over it. You feel sluggish getting up, you’re not super thrilled to go to work, and you’re not super motivated when you’re there. That’s pretty relatable to many different scenarios that can happen in our lives. A lot of adjustments cause feeling depressed: moving, job dissatisfaction, break ups, poor school performance, a friendship ending, etc. These are very legitimate and distressing events. They will cause some distressing emotions that can be described as depressing. This feeling of depression tends to resolve itself through time, self-care, positive coping, and the natural progression of adjusting.
Depression, capital D, is a diagnosable disorder (categorized as a mood disorder) that goes way beyond situational depression. This comes with lengthy episodes of lack of motivation, lack of energy or interest, feeling worthless, feeling sad or having depressed mood, and can even trigger feelings of self-harm or suicidality. Clinical depression can be caused by many things, but for some people, it’s strictly biology. Your brain just isn’t pooping out enough of specific neurotransmitters that allow you to enjoy things, experience elevated mood, or get yourself out of a funk. #Depression can effect anyone. It’s an equal opportunity beast.
So that goes back to my original question. You don’t need to have had some horrible thing happen to you or have an awful family to have Depression. Therefore, if you’re suffering from Depression, you’re not an ungrateful, selfish, lazy person. You’re a normal person struggling with a legitimate and treatable condition. Beating yourself up only feeds the beast and may amplify any other possible issues such as self-esteem or difficulty in relationships. Seek out a therapist or a psychiatrist (preferably both!) if you’re feeling like there’s no “reason” to feel the way you do. Get some help! There’s no shame in that and you’re doing something great for yourself.
Side note: for those of you who have experienced painful families or traumatic events, please seek assistance too! As I said a moment ago, these concerns are treatable and you can lead a more pleasant, fulfilling life. You can even #thrive! Yes. Really.
Until we meet again,