Why Am I So Depressed?

Children Are Frequently Depressed

Depression in teens
Depression in teens | Source

What are the symptoms of clinical depression?

There is a difference between being depressed and having clinical depression. All of us have our 'down' days. If you pay attention to your feelings, you will notice that some days are difficult and some days are truly wonderful. Most days are somewhere in between.

Our moods appear in cycles. This is true for everyone (unless there is a diagnosed mental malady). Normal people have manic days and sad days. Sometimes there are concrete reasons for sadness and depression and sometimes we seem to feel depressed for no reason at all.

Symptoms of depression include lethargy, feelings of worthlessness, crying and inability to eat or eating too much (comfort food). You may have a 'headache'. You may not feel like talking to your family or friends. You may want to be left alone.

In clinical depression, these feelings do not go away. They hang around like a dense fog. You may feel numb or uncaring. Things that interested you before no longer hold any attraction. Concentration becomes difficult. Some people say that it 'hurts' to think.

Feelings

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Sadness or isolation is a symptom of depression.Winter is sad to some people
Sadness or isolation is a symptom of depression.
Sadness or isolation is a symptom of depression. | Source
Winter is sad to some people
Winter is sad to some people | Source

What causes depression?

There are surprising reasons for depression, other than the usual ones. Of course you will feel depressed if a loved one dies or comes to harm. Depression is one stage of grieving.

The loss of a job is depressing. Unemployment and financial troubles are clearly a reason for depression. There are physical, mental and emotional causes for depression.

Let's take a look at some other causes of depression:

  1. Smoking and Tobacco use. Nicotine is a drug that causes brain chemical changes. Even in very tiny doses, nicotine is a potent poison. One teaspoonful of pure nicotine can kill an entire army. The lack of the micro doses ingested from tobacco use makes people very depressed when they try to quit smoking. It also seems to cause depression in addicted smokers.
  2. Sleep deprivation. Even a small lack of sleep can alter the serotonin levels in the brain. Your brain tries to repair itself when you sleep. If insomnia persists, your brain cannot function well.
  3. Internet addiction. Believe it or not, FaceBook and addictive internet use can cause depression. This is easily seen in teenagers and young adults that use the internet constantly. Perhaps it has to do with information overload or cyber bullying or another cause.
  4. The high stress of living in a city. Stress causes depression. This is well documented. Stress affects the whole body including the brain. People that live in small communities do not have as much depression as city dwellers.
  5. Thyroid disease. The thyroid regulates hormones in the body. These hormones affect mood swings. If the thyroid is damaged, depression may be a direct result.
  6. The end of a series. This one is surprising. Apparently, quite a few young people became depressed after the last movie in the Harry Potter series. People live vicariously through their heroes. They adopt a persona and when it ends, it leaves an empty spot that causes mild depression.
  7. Lack of Omega 3 or Fish Oil. Some nutritionists and psychologists believe that these supplements will cure depression on their own. They are powerful anti-oxidants and can help regulate the thyroid.
  8. Birth control pills and other medical prescriptions. Any drug or chemical has the potential to alter brain chemistry. Read the side effects section of almost every drug and you will find depression listed.
  9. Indecision. When confronted with hundreds or even thousands of choices daily, the brain will attempt to compensate by shutting down. The brain needs rest, yet on a daily basis we are faced with multiple choices that must be made from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. What's for breakfast? What should I buy at the grocery store, which brand? How do I react to everyone I meet?
  10. Bad relationships. No doubt living with an abusive spouse will make you depressed, but living with anyone you can't get along with can cause depression.
  11. Lack of Exercise. Doctors now know that exercise promotes feelings of well being. Exercise produces good chemicals for the brain and being in good shape helps to circulate those chemicals. It doesn't have to be training style exercise, gentle movements also create good feelings.
  12. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some, if not all, people are affected by the change in seasons. Winters make people feel gloomy. It may be due to lack of sunshine. Summers make some people feel too warm and lethargic. It may be due to too much sunshine. The seasons affect different people differently.

Science of Depression

What can I do to feel less depressed?

Once you understand the causes of depression and that they are usually temporary, you can begin to find ways to feel less depressed.

Good nutrition and exercise will go a long way to relieve symptoms of depression. Quitting smoking or drug use will reduce the stress on your body. Get up and away from the computer from time to time, go outside and walk a bit.

Spend time with upbeat people. It's hard to feel depressed when your friends are having fun and you are with them. Be happy for the accomplishments of your friends. Remember your past accomplishments and how you felt then.

Don't let yourself get bored. Challenge yourself to learn something new or do something you have never done before. Go to a class. Get out and about.

Think about how the journey of a thousand steps begins with the first step. Break large tasks down into little tasks and celebrate each step. If it is depressing to have to clean the house, just do one room at a time and take breaks between each task.

Smile more!

Stop and smell the flowers and smile!
Stop and smell the flowers and smile! | Source

How about you?

Are you depressed?

  • Yes, all of the time
  • Yes, some of the time
  • No, never
  • I'm not sure
See results without voting

© 2012 Austinstar

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Comments - Give us your recipe for happines... 43 comments

Motown2Chitown 4 years ago

You know, I was recently in a mental health workshop and the person who said this described exactly how I was feeling in the midst of my depression (it was a psychologist speaking to the friends and family of depression sufferers):

"Try to imagine the worst day you've ever had - the absolute worst. Now try to imagine having that day EVERY day - and having no idea why. That's how someone who suffers from severe depression feels."

And, then the weight of not knowing why only adds to the depression in my opinion.

Thanks so much for this.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

Great hub about not only the reasons but also some ways to help out. I have been depressed for as long as I can remember. Dont' get me wrong, on the outside I seem like a genuinely happy person. But I have a tendency to wear a mask to hid it from others. I have been on antidepressants on and off, but I now refuse to take them after I overdosed and had to get my stomach pumped. That was not a fun experience. I cope with it by exercising. The funny thing is, I never knew how much it really helped until last week when I was told by the doctor I could not exercise (and I was on a bunch of medication to top it off!) Let's just say... I wasn't a pleasant person to be around. However, looking at some of the causes... I suffer from a large majority of them... stress - lack of sleep - indecision - internet addiction.

Great article!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Yep, that darn internet addiction! When I walk out of my computer room, Bob asks who I am and what am I doing in his house! LOL. Seriously, Stacy, if you can't exercise, try doing gently stretches in bed or in a chair. It does help.

Hi Mo! I could not imagine having the worst day of my life happen every single day! I was catatonic once and felt like I was in the bottom of a deep dark well. I could look up and see a glimmer of light, but I knew I could never reach it. I nearly died. This depressive episode was caused by blood pressure medication. Severe depression was a side effect. No Chit!

I'm doing ok now on a maintenance dose of Prozac. But I would prefer to not have depression. I want to exercise, but my body is in poor shape. Vicious circle.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Hey Lela - excellent hub! I have been depressed before - Through my divorce many years ago - it was horrible. It really gave me an understanding of how - when there's actually nothing physically wrong but life's a drag. I've suffered from bouts of transient insomnia - stress is a trigger for me. When I do not know what to do about something if I need to fix a problem for instance.

Like this neighbor deal is taking toll on me. I've definitely figured out a way to deal but it's no fun. I'd much rather NOT have to worry about how to deal with nasty people but I have no choice. I've been really absorbed with it too - but even yesterday the city was called because my trees are too low. I drove down the street and found 35 addresses in four minutes of trees that were much worse than mine. Ima make a complaint - keep our city busy!! Lol. I've had the "city people" here 5 times in four weeks. Each call was bogus. I've never been cited for anything, yet when I hear a knock on my door....I get worried already! Ugh!

Just come to St. Louis and I won't get depressed!!


weestro profile image

weestro 4 years ago from Virginia

Great hub on a very serious issue Austinstar. Very well written and informative.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Very interesting. A very serious topic and one that affects all of us, even if we never get depressed. It should give us an insight into the state of mind of those who do.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

Absolutely wonderful hub that deal with a very serious matter. Thank you for sharing.


eric-carter profile image

eric-carter 4 years ago from Fulham, UK

Amazing hub! Clicking UP and reading it again!


Motown2Chitown 4 years ago

Kel, make sure the new house is big enough for all of us! ;)


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

For years my father suffered from chronic depression. Then someone suggested himto go for faith healing. After just six months, he gave up pills. Now he is a happy man.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Hi Star.

It seems depression is the malady of the moment. Clinics have run out of pills to treat it in parts of the UK, and drug companies have been selling all their stock to more lucrative markets. The whole thing depresses the heck out of me!

Bob


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Hey Kelly, why don't you buy your neighbor's house! Then you can have a guest house for all of us to come and visit. Maybe even a home for Mick.

Vinaya - Faith healing does work for some people, but it's not for everyone.

Bob - I agree the whole thing depresses me too.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden

Depression is so common these days and the amount of people suffering from depression seems to increase every year. This ought to tell us something and it must mean that we focus on the wrong things in life. I have found exercise and to challenge myself now and then to be a great cure and other important things are good friends of course. But I know that my life can change tomorrow and we just never know who or when it will happen. Interesting hub and you made a great job listing both causes and tips to avoid depression,

Voted up, interesting, useful

Tina


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Thank you thougtforce. I have suffered from depression for over 40 years now, so it is really nothing new to me. Exercise works, but I am having trouble doing so right now. The best therapy for me has actually been HubPages!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

Austinstar, today I am just down. But I think I am just tired but I am having the physical symptoms of depression and mentally I want to just take a break from everything! I know tomorrow will be brighter though. Great hub, maybe I am experiencing the cyber thing or because "Gossip Girl" just ended on local TV...LOL


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Cardissa, A couple of big series are ending this year - Desperate Houswives and House. I'm depressed a little over that. But another series will come along. Never saw 'Gossip Girl'.

Hang in there, y'all


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

Austinstar, Gossip Girl isn't an adult program...lol...it's about a bunch of teenagers, could be why you haven't seen it but it's an American program. I was depressed when House and Monk ended here....haaaa (sigh).


Cathleena Beams profile image

Cathleena Beams 4 years ago from Lascassas, Tennessee

Very informative hub on a the signs and symptoms that identify depression. I am always ready for springtime to come and chase away the winter doldrums. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us on Hubpages.


DanaTeresa profile image

DanaTeresa 4 years ago from Ohio

This is a very informative hub.

I think these days with all of the commercials out there for depression meds, people are to quick to run to pills. You are right about periods of depression being a part of life. And we get through them. And we can cause them by the unhealthy things you pointed out. The best medicine is always just taking care of yourself and making helthy decisions.

And then there is clinical depression, a horrible thing to have. The day I realized I suffered from it was one day when I was feeling normal and it occurred to me that if normal people feel like this every day, no wonder they were getting so much done. And I noticed that my reactions to social invites was always no, new things were met with dread. Now I have a wonderful therapist and the things that help me the most are some of the things you point out to do! Great advice! Unfortunately I am on meds. Might be stuck with those :(

I am glad I read this. I always like a good reminder of how to fight those pesky clouds.


jeyaramd profile image

jeyaramd 4 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

Depression can range from mild to severe depression as there are manic individuals at the other end of the spectrum. These individuals are inappropriately joyful even in serious situtations. Depression is noticable when individuals feel worthless, helpless, hopeless and do not appreciate the small things in life. These are clinical signs of depression along with lack of sleep, weight gain and other physical traits. The important thing is to recognize these symptoms as they occur and start changing your attitude from the beginning.

Sometimes we are depressed due to the winter weather as well. So, try combatting depression by getting outside and being involved with nature and people. Do the things you like and take on more activities. It will help immensely. Isolation is the worst situation for depressed individuals.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Even mild depression hurts and is difficult to tolerate. The difference between mild and severe depression is like the difference between a slight headache and a migraine. It really physically hurts to be depressed. A lot of people don't realize this.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Wonderful hub on depression, Austinstar. I would hope that clear and informative articles such as yours, will help the millions of people who suffer from depression.

At the very least, it is so vital for individuals to be able to distinguish between...the reaction to events, people & situations......and "Clinical depression." I am grateful you pointed this out at the onset of your hub.

The more people educate themselves, the easier it is to know when to seek professional help. More importantly, to accept that a medication may be in order for any amount of relief.

UP+++


neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 4 years ago from new delhi

great hub on the contemporary worlds biggest problem.

i think the basic cause is our lack of connect with ourselves.we seek remedies like nicotine,internet,porn etc outside ourselves knowing fully well that they are going to drain us in the long run.If we connect to ourselves better by exercising, meditating,and generally avoiding draining situations and people we will never be depressed.

easier said than done of course.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

If we only could just say something and have it done. Wow, that would be like having everything we want, when we want it! That just won't do.

Working can make us depressed or it can improve depression. Everything is up to the individual. You can put on "happy pants" or "grumpy pants". Although people with depression don't seem to be able to put on any pants at all.

Funny world, isn't it?


heleineoman profile image

heleineoman 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California, USA

You have mentioned "we seem to feel depressed for no reason at all", how do you call that? I usually have that awkward feeling but I couldn't spot the reason why. It's just like that. A sad feeling.

This is a great lens!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Maybe it's just upset brain chemistry?


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

This is a very significant article, Lela, that could help many folks suffering from depression. It is a condition that research scientists are studying and you may be spot on with your comment about upset brain chemistry.


Motown2Chitown 4 years ago

Hi guys! I'm back. Regarding the whole brain chemistry thing, I tend to believe that for people who suffer actual and long term depression that is indeed the case. I'm bipolar, and there are studies being done for that illness that indicate a possibility that it may be more than just chemistry as well, but also a difference in the 'structure' of the brain - like perhaps our brains are not just chemically unbalanced, but they are unbalanced precisely because they are wired differently from others. Not a definitive answer certainly, but one I find very encouraging if indeed that is the case.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Hi drbj, since I am depressed for no reason at times, I figured it must be chemistry.

Sometimes I can start crying out of the blue (literally). As I age, it gets better, so hormones are probably in the mix too.

Our bodies are extremely complex, but I hope they do figure this malady out someday. It's terrible to be depressed.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Wouldn't that be so cool!! Oh man - but we would have to gut that house - the woman doesn't cook or clean. It's beyond gross - mice too. She says it's because of the field behind the house but I don't have 1 mouse! I have a cat! Lol lol

I am going to pretend for the moment - that you do live next door though!! Now that would make me HAPPY as a PIG in SH$&!!!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Ewwww! If you are happy as a pig in sh$$!!!, then I'll have to wear my hazmat suit!

There are cleaners that can come in and sterilize a house. They clean up dead bodies and stuff. I wonder if they would find one in your neighbor's house?


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Getting off of any intoxicating drug can throw someone into deep depression...that's not something to attempt in solitude.

Lack of exercise is another big one for me....strangely, I seem to be getting happier as I get older :)


Motown2Chitown 4 years ago

Good grief, Lela and Kelly! Let's hurry and hire the Sunshine Cleaners so we can get this road on the show!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Hi Wes, I am happier as I get older too. I'll probably be 125 before I am completely there though :-)

Mo, I can chip in about 5 bux for the cleaners. Maybe we should do a fund raiser?


Motown2Chitown 4 years ago

Oh, yeah, we're gonna have to - I only have around $4 bucks myself...lol


eatforcheaper profile image

eatforcheaper 4 years ago from London

Good article. Hard to stay positive 247. But it's definitely important to eat well and stay as healthy as possible! Thanks!


Michael Salas profile image

Michael Salas 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

This is some good information about depression. Thank you for listing this out and writing about it in a way that is helpful to others.


Cow Flipper profile image

Cow Flipper 4 years ago from Southern Oregon

It's a recession people, not a depression and we are on the way out of it okay! Sheesh! No reason to get all sad and stuff and start talking about doing crazy things just because you feel your life is a huge pile of stinking fly infested dog feces.

Oh yeah and your test is broken! I am not severely depressed. I am totally happy in my self created misery. So... yeah there.

No but seriously well written article. We all really do go through many of the things listed and they do cause us to get down on life. My theory is to wait it out. A storm may batter you but if you can weather it the Sun will shine again. :) Good One voted up.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

I thought the quiz was broken. I don't think I formatted it properly. I am removing it today.

I guess I must be severely "recessed" then.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States

This is an excellent hub. Great information. You did an outstanding job on this one!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Clinical Depression is so real, and it's true what someone said--imagine feeling that way every day and not knowing why. I wrote a hub to try to get people to understand clinical depression. It's not a matter of "snapping out of it"! Thanks for writing this. I wish I could exercise like barbergirl does to feel better, but that takes getting out of the depression to do it. Lol. Plus, I hate exercise. Great hub. Very helpful.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Exercise does help, but exercise can be depressing in itself to people who hate to exercise. Then it's a vicious cycle. The trick is to find a game or active hobby rather than some kind of rigorous structured plan you have no interest in. Got to make it FUN! Then it makes you happier too.


nanderson500 profile image

nanderson500 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

Great hub! I think you've done a solid job on clinical depression here. Very interesting. Voted up!

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