There are many people out there that simply don’t understand what it’s like to be depressed. Being depressed or having depression is one of those things in life that you wouldn’t want to wish upon anyone. Until you’ve experienced it for yourself, you can never truly give an accurate opinion on the subject.
If you’re depressed, you’re probably wondering how you’ve ever reached that state.
You feel sad and lonely. You cry yourself to sleep and wake up feeling worse. You’ve lost your appetite and can’t concentrate. Your friends don’t understand why you’re so down. You’ve even thought about suicide.
If this describes how you feel, you may be wondering, “Why do I feel so depressed?”
The answer is complicated. To understand depression or the depressed feelings you’re experiencing, it helps to know what happens in the brain of someone who has depression and how depression is diagnosed.
Being Depressed And How To Recognize It
Do you feel like you have lost all control over your life? Like you can’t do anything right anymore? Do you feel like a failure?
If you have been experiencing these feelings for longer than two weeks, and they are occurring almost every day, you may be depressed. Depression is a common and serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.
We are all susceptible to depression. If you think you have depression, seek out the help of a professional and educate yourself as much as possible. You are not weak or crazy — you have an illness that can be treated. Not everyone will understand what it is like to live with depression, but many people do and will support you.
Depression is an illness that more than 16 million people in the U.S. experience each year. It’s a real medical condition that interferes with your daily life and normal functioning. Depression can make simple tasks seem impossible and can rob you of your energy, optimism, and focus for living life to the fullest
Depression is more than just feeling “blue” for a few days during a tough time in your life. When these constant depressed feelings don’t go away, get worse or happen for no apparent reason and interfere with your ability to carry out everyday activities like sleeping, eating, or working
To recognize if you’re depressed or not, consider the following symptoms:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
What Factors Can Cause One To Be Depressed?
Becoming depressed can result from a tremendous number of different factors. Psychological researchers have found that human beings tend to be happier in cultures where the disparity between the rich and poor is smallest. If you live in a society where there’s a lot of inequality, your chances of being depressed are higher.
Income inequality is not the only kind of inequality that can make us feel sad or depressed, but it’s certainly one of them. There are good reasons to think that seeing someone else’s wealth can make you feel worse about yourself.
Take, for example, a study published recently by researchers at Stanford University and the University of Toronto. They asked people to list their current salary, then identify what they thought would be a “satisfying” salary — an income level they would find fulfilling.
Then they asked participants to guess how much their co-workers were earning (the researchers had already found out their actual salaries). The more participants underestimated their co-workers’ incomes, the less happy they reported themselves to be.
The exact cause of depression is not known, but it is likely to be a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. You cannot develop depression from someone else’s thoughts or feelings.
If you have a family history of depression or bipolar disorder, you may be more likely to experience depression. But not everyone with a family history of depression will experience depression themselves.
Changes in the levels of particular chemicals in your brain can affect your mood. It has been suggested that people who have low levels of the chemical serotonin in their brain are more at risk of developing depression.
People who are depressed often have low levels of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for helping us to cope with stress and anxiety. Cortisol also affects the immune system and is used by the body to break down fat and sugar stores into energy.
- Environmental factors can contribute to an increased risk of developing depression:
- Stressful events, such as a relationship breakdown or bereavement
- Moving home
- Having another physical health condition
- Having another mental health condition, such as anxiety or an eating disorder
- Alcoholism; and being exposed to violence or abuse
Depression is a psychological condition that changes how you think, feel, and function in daily life. It affects your mood, thoughts, and behavior in a negative way.
Depression affects about 10% of Americans over the age of 18. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men. However, this may be due in part because women are more likely to seek treatment.
In some cases, depression symptoms are so severe that it’s obvious something isn’t right. Other people feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.
Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw. You can’t simply “snap out” of depression. Most people need to become proactive and tackle it in its tracks in order to feel better.
How To Overcome Feeling Depressed?
There are many different types of depression, and it’s important to see a doctor or mental health professional if you are feeling depressed. But there are healthy coping strategies you can use to help you feel better.
Give Yourself A Break
Don’t expect to be “up” all the time. Give yourself permission to feel down sometimes, but don’t let those feelings linger.
Be Active And Exercise
Physical activity is one of the best ways to improve your mood. Even 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as walking, on most days can help ease depression. Try these simple steps for getting started: Plan ahead.
Take time to prepare for your exercise program by setting goals and making an exercise schedule that fits into your life. Start slow and build up gradually to avoid injury and burnout. Include the whole family in your exercise plan if possible.
Regular exercise may be as effective at relieving symptoms of depression as antidepressant medications are. Exercise releases endorphins that boost mood and reduce stress hormones. It also improves sleep quality which helps regulate mood. It also boosts self-esteem by giving you a sense of accomplishment.
Set Realistic Expectations
You’ll want to focus on how you feel, not how you look. Reaching a healthy weight may take time, so concentrate on how much better you feel as you become more fit rather than obsessing over the numbers on the scale or tape measure.
Eat Healthy Foods
Foods that are high in fiber and protein but low in simple sugars and saturated fats have been shown to boost mood, fight fatigue, and improve memory. You don’t need to give up all the tasty foods you love — just eat them in moderation and look for
If you’re feeling depressed and can’t seem to find relief from it, consider reaching out to Exerpy. Exerpy is a company that focuses on the mental health benefits of exercise for people going through these periods of life.
With so many mental health benefits, exercise is one of the top first courses of action you should think about for finding relief from a depressed mental state. Exerpy offers a free trial, so you don’t even have to dig into your wallet to start your journey towards feeling better.