There are times when depression can have a clear cause–you may be experiencing stress at home or at work or you may have just suffered a loss. However, there are other times when depression seemingly comes out of the blue. Life may not be going particularly badly, but you still feel sad and unmotivated. There are lots of possible reasons for this. Here are just a few causes that could be worth considering if you’re feeling down and aren’t sure why.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a disorder that many people get in the winter months. It’s common in areas of the world where there are much shorter daylight hours and therefore less sunlight – this results in a deficiency of vitamin D which is important for our mood. SAD is also thought to be an evolutionary throwback to when we cavemen – winter was a period of harsh survival in which food was hard to salvage and in which shelter from the cold was hard to come by. Light therapy and medication are two popular treatments for those that suffer from this condition.
Hormone levels also play a big part in our overall mood. A hormone imbalance can occur at any time and can leave many of us feeling strangely depressed – we may lose interest in hobbies and goals, lose out libido and feel generally dejected with life. There are treatments available for this issue including natural hormone replacement. This is something worth getting diagnosed by a doctor.
If you’ve long been prone to massive mood swings, you could be suffering from bipolar disorder. Like all mental health problems, bipolar disorder can vary in severity, so whilst some people know that they have it early, others don’t realise they have it until they’re much older. There’s a lot of support out there nowadays for bipolar disorder – trying counselling, joining support groups and exercising can all help. Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed for bipolar disorder, although they do not always work.
Lifestyle factors such as poor sleep quality, a poor diet or a lack of exercise can all make us feel lethargic and unmotivated. Consider whether you can make any improvements to these areas of life. Engaging more in reality is also important – if you spend a lot of time online, watch lots of TV or regularly drugs you could be making yourself depressed by separating yourself from the world around you. Socializing with people in real life and soaking up more physical experiences could help you to feel whole again.
This is probably the least constructive answer, but sometimes there really is no reason. This is more of a case for people who have suffered depression before – once you’ve had those feelings is easy for them to resurface at any time even if you’re not going through a particularly bad time. Keeping yourself busy and surrounding yourself with good company may be enough to shake you out of these random depressive episodes.