Posted by: jedwardswright | November 9, 2011

You Have Nothing to be Depressed About

Let’s say that your life is going pretty smoothly.

You have a good job that pays reasonably well. Your spouse is an understanding, pleasant person. Your kids are healthy and doing well in school. You have a nice house, your car doesn’t need repairs and there are no bill collectors on the phone demanding to know when you will pay up.

Everything is rosy. Your friend however, the one with the leaky roof and marriage problems and car payments and the kid doing drugs, can’t figure it out. What do you have to be depressed about?

It’s a good question – so now you feel depressed and guilty. Why is it that you can’t simply pull up your socks and enjoy all the great things that you have going on?

Let’s be clear. Depression falls into two categories.

There is depression that is situational or circumstantial. This is what happens when you receive a devastating blow: someone you love dearly dies, you lose your job or your health takes a turn for the worst. Understandably you experience serious sadness when something disastrous happens. Alternatively, maybe there are a lot of obstacles and hardships you are facing, and you feel totally overwhelmed and anxious. This could be another cause of situational depression.

People understand this kind of depression. They bring casseroles or give you leads or send cards. They tell you that they are so sorry, they pass on leads for new employment and they wish you better times soon. Sometimes this first type of depression may even lead to the second kind.

The second category of depression is not caused by tough experiences or reverses in your circumstances, although at times it may accompany such situations. This kind of depression doesn’t really care whether your life is peachy or in the dumpster, because it is caused by brain chemicals that are out of whack. We generally realize that our blood pressure or blood sugar can get out of balance, so we get medical treatment for these conditions and hopefully change our lifestyles accordingly as well. We are not as aware that the neurotransmitters in our brains can sometimes be out of balance as well.

Neurotransmitters are designed to send messages to the rest of the body. One kind of message that they send or “transmit” is the type that regulates our moods and emotions. Serotonin is the best known of this type of brain chemical. If there is too much or too little of these neurotransmitters on the job, our moods are no longer properly balanced, and we may feel incredibly down or depressed.

This is a physical condition, and it requires professional treatment. It is not your fault that you can’t seem to wake up in the morning or that you are dragging your butt all day. There is a reason why you don’t feel up to playing with the kids anymore or want to sit in a dark room and cry. Your body is telling you that something is wrong.

The good news is that there is treatment, and most people with depression respond positively to it. Start by talking to your primary care physician about how you are feeling. Don’t be embarrassed, because most doctors have heard it all before a thousand times…and because, remember, it is not anything within your control.

The less you have in your life to be depressed about, the more likely it is that your depression has a physical cause. As for your friend with all the problems, you can explain to him or her that in fact, you are suffering from a health condition, and you hope to feel better soon.

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