6 Unexpected Reasons You May Feel Depressed

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

6 Unexpected Reasons You May Feel Depressed

Depression is can be especially difficult to cope with when you do not understand the reason why you are depressed. Many things can trigger depression, and understanding what caused the depressed mood is the first step in learning how to cope and feel better.

There are several factors and conditions that can cause depression. Some major contributing factors to a depressed mood include:

1. Seasonal Affective Disorder

If you find yourself feeling depressed, irritable or anxious during the colder months, but do not experience these feelings significantly during the rest of the year, then you are likely suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder is a disorder in which a person experiences a depressed mood during the colder, darker seasons of the year. Seasonal affective disorder can be due to a number of issues, including:

  • Less exposure to sunlight and daylight
  • Living a more sedentary lifestyle than in the warmer months
  • Less social interaction with friends and family

Some things you can do to cope with symptoms include:

  • Speak with a therapist or mental health professional
  • Stay active and exercise regularly
  • Take supplements of vitamin-D to compensate with the lack of sunlight
  • Keep in touch with friends and family.

2. Work Stress

Work stress is a major contributing factor to a depressed mood. Each of these factors indicate that you may be suffering from work stress:

  • Waking up exhausted
  • Being too tired to do anything besides rest after work
  • Losing sleep worrying about work
  • Feeling less interested in socializing and spending time with loved ones
  • Forgetting or neglecting to eat to be able to work
  • Feeling anxious when taking a break from work
  • Avoiding tasks that cause you to feel anxious
  • Have difficulty concentrating
  • Cannot find time to engage in activities you enjoy

Each of these signs are detrimental to your mental health health and put you at high risk for depression.

To manage work stress, it is important to establish a work-life balance. Set boundaries at work, like arriving and leaving work at the same time each day and taking a full lunch break, and making sure that you consider what you need for yourself are all effective in managing work stress. It is also helpful to practice mindfulness and meditative exercises, and to be realistic and logical about what you choose to worry about.

3. Earning a Living on Commission or Tips

People who work on commission and tips experience a type of stress that is different than other careers. The work can become tedious. When there is a high need to make sales it can become a challenge to feel secure about what the future may hold for you. Sometimes it can be disheartening to fall into a slump with work, and stress, anxiety, uncertainty about the future and the challenge of working for other people can cause a depressed mood. It can also be a challenge to balance work and home life when there is a need to work outside of regular 9 to 5 hours.

4. Having a Poor Diet

Just like physical health, your mental health can be affected by a poor diet. Foods that are high in fats and processed sugars can cause hormonal imbalances in the brain that trigger symptoms of depression. A failure to consume the proper vitamins and nutrients for a healthy brain also contributes to a depressed mood.

Research supports that limiting foods that are high in processed fat and sugar will help boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression. It is also beneficial to stay away from coffee and caffeine. Instead, eat a diet high in:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans and legumes
  • White meats like turkey and chicken
  • Fish

Evidence supports that eating a small piece of dark chocolate a day can also help boost mood and combat depression.

5. Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a condition in which a mother feels depressed after having a child. Postpartum depression typically affects new mothers, but can also affect mothers of more than one child.

A mother may suffer from postpartum depression for a number of reasons, including:

  • Poor ability to cope with stress and emotions of having a newborn
  • A history of mental illness
  • Poor or unreliable support system
  • Poor education and expectations about pregnancy and motherhood
  • Family history of postpartum depression

A mother who experiences postpartum once is at higher risk of suffering from it again, so it is important to seek immediate mental health care if you are experiencing a depressed mood after having a baby.

6. Clinical Depression

Clinical depression is much more than feeling low, down, sad or blue for a few days. Clinical depression is a chronic condition in which a person feels significantly depressed. Clinical depression causes oppressive symptoms that are mentally, physically and emotionally draining.

Clinical depression is a chronic condition, meaning it can affect a person for months or even years, even with proper treatment. Some examples of symptoms for clinical depression include:

  • Insomnia and sleep issues
  • Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Binge eating
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideation
  • Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and despair
  • Poor hygiene
  • Isolation and withdrawal from family and friends.

If you feel you may be clinically depressed, it is important to speak to a mental health professional, who will be able to provide proper treatment.


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