It’s officially a new year. It should be an exciting time as people start checking off their New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions are meant to motivate people to make positive changes in their lives.
But, with the past year being so stressful and negatively impacting the lives of thousands, and with no promise that it will get any better this year, it might end up having the opposite effect on many. While some are still finding that new year motivation, others are becoming unmotivated and depressed. In fact, it’s no secret that mental health has declined over the past few months, largely due to COVID-19 and social distancing. A constant onslaught of bad news is partly to blame for this, as well.
Depression can be caused by many different things. Sometimes it’s not caused by anything at all. In the case of 2020, it could possibly be attributed to the environmental factors mentioned above. Specific causes of situational depression can include events like losing a loved one, losing a job, financial problems or divorce (Mental Health America).
Other causes of situational depression can include illness, problems at school and relational issues. While the cause of this depression is different than its seasonal and clinical counterparts, the symptoms are almost identical to each other.
Symptoms include sadness, hopelessness, constantly feeling stressed and anxious, difficulty sleeping, feeling overwhelmed and lack of interest in personal care, neglecting work and personal matters and suicidal thoughts (Healthline).
So, what is a person supposed to do if this depression has taken over their life?
Well, the obvious solution is to remove yourself from that situation. But, actually this could end up being counterproductive as it doesn’t address the core issue.
Even if a person is able to change or remove themselves from the circumstance, the chance of developing situational depression again is high. The reason for this is that individuals who develop this in the first place, are already at a higher risk due to earlier factors in their lives.
These factors can encompass going through extended periods of high-stress that makes the brain less able to deal with it again in the future. Also, having an existing mental health condition can contribute as well. Biological factors shouldn’t be excluded either, as it can increase the likelihood of any type of depression.
Medications can temporarily help to alleviate some of the worst symptoms, but the best type of treatment for this subtype of depression is therapy geared toward learning coping mechanisms to help deal with challenges.
Experiencing tough conditions will happen to all of us. It’s almost an inevitable part of life. People can have totally different reactions to the same set of challenges. The past year was a testament to that.
While we can’t always control how our brain reacts, learning how to deal with that stress is a choice. As you start off the year, choose to make changes that will get you through the stress and difficulties.