Saturday, August 8, 2009

Working on Why

I'm poking around DepressionIsReal, and found this list of factors that usually contribute to depression. It helps me clarify why my diagnosis in particular is so hard for me to accept

Many things can contribute to clinical depression. For some people, a number of factors seem to be involved, while for others a single factor can cause the illness. Oftentimes, people become depressed for no apparent reason.

  1. Biological - People with depression typically have too little or too much of certain brain chemicals, called "neurotransmitters." Changes in these brain chemicals may cause or contribute to clinical depression.

  2. Cognitive - People with negative thinking patterns and low self-esteem are more likely to develop clinical depression.

  3. Gender - Women experience clinical depression at a rate that is nearly twice that of men. While the reasons for this are still unclear, they may include the hormonal changes women go through during menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Other reasons may include the stress caused by the multiple responsibilities that women have.

  4. Co-occurrence - Clinical depression is more likely to occur along with certain illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and hormonal disorders.

  5. Medications - Side effects of some medications can bring about depression.

  6. Genetic - A family history of clinical depression increases the risk for developing the illness.

  7. Situational - Difficult life events, including divorce, financial problems or the death of a loved one can contribute to clinical depression. (numbering system mine)

Reasons 1, 2, and 6 are the ones I was familiar with before now. Those reasons don't seem to have caused my depression. In my simplistic logic, this meant I could not be really depressed, just, you know, sort of depressed. For a little while. But it would go away quickly.

Looking through the list, the two definable factors that apply to me are being a woman and living in a difficult situation. The best assessment I can come up with to describe how I wound up in such rough shape is a particular, tragic confluence of a difficult situation at church, social isolation (of having recently moved), and my tendency to try too hard for too long to handle hard things on my own. I can't decide if it would be better for me to stop trying so hard to figure out the why of this.

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Thanks for using this space to share your encouraging words.