The symptoms of depression can vary drastically from minor feelings of sadness,irritability, sleep difficulties, avoidance of others, anxiety attacks, crying uncontrollably, or phobias. A combination of such symptoms can result in a severe incapacitating disability.
Depression can be inherited through our genes and be part of our temperament type. If we are a deep thinking, deep feeling, artistic, perfectionist, we will most likely struggle with depression.
Depression can be a learned way of responding to stress. If we were raised in an environment where one of our parents reacted to disappointment and stresses by means of depression it is most likely that either we or one of our siblings will develop this way of responding to anxiety.
Poor diet contributes to depression. People who consume large amounts of sugar or caffeine may find themselves craving more, or depressed when the sugar or caffeine high wears off. Lack of exercise and insufficient sleep also feed depression.
If a person struggles with low self-esteem or poor self-image, he or she will undoubtedly battle depression. If our self acceptance is based on what others think or say about us, we will live with daily anxiety and despair.
If we carry damaged emotions from childhood trauma, we will respond to adult situations through the emotions of the wounded child within us. We will find relatively mild circumstances to be overwhelming, resulting in hopelessness and depression. False guilt often accompanies such after affects of childhood trauma. Adult survivors of childhood abuse and neglect often carry around false responsibility for what happened to them. They feel guilty for not preventing it, for not being lovable enough to prevent it from happening in the first place. False guilt leads to a feeling of helplessness and depression.
When we have not dealt with, or taken the time to heal past wounds, we will be susceptible to feeling-flashbacks. Present experiences tap into an immense reservoir of past emotion resulting in excessive emotional responses. This occurs when the pain of past wounds travel forward and connect to present situations. When more emotion is expressed than what the situation calls for, we are experiencing a feeling-flashback.
Loss is a major contributor to depression; in fact depression is recognized as one of the phases of grief. If we do not allow ourselves the privilege of grieving our losses as we experience them, eventually, the combination of such losses will merge into one major loss. The resulting severe depression will debilitate the sufferer and may produce a need to grieve each of the past losses individually.