Many people suffer from depression at one point in their life. It is inevitable, the feeling of hopelessness, sorrow, or being alone. These are all common emotions associated with depression. For a select few, depression can be hard to overcome, and this is where depression becomes a disorder that requires active treatment. Those 'selected few' account for over 100 million people worldwide and result in 75% of all psychiatric hospitalizations (Gotlib & Hammen, 1992).

Yet the question remains, why did these people become depressed? How did they become depressed? One of the answers that lead to the cause of depression would be a person's interpersonal relationship with their surroundings and the people around them. There are many interpersonal instances that can have the ability to lead to the onset of depression, such as the family environment, the socialization setting, and the discrimination against gender in certain cultures and instances.

Depression is one of the most prevalent psychological disorders. Depression can be caused by several factors, including interpersonal relationships. Interpersonal relationships are the relationship between individuals and the reactions and emotions of each individual expressed directly and discreetly to each other. Common interpersonal relationships include (a) within the family, such as between the parents and between parents and children; (b) the social environment where differences in ethnicity and social class come into play; and (c) interactions between genders across age groups for both females and males.

From "Social Causes of Depression", Gregory S. Beattie, Rochester Institute of Technology

Quick Tips For Taking Action Against The "Blues"

  1. Take a Hike: It’s well established that exercise lifts the spirits. Scientists tell us that 20 minutes of brisk walking or other aerobic activity actually alters brain chemistry, releasing special chemicals called endorphins into our system that give us a lift. Remember that one definition of depression is "immobilization." It only makes sense that one way to cure it is to "get moving."
  2. Ask Yourself This: "What would I be doing right now if I were not feeling depressed?" Picture this activity in your mind, then do it. Suppose your answer was, "I’d probably be with people." Then go somewhere others are. You may argue, "But when I’m depressed, I don’t feel like doing anything!" True enough. But this inactivity becomes a dangerous cycle. Force yourself to do something, anything.
  3. Get Mad: One of the most common causes of depression is resentment turned inside. Next time you’re down in the dumps, try to feel the grumpiness you feel inside. If you’re really honest with yourself, you’ll find that you’re angry with some situation or person. You may feel trapped, unfairly treated or stuck in a relationship which is beyond your control. Try to "put a face" on your anger. Picture the person whom you feel has hurt you. Allow yourself to feel the anger you have been trying to deny.
    The next step is to express this anger in a way that won’t do harm to yourself or to others. Consider writing a "mad letter" to this person. Really let go on paper. A few days later, re-read your mad letter. You may want to tone it down a bit, then send it. You might set up a time to talk to the person directly. If the person is not available or is no longer living, you can still picture that person sitting across from you while you say what’s on your mind. Even if you never send the letter or directly tell the other person, the very process of putting it in writing helps.
  4. Watch What You Put In Your Mouth: When we’re sad, it’s hard to resist medicating ourselves with food, alcohol or other drugs. Unfortunately, the high (whether from cake or alcohol) is temporary and leaves us feeling lower than when we started. Remember that "it’s not really what you eat, it’s what’s eating you." Don’t medicate, communicate.

New Study Links Depression
and Brain Thining
March 24, 2009

Scientists who have been following families with a history of depression have found structural differences in family members’ brains — specifically, a significant thinning of the right cortex, the brain’s outermost surface. The thinning may be a trait or a marker of vulnerability to depression, the researchers suggested.

“That’s what is so extraordinary. You’re seeing it two generations later, and you’re seeing it in both children and adults,” said Dr. Bradley S. Peterson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and the paper’s first author. “And it’s present even if those offspring themselves have not yet become ill.” While people may assume that a familial trait is genetic, that is not necessarily the case, Dr. Peterson added. “We don’t know if this has a genetic origin or if it’s a consequence of growing up with parents or grandparents who are ill. Studies have shown that when parents are depressed, it changes the environment in which children are growing up.”

To read the article click here

One person speaks of his loss and depression:

I realize[d] that avoidance isn’t a cure. Maybe avoidance buys you time so the heart can heal faster. Maybe avoidance is the fast forward button in life. But is it? Will the heart heal if you avoid? Or will it just hit you one day when the feeling of loss becomes real again? Maybe a different type of loss? A death? A move away?

I’ve heard from several people that a divorce is like a death. A death of us. A death of the future. Is it also a rebirth of individuality? Of me? Someone made a great comment to my [blog post] when he said “Studies show that divorce exacts a greater and longer-lasting emotional and physical toll than virtually any other life stress, including widowhood.” If this is a death, how do you move on? How do you keep a friendship when it is a death of us? Can the relationship and friendship be separated, and do you think of the death of the relationship, but not the friendship?

Life is confusing. I don’t know what the next few weeks will bring, but despite these low moments of pain, I feel like there are good moments ahead. I look forward to each. I leave you with two quotes. For me, they help me get through the day. “We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” --Kenji Miyazawa. And “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”--Kahlil Gibran

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