You can usually spot the signs of depression even if someone’s trying to hide the fact that they’re suffering from it. Irritability, sleep problems, chronic fatigue, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, withdrawal – and, sadly enough, the list just keeps going on and on.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who struggle with depression, there’s a good chance you know some of those signs all too well. You might be asking yourself, “Is this feeling of being helpless and trapped going to last forever? Will I ever get better?”
But there’s a different question you should be asking, one you may not have considered before: “What exactly is triggering this depression in my life?”
Until you figure out what your depression triggers are, you won’t be very well prepared to heal. Here are three reasons why that’s the case:
- Identifying your triggers lets you understand your depression for what it truly is
As many as half of all Americans who struggle with depression never actually seek professional help and, unfortunately, depression itself is often the reason for that. Depression makes people feel powerless to change anything. Obviously, this starts a vicious cycle and can lead to further problems and complications down the road.
But you can’t heal from something you can’t diagnose, and that’s why it’s important to do everything you can to identify the things that lead to depression in your life. By doing so, you’ll be taking a crucial step in the healing process.
Depression triggers differ from person to person, but here are some examples:
- Traumatic experiences, whether from early childhood or later in life
- Financial problems
- Loss of job
- Trouble with your relationship, separation, divorce, etc.
- Alcohol or drug abuse
Writing for Psychology Today, Alex Lickerman notes that the very belief that you’re powerless itself can be a trigger for depression. Regardless of whether or not you know your depression triggers, that unhealthy belief can drag you down too. All the more reason to seek help from others!
A psychotherapist can help you pinpoint your triggers and escape the confusion and feelings of powerlessness that often results from being depressed, but not knowing why you’re depressed. Knowledge is power – so use it to your advantage.
- With that knowledge, you can begin taking deliberate steps to avoid depression
Depression is a problem that requires solutions and a solid plan to make those solutions happen. Once you know what triggers your depression, you can work with your friends, family, and therapist to find ways to stop those triggers in their tracks, so to speak. If you can keep depression from happening in the first place, you’ll be well on your way to winning the battle against it.
Here are some examples of approaches that can help solve the problem of depression:
- Set realistic goals and follow your progress toward them
- Identify best practices for coping when you do experience depression
- Kill any bad habits that exacerbate depression
- Track your moods every day (there’s gotta be an app for that, right?)
- Process past trauma by talking through it with people you trust
- Establish routines designed to give your life stability and structure
- Finally, understanding your triggers gives you the power to avoid relapses
Relapses happen, but they don’t always have to. If you think a relapse is coming and you understand what triggers your depression, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to keep that relapse from turning into a full-blown episode. You might even be able to avoid it entirely.
Knowledge really is power when it comes to treating depression. Ultimately, understanding your depression triggers can help you escape from the debilitating disease that is depression and get back into a regular, healthy life.
And once you’re back in business, you can help others heal from their depression, too!
For more tips on how to heal your depression, click here to visit my specialty page on depression.