While our society puts a focus on being happy, often we are not. Sadness is a normal part of being human and is a normal and healthy emotion. Depression is different. Depression occurs when the cause of sadness has passed yet the feelings remain. For some people, depression is just there and does not need a specific cause. Counselling and therapy can help many people feel better and take control of their depression.
Some people are always sad and can be like this from an early age. Others have traumatic experiences that leave a lasting imprint on them. Depression can be viewed as our thoughts and feelings about events that took place in the past and is caused by how we remember these events. Some people lose a loved one and can never get them out of their thoughts, leading to depression. Others experience abuse, whether once or over a period of time, that has led to their depression. There are also people who are predisposed to depression and can feel this way without a specific cause.
Symptoms of depression can include fatigue, reduced or increased appetite, excessive sleeping, substance abuse, and the avoidance of social situations. Many teenagers who experience depression will also suffer from anxiety and other mental health concerns. In my experience, depression can be more difficult to treat than anxiety because it is often based on something that did happen rather than the fear of what might happen.
The good news is that while some people may have depression for their entire lives, often it can be controlled with therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness, two approaches that are at the core of my practice, have been shown to have a high rate of success when treating depression.