One of the most misunderstood things about depression is what causes it. There are those who believe that there must be a reason to be depressed, and this is not the case. It is never that simple, and there doesnt have to be an apparent reason for depression to occur at all.
Another thing that many people dont realize is that short periods of feeling down or blue are normal. It is when those feelings are prolonged and start interfering in ones life that it becomes serious, and requires treatment.
These days, most people do recognize the symptoms of depression. They include loss of interest in daily activities, changes in appetite or weight, changes in sleep patterns, feelings of helplessness, feelings of hopelessness, loss of energy, self loathing, trouble concentrating, irritability, and aches and pains. It is important to note that not all people who suffer from depression will suffer all of these symptoms, and the degree to which these symptoms are suffered varies from one person to the next.
There may be a life event that actually causes the depression. This could include the loss of a job, the loss of a spouse through death or divorce, a change in seasons (known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD), postpartum depression (after the birth of a baby), or any other number of life events.
But then, there is the depression that has no apparent cause. When this occurs, the culprit is usually a change in body chemistry, or chemicals produced and/or released by the brain. This is often very serious, simply because nobody expects the depression including the person who is suffering from it. For example, if a loved one dies, you, your friends, and family members would reasonably expect a period of depression. But if nothing like this has occurred, it is simply unexpected, and often goes unnoticed for a long period of time.
You might assume since there is no reason for depression that what you are suffering is not depression, and therefore, you may fail to seek treatment. If you are suffering from any of the signs of depression, you should have a medical checkup. If nothing is discovered during that checkup, your next line of defense against depression should be to seek counseling.
Online counseling for depression is a good place to start. A good online therapist will be able to help you discover whether there is a life event that could have brought on the depression, or if in-person care is required to determine whether or not medication may help put the body chemistry back into balance.
The worst thing that one can do when any sign of depression is present is fail to seek help. Depression that is left untreated has many consequences, including not living life to the fullest and potential suicide.