Depression is a mysterious beast. Sure, we all have our bad days. Your car broke down, you had a fight with your bestie, that hottie you hooked up with is all blue ticks but no response… Crawling into bed fully clothed with a tub of ice cream and a sad movie is not only allowed but encouraged. But what about when your usually-rosy outlook has turned blue for no apparent reason? Things with your bae are good, your squad is tight, Mercury isn’t even in retrograde, dammit. Here’s what could be bumming you out…
1. Not getting your Z’s
If your brain feels like it isn’t properly functioning after a restless night, that’s because it isn’t. Studies have shown that we are more likely to experience emotional or overly sensitive reactions to stressful situations when we’re sleep-deprived, most likely because it impairs the functioning of the part of the brain responsible for regulating emotions.
‘But wait, a cigarette is the only thing that makes me feel better after a bad day!’ This may be true but it’s because nicotine has a direct effect on your brain’s neurotransmitters. The downside is that when you don’t get your fix you’re not getting that serotonin and dopamine boost either, which is why trying to kick the habit is so hard.
3. You’re living for ‘likes’
Studies on users of social media have found that the more time they spend online, the more likely they are to be depressed. In fact, regular users of social media are 2.7 times more likely to show signs of depression than their less-interested counterparts. The important thing is to ask yourself some candid questions: Am I feeling depressed and filling a void in my life with hashtags and likes, or am I feeling depressed because my life doesn’t measure up to the idealised or distorted representations of my friends’ lives?
4. The Pill
Most women get so worried about gaining weight or losing their libidos on the Pill that they forget one other possible and potentially more serious side effect – depression. The synthetic progesterone in the Pill can lead to mood alterations in some users, especially those with a history of depression. If you think your birth control could be getting you down, speak to your doctor about an alternative.
5. You’re up to date with current affairs
Science has confirmed what we’ve known to be true all along – the news is a buzzkill! The news stories we regularly consume are barely rays of sunshine. Some studies have even suggested that bad news stories outweigh the good ones by 17 to one, so it’s no surprise that keeping up to speed with what’s going on in the world can be a catalyst for depression. Of course, this is no reason not to stay woke – just make sure you’re getting a healthy dose of good vibes in there too by tweaking your media consumption.