What is at the root of depression and anxiety? Are there multiple causes (I think so) and if so, are there factors that weigh more heavily than others?
I believe genetics plays a roll because of my family history. The way we live socially, does too. Could lack of sleep be a factor? How about nutrition? I’m positive that having a really shitty upbringing forms how we see the world. Finally, traumatic events are proven to cause PTSD and the resulting depressive/anxious symptoms.
I’m not a trained psychiatrist or psychologist so all of the following is intuition, learned from life, and from personal experience.
Genetics: Thank you Mom and Grandpa. I saw with my own eyes what depression and anxiety did to my mother. I heard about it second hand with my grandad. I don’t see why a faulty operating system couldn’t be passed down from one generation to another.
Our social lives: We used to live in groups, closely interacting with each other. Celebrations were held in groups, hunting, weddings, funerals. Sure, we still get together for some of these things but it’s usually a major stressor and has become a part of the fun we make of ourselves – you know – having the extended family for Christmas.
That just reminded me of a Thanksgiving poem I wrote for my off-the-grid blog. Here goes:
Turkey Day is on it’s way
My Mom is acting funny
She’s on the phone I heard her groan
While talking to Aunt Bunny
My cousins (there are six in all)
Are coming with Aunt Mazy
She’s bringing green bean salad
I heard Mom say that she’s lazy
For Uncle Fred it’s garlic bread
Enough to feed his four
My Mom’s now pacing, muttering
’bout locking the front door
Plasticwear and folding chairs
Cheap cups, spoons, forks and knives
Mom says no one does their share
The husbands or the wives
Grandma Grandpa on their way
I think it’s time we pray
Clean the couch now Dad’s a grouch
He says his hair’s gone grey
Uncle Ted and Aunty Jill
Are bringing their eight too
They have a dog, spike the eggnog
Tell Mom when she comes-to
Scour the basement and garage
We’ll put all the boys there
We need more room break out the broom
It’s time we said a prayer
God help us all – it’s Uncle Paul
We’ll put him in the attic
No sudden moves speak quietly
He’s prone to being erratic
As for my Mom
Let’s keep her calm
She’s on the verge of tears
Now dinner’s done
This battle’s won
Let’s give her three big cheers
You get the idea. Now back on track.
Now we live compartmentalized lives outside of larger social groups. I believe isolation causes depression. I’m the poster child for that.
Lack of sleep: I have sleep apnea. I can’t always use my CPAP machine. I almost never get a good night’s sleep and I feel it when I don’t which means often. I’m an emotional wreck when I’m sleep deprived.
Nutrition: We eat shit nowadays compared to what we used to. Sure, our quality of life is much better in a lot of ways but food is so processed we’re losing things like magnesium and other important vitamins and minerals that regulate the function of the brain. Antibiotics can mess up the ecosystem of the stomach where I understand a lot of the good stuff for the brain is created. Supplements and probiotics can help.
A shitty childhood: A child is precious and completely dependent on the adults in their lives. I get really angry just thinking about how an adult can violate a sacred trust like that.
PTSD: I don’t know a whole lot about this subject except that it seems when something traumatic happens, our brain can’t handle it all at once and we’re left trying to process it for a very long time. That’s the simplest way I can put it into words I understand. Residuals. Counseling and other types of therapy can help with the coming to terms. I don’t know.
Where do I fit in this rainbow of possible causes?
Your guess is as good as mine.
I like writing poems and sharing them though. It helps.