There are many things in life which can cause stress. Some stressors are relatively small or short-lived: a test at school, a visit from your in-laws, a project deadline at work. A little bit of stress can actually be good for you. The human body was designed to respond to sudden stress. Under pressure, you may find that you can be more productive, more energetic or even more creative than normal. Small doses of stress are healthy – other kinds of stress are not.
If the stress persists or if the stressor is significant (the death of a loved one, the loss of a job) then the sustained stress response is unhealthy and can trigger an episode of serious depression. This is especially true for people who may be susceptible to depression for other reasons. Ongoing stress means that stress hormones and imbalances in other key body chemicals may lead to problems with eating, sleeping, decision-making, libido and mood. And those problems can then create further stress.
The link between depression and stress is a vicious circle. Stress tends to lower your energy and dampen your mood. Those things, in turn, usually negatively impact a person’s interest in taking part in activities like exercise and socializing that can help with symptoms of depression. Thus, the stress leads to behaviors which trigger depression and depression then becomes a further source of stress. Often it takes someone on the outside to intervene and break the cycle.
At Family Guidance we know all about the connection between stress and depression. Our staff can tell if you are experiencing a normal bout of low mood because of a negative life situation or whether your stress has led to depression. We also know how to help you break the circle and break free of stress and depression. If you’ve been feeling tired, listless and unhappy for more than two weeks, give us a call today.