Myth: People Are Always Depressed for a Reason
Truth: Going through something like a death in the family or losing your job can land you in a depressed state, but depression doesn’t always need a definitive source. “It can be caused for no clear reason, especially if you have a genetic predisposition,” says Goldfine. At the same time, things like getting a divorce or going through a natural disaster can cause depressive symptoms without you actually being depressed.
“It’s partly about your ability to bounce back,” says Goldfine, who notes there aren’t hard and fast rules about how long you have to experience symptoms before being clinically depressed. “If your friends and family are saying you’ve been feeling this way for a long time, that can be a good gauge that it’s out of proportion,” says Goldfine. So can the severity of the symptoms. You may be down for a while after you lose your job, but if you feel okay sometimes and not other times rather than relentlessly feeling empty, that’s a sign you’re coping well.