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Depressed but don’t know why

Hi, I seem to be constantly sad or depressed without knowing why. Why is this?

From a guy of nineteen.


Thanks for your question. It’s quite normal to feel sad or depressed during some stages of life. Sometimes the reason may be external things that influence us, but other times there is no explanation and it’s hard to identify the root. Whatever it is, it can be helpful to talk to others (for example friends, family, a counsellor, a man you trust) about it.

People often keep feelings like this to themselves, as they think they will disappear. They might disappear, but they might not. These feelings often disappear more quickly if you have someone to talk to. When you talk to someone, you hear your own story, and you may start to get some insight as you talk. Things you never thought were a problem may actually be a problem, and when you talk about both the trivial and the more significant things in daily life that affect you, you may well find that the sum of them creates stress, fatigue and depression.

Other factors which may affect you can include: being too busy, loneliness, demands, pressure to perform, high expectations, being afraid of something, longing for something which you don’t think will happen, disappointments, regrets, shame, social anxiety, feelings of not being good enough, and so on.

We often don’t dare to tell others about our thoughts, as we feel that we’re the only ones feeling the way we do, and because we tell ourselves that we ought not to feel or think this way. When you tell others what you’re thinking about, they can give you input which can change your thought patterns. Also, when you tell others, you gain understanding, you feel understood, and those near you understand how it is to be you – that way they can help you more easily.

There are two areas you can work on to influence your feelings:

●     Your thoughts

Challenge your thoughts, try to reverse the negative thoughts you have about yourself, life and the future. Focus on the thoughts you want to think, and repeat them to yourself until your feelings believe them. Write down the things you are happy about, things you’re thankful for, and things you’re looking forward to. Be concrete about yourself and your situation.

●     Your actions

Make sure you do something nice every day. Be physically active and find activities you like to do. By doing this you will focus on something positive. Do fun things even if you don’t feel like it, it may feel a bit tough at the start but we often have to make ourselves do something so that we feel better. You can choose thoughts and actions that can affect your mood positively.

If this sadness lasts many weeks or months without it stopping, it may be you are depressed and you should find someone to talk to, in order to get help. A community nurse or doctor can help you. 

For more advice, see: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/low-mood-and-depression


Best wishes

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