What Caused My Depression?

B.G. Bowers asked me a difficult question: ‘What Caused My Depression?’

  • I believe that the single greatest cause of my depression was the power of cognition.

This does NOT mean that there were no other factors.

  • A lifetime of other details factored into me, yet there was no singular traumatic experience.

This does NOT mean that my depression was ‘made up’ or ‘not real’. No, I could not just ‘snap out of it!’

  • You cannot stop a tornado with a leaf blower. A tornado can kill you.

This does NOT mean that all who suffer from depression can be relieved strictly through cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).

  • I took medications, engaged in classic psychotherapy, group therapy, and out-patient therapy – over the course of several therapists, jobs, and years.

Depression takes on different forms for many people. No two will have the same exact cause.

  • I was clinically depressed, not bipolar. Many people suffer from more than one disorder (anxiety, schizophrenia, identity, etc.) at the same time, to different degrees.

It is noteworthy that potentially anyone could become clinically depressed. Sometimes I get mad at myself when I read the stories of rape victims, impoverished people, or those who have suffered wrenching heartbreak. Their stories are out there, and mine doesn’t seem to be as ‘worthy’ when stacked side by side to theirs. You can picture me, ten years ago, in a group session:

HER: I was brutally raped by my father for three years. What happened to you?

ME: Nothing, really.

That is flawed reasoning. Example A does not have to be as (bad, horrible, obvious) as Example B to cause harm. This is not a game for points, this is learning how to live.

Depression bred inside my mind. Twenty-one years of learned thinking patterns is how I landed in a psychiatric ward. The way in which I processed the world was nearly fatally flawed.

This gives me hope. For all of us, not just for those of us who suffer from mental illness. I know that change is possible, with help, through self-examination. As deadly as the power of the brain can be, so too can it heal and create.

7 thoughts

  1. Hi Matt,
    I can’t help feel that my question has hit a raw nerve (which was not my intention) and your subsequent answer is a little on the defensive side. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that people have tried to minimize your depression in the past, or perhaps it’s because you haven’t been able to pinpoint the root cause (if any).
    I will say this – my question was an innocent one – I suffered from depression for more than a decade, and so I am simply interested to hear other people’s stories, hence the reason I asked.
    People have different experiences, and, it’s not healthy to compare yours to somebody else’s, because our strengths and weaknesses differ…what seems like hell for one person, may be a walk in the park for another and vice versa. So, I agree with you that you should not order experiences in some kind of better-worse-hierarchy, because you’ll be doing yourself a huge injustice and ultimately treating yourself and your personal experience unfairly.
    Personally, I disagree that there is no cause…I agree that it doesn’t need to be a specific thing that happened on a particular date and time, but I do believe that there is a cause. It may take many years of self-exploration and analysis to realise what it is, but I think that there’s got to be a reason, or, in some cases, even a chemical imbalance…
    For me personally, there were many different reasons that compounded my depression, and even now that I’ve moved beyond depression and found ways to counteract it, I still have these unexpected ‘eureka’ moments where I identify new factors that most likely contributed to my overall depression in the past.
    Thank you for answering my question and thank you for sharing your experiences via this blog. Many people don’t even realise that they’re depressed, and sites like yours offer a lifeline of sorts.

    1. Bianca, this really made me think, thank you. ‘Raw-nerve’ hitting questions are what I want. If my blog has a purpose, it is to overcome the fear of answering all questions.
      So I set out to write this post with the intention of identifying CB as the main cause, but as I re-read it, it seems that I may have gone a little too far.
      I did not want to dive into all of the reasons, because that would basically be a memoir, which I am working on. Too long for a blog post.
      You’ve definitely hit on something. This post needs to be expanded on, or perhaps retitled, because it is misleading.
      “What Is One Of The Causes Of My Depression” would have been more appropriate.

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