Grief-induced depression, added to times of fatiguing overload to the extent of burnout, and any number of other everyday losses, ignite the source of situational depression, mimicking clinical depression.
Clinical depression is usually categorised as that having extended for at least six months, but those who have battled on and off with depression over their lives tend more to have clinical depression.
What we have here, however, is something quite different; the acquisition of situational depression comes about due to circumstances of loss via either relationships or life purpose (and in some cases both).
Exploring Situational Depression
When relationship breakdowns, burnout, job losses and other unexpected disappointments occur it’s normal to become depressed. We get pushed beyond our capacity to cope. Along with the depression comes anxiousness, even, in some cases, panic attacks. All this is normal, even for the 50-year-old who has never had any signs of mental illness before.
This black dog can ravage anyone, anytime; no one is sacrosanct. The further we think we are from depression, the easier it strikes—like pride comes before the fall.
When untenable situations occur, those we cannot reconcile, those that shift sideways suddenly, bring sharp and heinous degrees of dissonance in the heart and mind. This inner conflict becomes so perplexing we have no answer. It seems useless. And even though we are overwhelmed by our emotions and lack of capability at times, we do strive to break out of this mode. We can’t quite accept the sinkhole reality; the futility. Despite the lowness of our mental, emotional, and spiritual symmetry we find we are indebted to fight. We cannot accept that life will remain this way—it cannot and will not! But we are advised not to get too resistant.
We will still need help. We will probably need medications, some goals, and psychotherapy as part of a broad mental health plan. When we react diligently, not letting the depression get too bad, we brighten our prospects for a quicker recovery.
But alas, recovery will take longer than we think.
Overhauling the Self-Identity
Situational depression is both the highlight and stimulus for changes to the self-structure. When a significant part of us is no more we must rebuild life in order to compensate for that missing part. Our invitation is to deconstruct and then reconstruct our identities to provide for the changes that have now to come.
Overhauling the self-identity is a time-consuming process requiring patience from us. We are loath to rush things. We are best to identify the dreams hidden deep in our psyches; those things we couldn’t do before; those things we may now be better placed to do.
Instances of situational depression happen commonly due to major conflict, significant life adjustment, and via grief through losses.
Situational depressions are an opportunity to learn about our deeper selves, at times when we feel strong enough. Otherwise the opportunity is to rest, to think logically more and more, and to deal with our issues and plan for the future. Such depression is so common everyone can be expected to be affected at some point in their lives.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.