The Science of Depression

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All cards on the table, I work in insurance. During training, we learned the obvious things like what to say and how to fill out an application, but we also learned what are auto-declines and who can’t be insured. To my surprise, there were several mental disorders on there. Autism, anxiety, attention-deficit disorder, depression. 

If they weren’t auto-decline, they were rated (meaning the application must go through a trial period and, more often than not, cost more money). I could not understand how something someone could not control denied them insurance. This bothered me, so, of course, I questioned it. It turned out that in some cases, they were “high risk” clients, in others, it was necessary to first see how “serious” the situation was. In addition, they wanted us to see if there was a “reason” behind someone’s anxiety or depression. To see if something happened in their life to cause or trigger it.

Let me just say, something does not have to “happen” to explain a mental illness. Mental illnesses do not need to be explained, period. Depression is different than sadness. It can originate from something happening in someone’s life, but doesn’t always. More often than not, depression is just an imbalance of chemicals. Could be hereditary, could just happen one day, but, nevertheless, it’s not so simple.

Looking at the science side of it, depression is linked to neurotransmitters in the brain. Serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine – when it comes to depression, these are what’s at play. Then chemical levels in the brain aren’t right, synapses are broken, and how a person thinks, feels, and functions changes. This is what causes depression, this is the “reason” you’re looking for.

For a simpler explanation and something that makes sense more than I ever could, check out this 3 minute video:

At the end of the day, one does not choose to be depressed. It is much more complicated than that. Depression, and all mental illnesses for that matter, is something that is just thrown at you, whether it be triggered by something or just ’cause. Mental illness is not a choice. It can be regulated and influenced through things like a healthy sleep schedule, good eating habits and exercise, but, ultimately, it’s something that could not be actively avoided. We did not choose this life, but we will prevail in spite of it.

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Amanda

Intrigued by creative processes since a young age, she constantly experiments with various styles of expression. Currently in her twenties, she works in the marketing field with a passion for fighting against social blindness.

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