What To Do If You're Suddenly Feeling Depressed For No Reason

causes of depression

So. You're suddenly feeling depressed for no reason?

Are you happy with the state of your life, with your relationships, your job, your health? Are things generally going along just fine and yet, for some reason, you are feeling depressed?

If the answer is "yes", then there are a few things that you can do to try and figure out the causes of depression that appear to be nothing:

1. Consider where you are in this time and place.

As I write this it’s February. It’s 32 degrees here in NYC and it gets dark by 5pm. It is a time of year where lots of people get depressed.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a depressive disorder caused by the change of seasons. Some people get depressed because of the reduced daylight hours. Some people because of the temperature changes. Everyone affected by SAD finds themselves sad without something being wrong.

How do you deal with SAD? The most effective way is with a full spectrum lamp. The lamp will help your body tolerate the change in seasons by exposing it to full spectrum light.

Another thing to ask yourself is if something has happened to you this same time of year in another year that was painful.

I know that every year in early June I get very depressed because it is the anniversary of my mother’s death. Sometimes it creeps up on me and I don’t even know it.

So consider if you have been in a painful place before this time of year. If the answer is, "yes", then you might have your source!

2. Get your thyroid and Vitamin D levels checked.

Two major causes of depression can be thyroid hormone levels that are off and low vitamin D.

When our thyroid hormone levels are off, a variety of symptoms can arise. One of them is depression. Many of my clients who come to me complaining of depressive feelings often end up having thyroid disorders.

Vitamin D deficiency is also one of the major causes of depression. Because of the prevalence of sunscreen use, and a significant shortage of sunshine during some parts of the year, many Americans don’t get enough sun.

The sun is the only way for a human being to get Vitamin D (other than fortified milk and orange juice) so sun deficiency means a Vitamin D deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency leads to depression.

Fortunately, in both cases, testing is easy — a simple blood test — and treatment involves taking a pill.

So if you're suddenly feeling depressed for no reason call your primary care doctor and get your blood checked right away.

3. Make sure you are taking good care of yourself.

Are you eating well? Getting exercise? Spending time with friends? Taking care of your hygiene?

If not, this could be the cause of your depression.

Taking care of our mental and physical bodies is a key to mental and physical health. If you don’t take care of yourself, but instead live on wine and ice cream, eventually your body is going to react.

A body that isn’t well fed or exercised will start to turn on itself, causing all sort of debilitating issues. One of those issues is depression.

So if you find that you're suddenly feeling depressed for no reason, examine how you are taking care of yourself. If you are not doing a good job, try to make a change. You might find your depression lifts if you do.

RELATED: Signs Your Depression Is Getting More Serious (And It's Time To Reach Out)

4. Ask yourself some questions about how you have been feeling big picture.

For many of us, depression that comes out of nowhere has to do with what is going on in our lives. Perhaps we aren’t taking care of ourselves or perhaps we have a hormone imbalance or a vitamin deficiency. This kind of depression is called situational depression.

It is possible that, instead, you are suffering from clinical depression — depression caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain.

A good way to get a sense of whether or not you are clinically depressed is to ask yourself some questions. They are:

  • Are you living with feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness?
  • Are you more irritable than usual?
  • Have you lost interest in things that used to make you happy?
  • Are you not sleeping as well as you used to?
  • Have your sleep patterns changed?
  • Are you spending more time in bed?
  • Have your eating patterns changed?
  • Have you lost or gained weight?
  • Are you more anxious than you used to be?
  • Do you struggle with feelings of worthlessness?
  • Do you have a hard time focusing?
  • Do you think about committing suicide?
  • Do you have new physical problems, like headaches or backaches?

If you answered "yes" to any, or all, of these questions you might be struggling with clinical depression.

5. Reach out for help.

Regardless of what kind of depression you are struggling with, situational or clinical depression, it is important that you reach out for help.

See your primary care doctor right away about your depression. Tell them honestly about your symptoms so that they can treat you.

Many people struggle with the embarrassment of depression. They think that they should be able to suck it up and just deal, like everybody else.

Well, let me tell you that a significant portion of Americans deal with depression and many of them don’t just suck it up. They either self-medicate with food or alcohol or they get treatment from a professional.

Guess which one is better for you?

So, if you're suddenly feeling depressed for no reason, talk to your primary care doctor. Figure out how to deal with your depression to prevent it from getting worse.

Suddenly feeling depressed for no reason can be scary. Feeling lethargic, unmotivated, sad and angry can be debilitating.

So don’t ignore the depression and hope it goes away. Try the advice above. Consider where you are today, have your hormone and vitamin D levels checked, take care of yourself mentally and physically, and check in to see if you might be clinically depressed.

The most important thing is not to go it alone. Get some professional help. Depression will get worse the longer it goes untreated so nipping it in the bud is essential.

RELATE: How To Be Happy Again After Depression, Even If You're Still Sad

Mitzi Bockmann is a New York City-based Certified Life Coach. Contact her for help.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.