5 Steps To Balance Mental Health When Situational Depression Strikes

Feeling depressed and wondering why?

5 Steps To Balance Mental Health When Situational Depression Strikes Anthony Tran/unsplash

Are things in your life rough these days? Do you feel your mental health deteriorating? Are you plagued by feelings of hopelessness and dread?

Perhaps you're wondering if this is situational depression. What do the triggers look like and how you tell if you are suffering?

RELATED: What To Do When A Traumatic Life Event Sends You Into A Spiral Of Depression


Combating situational depression is different from dealing with other types of depression.

In fact, identifying the cause and effect is the key to learning how to deal with depression so you can fight and win!

Here are 5 steps to balance your mental health when situational depression strikes.

1. Know what situational depression is.

Diagnostically, there are two basic types of depression: situational depression and chemical depression. They have similar symptoms but different causes.

Situational depression is caused by something that happens in your life. When something big happens that makes you sad, like the death of a parent, a divorce, or the loss of a job, you can become situationally depressed.


This kind of depression usually has a beginning caused by a specific event and an end. It is often treated differently from chemical depression.

Chemical depression is the result of your brain chemistry being off in such a way that leads to depression. You are most often born with chemical depression, but it can also be caused by a traumatic life event.

Chemical depression can happen to you even if your life is going great.

So, ask yourself some questions about what your life looks like these days to help you figure out what kind of depression you might have.

2. Find out what is causing your situational depression.

Situational depression happens when something occurs in your life that causes you extreme stress because you haven’t yet adapted to the changes brought about as a result of that event.


Situational depression triggers can include:

  • Problems at work or school
  • Illness
  • Death of a loved one
  • Moving
  • Relationship issues

Furthermore, many people who struggle with situational depression often have preexisting experiences with some sort of trauma that might contribute to their mood changes.

Some possible experiences may include:

  • Existing mental health problems
  • Several difficult life experiences happening at once
  • Having gone through considerable stress as a child

So, take a good look at your life right now.

Are you struggling with something? Is your child having issues at school? Is your marriage a mess? Are your parents ill? Have you had a recent relationship breakup?


Anything out of the ordinary that's making it more difficult to function can trigger your situational depression.

If you are sad and any of those situational depression triggers sound familiar, you might be situationally depressed.

3. Understand the symptoms of situational depression.

Most people with situational depression develop symptoms within roughly 90 days following the event that triggers the condition.

Symptoms can include:

  • Listlessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of enjoyment of regular activities
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sadness
  • Recurring bouts of crying
  • Loss of interest in food
  • Anxiety
  • Worry
  • Loss of Concentration
  • Withdrawal from work or friends
  • Suicidal thoughts

Symptoms of situational depression vary from person to person and usually include more than one of the symptoms above.


If any of these signs and symptoms seem familiar to you, then you might be struggling with situational depression, and it’s time to deal with it.

Situational depression can cause severe disruption of your life if left untreated.

RELATED: There Are Two Different Types of Depression (And How They Each Sneak Up On You)

4. Learn the best way to treat situational depression.

In many cases, situational depression will ease on its own. There are things that you can do in the meantime to help relieve the symptoms.

Getting exercise, eating well, sleeping enough, sharing your feelings, and doing things that make you happy can all help ease the symptoms of depression and your sense of sadness.


However, if your symptoms are seriously disrupting your life or not going away, it would be a good idea to talk to your primary care doctor about what is going on, or talk to a psychologist so you can get treated with some medication.

Either way, it is important that you pay attention to your moods so that you know if they are getting worse or better. It’s often easy to lose sight of the fact that it’s the depression that is making your life so bleak.

We start to blame ourselves for not being strong enough, outgoing enough, or smart enough when in fact our self-image is clouded by depression.

Checking in with your moods regularly so that you can deal with them properly is an important part of dealing with your situational depression.


5. Have hope.

Some people with situational depression have symptoms for longer than six months. This is especially common when something else happens during the recovery period, which is common because, well, this is life.

If your depression is seriously impacting your life, whether just for a few weeks or a few months, reach out to your doctor to get some support. Your life just might depend on it.


Luckily, for many, situational depression can abate quickly, especially if you make a special effort to take care of yourself, sleep and eat well, get exercise, and hang out with those you love.

So, have some hope that your situational depression will most likely pass, that it won’t be a part of your life forever. How you are feeling today is most likely not how you will feel in a month or two.

Knowing situational depression triggers and symptoms are the key part of learning how to live with it.

Fortunately, dealing with situational depression is possible. Take a good look at your life and try to identify what might be causing your sadness.

Knowing what the source of your sadness is the first step to dealing with it.


Take care of yourself. Exercise, eat and sleep well. Pay attention to your moods and manage them. Have hope that, with time or with treatment, it will pass and you will get your life back.

You can do it! I promise.

RELATED: How To Tell Which Type Of Depression You're Experiencing — And Exactly What To Do About It

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based certified life coach and mental health advocate. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or send her an email.