A few weeks ago Battle of Mind started a survey for people to fill in about what is making them feel depressed. Several people filled it in and the results are very interesting and may give some insight into why depression tends to happen as a lot of the results had similar feedback.

Firstly, thank you for everyone who decided to take the survey, I hope you find the results interesting and also see patterns in why people feel depressed and to know that you are not alone.

 Question 1 : What is your gender?

As can be seen from the chart the overall majority of people who decided to take the survey were women. This in itself is fascinating, 73% of people who took the survey were women, which is 1 in 4 being men and yet men are more likely to act on their feelings of depression. Is this a clear sign that men are still not prepared to discuss how they feel? Is it that they’d rather not focus on their feelings?

Question 2 : What is your age?

The second question was to identify the age of the participants and it is clear to see a vast majority of people who took the survey are either very young in the 18 – 24 age group and the over 40s. Although these states don’t clearly define what age group is more likely to be depressed it may be an indicator towards aspects of those age groups’ lives that may bring on feelings of depression than other ages? Again this is just a theory but, maybe at a young age of 18 – 24 you are still trying to find your identity and place in the world whilst there is much uncertainty with education fees increasing, jobs and the future seeming uncertain, competition rising would all account for young people may feel more depressed whilst once you are passed 40 you imagine your life would be quite well established and you may have experienced much more life than anyone who is currently going through working experiences in their mid to late 30s meaning there are many more opportunities and reasons that may make someone become depressed.

An interesting graph that ultimately shows that age doesn’t necessarily play a major role in what makes a person depressed but it could be said that it is identifiable that major life events not going as planned at certain ages can cause feelings of depression.

Question 3: Do you currently have depression

Obviously, the majority of people, 75%, who took the survey identified themselves as someone who had depression whilst 15% said no but they used to. There is not much that can be concluded from this result so let us move on to the next question.

Question 4: Do you know what is causing you to feel depressed?

This question shows that three out of four people suffering from depression have a good idea that they think they know what is causing them to feel depressed whilst one in five people don’t. For the people that know what is causing them to feel depressed they have a base, they can start working on to make them feel better about their situation. The one in five people who don’t know why they are feeling depressed may need to consult a GP, a counselor or a hypnotherapist to look into what may be the cause of depression. It is believed depression isn’t always caused by experiences and people’s environment but can also be a genetic or chemical imbalance which can be rectified with the correct medication but if you are one of the ones who doesn’t know why you really should seek a GP or professional help asap, they will be able to guide you best into finding equilibrium again.

Question 5 : If you answered yes or probably please can you identify what you think it is?

When the person had identified themselves as being depressed they were given various options ( as well as the opportunity to select their own) and the results are quite conclusive. The majority of people seem to be depressed because of loneliness (54% of respondents), no hope for the future (45% of respondents), money problems, self-worth (37% of respondents) and feeling that others their own age have a better life (37% of respondents) than them.

Now this result I found to be very interesting. It appears that a lot of the problems that people deem to be the cause of depression seem to be inherently linked to modern living.

Firstly, loneliness, we are in a digital age where we are able to talk to anyone anywhere in the world and connect with new people at the drop of a hat ( if we know where to look! ) and yet, the majority of respondents feel lonely. Having social media has opened the doors to many business ideas that have little funding but also disconnected us from how to interact with each other properly and really get to know people and learn about their lives. If you are lonely the best way to get out of it is to join clubs, groups, join a new class, go on dating sites or sites that offer friends. If most people are lonely surely there are people out there that also feel the same. There is saying, most people are friends you haven’t met yet and most people are kind so go say hi or if it is a relationship you are after dating sites are fantastic in finding people you have a deep connection to, it’s actually where the founder of BoM found his wife! You don’t have to be lonely there is someone for everyone. 🙂

Secondly, no hope for the future seems to be a major factor in a lot of depressed people’s lives. I know, from a personal perspective, I was losing hope for the future after graduating from 2 degrees and still no work in my hometown, I couldn’t even get a job in a supermarket or sandwich bar, it was devastating!. The amount of effort, mental energy and finances it cost to get degrees that actually led to ‘careers’, not just subjects, yet no, there were no doors opening at the foot of graduation in May 2008 and I really didn’t want to leave my hometown and my family for a career as why should I sacrifice my life for a job ( this became my only option three years on but a good decision in the end). I guess the message for people who have no hope for the future is that there is always a possibility to find hope if you are willing to do anything to achieve your goal. Teach yourself new skills, save money if you can and be prepared to move city, state or even country to find a life you have dreamed about. It is possible to get a better future but you have to be willing to SACRIFICE things in order to achieve your goals and not care about WHAT OTHERS THINK, they are both vital skills :), I will talk about it in a future blog post.

Although we have social media in the modern age it also has the effect of being able to see everything in other people’s lives and you can’t help but compare their lives to your own, we all do it and it can often make you feel that their life is better and happier than your own. Reality is, its unlikely to be perfect, life isn’t perfect, they may have nice things, or they may have lots of friends but if you looked deeply into their life that they choose not to show on social media you’d find lots of elements that they are unhappy with and that you do have in your life. I think its really really important to learn to be content with what you have, if you get more in the future then that’s great but don’t make it your only ultimate goal, have realistic goals as well as the big one!

Then when you see others having a great life and they get something you want rather than feel low or sad you haven’t achieved the same, be happy for them but be happy with the good things in your life too.

Q6. Can you explain further about your situation?

Thank you for everyone who answered this question, I won’t go into the why’s and whatnots of what people wrote but it is evident to see that when life gives you extreme challenges, like losing loved ones one after another and contracting medical conditions at the same time or a relationship you had put so much effort into fails or even worse, you lose your whole lively hood, your money, your home and everything you have then it is obvious to see that DEPRESSION IS NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS but a by-product of really really difficult, sometimes traumatic, situations one after another in quick succession or losing something that was of huge importance to your life.

Please if you are depressed, realise, YOU ARE NOT WEAK. You have gone through a hell of a lot and still around to tell the tale. You are one of the warriors of this world. It isn’t that others can cope better than you, that is poor thinking.

it is because what you experienced was horrendous. You should be proud of yourself. The fact, you overcame such dark experiences, keep it in your mind and your heart always, ‘I SURVIVED’.

Q7. Does (or did) anything help you to manage your depression? (optional)

Most people who answered this question said that anti-depressants helped them manage their depression, for a lot of people this is a great starting point but it is unlikely to be the answer forever (as it helps with a chemical imbalance in the brain) more needs to be done to keep your mood lifted and also tackle the problem you have faced / still face.

Here is a list of other suggestions that people included as a help to them managing their depression:-

  • Anti-depressants
  • Counseling
  • Keeping a positive mindset (mindfulness/CBT)
  • Exercise
  • Making and being with friends
  • Sleep
  • Acceptance that it happened and is over
  • Drawing & painting
  • Taking trips out of town (not necessarily new countries )
  • Getting a job
  • Meeting new people
  • Improving social life
  • Meditation
  • Appreciating the good in your life
  • Video games

This list is not exhaustive but these are the things that helped the people that answered this question. One person did answer nothing helped, if you feel like this is the case please speak to your GP to help you find what is causing your depression or keep exploring different therapies and find hobbies that you enjoy, eventually, you will be able to lift your mood a little.

What Makes You Feel Depressed Conclusion

In conclusion to this short survey I believe it is clear to see that depression is not a sign of a weak person, depression is a sign of a strong person who has faced very difficult times and survived to tell the tale. It could also be said that modern living, a growing population, social media and increased competition to survive ‘and thrive’ is all impacting on our mental well being.

I think what is important to take away from this is that there are ways to manage the way we feel about our lives even if we haven’t achieved the level of life that we had imagined our lives to be. Don’t value yourself by what you think society expects you to be by a certain stage, instead focus on all the good things you have and also, I will repeat, that you survived a hugely difficult life experience, that should be something to be proud of, keep going and never give up!! 

What do you find from this survey? Do you have any thoughts to share? please comment below

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