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I have noticed that some people have lives that appear perfectly fine, yet they feel depressed. In my specific case the feeling typically lasts for a few days and then magically disappears, only to reappear a couple of weeks later.

  • In the absence of a real problem (e.g., loss of a close friend, physical sickness, etc), what causes these periods of negative affect?
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I assume you are not talking about Major Depression, correct? Major Depression is rare without external stresses, but "normal depression" is common in all individuals without extreme stressors – Ben Brocka Jun 14 '12 at 14:15
@BenBrocka: Indeed, not Major Depressions. In fact, not anything that would be labeled as a depression, because (in my case) it only lasts for a couple of days at most. – Simon Verbeke Jun 14 '12 at 14:18
You should take a look at this question about endogenous versus exogenous reasoning in depression diagnosis. Your question might in-fact be a duplicate of that, but I haven't thought too closely about it. – Artem Kaznatcheev Jun 14 '12 at 20:52
up vote 5 down vote accepted

"Their lives are perfectly fine" is a hard to test thing. Hard to compare. How people feel and respond is deeply contextual.

However there are several potential reasons:

  • They may be 'wired' to feel stress or respond emotionally (i.e. Due to the way their brain has developed).
  • A feeling of not being in control (This is often hard to perceive from outside and removed from concrete factors). The causes and triggers of this are varied and complex.
  • A physical response. e.g. Things like a sensitivity to Gluten can cause incredible changes to our emotions and physiology. Often this manifests in good and bad periods.
  • Negativity can be a reflection of the context or surroundings. Those same people may appear positive in a different context.
  • Mental illness can manifest in uneven patterns. This spans from mild (common) to severe symptoms.
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Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

I would also like to point out that there is a clear difference between a psychological depression and an existential one. I would like to point out the definitions of James Park of the University of Minnesota; please have a look at the table at the bottom of this page.

So then, people with perfectly fine lives might well end up with a "clinical existential" depression.

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I really like this, your introduction of existential vs psychological depression. I would have said endogenous vs reactive, but this is another perspective and I really like it +1 – user3543 Nov 24 '13 at 22:31
Thank you Skippy. Always nice to know one´s comments are appreciated :-) – Benteh Nov 24 '13 at 22:32
of course! I always try to welcome people.. and you've really struck an interesting cord for me.. there are a lot of unanswered questions here, feel free to potter and answer at your leisure :) hint hint lol – user3543 Nov 24 '13 at 22:35
Hehe - fair enough and very welcoming of you. I take it slow, as I find some posts here a little heavy on the over-psychologising. Trying to be helpful and positive. – Benteh Nov 24 '13 at 22:37
have a look at this… – user3543 Nov 24 '13 at 22:43

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