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What is situational depression?

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Megan Murray
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Katy Perry has recently spoken about dealing with situational depression. Are you familiar with this type of mental health condition, how it’s different to clinical depression and what causes it?

As it becomes more common for celebrities to share how they manage their mental health with their fans, whether that be online or through interviews, conditions like anxiety or depression are thankfully becoming increasingly normalised.

From Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams declaring she’s proud to seek mental health help on Instagram to Stylist cover star Nadiya Hussain, revealing the reality of living with debilitating panic attacks in her interview with us – these conversations are slowly helping our society break down taboos that surround these conditions.

Although you’ve probably heard of the terms depression or clinical depression before, it might be a condition that you typically associate with someone who could suffer from a chemical imbalance, or feel lethargic or hopeless without understanding the reasons why.

But Katy Perry has recently shone a light on a different type of the illness, speaking about her experiences with situational depression.

Katy Perry performing her Witness tour 

In an interview with Vogue Australia, Perry explained the emotional aftermath she felt following the release of her latest album Witness, which didn’t perform as well as her previous work

“I have had bouts of situational depression and my heart was broken last year because, unknowingly, I put so much validity in the reaction of the public, and the public didn’t react in the way I had expected to … which broke my heart,” Perry says.

What is situational depression?

Unlike depression, which causes a person to experience low moods that last for a long time sometimes without a clear reason, situational depression occurs after a stressful or traumatic experience or event and is short-term. For this reason, situational depression is also known as short-term depression.

What are the symptoms of short term depression?

According to Healthline the symptoms of situational depression will present differently in everyone. But some of the main symptoms fall under the following:

  • sadness
  • hopelessness
  • lack of enjoyment in normal activities
  • regular crying
  • constant worrying or feeling anxious or stressed out
  • sleeping difficulties
  • disinterest in food
  • trouble focusing
  • trouble carrying out daily activities
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • avoiding social situations and interaction
  • not taking care of important matters like paying your bills or going to work
  • thoughts or attempts at suicide 

What causes situational depression?

The cause of situational depression is different for everyone, as it directly links to what’s going on in that person’s life at the time.

Some of the most common triggers that could lead someone to experiencing a low mood are thought to be:

  • problems in your relationship
  • A change in your routine like moving house or job
  • Money worries
  • The death of a loved one
  • Suffering an illness, accident or near death experience

How is situational depression treated? 

Depression caused by trauma, in this case known as situational depression, sits underneath the main umbrella of depression and therefore is usually treated with the same methods. The main types of treatment for depression are talking therapies or taking medication. 

Examples of talking therapies are:  

  • cognitive behavioural therapy 
  • group-based talks 
  • interpersonal therapy 
  • behavioural activation 
  • psychodynamic psychotherapy 

Those seeking medical help for depression may be offered antidepressants, or encouraged to take part in self help methods such as physical activity programmes or trying problem solving techniques. 

If you think you might be suffering from any kind of mental health illness it’s important to speak to your GP as soon as possible. If you’re waiting for help from the NHS you could try these self-help tips, or look at Mind’s website for further support. 

Images: Getty 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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