Depression is a lowered state of mood that affects interpersonal relationships to the core. Depression can occur because of relational issues or can be the cause for relational issues. A person with depression is in a negative state of mind, looks for negative (collects selectively) cues in the environment and has an impaired ability to look at the future with hope. Depression, in an young adult who is under societal and family pressure to be working actively towards their career, education, relationships, can create a complete mess in terms of expected routines like going to college. going to work, resigning employment, and even overindulging or breaking relationships. The process of multiple stress, real or perceived, can also lead to a real risk of self harm.
As depression increases, the ability of the person to respond to situations reduces. Impaired ability makes the person more depressed and the cycle worsens. However, when depression triggered by a stress such a sudden loss of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, or childlessness for example, has the danger of molding the person’s thought processes towards more negative thinking leading from the stress. This negative thinking might in turn out to be a habit when there is long standing depression or repeated episodes of depression.
In a young adult or teenager who is personally exploring themselves and evolving, the habit of negative thinking can become an important component of one’s growing personality. Over a period the person might feel empty, inadequate, or unable to see the positives or strengths of oneself. This will further trigger attempts to cope by indulging in risky personal behaviors like over eating, under eating, involvement in risky relationships or multiple relationships, searching for one’s value or worth or adequacy by exposing oneself to more risky situations including situations that can lead to sexual abuse, putting oneself in situations in a constant exploration to feel loved however risky the situation is (example, indulging in addictive behaviors to fit in a peer group). These attempts, however, on reflection by the person after the event lead to more guilt, a feeling of emptiness, not having got the feeling one was searching for and triggers more depressive state.
Then what is the way out? If you feel that your thoughts are clouded with more negative than positive thoughts and your ability to think positively is getting diluted, that is the among the first signs of feeling depressed. These feelings of negativity, if consistently continue to happen over a 2 week period, it is time that you take care by becoming aware that you are slipping into a state of depression. It is ideal that a person in this situation seeks or is provided professional help. Often, the family members may pick the signs early as the person itself might have an impaired ability to make that judgment. Family members may notice the shift in the attitude of the person, the lethargy, the lack of interest, the growing silences, and talk that is more negative than before. A psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist can help designing strategies that can avert the negative thinking from becoming a habit. The longer the person delays seeking help, the more it affects one’s life from different angles of education/career or personal relationships that are at a critical building stage in a young adults life. If one delays longer, the depression can completely engulf oneself in every aspect of one’s life and family members living with them are equally affected.
Once you recognize that your ability to see positive aspects of your life becoming dim, it is important that you take precautionary steps to avoid the risk of negative thinking becoming a habit. Seeking professional help can completely reverse the depression to a normal state. The more depression strikes a person as a teenager or young adult, the more chances there are that the person starts looking for negativity in persons or situations, leading to an impaired ability to deal with life.