For those dealing with chronic depression, something that is not well understood is the fact that the depression is both:

  • Not a constant issue.
  • Can be brought on by various triggers.

Aside from the chemical and genetic components that are out of your control, you can learn what may trigger your depressive episodes and how to manage and nullify those triggers.

Dealing With Family Conflict Triggers

While your family can be one of the greatest sources of joy in your life, that can cut both ways. When things go wrong in the home (teenage rebellion, sibling fights), this can leave you feeling that you can’t do anything right and all that you worked for is falling apart.

Trigger Fix

It may be the last thing you feel motivated to do but you need to have regular serious talks with your family. Not only are there conversations you need to have with your children, but you need to keep building that bond with them. Setting the pattern of strong inter-family communication can help keep things from boiling over into screaming fights and help stave off triggering a depressive episode for you.

Also, keep an eye on your children for signs of depression. As there is a genetic component to depression, helping your child manage their depression can help you both have a healthier relationship.

Work Through Romantic Relationship Triggers

Intimate partner problems can be a major trigger for those dealing with depression. As this is likely your closest relationship, it can also be your most vulnerable one. Whether it is fighting about finances or what the Christmas vacation plans should be, inter-partner conflict can be a quick slide into depression.

Trigger Fix

One of the best things you can do to help avoid relationship fights is to be honest about your depression and help your partner understand depression. Many people grew up with parents and other authority figures deeming depression as “laziness” or “pity parties” and that sufferers needed to “buck up and get on with life”. More kind interpretations still got it wrong by suggesting that "acting happy" would make it so.

Make sure your partner is aware of what you struggle with. This may mean having a few counseling sessions together to have a therapist help explain things. But most of all, develop good strategies to deal with problems as they come up, such as:

  • No name-calling
  • Discuss problems calmly (take a break to cool off if things get heated)
  • Ban personal attacks
  • Have regular mood check-ins for both parties

Sorting Out Work Triggers

The workplace is an enormous place of stress for many struggling with depression, especially as their depression can:

  • Be triggered by stress at work
  • Cause their work performance to decline
  • Work decline leads to a write-up
  • Write-up triggers depressive episode (or deepens depression)

It can be a vicious cycle, and your workload not the only way that work can trigger a depressive episode.

Trigger Fix

If you have found that many of your depressive episodes stem back to your work, look carefully at why that is. Depending on the issue, you’ll need to approach it differently.

  • Over/under qualified - If you are in a role you can’t handle, it can feel like you are drowning under an impossible load. If you are overqualified, your brain won’t stay engaged in your work and will leave you open to feelings of worthlessness. If it isn’t possible to change jobs at the time, find ways to build your qualifications to make the change possible eventually (like through free online classes).
  • Not making enough money - There are a few options when it comes to increasing your income. You can take a second job (hopefully something more enjoyable), request a raise at your current job, or change jobs.
  • Work/Life balance - Should you constantly find yourself working before your family is awake and coming home after they’ve gone to bed, this can definitely trigger your depression as you feel you are working your life away. Find what tasks can be delegated and talk with your supervisor about how long your hours are and how you need to improve the time balance between work and home. Also be sure that when you get off of work, that you engage in activities and not just slump in front of the TV. Doing that will leave you with an even stronger sense that you do nothing but work, vegetate, and sleep.

Depression isn’t easy but you can actively work to recognize your personal depression triggers and alleviate the circumstances leading to an episode of depression.

Author's Bio: 

Tyler enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn