Is depression just a mindset or is it just a chemical imbalance?


This titles a tease, because it’s both. But the internet has been arguing about it lately, so I thought I would roll up my sleeves and dive one in.

This argument has been around for a few years now, it’s been talked about enough that I felt the need to put a disclaimer on my “How to Embrace a Happy Life” post that talked about how beating depression isn’t as simple as choosing to be happy, even though there really shouldn’t have been a way to get that from the post.

People who fight depression have gotten sick of hearing those kind of lines, which is completely understandable. What isn’t understandable is the argument that depression is only a chemical imbalance that doesn’t have much to do with mindset.

If you don’t try to mend your negative mindset it will help fuel the chemical imbalance. If everyday sadness is a wood burning fire, try and think of your depression as a gasoline fueled fire. Being depressed you have two options, you can pour water on it or you can add wood on top of it. The water will wash away some of the gasoline but it won’t put out the fire. The wood will obviously make a bigger fire.

The wood is your negative mindset.

Changing your mindset is difficult even when your brain is functioning normal, so it’s extremely difficult to change when you’re depressed. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible to completely change your mindset when you have a chemical imbalance. After all, absolutely nobody becomes a optimist while they are depressed.

However, you can fight against your negative mindset. You can declare war on it. Every time it says something you can talk back to it like a unmovable teenager. Give it an attitude, note when it’s wrong. Call it out, try to make it seem as illogical as it is. That post I made talked about more ways I fault against my bad mindset, but the most important thing is that you acknowledge its there and that it’s not helping.

I’m tired of people pretending that you can get rid of depression by simply thinking positive thoughts. I’m also tired of people pretending like a good mindset is worthless while you’re depressed. Is depression a chemical imbalance or is it a mindset?

It’s both and you address both problems.

3 thoughts on “Is depression just a mindset or is it just a chemical imbalance?

  1. Bev says:

    I agree to an extent. But anoerson who is severely depressed doesn’t think anything but gloom and doom and hopelessness. No, they cannot snap out of alone. Most need medication to help get their seratonin levels back to normal. BUT, I believe many also want to stay in a depressed rut and can get out if they try. But they have to try hard! With help from family, friends , medications and doctors. I was severely depressed and my Faith helped me kick it to the curve and leave it there! I refuse to let depression take a hold of my life and keep me from living a happy life as best I can. And believe me, I have multiple reasons to be depressed! But I refuse to give in to it again. I think it’s 40% mindset and 60% a chemical imbalance that needs medicated. BUT if a person isn’t willing to try then they’ll be depressed the rest of their lives. Some people are stronger than others and tenacious in getting out of situations that can be controlled, others refuse to and dwell in their unhappiness and self-pity. It’s up to the individual to try and make a happy life or stay in a depressed state of unhappiness. Get help, medical help if necessary in severe cases, but GET help and try and get back to a full life of enjoyment and happiness once again. No one can completely heal you but You and God. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • annadownsouth says:

      I agree with you! It takes a lot of self will to rise out of depression, even if that self will leads you to try and get medical help. Thank you so much for this insightful comment Bev!


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