Is there always a trigger?

Hey everyone, I discovered this website today and have found it to be a great resource for help.

I've been on medication since March and that has seemed to help slightly. The problem is that I have strong mood swings that easily bring me down into a feeling of depression. I started seeing a therapist last week and see him again on Wednesday but he told me something that has put me off.

When he asked about me, why I've come to therapy, I mentioned that I have depression, that it is genetic, and there is nothing in my life that causes me to be unhappy. He asked me to start a mood journal because it is hard for him to see that there would be no trigger for my depression.

As I examine myself and my life I can't find what a trigger may be. I have a job, a steady income, a good family, nice friends, a supportive boyfriend and no reason to complain. I simply become exhausted and lose motivation to work and that effects every aspect of my life.

What the therapist said has me on edge because I feel that I have no trigger and that there doesn't have to be a trigger. Should I see someone new? Should I give him another chance? It's hard to go to someone for help and they, without meaning to, seem to invalidate your feelings.

Thanks for listening!



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15 Replies

  • Welcome to the forum! I really don't know whether or not depression always has to have a trigger, but my guess would be yes. You can get depressed for many underlying reasons that you don't know about. Maybe he is just trying to rule them out?

  • Hi, you dont have to have to have a trigger to be depressed. You can always try a different gp.

    Good luck

  • Hi there. There may not always be a trigger to start the actual depression but I think what he might be saying is one of the components of cbt- you log the antithesis which is any events that may lead to a low mood, then you examine your thought process around that particular event. If it was a negative thought then you challenge it and reframe it positively. The idea is that eventually you are turning around the way you look at things. It's kind of similar to keeping a food diary. Sometimes there may just be something you wouldn't necessarily consider a trigger but which may crop up regularly enough for you to see it may be affecting you negatively. Hope this helps.

  • Thanks for the insight! It definitely helps.

  • Hi and welcome

    Give this guy a chance a few more sessions because there is a possibility that others could be the same or perhaps worse. It's not a bad idea as such. Forget the trigger the diary can help you see wheather it's a particular time that you get depressed or a specific person or place or just when you are tired. Please don't take this as me dismissing your condition and feelings but it can help you to retrain or replace those feelings of depression. It's also a way for him to help you. If you are at good place in your life but is depressed I know how frustrating it can be keeping a diary can't hurt, can it?

  • Hi, Welcome to the forum.

    Give your therapist a chance and keep completing your diary, you may even find that just by completing it you see a pattern yourself. The idea is to collect information about when you feel low and what events lead up to it.

    I couldn't work out what caused my depression and got very anxious about that to start with. The my therapist explained it like this. If you imagine a glass and that through life water is added every time we face a stressful event. Sometimes it is only a drop other times it is a lot more. Some people can naturally reduce the water in th a glass, but some of us find that difficult to do. Over time the glass fills and then it just takes on drop to over flow. And that's our minds and body saying it is too much and something has to give.

    I was always a happy person but knew I found it hard to relax.

    I found completing the diary you are asked to do very helpful and examining it and my thoughts very useful. Keep going, it does take a little while to get used to the techniques. Between the chat, mindfulness, getting fitter, eating healthily and of course my medication. I am a lot more in control and understand myself a lot better.

    Hope this helped.

  • Thanks for the advice. I'm going to keep going with the diary and try to identify the thought cycle I fall into and how to break it. Again, thank you so much.

  • If you need any help with it let me know. But you will get there.

    Take care.

  • well i think you have found the trigger just by what you have written down. you say you become exhausted. and maybe because of this exhaustion is why you are loosing could be a health problem that is not noticeable to yourself. something is making you tired.what do you think? maybe you could go for a full physcial check up and find out it could very well be something very simple and could be put right very quickly.also its not always because we dont have things that we become depressed. look at all the movie stars and singers that are depressed and they have plenty of money and jobs. i believe when we know the reason for our depression its not really depression. its something else. and we are reacting to that. but when we are truly depressed we really dont know why and often feel guilty because we have so much to be grateful for.i hope this is some help to you. see what you think. love grace xoxoxo

  • Hello there dies not have to be a trigger so he is correct in that , just give him another but be honest that last session confused you . From time to time I get depressed but mine is because I suffer long term pain fibromyalgia and I hardly sleep around 2 hours with that been extraordinary and (8 , 11 ,58 mins being the norm . Hope it turns out well for you x

  • I can understand how you must feel as I get severe mood swings but cannot always see what has caused them. It is very scary and people do not believe that I do not know the reason, which as you say invalidates your feelings and makes you feel worse not better. I have had CBT, talking therapies and kept a diary and these have helped but sometimes I think we have buried the "problem" so deep inside us in a locked box that even we cannot find it again. Maybe they were relatively trivial fators that triggered us in the past and are still lingering under the surface or maybe they are locked up and buried for a very good reason and we may be better off not trying to find them again. I do not know but that is how I feel. I would keep seeing your therapist and your diary as you seem to want to get to the bottom of your triggers. Good luck Pandora x

  • Thank you so much. It's nice to know someone else feels this way.

  • Hello Fey. I, too, am someone who doesn't have triggers for my depression. My life is good, but out of the blue I can sink into a deep, dark, lasting depression. For those of us who suffer thanks to our genetics, I feel we simply, unfortunately, put it down to our genetic code. There's no rhyme or reason. It just is.

  • Thanks for greatly your reply. It's nice to know that there are other people out there who feel the same way. I'm hoping as I continue with my medication and therapy, I'll be able to find the proper combination to get me better. And part of that will be a therapist that listens. The therapist, I'm sure is a great guy and a good fit for some, but he attempted to place blame on my boyfriend and family, during our first session, without reason. Sometimes it is just genetics and not one big trigger.

  • I'm glad I could support you. Good luck finding a new therapist - someone you resonate with. We should never have to settle for unsatisfactory health care. Trust your instincts and be your own advocate. Best of luck on your wellness journey.

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