Anxiety & Depression - The Beginning

What Causes Anxiety and Depression?

what causes anxiety and depression
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There are many factors that can cause anxiety and depression to be triggered. It’s different for everyone. But I believe there are some fairly common themes that come into play.

I’m no medical doctor, but it honestly doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. Here’s my take on different things that can cause anxiety and depression:

  • Genetics
  • Family history
  • Environment
  • Learned behavior
  • Lifestyle
  • Diet
  • Emotional trauma

Now, these are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head. I’m sure (again, not a doctor) there are other factors that play a role in what actually causes anxiety and depression symptoms.

what causes anxiety and depression

For me personally, I have a family history of mental illness. I do believe that my environment and emotional trauma also played a role. Again, it can be different for everyone. But if you consider some of these, it may at least lead you on the right path.

I grew up with a mom who has Bipolar Disorder. But not just Bipolar, she also has anxiety, PTSD, and I do remember once hearing something about dissociative disorder.

I don’t know that she was fully diagnosed, or diagnosed correctly. At the time there wasn’t as much known about mental illnesses, and there was such a stigma attached to them that no one really talked about it.

Sometimes the causes of anxiety and depression are situational

Growing up with a mother with Bipolar was hard. Or at least, that’s what she thought she had at the time. As a kid, I didn’t really understand what was wrong with her. One moment she would be “normal”, she would be nice and loving and in a good mood. The next moment she was angry, hateful and spiteful.

It was tough, because as a child, it was very confusing. I could never understand what would set her off. She would take out whatever it was she was feeling out on everyone.

A lot of times I felt like it was my fault, that I had done something wrong.

And at this time, my step-dad also drank a lot. He was not the nicest person to be around when he would drink. The combination of he and my mom was volatile most of the time.

My younger brother and I got caught in the middle of their physical fights and screaming matches constantly. We were around 7 and 8 years old at this time, but this pattern went on for years.

Wish I’d had a set of these back then…

what causes anxiety and depression

But then again…I might have ended up using them as weapons. Lol.

Anxiety and depression can get worse when there’s no stability

We were in a constant state of chaos. When we’d get home, we’d never know how the evening was going to go. Would it be a peaceful, uneventful night? Or would the police show up, and would we have to sleep in a motel or one of my mom’s friend’s houses?

Once we slept in her car in the driveway with the doors locked. And yes, I’d still have to get up and go to school the next day, and pretend that everything was just fine.

Honestly, I don’t know what was more difficult; their fighting and arguing, or my mom’s ups and downs of ‘I love you, I hate you’.

Or the role reversal that I wasn’t even aware of at the time.


My mom leaned on me a lot – keep in mind, I’m just a child – so I took on the role of being her counselor, problem solver and confidant. My brothers also both leaned on me, as my mom was really unable to provide any of us with consistency or stability.

If she was in one of her other moods, I was her punching bag. If you think of every hateful and hurtful thing a mother could say to her child…I’m pretty positive I heard it.

From my perspective, what causes anxiety and depression can most definitely be environmental factors.

I am getting knots in my stomach just from sharing this. At one point in my adult life, I thought I’d gotten over the past. As time went on, I was having more and more trouble with my own anxiety and depression.


what causes anxiety and depression


I tried to handle it on my own, tried to keep it under control. Eventually, it gets to the point where you have to admit to yourself that you are not in control at all.

Once I made the decision to find a counselor, I slowly started to realize what was causing me to feel the way I did. I hadn’t really dealt with my emotions and feelings regarding my past.

I also realized I was not in control of my anxiety or depression symptoms at all. Once I started to learn more about my triggers, how anxiety and depression can actually go hand in hand, and that there were things I could do to ease my symptoms, I gradually got better and better over time.

What are your thoughts on what causes anxiety and depression?

Have you thought back, and considered events in your life as a source? Or do you have a family history of anxiety, depression or any other mental illness?

These are important things to consider, especially if you find yourself asking what causes anxiety and depression.

You can be born with it, sometimes the chemicals in your brain are off, or your circuitry just didn’t connect like it should have.

Something else that isn’t considered – if you have anxiety, it tends to cause you to feel depressed. Why? Well, to answer that question, all you need to do is think about how anxiety makes you feel.

Situational depression is quite common. Most people probably don’t even realize they’re suffering from it.

I think this may be because it comes and goes, based on what’s going on in your life, versus clinical depression, which doesn’t necessarily need a trigger.

Personally, when I think about what causes anxiety and depression, I feel that it is a much more complex question than people realize. At the same time, it can be quite simple.

It just depends on your perspective, your situation, coping skills and genetics. I don’t know that there is a ‘perfect’ answer to that question. I don’t think most of these doctors have all the answers either.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below with your experiences, what you’ve learned about anxiety and depression, and how you manage your mental health symptoms. It would be great to see things from another point of view!

You can also connect with me on Facebook if you have questions, or just need to chat!

~ Jess



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