I am forty six years old and I have been battling depression my ever since I was 12 years old. I assume it was a hormone thing because I was a very happy child and began to experience this in my adolescence. Although on the other hand my circumstances were very depressing as well. My parents divorced and found myself alone most of the time while my mom was either at work or out partying and in addition to that my mom kept moving around and so I couldn't get connected to anyone. This only lasted a few years and then my mom settled down in one place and steadied herself a bit personally.
I had various positive life experiences that would seem to lift me out of my depression. I became a Christian at fourteen. And experienced a couple of happy years. Later I fell in love and of course enjoyed a few happy years after that. I would go from two or three years of happiness to two or three years of depression and anxiety. It was pretty cyclical and I didn't have real highs, just sort of happy times. I still find I generally follow the same pattern, a few happy years and then a few depressed years. But now when I go through a period of depression I am aware of the fact that this too will pass. That helps me to feel happier in the sad times. When bad things happen to me I am more likely to bounce back more quickly. I think being a parent has helped me more than anything because it helps me not to be so self engrossed which is the central factor in those who experience depression. They focus on all the bad things that have happened to them and how crappy their life is. I've done it a million times I should know. It's hard to overcome those negative thoughts-I know. But I really try now and I try to force myself to exercise and sleep properly and eat properly and basically do all the things that I need to do to stay healthy. I force myself to get out and socialize even when I want to sit at home and sulk. I try to think of what I can do to help other people and it makes me feel so much better too. I force myself because I know I have to be a happy functional person for my kids and I find when I force myself I do better. Also I am willing to try medications to level out my moods although I hate to because I find that sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Right now I am on a low dose of a popular antidepressant and I do find that it helps me to be more level in my moods. I've been through counseling and am willing to try that if it helps. Mostly I find they want me to go over all that crap from my childhood which only makes me feel worse so I avoid counseling as I age. I think a good friend is far superior anyway.