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Depression Eleven: Is Depression Inherited? Annie’s Story

Annie came to my office telling me that she was on several medications for depression and that she really wanted to get off the medications so she could feel “normal” again. I learned that she had never really gone into therapy to explore the reasons for her depression. She said simply, “Depression runs in my family.” Over the years I have heard clients tell me this before, as though depression was inherited and nothing could be done about it. When the depression is explored it is usually running in the family because of attitudes and behaviors passed down through the generations. Annie was no different. During her childhood she had endured years of criticism and negativity. In her family nothing was ever good enough or promising enough. There was an attitude of “why try” when things were so bleak to begin with. Annie learned to look at herself and her world as hopeless. She simply stopped hoping for a better life and stopped trying. By the time she was twenty she was already taking medications for depression. Lucky for Annie she was willing to explore the possibility that her depression was actually learned and she agreed to exploring the causes in therapy. Gradually she was able to “come to life” and was finally able to stop taking her medications.

Wendy Hill, M.A. is a San Diego and Encinitas therapist specializing in core beliefs that cause depression, anxiety, and other conflicting life challenges.

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