5 Things Your Depression Blinds You To
Hey Optimist Minds!
In 2017, the World Health Organisation released a report listing depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide. The report mentioned that 322 million people, or 4.4% of the world’s population, lived with depression.
That was much before the global COVID pandemic. Today, due to how this pandemic has affected livelihoods and lifestyles, the prevalence of depression only seems to be growing.
Clinical depression is characterised by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. It impacts the way you think, feel, and behave.
When you’re depressed, you lose sight of many things around you and about you. In this video, we’re going to list five such things that you stop noticing or acknowledging when you’re living with depression.
We want our viewers to know that this information is for educational purposes. Do not use it to diagnose yourself or anyone else. Only a licensed mental health professional is qualified to make an official diagnosis. So, if you think you might be depressed, we recommend that you consult a therapist today.
Now, here are five things your depression blinds you to.
Your strengths and skills.
Depression causes self-esteem levels to decrease because of excessive self-critical thoughts. The internal dialogue in your head keeps saying mean things like, “you can’t do anything”, “you won’t get it right”, or “you’re so stupid”.
With all that negativity, it’s natural to forget that you do have abilities and qualities that make you special. For example, it could be that you used to enjoy doing something that you were quite skilled at. But since the depression, you’ve stopped engaging in that activity, or it’s a lot harder to do it now.
The hiatus may make you think you don’t have it in you anymore. Similarly, since depressive thoughts focus entirely on shortcomings, you may wrongly think you don’t have anything to be proud of.
Other ways of looking at the situation.
According to the positive psychologist, Barbara Fredrickson’s broaden and build theory, positive emotions broaden an individual’s ability to respond in multiple ways to any given situation. In contrast, negative emotions make us focus on specific details, causing us to miss the bigger picture.
In depression, the overwhelming and persistent negative emotions take over your perception. As a result, you only see things from one perspective, which is typically pretty bleak.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy or CBT is an effective intervention for depression because it helps individuals look at the same situation from a more positive or helpful lens. When you look at the cause of your sadness in new ways, the negative emotion diminishes, and you create hope.
Depression is a thought disorder because it develops when we form unhelpful habits of thinking. These thought patterns are unhelpful because they are usually formed under cognitive distortions or biases.
A mental disorder like depression doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long time of thinking in these ways for one to start feeling helpless, trapped, and hopeless. By the time the condition develops, you stop realising that your thoughts are not based on logic.
A few examples of such irrational thoughts are:
- “If I don’t get this right, I’m a total failure.” This type of thinking is called black-or-white or all-or-nothing. It’s irrational because one failure doesn’t minimise your life’s achievements.
- “I always screw things up.” Critical thoughts that use always or never are unrealistic because there must have been some incidents when you did succeed at something.
- “There’s no point trying; I’m going to fail at it.” Here, you’re predicting the future even though there’s no way of knowing what’ll happen for sure.
Someone who is battling depression won’t be able to notice these negative thought traps. They’re traps because when you think in these ways, it leads to more negative thoughts.
Your purpose in life.
Studies have shown that depression and self-derogation may lead to a lack of purpose in life, which, in turn, may lead to suicide ideation and substance use. When we’re unsure why we are alive or what our life should be about, it’s natural to feel footloose and unsettled.
Finding purpose is highly effective in improving overall mental health, especially for people dealing with depression and trauma. But until that happens, this can form a vicious cycle.
Depression leads to a lack of purpose, and lack of purpose perpetuates depression.
Things to be grateful for.
As we mentioned earlier, chronic negative thoughts limit one’s perspective. You don’t see the bigger picture, so you miss out on things that are working out well for you. It’s not something you do by choice. When you’re constantly thinking about something hurtful, it’s unlikely that you’ll remember what you’re thankful for.
That’s why in therapy, clients with depression are shown how to practice gratitude more often to undo this effect. Experts have shown that gratitude leads to higher levels of perceived social support and lower levels of stress and depression.
Were you able to resonate with the items on our list? Do you think that your depression has been blinding you from these things? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.
A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.
Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.