Common Problems with Depression and What to do
Hi there! I hope this blog helps you understand depression and gain some skills on how to manage it. Let's jump into what the most common problems are with depression and some approaches on how to address them.
Lack of Interest and Motivation
Many people with depression stop or significantly reduce their activities, hobbies, and work. They think that once they feel in a better mood, they will start to do the things they love, but according to research, it is the opposite effect. When you don't engage in the activities you enjoyed, you have fewer opportunities for joy and have a higher risk of feeling worse. Once you start participating in the activities or taking a quick 5 to 10-minute walk, your mood will improve.
What to do:
Write down a plan to engage in the activities you enjoyed before (or new ones). Be specific and identify how, when, and where, the activity will happen. Also, determine how long you will do it, you can start with five minutes and increase with time. Don't forget to schedule your plan and use an alarm to remind you.
Wearing Dark Sunglasses
Ok, no, wearing dark sunglasses is not a common problem with depression, but depression is like wearing dark sunglasses all the time. When depression is present, there is a cognitive triad; we tend to see ourselves, the world, and our future in a negative way. Dealing with negative thoughts is perhaps the most challenging part of depression because we believe our negative thoughts are real. Our emotions are related to what we think; therefore, if we choose what we think it will influence how we feel. Here are some ways to adjust your thoughts to impact your mood positively:
Question the validity of your thoughts
Examine your thoughts
Change your response to your negative automatic thoughts
Think about another way to look at the situation
Erroneous Themes in your Thoughts
Commonly, people with depression have an unhealthy theme in their thoughts. The theme in our thoughts have definitions about ourselves and the world; these definitions are called core beliefs. We apply our core beliefs to ourselves and the world. For today, I will focus on the core beliefs of the "self "during depression. There are three categories of erroneous core beliefs:
I am helpless
I am unlovable
I am worthless
For each individual, a core belief may sound differently despite being in the same category; for example, if you have a theme of thoughts in the helpless category, they may sound like this:
I am incompetent
I am ineffective
I am a failure
I can't do anything right
What to do:
To address your harmful core beliefs, understand that your mind is wired to pay attention to the evidence that proves your core beliefs are right. This mechanism also ignores the facts that your core beliefs are inaccurate. For example, let's say that your core belief is, "I am a failure." Your mind will accept your boss's comment that you failed but reject your friend's comment that you have accomplished various things in your life. Take notice of your negative core beliefs, and begin to look for situations, facts, and evidence that contradict your negative core belief.
Diana Ruiz, LCPC
Anxiety and Depression Therapist