Managing Symptoms of Depression
Feelings of Worthlessness, Guilt
You may tend to think of yourself in very negative unrealistic ways. You may become preoccupied with past "failures," personalize trivial events, or believe that minor mistakes are proof of your inadequacy. You also may have an unrealistic sense of personal responsibility and see many things as being your own fault. For example, a car salesperson may spend a great deal of time blaming himself/herself for not meeting certain sales quotas even when the overall sales of cars in the area is down and other salespeople are having similar difficulty.
What does NOT help feelings of worthlessness or guilt:
- Continuing to ruminate on negative thoughts about yourself.
- Looking for evidence that such negative thoughts are true.
What can improve feelings of worthlessness or guilt:
- Recognizing that depression causes you to have negative thoughts and feelings about yourself. It is not some character flaw or “failure” on your part. When you are not depressed, you may not have as many strong, negative thoughts that affect your mood adversely.
- Using strategies such as those found in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you identify negative thinking and modify such thoughts towards improving your mood and self-esteem. There is a strong connection between our thoughts and our feelings, and CBT has been shown numerous times in research to help improve depressed mood.
- By identifying our negative “thinking styles” through the use of CBT, we can learn to recognize when our thinking is negatively affecting our mood.
- Taking a look at the CBT Workshop on this website that walks you through simple strategies you can learn and use to help modify negative thinking.