Managing Symptoms of Depression
Problems with Thinking
Depression is notorious for causing difficulty in thinking, concentration, memory, and decision making. Depression also causes you to think in negative or pessimistic ways, which can contribute to maintaining a depressed mood. Any of these problems can make it difficult to believe that you will ever feel better again. However, when the depression lifts, much of this negative thinking is likely to disappear.
What does NOT help with thinking problems:
- Being hard on yourself for having such difficulties.
- Making major life decisions.
- Taking on more things than you can handle. This can include attempting to manage now what you have been able to do in the past when you have not been depressed.
What can help improve thinking problems:
- Recognizing that depression causes you to have problems with thinking concentration, memory, and decision making. It is not some character flaw or “failure” on your part. When you are not depressed, you may not have such problems with your thinking.
- Refraining from making important decisions about your life until you feel better able to think things through sufficiently. Ask family and friends to help you weigh the pros and cons of important decisions.
- Being careful about trying to handle as many things as you have in the past. You may need to cut back on your obligations.
- Being patient with yourself and using some strategies for memory, including writing things down in a notebook, using notes to remind yourself of things and posting them where you will see them. Organizing papers and information in useful ways. Giving yourself extra time to do these things.
- If you struggle with negative or pessimistic thinking, consider ways to help change your ways of thinking. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is designed to address this kind of thinking that tends to maintain depressive symptoms. Find out if your therapist can offer this to you. You might also check out the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Workshop on this website.