Depression the Distorter

Posted by on Jul 31, 2015 in CBT, Cognitive, Depression, Therapy | 0 comments

Depression can be a debilitating condition, in large part due to how much it distorts our thinking.  These distortions are not hallucinations, but they do skew our vision to make it hard to see things realistically.  Thinking is distorted or filtered by Depression in such a way so that it is hard to see anything good in the world.  Every day life has challenges, road blocks, and sometimes tragedies, and when we are not experiencing Depression, we can see solutions -we have options.  With Depression, we feel like we are stuck, it is hard to see that there are any good options. We may not be hopeless, but our distorted thinking makes us feel as though nothing can change.   A person with Depression can have many friends, but assume that because no one has called lately, everyone has forgotten them. Depression makes us feel like we are alone, when we’re not alone.  Upon receiving a raise at work one might think “everyone else probably got more of a raise than I did”.  Depression distorts our viewpoint to make everyone else seem happy, everyone else luckier, everyone else has it easy.  If we have a flat tire, it is the end of the world, it is a catastrophe “Now I’ll be late for that appointment, I’ll probably lose my job, no one will hire me again, I’ll be homeless.”  What is usually a normal every day challenge, becomes insurmountable.  Every challenge becomes magnified.

It is important to know that when people with Depression are thinking negatively, it is not because they are lazy, weak, or aren’t trying.  Depression’s effects on the brain are so significant that the negative distortions actually seem real.  The thought “no one cares about me” can seem true, even if surrounded by loved ones. This is why simply attempting to cheer up a depressed person usually does not work. How can we be cheered up if we believe that nothing is good, everything is a struggle, and nothing can get better?

It is almost always impossible to conquer Depression on our own. We really need a sounding board, a neutral party, to help us see beyond the distortions.  A therapist can be that person. In Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, we learn skills to help us see through these distortions and to see more possibilities – we become un-stuck. We gradually begin to realize that there are options, we have choices, and that there are actions we can take to make a difference.  Counseling a way out of the Depression Distortion trap.

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