“They must be really desperate. Why else would they have given me this job? My application was probably the only one they received.”
“The house is a mess. My kids are running wild. I’m such a horrible mother. I can’t do anything right. Something must be wrong with me.”
“I’ve left that message days ago, and they still haven’t called me back. They probably don’t want to talk to me because they just don’t like me.”
Imagine a friend or family member saying these negative thoughts about themselves. Would you not tell them that they’re dead wrong, that those are lies, and that they shouldn’t think so negatively about themselves?
Strange thing is, when depression tells you those lies, you believe them.
Worse, even these negative thoughts can make you react in a self-destructive way. Instead of responding constructively, you end up beating yourself up.
How Depression Lies to You
Consider for a moment: The exact same event can have a completely different impact on different people. That is because people don’t necessarily just reflect the reality of an event, they interpret its meaning. And while depressed people often doubt themselves, they seldom doubt their judgment about their own interpretations.
Think about the three patterns of negative thoughts mentioned at the outset. There are several other possible reasons for what happened in each situation.
Could it be that the person got the job because they are capable? Because they have good qualifications?
Could it be that the mother simply has too much on her plate? Maybe one of her children has special needs?
And, could it be that the person didn’t call back because their phone wasn’t working? Or they were in an area where phone service was bad?
It will quickly fill in the blanks to explain an event. It steers you to habitually pick the negative thoughts to interpret what happened. Depression actually warps your perception and makes good become bad and bad become a catastrophe.
With its lies, depression wants to make you…
blow negative things out of proportion.
trample on your self-esteem.
dismiss any of your abilities and successes.
take responsibility for things that you can’t control.
not see that change is possible.
Don’t believe depression!
These Thoughts Are Not True – Reject Them!
Here is a universal truth: Every bad feeling you experience is the result of negative thoughts. It’s impossible to have an emotion without first having had a thought.
Depression uses this truth against you. It creates an unending, vicious circle. The more depressed you feel, the more negative thoughts you’ll have. The more you see things negatively, the more depressed you’ll feel.
What can you possibly do about it?
First, you have to realize that you’re thinking negatively. To most people, it seems like they’re just reacting to specific events in their lives. But your thoughts create your reality. Remember, something becomes negative onlybecause you interpret it as such.
Reject this negative interpretation – reject your negative thoughts!
They are not true!
Switching to A New Channel
Admittedly, negative thoughts are often so pervasive and strong, they’re not easily dismissed. It’s because negative thinking doesn’t just include what you think but also what you say, what you imagine, what you tell yourself, and what memories you replay in your mind.
You have to take decisive actions and force your negative thoughts out by replacement. If you find yourself stuck on negative thoughts, flip the record over. Think of what you want, not what you don’t want. Switch to a new, positive channel and get absorbed in it.
Don’t let depression whisper lies into your ears any longer!
Nancy Ryan, LMFT specializes in working with individuals and couples who want deep, satisfying relationships with themselves and their partners. She works with couples who are ready to stop the destructive patterns and want to build the love, friendship and romance back into their partnership. For more information on depression visit Nancy Ryan at Counseling in Sacramento