Depression psychology

The way you habitually see yourself and the world is the outcome of your own unique life experiences and personal history (in the context of the culture you belong to). Some ways of seeing yourself make you vulnerable to depression.

Feeling ‘not good enough’

What kind of person do you believe yourself to be? How would you describe yourself?  If depression is affecting you, then your description will probably include a self-evaluation as ‘not good enough’ in some way. Sometimes this belief will have arisen as a result of depression, but often it will have existed before and made you vulnerable.

So what has got you into the habit of seeing yourself as ‘not good enough’ in your own particular way? Difficult life experiences can commonly do it, but they don’t have to be dramatic. Sometimes it can be a host of many little things.

Being badly treated

For some people, the reasons are obvious. Being badly treated, particularly as a child, is a very significant vulnerability factor for depression in later life.

People who have experienced being persistently badly treated often end up believing that they are deficient in some way and deserve the treatment they are given. This is particularly true if you have been badly treated as a child, when you are most vulnerable to believing that whatever happens to you is your fault.

‘Difference’ or lack of acceptance

For other people, reasons are less obvious. Sometimes growing up as a ‘high achiever’ can lead to the very tiring belief that you are only as good as your most recent good performance or achievement – rather than feeling ‘good enough’ without having to achieve.

Sometimes the experience of being ‘different’, in a context where conforming to the norm is valued, leaves a person feeling less valuable or not good enough.

It is a basic human need to feel loved and accepted simply for being yourself. These are the ingredients for learning to see oneself as a ‘good enough’ person. Unfortunately, we live in a world where this need is often not sufficiently met. There are many social and cultural messages which conflict with this need, so feeling ‘not good enough’ is all too common (see ‘Depression sociology’).

Depression habit spiral

Depressive self-beliefs and thinking patterns interact with other factors to create vulnerability which can allow depression to take hold in a depression habit spiral. In other words, experiences from long ago and longstanding habits of thinking can eventually become too much for you, making it seem as if you have become depressed ‘for no reason’.

Learn new habits

Whether your self-bullying habit is a long-standing and ingrained one, or whether it is a recent effect of depression, it is always possible to learn new habits! Self-bullying is part of the depressed thinking habits which fuel the depression habit spiral, and you can learn to put other more constructive habits in its place.

Next: Depression sociology

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