One of the most important scholars of depression is the American psychiatrist Aaron Beck, who was also one of the main founders of the cognitive-behavioral perspective in psychotherapy. The following is a description, based on Aaron Beck’s contributions, of the main ways of thinking that characterize depression.
When you find yourself feeling depressed, try rethinking what triggered or increased your mood. It could be thoughts about something that happened recently or it can be some thought about past events. In any case, these thoughts are likely to have one or more of these contents:
Negative opinion of oneself.
This often stems from the fact that people with depression often confront other people who seem more attractive, more successful, or who appear more intelligent. A person can easily remember episodes in which others have given the impression of not appreciating or not liking it. Then come to consider himself a worthless individual, one who is a burden to others and conclude that friends or relatives would be better off without him. And this will only accentuate the depression.
Self-criticism and self-condemnation.
It occurs when an individual focuses all your attention on your alleged mistakes. For example, you blame yourself for not doing a certain job as well as you thought it should be done. Or you blame yourself r condemn yourself for saying something wrong, or for causing some inconvenience to someone. When things go wrong, you likely think it’s your own fault. Sometimes even if a happy event occurs, you can continue to feel bad as you think “I don’t deserve it, I’m worth nothing”. Because of low self-opinion, those who suffer from depression will tend to demand excessive things from themselves, they can, for example, pretend to be perfect in anything they are going to do. A typical thought may be “I had to do better”.
Negative interpretation of events
Those who suffer from depression can frequently react negatively in situations that before, when they did not suffer from depression, left them indifferent. So if for example you happen to stain your pants you can think “I’m all wrong”. Or if you happen to spend more money than expected, you may feel downcast as if you have lost a significant sum. You may notice disapproval of tea in other people’s behaviors or think that others are thinking badly of you even if they are actually behaving in a friendly way.
Negative expectations regarding the future.
People with depression often find themselves convinced that they will never be able to overcome their feelings of deep sadness and that their problems will last forever. It can also happen to make negative advances when trying to carry out a certain activity, assuming thoughts such as “I am sure I will not be able”.
The depressed individual tends to resign himself to unhappiness, considering it inevitable and will therefore tend to repeat that it is useless to try to make things better.
Exaggeration of difficulties and responsibilities.
Although many of his activities remain the same, the individual suffering from depression may begin to think that he can no longer carry out certain commitments. It can also happen to the depressed person to give up any kind of entertainment in order to face what is perceived as a series of insurmountable commitments. Physical signs of tension that usually accompany such thoughts may even be perceived: nausea, wheezing, headache.