Like we often say at The Depression Project, just because you have a negative thought, it does not mean that it's true. And, particularly when you’re viewing everything through depression’s critical, distorted lens that’s causing you to think much more negatively than you otherwise would, many of your negative thoughts are likely going to be false.
With that being said, in this blog post, we'd like to share with you a free excerpt from one of our cognitive behavioural therapy-based journals that outlines two distorted thinking patterns which can falsely convince you "I will never overcome depression".
Are you ready?
“Cognitive distortions” are distorted thinking patterns that are grounded in some form of bias, and which commonly result in you viewing yourself, the world, and/or a situation much more critically, negatively or pessimistically than you otherwise would. And, when you have the negative thought “I’m never going to overcome depression”, you’re almost certainly thinking in a cognitively distorted way without even knowing it. For this reason, it’s extremely important that you identify- and bring awareness to the ways in which you may be doing so.
Because if you’re able to recognise that the negative thought “I’m never going to overcome depression” is indeed a cognitive distortion – as opposed to being an accurate perception of reality – then it will suddenly become much easier for you to dismiss it and push it from your mind (or at the very least, this negative thought will likely lose some of its power over you).
With that being said, let’s now identify some cognitive distortions that the negative thought “I’m never going to overcome depression” is commonly grounded in.
A Common Cognitive Distortion That Can Falsely Convince You "I Will Never Overcome Depression": Fortune Telling1
Fortune telling is where you make a prediction about the future and then assume it to be true. And, when you have depression, this most commonly involves making a negative prediction about the future – such as when you predict “I’m never going to overcome depression”. However, what happens in the future is yet to be determined, and the major, major problem with making a prediction like “I’m never going to overcome depression” is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and actually keep you trapped in depression.
Because if you predict “I’m never going to overcome depression”, then moving forwards, you’re much less likely than you otherwise would be to take the actions that can ultimately lead to you overcoming depression – such as going to therapy, reading self-help books, breaking out of unhealthy habits and replacing them with healthy habits, practicing self-care, and/or making positive lifestyle changes, for example. This is because if you’ve convinced yourself that you’re never going to overcome depression anyway, then you likely won’t see the point in taking any of these actions. And, as a result of not taking any of these actions to overcome depression, it’s much, much less likely that you’ll ever end up doing so.
However, let’s say that instead of making the definitive, all-conclusive future prediction “I’m never going to overcome depression”, you had a more open-minded view of the future, such as:
- “While I don’t know what the future will hold, I will do everything in my power to overcome depression.”
- “I’m going to set myself the goal of overcoming depression, try really hard to achieve it, and then see what happens.”
In each of these cases, because you have more optimism about the future and believe that it’s yet to be determined as opposed to a fait accompli, then you’re much, much more likely to see a reason to take the actions that can ultimately lead to you overcoming depression. And, as a result of then taking those actions, you’re much, much more likely to actually do so!
Another Common Cognitive Distortion That Can Falsely Convince You "I Will Never Overcome Depression": The Fallacy Of Control1
This cognitive distortion can, among other things, involve thinking that you have no control over your situation, your life and what happens to you in the future. For example, it can be present in negative thoughts like:
- “Being depressed is just the way I am, and the way I’ll be for the rest of my life.”
- “No matter what I do, I will never overcome depression.”
- “I am never going to overcome depression, so there’s no point in even trying to.”
However, in each of these examples, the fallacy lies in the underlying belief that whatever actions you take will make absolutely no difference to anything, and that you have absolutely no power or ability to positively influence your future. However, like we’ve already mentioned:
- You are not powerless;
- Your actions do make a difference;
- You can influence your future in a positive way!
End of free excerpt
We really hope you've found this free journal excerpt helpful.
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.
P.S. If you'd like more help coping with and overcoming the negative thought "I'm never going to overcome depression", then please click the button below to learn more about our You Can Overcome Depression journal.