Depression & Sadness

Depression is a mood state that is not necessarily a disorder but might include feeling sad, hopeless, worthless, irritable, helpless ("there's nothing I can do"), low energy, or restlessness. Sometimes a depressed mood can be considered part of a disorder such as Adjustment disorderDysthymia, orMajor Depressive Disorder. Other times, people just feel depressed for a few days before it goes away and this often happens when a person is tired or had a bad day. Sometimes depression can be an important indicator that it's time for a change or that important parts of one's self are being unfulfilled. Addressing the source of your depression can lead to wonderful, life fulfilling experiences and relationships.

Negative Thoughts & Low Self-esteem

People experiencing depression report having thoughts like, "Nothing I do is ever good enough", "It's all my fault", "No one understands me", "I hate everyone", "Everyone hates me" or "I'm worthless". These thoughts and beliefs support the development of negative feelings about one's self (also known as "low self-esteem) and about other people and/or the future. Although these types of negative thoughts are quite common in human beings, they can create a mental environment that leaves a person vulnerable to developing long-lasting, persistent depression. For some additional information about negative thoughts please see: What to Do About Negative Thinking When Positive Thinking Doesn't Work.

Therapy for Depression

Of course, recovering from depression isn't easy and people often feel very little (if any) sense of choice or control over it. If it was easy to overcome, it seems unlikely many people would be depressed for very long. Luckily, some very powerful models of therapy for depression have been developed, tested and found to be effective. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (called "CBT" for short) involves making changes to your lifestyle and perspectives in ways that have profound effects on your experience of well-being and beliefs about yourself, others and the future. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (called "ACT" for short) involves increasing your capacity for self-acceptance, clarifying what is meaningful to you about life and using committed action to live in a way that is more satisfying to you. Family Therapy can also be useful in reducing depression. In this model, everyone in the family works together to change the family environment in a way that supports everyone's sense of well-being and decreases the potential for family members to be depressed.