How a Negative Self-Image Affects Depression

How a Negative Self-Image Affects Depression

Negative self-image and depression are not only linked, but they often overlap

Self-image reflects how you view your abilities, appearance and personality. It is more than just body image or physical appearance, as it is based on what you think about yourself and how you believe others perceive you. Self-image directs much of what we do and think, as the image we create of ourselves includes expectations of how we will feel, react and behave. When people respond in accordance to this self-image, they support it, which means it will even more firmly direct how we act. As a result, self-image and depression are nearly inextricable from one another. Psychology Today explains that, “certainly, if you dislike yourself, you’ll be more likely to be depressed. Conversely, if you’re depressed, you’ll be more likely to feel bad about who you are” (“Is Low Self-Esteem Making You Vulnerable to Depression?” February 2013). One problem is rarely the direct and clear cause of the other, but the two issues have a causal relationship.

Thought Patterns, Self-Image and Depression

Negative self-image and depression are not only linked, but they often overlap. Depression involves negative thoughts about oneself, the world, people and the future; on the other hand, a negative self-image causes negative thoughts about oneself, and it may include a pessimistic view of life. As a result of either condition, people believe they are unable or unworthy of company. Those who struggle with both depression and a low self-esteem are often more introverted and disagreeable, and they are less open to new experiences and new ways of thinking. These personality traits both contribute to and result from many negative emotions.

The relationship between thoughts, self-image and depression often leave people feeling trapped and alone, overwhelming feelings that can lead to chronic depression and unhealthy coping skills. In other words, as people struggle to feel good about themselves, they may develop drug addictions, eating disorders or behavioral dependencies to mask or escape pain. While depression and negative self-image seem inescapable, they are not: many healthy, positive activities can improve self-image and thought patterns.

Overcoming Negative Self-Image and Depression

Depression and negative self-image can be fought on multiple levels. Clinical depression may require medication, but it alone is not an answer. Therapy provides lasting training and support to manage emotions. Furthermore, because negative self-image and depression are rooted in thoughts and behavior, therapy options should address how and why you think and act as you do; such treatment will reshape negative habits to relieve pain and manage symptoms. A happy, healthy and stable life is possible for you, no matter how you view recovery, so call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now for instant, professional support.

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