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Dealing with Depression – Change Your Perspective

Things aren’t always as they seem. It’s easy for us to interpret a situation based on what we see and hear, but we don’t usually have all the information. This is particularly true when we’re experiencing depression. We get short-sighted and our view of the world is not necessarily correct.

That’s why it’s important for us to challenge our perspective when we’re struggling with depression or anxiety. In other words, we look for evidence that both supports our interpretation of events but that also challenges it. This way, we have a more realistic viewpoint of our world.

Example #1: Friend Doesn’t Return Phone Call

Let’s say you’ve left a couple of voice mails for your friend and asked him to call you back. But it has been three days and you haven’t heard from him. You begin to think he’s just ignoring you. I’m just a big pain to him. Why would he call me back?

First, look for evidence that supports your thoughts. Has he done anything that shows that he thinks you’re a pain and doesn’t want to be around you? Maybe he has expressed the idea that he’s not always sure how to act around you when you get really depressed. Or maybe when he is with you, he doesn’t say a whole lot, but spends a lot of time on his phone playing games or messaging other friends.

Then, look for evidence that contradicts your thoughts. Perhaps you remember him saying that these next few weeks were going to be really busy ones for him at work. And then you see an email from him from a couple of months ago expressing that he’s here for you and willing to do whatever he can to help you through this time.

By taking all the evidence into consideration, you can see the situation more clearly. Chad told me he would be busy this week; that’s probably why he hasn’t gotten back to me yet. Maybe he hasn’t even received my messages. He told me he’s willing to be here for me, but he doesn’t really seem to be sure how to do that.

With this more realistic viewpoint, you can give him some time to let things slow down at work and then talk to him more specifically about how he can come alongside of you as you deal with your depression.

Example #2: Boss Asks for a Meeting

As another example, let’s imagine your boss asks you to stop by her office at the end of the day. She seems upset. You’re sure she’s mad about the latest report you turned in and that she’s going to fire you.

What evidence supports this? Perhaps you really feel like you didn’t do your best on that report. In fact, you know there are mistakes in it. Plus, she was upset when she asked you to stop by.

But what evidence might contradict your thoughts? What might you be missing? You realize she just came out of a meeting with some big clients, so perhaps something that occurred during the meeting upset her and it had nothing to do with you. In the past, she has expressed that she enjoys working with you and that you do such a thorough job.

After thinking it through, you admit that your last report wasn’t the greatest, but you don’t think it would be enough for her to fire you. You try to calm down and decide just to wait to see what’s going on. This more realistic viewpoint allows you to move forward throughout the rest of the afternoon with a new determination to do a good job.


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