The symptoms of depression can be expressed in many ways, but in all cases negative thoughts occur. These are ideas related to a pessimistic perception of reality, usually exaggerated to the extreme, and that contribute to the person experiencing them to remain stagnant.

In this article we will see a series of very typical negative thoughts in people with depression .

The most frequent negative thoughts

Negative thoughts do not only appear in people with depression, but are part of the most typical symptoms of this kind of psychological disorder.

On the other hand, it is important to be clear that depression does not arise from having these thoughts in your mind persistently. They are another of the clinical manifestations of depression, a consequence of a phenomenon so complex that involves many mental and neurological processes and that cannot be reduced to what we can express through language and concepts in general.

Thus, negative thoughts are one of the superficial facets of depression; but not because they are superficial do they cease to be relevant, since maintaining attention on them greatly wears down the quality of people’s lives . Therefore, it is good to recognize this kind of ideations and be aware that they do not offer a realistic image of what is really happening around us. In the following lines there are several examples of negative thoughts.

1. No point in getting out of bed

This is one of the negative thoughts that denote abulia, that is, the lack of motivation and initiative, very typical of those who experience symptoms associated with depression.

What is characteristic of this thought is that not only is it believed in intellectually, but it is also felt to be true. In fact, it responds much more to a state of mind, or to a general lack of energy and enthusiasm for life , than to a rational analysis of what life is and whether it is worth living or not.

Therefore, those who feel this way do not even have to make efforts to improve unless someone helps them do so, as they cannot afford to invest work in practically anything.

2. Nothing that happens is authentic

Those who hold this belief adopt a completely passive attitude about what happens to them, and interpret reality in a way similar to that of someone watching an uninteresting movie.

This is one of the negative thoughts related to de-realization, that is, the sensation that what is experienced is not real , or belongs to a plane of reality that does not interest or is not one’s own.

3. I will never do anything useful with my life

Hopelessness regarding one’s own life project is also expressed through low expectations of oneself and what the future will bring. This is why this negative thinking is one of the most frequent among those who present depressive symptoms.

However, in many cases this belief is not lived out tragically. Some people experience depression with deep sadness, but others don’t even feel that, and their psychological state has more to do with indifference.

Therefore, the idea that one is not going to progress in life may not cause discomfort , and be just one more evidence that the future is not relevant because the present is not relevant either.

4. It’s my fault

People who tend to express negative thoughts have a style of attributing causes to facts in which they are the main victims. The discomfort associated with this pessimism means that in any situation where there is the possibility of blaming oneself, it is done.

Thus, many times one falls into the trap of believing that one is to blame for practically everything bad that happens. The explanation is that low self-esteem and lack of motivation to look for more elaborate explanations leads to fixation on oneself, even in situations where one is the victim.

5. No one loves or respects me

This is the ultimate negative thinking that damages the social relations of the one who holds it in mind during the day to day. It is a belief that cuts off the potential affective ties we may have with people in our close social circle, and weakens those that were consolidated (such as those with other family members).

It should not be forgotten that negative thoughts are not only directed against oneself, but also have consequences on the way we relate to others .

What to do to get out of the pessimism?

Negative thoughts that have very deep roots in oneself, such as those that appear with depression, cannot be dissipated only through rationality and reflection . Professional help from psychologists or psychiatrists is needed.

To learn more about contacting mental health professionals, see this article: Finding a Psychologist to Attend Therapy: 7 Tips”

Bibliographic references:

  • Beck, J. (1995). Cognitive therapy: basics and insights. Gedisa Editor.
  • Bellino, S.; Patria, L.; Ziero, S.; Rocca, G.; Bogetto, F. (2001). “Clinical Features of Dysthymia and Age: a Clinical Investigation”. Psychiatry Review. 103 (2-3): 219-228.