My Negative Self-Talk Is the Voice of Depression
I’m still struggling with the negative self-talk that often comes with depression. Many of you have probably experienced this in some form or other—a nagging voice in the back of your mind that fixates on all things negative, constantly reminding you of your failures and flaws. For me, this voice is especially frustrating because I know it isn’t logical. I have, overall, a happy and fortunate life. Yet sometimes, I can’t help feeling defeated or worthless over a relatively minor event, like forgetting to run an errand or even burning the toast. When depression rears its ugly head, my negative self-talk magnifies the smallest perceived failures a hundredfold.
Focusing on the Positives Doesn't Quiet My Negative Self-Talk
I used to try to cope with these feelings by focusing on the positives in my life, reminding myself that my problems are minor compared to those of many other people. But this just made me feel worse. It compounded my sense of worthlessness with feelings of guilt and shame because how could I complain about such insignificant problems?
I tried to cheer up by telling myself the feelings were illogical, that I should feel this way instead of that way. This only frustrated me more. Although I knew the negative self-talk wasn’t rational, I couldn’t simply snap my fingers and turn it off. Because of depression, I was stuck feeling and thinking a certain way, even if it didn’t make sense to me or anyone else.
How I've Learned to Tackle My Negative Self-Talk
I’ve learned the best way to tackle negative self-talk is to accept it. Don’t try to argue with the voice, because you can’t—at least, not overnight. Instead, acknowledge how you feel.
For some reason, I’ve found this works much better when I echo it to someone else, even if that someone is a blank journal page or Word document. Sharing my feelings with a friend, loved one, or blog readers takes a weight off my chest. Keeping them bottled up out of shame or fear of judgment only makes them worse, but as soon as I talk about them, they feel much more manageable. This is why mental health counseling can be so effective.
When I struggled with depression during college, I kept a journal. I wrote down every little feeling I had, every snippet of negative self-talk. Most of my words never made it to another person’s ear, but the act of writing them down and letting the emotions out was deeply therapeutic. Now that I’m writing for this blog, I find myself rediscovering the sense of relief that comes with letting my feelings out onto a page.
Learn more about how negative self-talk can feed depression here:
Craft, R. (2023, February 22). My Negative Self-Talk Is the Voice of Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2023/2/my-negative-self-talk-is-the-voice-of-depression