The problem with depression isn’t just that you are feeling down or sad. It’s that depression has the power to affect how you perceive yourself. Depression and feeling worthless often go hand in hand.
Depression changes your outlook. It alters how you interact with the world, and can actually cause you to redefine who you are as a person.
This altered outlook is no longer based on uplifting beliefs about yourself, but around feeling such as powerlessness, shame, and hopelessness. And that creates a link between depression and low self-worth. It’s the root sense of powerlessness and shame which impacts many people.
But of all the symptoms of depression, shame/low self-esteem is one of the most damaging to your psyche—who you are as a person.
Thus, it’s important to consider how depression and feeling worthless connect, and what you can do about it.
The Reasons That Depression Leads to Feeling Worthless
Feeling worthless when you have depression is really debilitating. It’s more than not being able to get up out of bed. Rather, you believe that you have no value at all as a person. Your life, your entire existence, can seems pointless.
This goes beyond simply having an existential crisis. Life can be very rough if you have the belief that you don’t matter.
It’s no wonder that people who are severely depressed either consider, attempt, or follow through with suicide. They truly believe that their lives have no meaning or purpose. They can also truly believe that they don’t add value to other people’s lives. But where do these feeling of worthlessness come from?
Emotional and Physical Trauma
One reason that depression and feeling worthless are linked so closely is due to the effect of traumatic experiences. Childhood trauma, in particular, is very damaging to your emotional well-being. It certainly influences your beliefs about yourself and your self-worth.
For example, you may have been told when young that you were insignificant or worthless. Perhaps you were bullied. Physical and sexual abuse adds to this message that “you don’t matter”. In fact, these feelings may have been used as a tool to manipulate you. If you haven’t adequately healed the impact of early life traumatic experiences, they can cause you to seriously doubt your self-worth as an adult.
A String of Negative Experiences
Another way that feeling worthless connects to depression is when you have a series of negative experiences in your life. These are the times when you believe that the stars are aligned against you. You lose a job you love. You get passed over for a promotion that you desperately wanted. Or, someone rejects you.
Sometimes life deals us one blow after the next. For instance, let’s say that your company downsized and let you go after you worked for them for many years. Suddenly, you have lost the relationships with your friends and workmates. The financial crisis this thrusts you into adds to the stress you’ve already experienced with your family at home. And then, you’re faced with the sudden death of someone close to you. Can you begin to see how this string of events can spiral into depression?
When you feel that you have absolutely no control in your life and it seems as if you can never catch a break, that can easily cause you to feel helpless.
The Link Between Depression and Low Self-Worth: Hopelessness
If there is one word that can be the lynchpin between depression and feeling worthless, it’s hopelessness.
Hopelessness implies that there is no possibility that things will get better. They will either stay the same or get worse. You have no power to affect the course of your future at all. It’s as if it’s set in stone and unmovable.
That outlook would cripple anyone’s self-esteem!
Worse, even, hopelessness could cause you to make permanent choices from which you could never come back.
So, if you are struggling with depression and feeling worthless, what can you do?
Therapy for Depression
The solution to the problem of feeling depressed and worthless is therapy. In therapy, you have the opportunity to be heard and feel understood. You are no longer alone. There is now space where, and a person you can voice what you are truly feeling- and not be judged.
When you begin to feel understood, you have a better chance of beating depression and making a radical change in how you view yourself. Therapy for depression truly can be a liberating experience.
The link between depression and feeling worthless can be simple and complicated at the same time. The concepts listed above are not hard to understand. Yet, there may be years or decades of experiences—both big and small—that have created a very complex web of low self-worth. To treat depression when you feel worthless, it’s critical you participate in therapy for depression.
Please, contact me today or read more about my approach to depression therapy by clicking on the link.