Understanding The Link Between Depression and Self-Esteem
Posted: August 16, 2021
A lot of times, there is more to depression than just being sad. Depression can make you feel unworthy, unattractive, unmotivated, or plain out awful about yourself. Depression is often talked about. But, its connection to your self-esteem is not always mentioned. Your self-esteem can take a huge hit during a depressive episode. And, if you’re not careful, depression can lead to long-term negativity around your self-image and worth.
But here’s the thing, recognizing how your depression and self-esteem impact yourself and your worldview is essential in moving forward towards living the life you want to live.
The Difference Between Self-Image and Self-Esteem
Self-image and self-esteem sound very similar. To most people, they may even mean the same thing. But, when it comes to the introspection needed to understand your depression, we need to know the difference between them.
Self-image is a broad term used to describe the overarching idea of your personality. Your self-image is who you think you are. It is the clothes you wear and your style just as much as it is your standpoints on controversial topics. Self-image is what defines us as human beings. For example, say that you are a mother and a wife in Northpoint, NC. You take great pride in cheering on the home team and you love to wear school pride t-shirts. You think 90s music is the best, and believe that everyone deserves love. This is your self-image.
Self-esteem, however, has more to do with your levels of confidence and certainty. When depressed, you may feel less confident about your worth and abilities since you lack energy. Even showering or brushing your hair sounds impossible. You may also begin to question your worth and abilities at work because you’ve been having a couple of hard days. It may feel like you’re not good enough and that others deserve more than you ever will. Self-esteem can tie hand in hand with your depression and keep you in that awful anxious funk.
Relationship Between Self Esteem and Depression
When you begin treatment for depression, one of the first things we will do is explore where you are at. It is important to know what you think about yourself. This will allow you to discover underlying issues that may reinforce depressive thoughts.
When you are depressed, your guard is down. This can make it easier to think that others are thinking negative things about you. It can also make it easier to think negatively of yourself. But, getting out of the vicious cycle of poor self-esteem and depression isn’t impossible. You only need to take time to understand why you are feeling this way.
Exploring what is causing your low self-esteem will look different for everyone. In general, you can expect that we will explore your past and what may be causing you to think less of yourself. Once you become more aware of the root of the problem, you can begin to unpack these thoughts. And, you can start to release the weight of those hurtful thoughts.
Then, you can work to strengthen your self-esteem and increase feelings of self-worth. Over time, this will strengthen your confidence. Thus, allowing you to think, feel, and act with a better attitude about yourself. You will also find that you have the strength and confidence needed to fight your depression. Doesn’t that sound great?
Understanding Your Self-Esteem
There are many things you can do to help explore the way you feel about yourself. And, many techniques can be done at home, and others may occur in self-esteem therapy. In doing so, you can uncover suppressed thoughts and emotions and begin to unpack them. And, you can neatly put them away in a place that can’t hurt you anymore. Working through your self-esteem challenges is crucial to understanding your mental health. Here are two of my favorite activities for understanding your self-esteem:
Writing in a Gratitude Journal
Journaling in general is very helpful for putting your thoughts into words. Being able to write down what you are feeling at any given moment helps to solidify your feelings. It helps to know that they are real and provide a reference for introspective work later on. Further, a gratitude journal can allow you to practice changing your perspective. You can work to think of yourself and life in a more positive light. By starting each entry with a few sentences of gratitude, you can start to reshape the way you perceive and process the day. You can use the rest of the entry to work through your thoughts and feelings about yourself and your day. You may find that journaling helps you to get to the root of your challenges. It can help uncover past experiences that you hadn’t considered before.
Using a Feelings Circle Chart
If getting all your thoughts onto paper feels intimidating, that is okay. A feelings circle chart can help you narrow down exactly what you are feeling. Then, you can think through what that means for your self-esteem and mental well-being. This tool can help connect your depression to your self-esteem. For example, you may not know what is going on, only that you feel sad. You can look at a feelings circle chart and narrow it down from there. You feel lonely in your journey. Or, that no one feels the same way that you do. From there, you can narrow it down even more to identify your feelings of neglect. That may prompt you to remember a traumatic childhood event that now leaves you feeling unworthy.
This discovery can be startling. But, self-esteem therapy and treatment for depression can help you work through all those feelings. Further, it can help raise and stabilize your confidence and self-esteem. It is possible to feel good about yourself again, and we are here to help.
Begin Self Esteem Therapy and Treatment for Depression in North Carolina
Changing how you see the world takes time, commitment, and support. I hope this blog helped provide you with helpful tools you can use to combat your depression. I would be happy to help you overcome your depression from my North Carolina-based online counseling practice. I take Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna, and the North Carolina state health plan as insurance coverage. To start treatment for depression, follow these simple steps:
Other Services Offered with Michele Seeley LCMHC:
Treatment for depression isn’t the only service I provide from my North Carolina-based counseling practice. I also offer counseling for anxiety, counseling for depression, and individual relationship counseling. Learn more about self-esteem therapy, Brainspotting, and online therapy, or feel free to visit my FAQ page or blog!