As a clinical psychologist, I often meet people with depressive symptoms, low mood or diagnosed depression.
I also meet people who, through medication or time, have beaten depression.
Still, the one thing these two groups can often have in common is GUILT.
Often guilty thoughts/feelings/beliefs are formed in depression and are about issues that have some truth. For example, a depressed parent may feel guilt about their effect upon their children.
The guilt is considered logical‚(What parent doesn’t feel some anxiety about their parenting?)
But the depression makes the blame 100% terrible.
As a result, in many of these people, the low mood is bad but the guilt is worse.
Once the mood lifts, through medication or time, the guilt remains.
The guilt is a belief, made of words or experience, and remains unchallenged.
It does not respond to medication, and it can withstand time.
What To Do.
Know it for what it is
Unrealistic/overblown guilt formed in depression
Consider if have developed a style of thinking that encourages guilt.
Remember; just because I think it, it doesn’t mean it’s true.
- Are my thoughts factual, or are they just my interpretations?
- Am I jumping to negative conclusions?
- How can I find out if my thoughts are actually true?
- Is this situation as bad as I am making out to be?
- Would other people/(someone in particular) think the same way?
- Will this matter in five days/weeks/months/years?
- What can I do that will help me solve the problem?
- Cognitive therapies are very helpful in dealing with guilt and can often provide long-term skills & benefits very quickly.
On a broader note, other holistic therapies, such as massage, can produce a sense of well-being, pleasure and calm, which is often missing when feeling low.
For more information or to contact Dr Kalmus by telephoning The Devon Clinic on 01803 500300
Dr Ellis Kalmus BA(Hons) ClinPsyD, CPsychol, AFBPsS