How Depression Impacts Our Decision Making Process
In the height of my depression in 2014/2015 I didn’t just feel like I was stuck in this feeling but I was actually spiraling. The problem with depression is that it changes our mindsets so much that we start making decisions that end up making it so much worse for ourselves. These are things that we sometimes just can’t help but need to start recognising so we can try and pull ourselves out of these bad habits. Once we start getting our shit together can we then start working on getting better and feeling like ourselves again.
We Want to Blame Others
Now of course mental illness is never your fault but the decisions you make are made by you and you alone. Regardless of how you are feeling, you are making these choices.
Because of how I was feeling at my lowest point I would make terrible choices. It was never good for me in the long term and when I reached the point where I was thinking how I had messed up I would try and put the blame elsewhere.
This meant that I was feeling angry at something or someone for no reason and was not recognising that this issue was more deep rooted in myself.
It also meant that I was not taking responsibility for my actions. This then gave me “permission” to keep making these choices because I was convinced that they were not my fault.
So start to recognise that you are responsible for your actions and your choices. We all make mistakes and decisions that aren’t always the best for us and that’s ok. But stop putting the blame elsewhere. You can then train yourself to look at the bigger picture when you are making choices as you take responsibility.
We Want Instant Gratification
I was a big shopper and used to spend a lot of my money without a vision for the future. This was because I got such a high from new purchases and would constantly be seeking this instant gratification.
We never want to look at the long term because when we have depression the ability to look into the future is hindered greatly. And even if we are able to look forward, we often don’t like what we see.
It took me a long while to realise that I was doing more harm to myself by spending money I didn’t really have compared to the temporary high I was feeling with my shopping bags in my hand.
This isn’t just about spending money. This could also apply to you if you are acting promiscuous when what you really want is a long term, loving relationship or binging on food that is bad for you because you want to feel that sugar high.
Once you start to think more long term, you can take action that may be a little more difficult to deal with now but will be so good for you in the future.
We Look for a Cause That Isn’t Always There
Depression can be triggered by events in our lives but other times it can come about just by a chemical imbalance in the brain, therefore meaning that there is not one thing that is causing you to feel so down.
My depression was not brought on by a single event so I had nothing that I could change to make it better.
However, this took me a while to realise. For ages I would pin it on so many things in my life. At first I thought I was depressed because of my weight, so I would get so down about it and because I made it such a bigger deal than it was it backfired and I ended up putting on more and more weight because I was associating my emotions with food.
I then was putting strain on my relationship because I was thinking it must be my relationship that is getting me down. I would pick out the tiniest things that were wrong and make them into a huge issue. When really, my fiance is a saint and is as perfect as humanly possible.
By looking for the cause we can push people away or we can sabotage areas in our life because we are, in a way, angry at those things.
So stop looking for a reason and realise that sometimes it is just simply an illness with no cause. So instead of focusing on what may be making you feel crappy, focus on yourself and how you can start moving forward and working on your mental health.
We Don’t Look at the Big Picture
We can only see what is in front of us at that moment when we are in this mental state, along with all the negative emotions we have brought along with us from the past. However, we never stop to look to the future or at the bigger picture.
If we are focusing on the negative feelings we are deep in at that time then that is all we can think about and we don’t see that there is more out there that can help us feel better.
When we are so focused in on what is happening right in front of us and how we are feeling in that moment it is more difficult to make choices that are going to be good for us in the long term. If we are not thinking about the long term, the choices we make will reflect this.
If you are struggling to look to the future, maybe start by making a vision board and setting yourself some goals. Read my post here on how setting goals when you have depression is so important.
We Are Coming from a Negative Mindset
Lastly, the main issue is just that we are coming from a negative mindset. Mindset is everything, so when we are feeling negative inside, this is going to run over into everything that we do. Every decision we make and each interaction we have is controlled by the emotion behind it.
Unfortunately when we are suffering from depression, the whole point is that we can’t control this negative feeling inside of us. It runs deep and can sometimes seem permanent.
The only thing I can suggest for this is that everything is temporary. The way you are feeling now won’t last forever. But it’s not going to go away on it’s own either.
You have to work hard. It will be painful and it will be difficult but as long as you keep moving forward and try to look at the bigger picture you will come out the other side.