Every once in awhile you will run across a “distorted thinking” list that claims depression makes you see the world in a way that it really isn’t. Here are some thoughts on their line of thinking.
People want to be given the benefit of the doubt even though they rarely deserve it. Not trusting people and guarding your heart is seen as a pathology rather than an adaptive response to past stimuli.
Being negative is seen as a power grab. Those in power don’t want people with “depression” pointing out the negativity they see around them because negativity is empowering, it unmasks the way things really are. When one gets the label depressed, their speaking truth to power becomes “venting” and is quickly dismissed.
The only generalizations one are allowed to make are the ones that are politically correct. If you say “everybody has innate worth” you get a pass but as soon as you say “nobody will befriend me” you get told you have “distorted thinking” even though the latter has been true to your experience rather than the former. Negative generalizations reach deep into our evolutionary past, when we saw something like a tiger coming we either ran or fought.
Those who are nothing aren’t allowed to have all or nothing thinking. In real life there are a lot of all-or-nothing experiences. You either get the job or you don’t, the potential friend either accepts you or rejects you, they write back or they don’t. It makes us uncomfortable to think about how much of life hinges on all-or-nothing experiences so we pretend they aren’t that important.
The truth is like a pit bull, it bites and doesn’t let go. The mind often doesn’t have novel thoughts, it works as a conduit. People with depression generally aren’t idiots. If everyone they come into contact with thinks they are a loser, they are going to see it as true. They may go to therapy and try to “reason” themselves out of it but the truth will always be buried beneath the surface ready to spring out at any time.
There is no way to strike a balance between the idea you have innate worth and the idea that you don’t. It’s like asking someone “is a car coming?”. It is or it isn’t and based on that information your next step will be drastically different. You are going to be treated one way or the other and the lower you fall in society the more obvious it will become when you are treated as if you had innate worth.
Poor self-image comes not from someone not believing they have innate worth, but from the blowback one receives from believing they do. It’s a pathetic fact that this society plays lip service to the idea that people have innate worth and expects them to believe it on paper. Actions tell people a different story about their worth than words do. Of course there is the temptation to double down on the words but the process often produces more misery and consternation.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is designed by white, upper middle class, non-disabled people. The further you are from this demographic the worse you will fare.
The changes one is expected to make in order to better themselves are more likely to be met with roadblocks when one is far from privilege. Most changes one makes to their life involve a social dynamic. A person without privilege generally faces a harsher social environment so change is stunted. There is also the issue of a success percentage. There is a threshold (different for each person) that when dipped below the changes one tries do more emotional harm than good. Naturally those without privilege will have a lower success percentage.
Those without privilege generally can call the therapist’s self-worth bluff. They know worth is not innate, it comes from privilege. It’s asinine to hold someone of non-privilege culpable for their poor self-image. Their self-image is theirs, not yours, and it comes from life experiences.
Non-Privilege is a singularity. A white therapist generally isn’t going to reach a black teenager who has seen his brother get twice the sentence a white person did for the same stupid crime.
They generally don’t have access to positive influences. There’s this idea that people can find edifying friends. For those without privilege this is more often untrue. Addiction-oriented people are all they have to choose from.
They often cannot afford therapy. This means that therapy might only be sought after issues have gotten so bad that it is of less help than if the issues had been dealt with earlier.