The demanding part of a depressed person

Nowadays, well-being and happiness are important aspects that people striving to achieve.  Unknowingly, we all tend to present our best self with physical and mental well-being in front of others.  With this expectation in mind, it may be difficult for us to accept the days when we feel depressed.  We may criticize ourselves for being unwell and tried to hide our difficulties to others.  A client of mine underwent psychotherapy with me for her depression for a few years.  At the beginning, she was severely depressed and had very low motivation for living a routine and healthy life.  Due to her depression, she quitted her study in her Master program and stayed home most of the time.  With psychotherapy, she gradually resumed normal routine for self-care and her mood improved significantly.  She even started attending dancing lessons and working in a part-time job.  Until recently, her mood deteriorated due to reduction of dance class attendance and ruminations about her lack of direction in life.  As a result, she became addicted to gaming and spent most of the time gaming at home.

It is common for people suffering from depression to have an underlying issue of demanding oneself too much.  These people may expect themselves to achieve highly in academic performance or work outcome.  Not uncommon, due to these unrealistic expectations, they frequently felt depressed for not achieving what they aspired to achieve.  As a result, they might quit what they are doing and experienced persistent depressive mood.  After a period of psychotherapy, their mood might improve.  However, they might experience occasional mood swings due to sense of failure of not attaining what they aspired in the past.  At this juncture, they started to criticize themselves for having a mild relapse.  This repeated pattern might hinder their ongoing psychological treatment progress. 

In the case described above, it is important for this client to be aware of her underlying self-demand and self-criticism.  It might be normal for her to have a slight drop in her mood due to less attendance in dancing lesson.  Due to her non-acceptance, she criticized herself and became addicted to gaming to avoid facing her inner issues.  In psychotherapy, it is important for her to get in touch with her sense of inadequacy and lack of life meaning throughout her journey in undergoing therapy for her depression.  When she realized she tended to demand herself too much and started to set more realistic goals, her mood might improve gradually.  In this case, my client reconnected with her plan to study Spanish and to travel to Spain in the near future.  She started to focus her life in resuming more healthy daily routine and research for information of language schools.  After letting go of her addiction in gaming and refocusing her life towards her realistic goals, her mood improved and she had more motivation to work towards her goals.

It is common for people with depression to face ups and downs.  With self-acceptance and self-compassion, ones could face the turmoil with peace and strengths. 

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