Understanding Depression and Self Esteem

It is perhaps no surprise that low self esteem, depression and anxiety are often linked. For my psychology clients in my clinic, understanding this link is often the step in healing. Today, I would like to briefly explore the link between depression and self esteem. In my post on self esteem and anxiety I follow this up with some tips to improve your mood that are supported by psychological research.

People often ask me what depression actually is. Depression is basically a prolonged period of low mood, which in more severe cases can result in lower energy levels. In my experience, depression is often characterised by feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness.

It is no surprise that depression and low self-esteem go hand-in-hand. Individuals who experience poor self-worth are more vulnerable to depressive symptoms. It is usually negative self talk that keeps this loop going. Our low self esteem encourages us to focus more on our mistakes and imperfections, or interpret problems that occur at work or within our relationship as being our own fault. This makes us feel more hopeless and inadequate – the key ingredients for depression. Often, in a misguided attempt to motivate ourselves out of our depression, we turn to self critical thoughts such as “why am I so depressed,” “I should just get over it,” “there are others worse of than me,” “here is another thing I can’t get right,” or “I must be just a failure.”

What is needed here is self compassion. We need to understand that we have probably suffered self esteem damage in the past, and that that is not our fault. And remember – you can’t bully or whip yourself into feeling better.

If you are interested in exploring this in a deeper way, you can check out my free webinar on the topic here
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Breaking the Link Between Anxiety and Low Self Esteem

The Link between anxiety and self esteem

People with low self-esteem often experience anxiety. Self-doubt and lack of self confidence are well known to trigger anxious feelings. The loop works as follows: Low self-esteem leads to negative beliefs about ourselves. For example “I am not a likeable person” or “I am not good enough.” This leads to fear that others will view me the same way that I view myself. For example “If I go to this party, people won’t like me.” This would of course be a painful experience if it did eventuate, so the thought then becomes “I had better not go to the party so that I don’t have to experience the pain.” This accordingly creates anxious feelings about going to the party. The next thought may be “I can’t even go to a party, without feeling so anxious what is wrong with me?” Remember, this thought process can be entirely subconscious – in which case all the person experiences is the anxiety when they consider the party.

In the above example, the truth is that the only thing wrong is their self esteem. The truth is – in the adult world outside of the school yard – other people have neither the time nor the will to judge you negatively. So what’s the worst that can actually go wrong? Not much at all!

Remember that seeking professional help and building a support network are essential steps for anyone dealing with low self-esteem, depression, or anxiety. You are not alone, and there are resources available to support you. Acknowledge positive interactions and relationships. Recognize the people who do care for you. Overcome paralysis by reaching out, making new friends, and engaging positively. Seek therapy if meeting new people feels challenging. If you are interested in understanding more about how our self esteem gets wounded and how to work on it, you can watch my free webinar on the topic here
Remember – you are worth it!