Feeling embarrassed or regretful for an action with adverse effects is often appropriate and logical, as it helps to realign with personal values. But such feelings can be damaging when they are excessive and unjustifiable, resulting from the perception of personal failure. Such is the guilt that occurs in psychological disorders, including depression and anxiety.
Although it’s rarely discussed, depression and guilt often co-exist. In fact, excessive or inappropriate guilt is recognized as
Feeling down for a long time can become your new normal — don’t let it happen! Professional help is available online.
Is Guilt a Sign of Depression?
Self-blaming emotions often occur in depression. The American Psychiatric Association even recognizes excessive guilt and feelings of worthlessness as part of the criteria for diagnosing the major depressive disorder as outlined in the DSM-5. According to
What Causes Guilt in Depression?
Generally, perceived failures and mistakes are the primary guilt triggers in depressed individuals. You could feel guilty for major and minor issues alike. For instance, you might feel disproportionately guilty for failing to respond to a friend’s message on time or for events that occurred several years ago.
Sometimes, depression and guilt leave you confused and second-guessing whatever you are going through. When the depressive symptoms linger for quite an extended period, you might blame yourself for not doing enough to treat the disorder or consider yourself being responsible for your state. You might feel you’re only pretending and have no right to be depressed or compare yourself with others who have it worse, exacerbating the feeling of guilt. As depression precipitates other symptoms leading to social withdrawal, you are likely to blame yourself and feel guilty for not making your relationships work.
However, it is crucial to understand that depression is not a choice and can affect anyone. In fact, the
Again comparing yourself with others can bring guilt, especially when they seem to be doing better. While two people might be battling depression, their experiences are very different. Therefore, looking at the progress of others and judging or seeing yourself as a failure is inappropriate.
Can Guilt Cause Depression?
Thoughts create emotions that determine the actions a person takes. When the cycle begins with negative thoughts, the result is sadness or low mood. Breaking the cycle and finding a solution that works for you is essential in dealing with depression and guilt. A psychotherapist can help you develop strategies for coping and dealing with guilt from depression.
Depression comes with various symptoms, but all of them interfere with daily life. Get online help for depression from an expert at MEDvidi.
How to Stop Feeling Guilty When Depressed
Guilt in depression can be a stubborn symptom that manipulates your thoughts and emotions. But you can minimize and overcome feelings of guilt in depression by:
1. Practicing self-kindness
Self-blame and doubt over one’s abilities often predominate the thoughts of depressed individuals. But you can counter these negative thoughts by practicing
2. Journaling your feelings
Do you ever wonder why you feel guilty about being depressed? While you might not explain why you feel guilty and seem trapped in a complex web, journaling will help release the tension. It helps you to understand and reframe your thoughts and emotions. So when journaling your feelings, consider answering questions like “What’s causing my guilt?” and “What if the reverse were true?”
When depressed, thoughts tend to spiral downward, and it might not be possible to journal everything. Having a meaningful pause when these shameful or guilty thoughts begin can help reduce these depressive symptoms. Practicing breathing exercises or
4. Talk therapy
Unlike the impression guilt gives you, you’re not alone and must not battle depression in isolation. When having persistent thoughts and feelings of guilt, consider talking to someone, either a friend or a mental health professional. Talking can give you another perspective and help you find a suitable solution.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating depression. We will develop an individualized treatment plan for you at MEDvidi.
Guilt is a common symptom of depression. However, the guilt is always disproportionate to the actual situations and can inhibit recovery in depressed individuals. When you experience persistent, extreme guilt, visit a certified mental health professional for more coping methods besides exercise, practicing self-kindness, and journaling.