Connecting Low Self-Esteem With Depression


Brian M Murray, MS, IMH

Often low self esteem and depression are seen as separate conditions. What can be overlooked is how the two are often tied together. This becomes evident through thinking and behavior patters that are associated with both. Depression is a mood disorder that can be rooted in low self esteem patterns and likewise, low self esteem can be rooted in depression. So which one comes first? Both do technically. In other words, either one can come first as both patterns can lead from one to another. Depression can be situational and self esteem can be a standalone pattern of behavior, however if they are related there are some useful techniques that can go a long way toward resolving these thoughts and feelings.

Thoughts that are associated with low self esteem are rooted in a negative pattern and are critical in nature. Thoughts such as “I’m stupid” or “I’ll never amount to anything’ can trigger feelings of being useless or a failure. It creates and fosters an atmosphere sending a message of never being good enough and incompetence.  This downhearted critical thought process is exactly that, it brings down the mind and creates a depressive mental state. Other feelings involved leading to depression can be anger, frustration guilt and shame as a result of not meeting these self imposed perfectionist demands.

What to do about it?

A few techniques implemented to help with the low self esteem pattern can lead to lifting the depressive mood. Mental filtering is a technique used to challenge this thinking. For example, if someone is being critical about calling themselves stupid filter it by asking about the evidence. What makes this thinking or thoughts valid? Sometimes changing thought patterns is also about changing thought habits. Changing habits about focusing on the negative side of most situations and look for more positives. Watch for compare and despair, in other words, comparing other situations and thinking others have it better or thinking others are better people as a whole can be particularly self destructive. Think about other ways of looking at situations or how someone else might see it. What would a friend say about these thoughts, or what would be said to a friend having these thoughts?

Some positive mindsets, to encourage self esteem, are to begin to do some self inventory. Take a look as personal strengths and write them down. Keep adding to the list daily as new ones are discovered. Write down compliments from others and have a reward day set aside for achievements and accomplishments. Even if not feeling entirely well internally, behaving differently externally can help change this with posturing by standing, walking and talking in a more confident and direct manner when engaging others. Often others will engage and return communication in a more positive manner as well. Saying thank you, smiling and showing genuine appreciation and interest with others can go a long way toward self confidence and ultimately self esteem. Struggling with depression, especially if it is tied to self esteem, does not have to be an exhausting experience. Choose to do what is best that leads to a positive, helpful and healthy outcome.

Romans 12:6-8 (Message)
If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

About the author- Brian M Murray is a devoted professional helping people overcome difficult obstacles in life. He is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern located in Orlando and Winter Park Florida working as a counselor in a private practice setting at The LifeWorks Group.

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