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Depressed Patients’ Worthiness: Putting Our Puzzle Together

Depressed patients think they do not deserve to feel better, according to the largest, unique, and most recent clinical epidemiological study.

The Rhode Island Methods to Improve Diagnostic Assessment and Services (MIDAS) project examined the clinical and demographic features that noted depressed patients who did… and did not indicate they deserved to feel better.

The MIDAS project is one of the largest clinical epidemiological studies using semi-structured diagnostic interviews ever conducted.depressed patients

Depressed Patients Self-Reports

In this study, 490 depressed patients completed a clinical history questionnaire about whether they thought they deserved to feel better.  The patients also reported how they assess their symptoms, functioning, well-being, coping ability, and positive mental health.

Approximately 20 percent of patients indicated they were undeserving or unsure of feeling better. Patients who didn’t believe they deserved to get better reported more cognitive symptoms of depression.

In addition, they were more likely to drop out of treatment due to the following:

  • More frequently reported a history of multiple suicide attempts
  • More pessimistic about outcomes upon treatment initiation
  • Nonattendance
  • More frequently reported suicidal ideation
  • Experienced less improvement in their depressive symptoms during treatment

Paying More Attention to the Patient

The MIDAS project report concluded that a significant number of depressed patients seeking treatment did not stress that they deserved to feel better.

Moreover, if this outlook is not addressed, efforts to improve patients who don’t believe they deserve to feel better may be less productive.

Depression and feelings of unworthiness become a reality for people from time to time. However, if these episodes linger, there are a few steps one can take to relieve the anxiety that goes along with depression.

So, why do we go through feelings of depression and unworthiness anyway? It’s normal to go through periods of feeling rejected, unworthy, and without recognition of friendship or love. Most of the time, these feelings and emotions are short-lived…part of being human.

The National Institute of Mental Health affirms that feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, or guilt can be characteristics of depression…especially if one experiences these feelings every day, for most of the day, for two weeks or longer.

Having Satisfaction or Regret

A part of our human experience is introspection and complex reasoning. What this means is, when we make a decision…we can review it and have satisfaction or regret over the past.

Not accepting our past decisions, even having experienced mistake-after-mistake…may bear weight on how we view ourselves…even long after the conduct, actions, and behavior are done.

Therefore, our self-esteem — a measure of how we view our own characteristics and qualities — is part of the puzzle of putting us together.

Self-worth and mental fitness are associated with having a higher degree of self-esteem.  On the other hand, lower self-esteem is linked to feelings of lack of confidence and worthlessness.

Having an unworthy feeling can leave one unmotivated.  In addition, it can make self-care quite difficult.  These thoughts and feelings can have a difficult and unfavorable effect on your quality of life,

Become Motivated!

Learn how to reclaim your self-worth and recognize what a deserving person you are.

Recognize and accept your emotions. Instead of judging your emotions, you can make space for them. Being mindful of your feelings can help you lean more towards acceptance.

Realize you did the best you could at that particular time of your life event. Yes, you may now feel anguished and believe you didn’t do the best you could in the past with the people you love or care about…your children, your family, co-workers, neighbors, or friends.

While you may find it quite difficult to change how you feel — you can find it easier to change what you think.

According to Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W., a licensed clinical social worker with 48 years experience, as well as a clinical director — the key to a successful process is suggested, as follows:

“The key here is thinking that you did the best you could do at that time. Your self-criticism is coming from your emotional mind looking back at the past through the lens of the present. But like all of us, you did at the time do the best you could, based on your age, perhaps, and more limited experience and coping skills.”

Mr. Taibbi adds,

“Yes, this will take some work. You want to practice thinking and saying this to yourself. No, you will not immediately feel better, but over time, you can begin to change the story that you’ve been telling yourself for so long.”

Additional Steps to Improve

Please consider that it may be time to heal the wound, (or wounds) and put these experiences to rest. More often than not, trauma comes in layers.  So, it’s helpful to see a licensed, professional therapist, who can help you walk through this healing process without feeling overwhelmed.

Additionally, your mind is always telling you that the problem is what you did or didn’t do, and the absolute, only way to solve the setback is to try harder. But this not necessarily true.

The actual problem is not your repeated mistakes or so-called “failures.” It is the abuse, — your current, self-abuse that is running and ruining your life. Thinking, over-and-over about your mistakes is, above all, most  detrimental to you’re feeling worthy.

Again, help from a licensed, professional therapist can teach you how to rewire these thought patterns to help you stop thinking of your “so-called “failures.”

There are many reasons we may feel unworthy, but we can take steps to help improve our feelings of self-worth. Challenge and negate negative thoughts — get rid of them!  Think positive! Make a plan for handling your emotions.

A proving  way you can build your self-worth and self-esteem is by helping others who need help. Also, reach out to others you believe can help you.

Reach out and ask for help! You may be surprised as to the number of good-hearted, caring people who are willing to help you establish…your confirmed worthiness.

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