Control and Depression
What role does control play in the etiology of depression? As is by now well known, depression is a psycho-physiological state of being characterized by the persistent belief in one's own helplessness, which in turn increasingly leads to a loss of hope. When one believes that he/she must surrender his/her will to others and do what others command at the expense of one's own wishes, depression is inevitable. Whenever the locus of control over one's life shifts from the inside to the outside, the potential to become depressed is very high. This is because a person cannot fully control what goes on outside of himself or herself. He or she cannot entirely control events and other human behavior. Life can be highly unpredictable and uncertain. Therefore, if one's state of mind is dependent on outcomes, on things outside of oneself, and on other people, there will be times when depression occurs--simply because of a perceived loss of control over what happens. And along with the loss of control come the feelings of helplessness, followed by a sense of hopelessness, that are a hallmark of depression.
Every depressed person imagines that he/she has no control over his or her own thoughts and feelings and little or no control over situations. He/she believes that other people and events determine how he/she thinks or feels. The depressed individual sees himself/herself as mainly a victim of circumstances and blames other people and things outside of self for personal difficulties. If things go well (his/her way), such a person will feel good and be upbeat. However, if things go wrong, this person may experience a fairly rapid decline in mental health and overall well being. It is all because this person's self-esteem is highly dependent on outcomes, events, and other people. When there is a perception of a major loss of control over one's own life, the individual susceptible to depression assuredly becomes depressed.
Depression is precipitated when there is a strong, unshakable, delusional belief that one has lost control over one's own life (especially the most important aspects of it) and that other people have instead assumed control in a detrimental way, or that life's events have made it impossible to control one's own destiny. When self-esteem (based on pride) depends on specific outcomes and those outcomes are uncertain or in jeopardy, mental anguish and instability can quickly develop. Self-esteem will then drop sharply; and if the perception of helplessness and hopelessness about one's situation continues, depression will soon follow. A depressed individual is like prisoner in a jail, robbed of personal freedoms--except that the prison is not physical but mental and the affected person is both the jailer and the jailed.
Copyright © 2007 Mind Renewal Self-Help