Overcoming the Darkness: My Experience with CBT and Depression
It is an understatement to say that depression among the youth is rampant nowadays. There is an escalation of young people that commit suicide and it is not clear why. It can probably be because the pressure is greater at home or at school and that the advancement in technology and social media are contributing to it. Perhaps there is more reasons why young adults are prone to it. Only half of adolescence with depression are diagnosed before reaching adulthood and not all of which get the help that they need to get through it and survive it. It truly has become an epidemic and it is getting worse and worse.
Not only is it a complex disorder, but there are so many factors that can and will contribute to an individual’s depression. And that is why it is quite hard to tell who has depression, when they will have depression and why they will have depression. Having this disorder at a young age may give rise to detrimental effects. Suicidal ideation, alcoholism, drug use and abuse, disruptive behaviour and anxiety are some but definitely not all the possible negative outcomes. Not to mention the repercussions it has to a young individual’s present day life style, relationship with other people and physical and mental health. It brings about feelings of sadness and it can be accompanied by feelings of disinterest in the things an individual once found interesting. This will then bring about different emotional and physical problems which can hinder an individual’s capacity to function in normal circumstances and places such as at home, at school or even at work.
Depression is quite common in adolescents, most especially with high school students (Acebuche, 2018). It is said to be the most frequent mental disorder among teenagers. There are various risk factors as to why young individuals are at risk for depression. A family history with depression and exposure to various stressful and traumatic life events are some of the most common. (Maughan, Collishaw, & Stringharis, 2013). Being one of the most crippling disorders, depression is also found to be one of the leading cause of suicide and even self-harm. This condition is mainly caused by wrong thinking and belief patterns such as irrational beliefs. These irrational beliefs are being retained in that certain individual’s mind because of his or her depressed state (Jasmine & Kumar, 2017). In fact, these kind of beliefs play a prime role in many other different disorders, including depression. And because of these thinking patterns, individuals exhaustively slant or distort the meaning of certain events and experiences in their lives making it negative and self-defeating. Maladaptive beliefs cause and maintain emotional problems.
A teenager goes to her social media account to look at different photographs of models and celebrities. She then compares herself to them and their supposed lifestyle and looks. Realizing that she can never be like them, she starts feeling bad about herself, starts obsessing over the other girls she sees, and becomes insecure, sad and mad. This makes her distressed and unhappy with what she has and what sees. This young lady starts wanting more and more of the unrealistic lifestyle that these celebrities and models show on social media. She refuses to realize that what most of the celebrities and models show is fictional, it is not true, it is all for show. She considers herself ugly and under privileged because she has none of the things the others supposedly have. A young man thinks that if he has a grade lower than 85, his parents will be very disappointed and mad at him. In his mind, there are no room for mistakes, mistakes mean incompetency. A sixteen year old girl has been crying for hour and wouldn’t come out of her room. She did not win a competition, she came in second. Because according to her, if she is not first, she is last. An eighteen year old male started asking his friends to look for a girlfriend for him. According to him, if he does not find a girlfriend during his college years, he will never be happy in life. These are only some examples for irrational thoughts and fears young individuals have in their minds.
These thoughts and beliefs can possibly be a spring board for emotional and behavioural problems but it may also worsen or lead to depression. This is where CBT or Cognitive behavioral therapy comes in. This therapy has become the most popular model of psychotherapy used in modern clinical practice (Craske, 2010). What is CBT? Cognitive behavioral therapy is a goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that is short term in nature. It is a practical, hands-on approach to problem-solving. One of the few goals of CBT is to change certain patterns of thinking or behavior that has a detrimental effect to one’s life. This therapy then helps the individual change that way of thinking. In other words, it is to help the client seek out or identify their faulty beliefs and to minimize them or even possibly eliminate them (Martin, 2018). Aaron Beck, a Pscyhiatrist, invented CBT in the 1960’s.