If we have been threatened or experience a major setback, we may need a lot of reassurance before tying again. The problem is that this same process can apply in depression in an unhelpful way; if we experience a failure, we may think we need to have a major success before we can reassure ourselves we are back on track.

Small successes may not be enough to convince us, however getting out of depression often depends on small steps and not giant leaps. Typical automatic thoughts that can undermine this step by step approach that I suffer from are;

  • Anyone could do that apart from me.
  • I used to do so much more when I wasn’t depressed, managing this one small thing today seems insignificant.
  • Other people could take things like this in their stride, however it is such an effort for me.
  • Small steps are alright for some people, but I am used to giant leaps and nothing else will do.

The problem here lies with comparison. You are comparing yourself to people who do not suffer with any mental health issues. Therefore you have to compare yourself like with like; other people may accomplish more, and so would you if you didn’t have depression, but you do. So, given the way your brain is and the effort you have to make, you are really doing a lot if you achieve one small step.

If we can do things when we find them difficult to do, surely that is worth even more praise than being able to do them when they are easy to accomplish? We need to learn to praise our efforts, rather than our results.