Are Unrealistic Expectations Fueling your Depression?

This past weekend, I watched an old famous Disney movie with my daughter.  It was the typical story where the princess gets herself in trouble, the prince saves her and they live happily ever after.  On the outside, it seems all pretty harmless, and it is harmless if you are someone who has a strong awareness of reality that relationships in real life require lots of hard work, as well as many “ups and downs.”  I once had a classmate who told me that she would not consider dating someone who was shorter than 5’10”, spoke less than 2 languages fluently, and traveled to less than 5 different countries in his lifetime.  I also had a client recently tell me that if she only had lots of money, her life would be perfect and she wouldn’t be so depressed all the time.

What I can tell you is that with most clients I’ve worked with who have been diagnosed with some form of Depression, is that they also have unrealistic expectations of themselves and/or others.  Having expectations doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  For example, if one of my expectations is to want healthy communication with my partner, that would be okay.  However, if my expectations are that my partner and I will have a perfect connection 100% of the time and he will supply me with all my emotional needs, then that is unrealistic.  The problem with unrealistic expectations is that they’re not based on reality.  We expect things that are unlikely or will never happen and as a result, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

If you are depressed, working with a mental health professional can be helpful, especially if you feel you have unmet expectations that are affecting your mood.


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