Negative View of the Future

Depressed patients often show considerable preoccupation with thoughts about the future, and these ideations may occur in the form of pictorial fantasies or obsessive ruminations. Such thoughts have a negative cast and are usually an extension of the patient's view of the present state, often to the point that the patient sees no possibility for improvement. If patients regard themselves as currently deprived, immobilized, or rejected, then they are likely to visualize a future of continual deprivation, immobilization, or rejection. Not only are long-range forecasts pessimistic, but short-term predictions are similarly negative. When contemplating whether or not to perform a task, they predict that they will make a mess of it. When a suggestion is made that they engage in an ordinarily enjoyable activity, they assume they will not have a good time. One patient, for example, frequently had elaborate fantasies of failure before engaging in any activity. When driving to the psychiatrist's office for an appointment, she pictured herself making a wrong turn and getting lost. If she decided to go shopping, she imagined herself losing her purse or making the wrong purchases. Like the present, the future is seen as containing one failure and defeat after another.

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Natural Depression Cures

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