A lot of good analysis on the thoughts and behaviours of depressed people. This book not only explains what happens to you and your thoughts when you're depressed and what to do about it but it also discusses how to prevent depression from re-occurring once you've gotten better. I like to review various parts of this book whenever I feel mildly depressed so I can remember what is happening to me and what I can do about it instead of just sitting around and feeling bad.
There are a lot of (somewhat lengthy) writing exercises that can be used to get going in your daily life. I tried a few of the exercises and while they did motivate me to work for the most part, I felt that a seriously depressed person would probably find them far too much effort to do, and would likely not do them at all. But I guess that's what most of the struggle is: doing something-- anything-- instead of nothing is the most difficult for those who are depressed. While this book offers various techniques to get going, it is ultimately up to yourself to try them out.
List of cognitive distortions:
1) All-or-nothing thinking: You look at things in absolute, black-and-white categories.
2) Over-generalization: You view a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
3) mental filter: You dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives.
4) Discounting the positives: You insist that your positives don't "count."
5) Jumping to conclusions: (a) Mind-reading--you assume that people are reacting negatively to you when there's no definite evidence for this; (b) Fortune-telling--you arbitrarily predict that things will turn out badly.
6) Magnification or minimization: You blow things way out of proportion or you shrink their importance inappropriately.
7) Emotional reasoning: You reason from how you feel--ex. "I feel like an idiot, so I really must be one," "I don't feel like doing this, so I'll put it off."
8) Should statements: You criticize yourself or others with should's, shouldn't's, must's, ought's, and have to's.
9) Labeling: You identify with your shortcomings; instead of telling yourself, "I made a mistake," you tell yourself, "I'm a jerk, a fool, a loser."
10) Personalization and blame: You blame yourself for something you weren't entirely responsible for, or you blame other people and overlook ways that your own attitudes and behaviors contribute to a problem.