Constant Guilt and a Bad Mood May Be a Sign of Concealed Depression

Feelings of constant guilt for things you're not responsible for should give you a clue that there's a problem.
Constant Guilt and a Bad Mood May Be a Sign of Concealed Depression
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Chronic malaise and moodiness together with loss of interest in almost everything (anhedonia) are often signs of low mood or depression, which may initially be mild or moderate. However, if left untreated and unaddressed, it can become a major problem.

However, depending on how feelings of guilt and moodiness affect our lives and how much control we have over them, we can talk about a possible depression or simply a bad period. Let’s take a closer look at these signs that indicate the presence of a possible covert depression.

When feelings of constant guilt and bad moods invade you: Is it concealed depression?

When something gets dirty at home and you don’t clean it or pick it up, you instantly feel guilty. Whenever you eat a little more than you should or have a conversation that you later regret, you feel bad. Once again, that old feeling comes back: Guilt.

When we look in the mirror, sometimes, we only see someone who is a failure.

A woman leaning up against a window feeling discouraged.

All of these negative emotions, lived every single day for several months, are an unequivocal sign that something’s wrong inside. No one can live with the shadow of guilt like a constant threat from a knife.

Freud said in his time that “exaggerated feelings of guilt and self-blame are keys for understanding depression.” Through magnetic resonance we’ve been able to discover what this emotion creates in the brain.

Guilt and self-blame are a “blow” to the brain

A study published in 2012 in the Archives of General Psychiatry on how guilt affects the brain reveals the following:

  • The brain structure in charge of processing behavior capable of rationalizing and solving guilt is the anterior temporal lobe. This region is relConstantly feeling guilty ated to social behavior and is what allows you to see things more objectively.
  • People experiencing depressive disorders “have disconnected from this area” to activate exclusively the subgenual region.
  • This prevents you from making anyone else responsible for what they do (if someone causes you harm, makes you angry or deceives you): you make everything personal, you attribute everything to yourself.

We’re facing a reality that is clearly reflected in the brain. According to experts, if left untreated, it could even cause a certain type of aggressiveness, a notable reduction in self-esteem, and in the worst of cases, the feeling that everything is getting out of control and that life is not worth it.

Bad moods as a daily companion

Bad moods and feeling like reality has lost its original shine is a characteristic symptom of dysthymia.

  • Apathy, reduced energy, sleeping problems, dietary ups and downs, going through periods in which you need to escape from people and then suddenly feeling like you need to be understood and tended to, are all signs of this type of depression. It also tends to have some sort of genetic link.

The most complex part of this type of depression is that you can go through a few years feeling fairly functional. You go to work, you take care of the house and your family, but you do everything feeling indifferent, clearly feeling like you’re not happy. Every day it gets harder to get up…

As soon as this shadow appears, it’s important to ask for help and be aware that something isn’t right and that you need to resolve it.

A mean feeling depressed.

Strategies to face the day to day

In order to overcome depression, you need medical treatment, therapy, willpower and support from loved ones. This means that every one of us needs to find the strategy that best helps them. Every person is unique and there are no two types of identical depression. However, it’s never a bad idea to apply these simple recommendations in your day to day.

  • Movement, exercise, sunbathing: this simply means going out of the house, surrounding yourself with “life”, moving your body and using it to create different, amazing changes in the brain.
  • Stop the negative wandering in your brain. You need to put an end to the mental noise, to the “I can’t”, the “I’m guilty”.
  • Your negative thoughts are not reality, they’re perceptions and your perceptions are not always true.
  • Visualize the change every day.  See how your life would be in a better mood, with more balance and inner peace.

Fight to make your dream come true. And don’ot hesitate to consult a psychiatrist or psychologist if you think you have depressive symptoms.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • World Health Organization. (2012). Depression, A Hidden Burden. Fact Sheet N°369.
  • Echeburúa, E., de Corral, P., & Amor, P. J. (2001). Estrategias de Afrontamiento ante los sentimientos de culpa. Análisis y Modificación de Conducta.
  • Echeverría, R. (2011). Emociones y Estados de Ánimo. In Ontología del Lenguaje.
  • Ministerio de Salud, C. (2013). Depresion. Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling.
  • Green, S., Ralph, M. A. L., Moll, J., Deakin, J. F., & Zahn, R. (2012). Guilt-selective functional disconnection of anterior temporal and subgenual cortices in major depressive disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69(10), 1014-1021.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.