13 Lies Your Depression Is Telling You

Depression fills your head with unreliable thoughts, and sometimes you have to fight back.

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1. "You will never get better."

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When you’re in the darkest hole of depression, it feels like there's no way out. You see photos of your non-depressed self and it seems as though it's an entirely different person and that you'll never get there again.

Thing is, you will: Your depression won't last forever. You might not become the same person in the photo, you might be a little bit different, but you'll absorb and process your experiences, no matter how shitty they are, and eventually you'll heal.

2. "No one wants to hang out with you anyway."

When you're depressed, you often find yourself avoiding social situations and cancelling plans. A part of your brain feels guilty for being a flake, while another part shrugs and thinks, What's the point, anyway? I mean, you’re not exactly the life of the party.

Your low self-esteem has you second-guess friendships and relationships, but it's important to not let depression make you think no one wants to be near you. There is more to you than your mental health.

As if depression isn't enough to deal with on its own, it often comes with guilt and shame. You feel ashamed for feeling the way you do, and you feel guilty for burdening other people with your illness.

I'm pretty good at hiding depression, even though it's tiring as hell, but there are one or two people who have seen it to its full extent. My boyfriend, for example, has to deal with my seesaw moods, which makes me feel bad. I also feel bad that I have to leave fun situations for reasons I find impossible to explain, and I feel bad for talking about how pointless and bleak I think life is sometimes, when it's technically our life that I'm talking about, not just mine.

As difficult as it can be, I have to remember I'm not a burden. Untangling the cobweb of depressive thoughts and presenting them to someone close to you doesn't burden them – it means you trust them, and you'll be much closer for it. People want to help you, and it's OK to accept their help.

4. "You don’t deserve to be healthy."

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A big reason why it's hard to recover from depression is because you secretly don't think you deserve it.

It's much easier to bring yourself down than to build yourself up. Recovery starts with basic statements: "I want to be OK. I deserve to be OK." You don't have to be GREAT or AMAZING – just OK will do.

5. "You should punish yourself."

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For me, depression is directly linked with self-destruction, which my brain justifies with a single thought that sounds like an alarm without an off button: I suck, I deserve it.

This cycle is difficult to break, especially if, as with me, it's a thought process you've had ever since you were a kid. I used to think things like, Oh, I said this really stupid thing in class, I'm going to pinch my skin for making such a fool of myself.

It's important you talk to a professional about self-harm, no matter how your self-harm takes shape. They'll be able to give you alternatives (shout-out to everyone who's been given an elastic band to tie on their wrist!). They'll also help you figure out why you self-harm. We get used to normalising our destructive behaviour, mainly because it's been with us for so long. My brain will think, BRB, I just have to go hurt myself real quick, no biggie, catch you later normal thoughts, but it isn't OK at all. Our bodies and our brains deserve our respect. I sometimes need to step outside of my own head to realise this.

6. "You’re letting everyone down."

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With depression, it’s important to give yourself time and space to heal. You also need to make sure you're getting healthy because you want to, not because you think it'll make your family/girlfriend/boss/teacher happy. Don't put a ton of pressure on yourself either: Take little steps, get into a routine, and don't put yourself down if you have an off day.

7. "You are lazy."

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Some people feel lazy when they're depressed, because it’s hard to focus, sleep, or eat. Even showering seems like the most difficult task in the world.

Depression tends to give me a static brain because I have an overwhelming urge to "get away". I feel trapped and in desperate need to escape, but I have no idea where to. My mind draws a blank and I become Super Mario in a Game Boy game when he's trapped in a corner and just keeps walking against the wall.

It's easy to misconstrue this state as being lazy. I mean, if you looked at me flat-out in bed it would look lazy, I guess, but it's not, because it's uncontrollable.

To feel productive when you're depressed you have to take little steps and allow yourself to feel proud of achieving small feats, no matter how everyday they feel.

8. "It’s too much effort to get better."

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It takes patience and a bit of perseverance to get better, because it doesn't happen overnight. You may need to see your doctor, you might be put on a waiting list, but these things are worth it. Whenever you've checked something off your "recovery plan", buy yourself a book, go for a swim, read that trashy website you secretly love. Reward yourself.

When depression has hit me hard I sometimes dismiss thoughts of getting better, because I think, Well, I'm just going to end up back here anyway. I have to remind myself that every time I've pulled through an episode I have more tools to tackle another one – like Uma Thurman slashing through everyone in the Crazy 88 in Kill Bill, I will chop my way through.

9. "No one understands what you’re going through."

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It’s easy to alienate yourself when you’re depressed, but I've been pleasantly surprised every time I've written openly about depression. I get emails, Tumblr messages, and tweets telling me I've described what they're going through, which reminds me that I'm am definitely not alone.

10. "People are judging you."

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Everyone with depression should be sent a free "invisibility cloak" they can throw over themselves when they want to hide for a bit. Specifically, on those days your face is puffy from lack of sleep, when your breathing's heavy from trying to ward off a panic attack, and when you're crying for no reason.

During these times you need someone who will listen to you without judgement, whether it's a friend, a relative, or a counsellor. Someone you don't have to be afraid to approach. It's OK to be vulnerable, and it's OK to tell someone that you're not OK.

11. "Your depression makes you boring."

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Depression is like a dull relentless ache – it makes you feel numb and dips your entire world in a shade of washed-out grey. But remember, your illness doesn't define you. It's only a small part of you.

There are times when I find myself using depression as a roadblock to stop people talking to me. I remember being in a situation where someone I thought was "cool" offered me drugs, and instead of saying no, I giggled:

"Nah, got 40mg citaloprams in my bag so I've got enough drugs of my own LOLOLOL!"

I felt like a fraud for being around "cool" people even if they did do drugs. I thought, If I wedge my depression between me and that person, we can stop this nonsense, I can go home, and we can stop trying to pretend like I belong here.

I'm learning that it's important I stop mocking myself for being depressed, and that it's not the be all and end all of my personality. If I don't want to drink or do drugs I can decline to do so and it's not the end of the world.

12. "You’re weak for taking medication."

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Every time I'm given new meds or my dosage is increased, I feel like my mind's a little raft and the shore is "life without medication". The distance between the two is getting bigger, and I'm scared I'll never be "normal" again.

Taking medication doesn't mean I'm weak or abnormal, it means I'm taking control. Besides, there's no pill you can take that will make you feel all bright and shiny five minutes later. You're going to have to work hard, and medication will allow you to be in the right frame of mind to do that. When you're ready to go off them, you will gradually be able to.

13. "You did this to yourself."

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Depression is not self-inflicted – no one wished depression upon themselves. It's an illness like any other, and an illness a lot of people have.

Here's a quote about depression as a "human experience" from the book Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig:

Talk. Listen. Encourage talking. Encourage listening. Keep adding to the conversation. Stay on the lookout for those wanting to join in the conversation. Keep reiterating, again and again, that depression is not something you 'admit to', it is not something you have to blush about, it is a human experience.

Don't internalise everything just because you're ashamed, and don't keep quiet just because you're afraid you'll make people mad. Keep talking and live guilt-free, because things get better.

If you need information and practical advice on depression, you can call the Rethink advice and information service on 0300 5000 927 (10am–2pm), if you're in the UK.


The Depression Alliance, a charity for sufferers of depression, has a network of self-help groups.

You can call the Samaritans for confidential support if you're experiencing feelings of distress or despair on 08457 90 90 90 (24-hour helpline).

And you can call the Crisis Call Center at 1-800-273-8255 at any time of the day if you're based in the US.