Depression lies.

The Bloggess said it. Wil Wheaton said it. I’ll say it, too.

Depression lies.

Depression is awful. It whispers in your ear. It rattles in your head. It steals your joy. It disrupts your sleep. It brings storm clouds to bright sun-shiny days. And it fucking lies. Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad (hurtful) lies. For instance:

  • I am not smart enough to do the things that I want to do.
  • Because I procrastinate and lack motivation*, I am not a writer.
  • I have no talent.
  • I should really just give up on that dream and buckle under the weight of a job I don’t love.
  • I bring nothing to the table.
  • My potential is limited, its limit is low, and I have already hit the ceiling on it.
  • I am a disappointment.
  • I’m not depressed, I’m just a bit blue/sad/melancholy/angsty/emo.
  • I shouldn’t strive for excellence, I’m ordinary and would only be disappointed when I fail.
  • I can’t write about depression. I am not real depressed.
  • I am not special. Not even a little bit. Not at all.
  • At best, I am tolerated.
  • I am an old cow.
  • I am an awful person.

These are (some of) the lies that my depression tells me. Rationally, I know these things are (probably) not true. (Having said that, I feel it is important to point out that I have been outright told some of these things. By actual people, not just my depression. So there is that.) Unfortunately rationality doesn’t trump depression. Depression is louder than rationality. Depression puts its fingers in your ears and yells while rationality is trying to explain things.

While I have never faced an official diagnosis*** (I do not admit that I am not okay and I do not ask for help. Both of these are huge character flaws and I am working on them), my depression is real. I have suffered lethargy, obscenely increased carbohydrate intake (overeating), intense feelings of guilt, inability to concentrate, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, and considerations of suicide. I am (real) depressed.

Allie Brosh, in her articles Hyperbole and a Half: Adventures in Depression Part One and Part Two, describes, very well, the way I struggle with depression. I am sad without (a “really good”) reason. I don’t  have a terrible disease, I haven’t lost family, friends, or even a beloved pet, I grew up in a good home, I went to a good school, I have great friends, a really good job and my husband and son are amazing beyond measure. Still? I’m depressed. I tell myself that I shouldn’t be, that I have no reason to be, and that makes it worse. I have guilt. I have guilt for so many things that I shouldn’t have guilt for. Guilt makes sadness “for no reason” just really awful.

Sidebar: Do you know what pisses me off the most? This depression isn’t productive. They say that all of the greatest artists are depressed, right? They produce beautiful, amazing things while suffering this awful sadness. I can’t be arsed to pick up a pen. My depression tells me that I’m a shit writer anyway, so why would I bother to practise? …and I listen. I listen to depression.

Oh sure, I have good days. I have days when I am a goddamn badassmotherfucker and I can take on the whole world. I bake muffins while singing showtunes, I sit in the sunshine and drink coffee while writing things (good or bad, I don’t care as long as I’m writing on those days), and I hum. I smile, I laugh, and I love life. And then depression starts to whisper again. I look out the wrong window at the wrong time and I start to cry. I have the wrong memory and I struggle to get out of bed. I think too many crushing thoughts and I want to fall asleep and never wake up. I would like for it to stop. I would, very much, like not to feel this way. I feel like there are a few things I could do to help to combat my depression, things that have helped to make me feel better in the past.

  • I need to write.
  • I need to journal.
  • I need to move. (Walking, inline skating, going to the gym. I need a physical outlet for all of these feelings.)
  • I need to start horseback riding again.**
  • I need to start target shooting (and possibly take up archery).**
  • I need to have more sex.
  • I need to eat less garbage.
  • I need to talk to my doctor about this.

(I am not interested in the drug treatment route just yet. I usually chalk my depression up to situations and seasons. I need to try these things first and then, if these things don’t help, I need to have a chemical conversation with my doctor.)

I don’t know how to end this. I’ve been sitting on it for weeks, because conclusions are assholes. When I’m happy, I want to be optimistic. I want to say things like “when the clouds have lifted (both mentally and meteorologically), I know that this is something I can combat. When I’m breathing easily, I know that this is something that I need to combat. When I face this depression head on, with confidence, things are better.” Those things are true, but it feels wrong to write that here right now. I feel like I just need to let this be. This isn’t about getting better, this is about the bullshit that depression says. This is about me listening to it. I’m educated, I know what I’m dealing with, I have a support system, I have access to resources, and I fucking listen to these lies. I know you do, too. Not all of you, of course, but there are some of you reading this and nodding. It’s so hard folks, and I’m so sorry that you’re here for this ride.

I wrote this as a “sort of” end when I started down this country path: And if you’re suffering from depression, please know that you’re not alone. I know how difficult it is to look for help, I’m there right now. (I hate asking for help. I hate talking about myself in any way.) Talk to someone. (For a great list of people who would love to help you, go here: Getting Help.) Take care of, and be gentle with, yourself. You’re only human, this is a terrible illness and the people who tell you that you have nothing to be “sad” about and should “buck up” are assholes (some of them mean well, they just don’t understand).

tl;dr: depression lies. It’s bullshit and it’s hard. What I’m feeling is real. There are things I can do to help myself and I need to do them. What you’re feeling is real. There are things you can do to help yourself and you need to do them.

If you’re looking for further reading, these are a few pages that I’ve enjoyed recently:

Hell by Gaiman
(Image found on Pinterest)

Gary Jules – Mad World


*This is cyclical bullshit. You can’t be motivated when you’re depressed. You just fucking can’t.
**I don’t actually need to do these things, but they would also be great physical outlets with huge mental components, and I’ve been thinking about both for yearsandyears now (time to shit or get off the pot).
***Update: In early 2015 I visited my doctor, because things were getting bad again. I was having terrible thoughts and I knew that something needed to be done. (For me, that is counseling. I want an intervention free depression for as long as possible.) My doctor agrees that my depression, though not trivial by any means, is situational. The aforeparentheticalized counseling idea will be best for me. I have shit to work through, bad shit, but it’s not something that I need medication for. Not yet. Not ever, I hope.

18 thoughts on “Depression lies.

  1. I’m really sorry that you’re in a depressed place. You’re right, it just f u c k i n g sucks and a lot of times you just have to ride it out. This may be too personal but if you don’t see a therapist I highly recommend it. I see one every week and it’s been incredibly helpful for getting some skills in dealing with all these shitty thoughts. Sending you love and healing thoughts!

    • You are spot on, I should see someone. I did, for a stint, and it was pretty wonderful. If nothing else, having someone reassure you that you’re not crazy and it’s okay to not be okay all of the time is huge. I should maybe see him again. Thank you, Caitlin. I appreciate the shit out of your reading and commenting. Really really. 🙂

  2. I feel what you’re saying, especially in regards to the disappointing reality that depression does not make me a writer-genius either. It seems like it should have some perks, right?

    A friend first showed me Depression Part Two from Hyperbole and a Half because, she said, it made her think of me. It made me cry and laugh a whole lot at the same time. It was just so…honest. And yet somehow, hilarious.

    Your plan of action seems solid enough. I know it’s hard when depression has sucked the life out of you. I keep telling myself that there’s tons of people who have made it out, I can to. It will happen. It has to.

    Something you may want to add to your list is a book called The Mindful Way Through Depression. I had a really good feeling about it. So good that I just went out and bought it, determined that I would work through it and come out the other side a new person. Of course, that didn’t happen. That was two years ago. For that to happen, I would have to actually commit myself to it. Hey, maybe you could try it and let me know if it worked miracles??

    Okay, sorry for the essay. Thanks for the great post and um..hang in there?

    • Look at you! Wow. Thank you for the read and (awesome) comment. 🙂

      Allie’s depression posts, right? I wanted so badly to chuckle when I read them (and I did, a bit), but it was in tears. It was so striking, and, yes, honest. That was maybe the striking part, the raw honesty.

      Thank you for the book recommendation. That it awesome and I will absolutely look it up. Hah – I will let you know if miracles ensue. 😉

      Thank you. Really. A lot. 🙂

  3. Welcome to the openly depressed club! I mean, I’m sorry to welcome you, because it’s not a fun-time club. But thanks for being so open and sharing! It’s important–not just for you, but for the general public. Insisting that depression is real is really tough and sometimes shameful, and it sucks that it’s often left to the depressed folks to do it, because c’mon, stringing articulate sentences together is tough shit when your mind has been hijacked. I hope you take the time to celebrate this victory the next time you find a crack in the grey.

    For me, one of the (many) worst parts is knowing that they’re lies and being utterly helpless to integrate the truth into my reality. Like, all the rational things that my healthy self knows are still there . . . but it’s like they’re swarming me from the outside. Ugh.

    I take the medicine, by the way–Teva Fluoxetine in a low dose. It’s not the right treatment route for everybody, and I often hate that I can’t just talk myself/will myself out of the murk on my own, but it’s what I do to get my head back so that I can do all the things I know I need to do.

    I know that finding what works for you is gonna be rough. Give someone a list and have them drag you through it if you need to (ie. sit with you while you make a doctor’s appointment and then drive you to it, if you don’t have the oomph to follow through on your own). There is a way out (there’s another swarming rational thought for you)!

    This is so long that I’m just going to go ahead and add “guest blogger on Go Fox Yourself” to my credentials.

    • Have I told you lately how much I dig you, Denielle? It’s a lot, if I haven’t.

      I felt guilty for posting this the other day. I was having a pretty good day and I thought “well shit. I’m okay, I shouldn’t have posted that. I have no right to talk about depression.” It made me hate myself a bit. I suspect you can see where that garden path lead. It wasn’t awesome.

      Honestly? I’m scared of medication. I hate the idea that I might have to go chemical someday, so I convince myself that it’s “just” SAD, or “just” because of certain (shit-tastic) life events. I love that you have something that is helping you. I love that you’ve admitted All of The Things and that you are on track. I love that and I hate that it’s a thing that is happening to you. I think you are amazing and I want, for you, all of the happiness, truly and completely.

      (We should consider coffee when next you are in town.)

      Hah! Dude – I would be thrilled if you wanted to guest here. I get what you’re saying, but if you ever wanted to throw down, my turf is always open to you! 🙂

      Thank you for writing what you wrote and being who you be. 🙂 ❤

  4. Can I just say that writing this was probably a huge deal for you and that I commend you for it? From what you’ve said, you don’t like to admit when things are bad and that everything is not “just peachy,” so I’m proud of you for putting yourself out there.

    That being said, I think you rock. And I think that you will eventually get to the point where you find what works for you and you will find a way to combat your depression.

    • Alyx. Thank you. I just. 🙂 Thank you.

      I hope you’re right. 🙂 Well. You have to be. I have to get somewhere, right? I mean, I have that Little Dude to lead around and watch frolic. (Why isn’t that enough to win? It makes me so sad that that’s not enough to make everything melt into sunshine and lollipops.)

  5. I’ve been thinking how to reply to this for a while. First, your conclusion to this piece is KICKASS. Second, you are right about all of this. Depression does lie and it is awful. It is a real thing that you are allowed to feel. I think it comes back to the guilt again: we are allowed to be sad. It’s okay to be sad.

    But even though it’s okay to be sad, there comes a time to try to take control of it. And I think that you will absolutely get a grasp on it. I mean, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to write this, and I seriously commend you for that. You’re taking steps and that is a huge deal and it’s also awesome! So yay you!

    And your list of things to do? Mine are basically the same. You’ve inspired me to go for a walk today. 🙂 It’s always so hard to suck it up and do it but I am always so glad after.

    Anyway, I’m always here to chat with and complain with and also be positive with. Many hugs and much love to you.

  6. Walking in the fields, just being with your own and nature can help. Looking all the green (relaxing colour) and seeing all the colours growing out of it, may give you live and life-spirit again.

    Also trying to stop you comparing with others and trying to find out where you are at the moment, what you have managed so far in your life … Just try to be satisfied with the things you might have. Try to see the beauty and the blessings in all what is around you and what you might have enjoyed already in life.

    Finding some one or some place to talk or to exchange ideas is always helpful and should be taken.

    For those who believe in a Divine Creator they should know that people can do not anything so damaging, they can not take away the blessings God has “in petto” for you.

    • Thank you, so much, for the thoughtful comment (and link up!), I really appreciate that.

      The comparing is a big one for me, it’s almost constant. I know better, and I try not to, but there it is…all the time. Latent issues, eh? Such fun. 🙂

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