Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population, age 18 and older in a given year.
I want to share some of the lies depression told me. I believe that clinical depression is a complex medical issue. It’s like an onion with many layers and each layer needs to be tended to, nourished and addressed. Those layers can be physiological, spiritual, emotional, relational, hormonal, environmental, circumstantial or all over the above. For me, depression was all of these things, making it a deadly storm.
Depression is a liar and if you or someone you love is living with it, it’s crucial that you are able to pinpoint the negative beliefs it pushes on you. This will help you rise above this insidious illness.
Here are five of the lies depression has told me:
1. The world was better off without me.
At my worst, I believed this to the core. It’s hard to imagine, but I really did believe my friends and family would be better off without me. Today, I believe the world is more beautiful with me in it. Medication, counseling, support from my loved ones, and my faith all helped heal the depression I was experiencing. In time, I realized how irreplaceable my presence in this world is.
2. I didn’t have depression – I was just a horrible person who deserved to suffer.
The self-blame that comes with severe depression is debilitating. You become the world’s most terrible person and you believe you are no longer deserving of good and lovely things. The truth is that clinical depression is an illness, and accepting that it is treatable condition puts you on the path towards greater wellness.
3. That there was no light at the end of the tunnel.
Throughout my hospitalizations, my mom and other people would repeatedly say, “There is light at the end of the tunnel.” For me, the idea that there was even an ounce of hope was unimaginable. But the reality is that they were right; I have seen many sunny days since.
4. That I was irredeemably flawed.
Depression made me believe I was flawed beyond repair and that I was a lost cause. Hope told me otherwise.
5. That my depression was my fault.
Every time I’ve been severely depressed I placed 100% of the blame on myself. I just couldn’t accept that it was a chemical imbalance and that it was out of my control. I found it hard to believe that it was a chaos of chemical imbalances or a medical issue which I didn’t have control over.
Mental health battles are not sprints, they are marathons. Getting victory requires steadfastness, patience and endurance. Therapy and medication can be two powerful tools. Additionally, training our mind to focus on what is good and true is an essential key to wellness. Pinpointing the lies depression tells you can ultimately help you rediscover what is true and empower you to experience greater power over your depression.
No matter how many lies depressions speaks to you, be committed to telling it more truths and always remember that hope is alive.