- Mental Health
Depression's a Dick: 6 Lies From Your Depressed Brain that Seem True (but Aren't)
1. "I'll ALWAYS feel this way."
Lies, lies, lies! It's all a lie! Even when you're at the lowest of the low, when you can't get out of bed, when you can't eat, when you can't sleep, when you want to crawl into the deepest darkest hole in the most remote corner of the universe, it is still only a feeling. And feelings (like all of life, really) are ephemeral. Feelings alone cannot kill you, and most importantly, they will pass. It might take a few days, weeks, or even months, but they will pass. Promise.
In the meantime, be sure to reach out to family and friends who will support you, take your medication if you've been prescribed some, and ride it out.
In the (corny, but oh-so-true) words of Robert Frost: this too shall pass.
2. "Nothing I do will help."
When you're depressed, all of your problems seem absolutely insurmountable, and feels like no amount of effort on your part, even an incredible effort, will ever change the situation you're in. This is completely false. One of the hardest parts of having depression is that it relies on entrenched, negative thought patterns, and because it's your brain, it's terribly hard to step outside of it in order to see things more clearly.
That's why when you feel this way, the counsel of others whom you value and trust is priceless. Whether that be a therapist, psychiatrist, or counsellor, a friend who also lives with mental illness, or a cool-headed family member or friend, relating the difficulty you're in to someone else and asking for their advice just might give you the perspective you need to help you help yourself. There is always something you haven't thought of or haven't tried that can help!
3. "I don't matter."
When you're not depressed, it's easy to see how incredibly untrue this is. Everyone alive has a right to be here, and that definitely includes you. Seriously, I see you. You can't hide. You're stuck on this earth with me and everyone else until you croak, so you might as well make the best of it and live it up, right?
But seriously, even if you think your life has zero positive impact on the people around you, it really does. Like it or not, you're alive, you exist, and everything you do (or don't do) impacts somebody else. I promise you that if you disappeared off the face of this planet right now, far more people than you'd think would not only notice, but be very negatively affected. So stick it out! There are popsicles on this earthly plane!
4. "Nobody cares about what I'm going through."
Remember how I just said that your life matters and that your existence impacts the people around you? Well, in order for that to happen, they need to care about you. And they do. Even if they don't know how to help you, even if they don't always respond the way you need them to, even if they get frustrated with you or don't understand why you can't snap out of your funk, they really do care.
Most of the time they're just super frustrated at the depression, at your misery, at the faulty chemicals in your brain that you can't control, but most of all at the fact that they know they can't help you single-handedly, even though they wish they could. Sometimes all you need to do is ask for a hug, or ask them to listen without judgment, or ask them to drive you to therapy or pick up a prescription for you or help you clean your room. You might be surprised how willing your family and friends are to help you if you just ask. Try it. Not only will it make your life a bit easier, but it will also reassure them that they are helping.
5. "Everyone else's life is easier/better than mine."
Noooo-ho-ho-ho. This is one of the biggest, most damaging fallacies that everyone falls for at one point or another.
1. Comparison is the thief of joy (corny but true)
2. Everybody has their shit to deal with. EVERYBODY. Yes, even Beyoncé. I swear to you that even Queen Bey has skeletons in her fabulous closet.
What makes it seem like people have it easier than we do is that they simply have different problems, some of which can be extraordinarily well-hidden. Maybe you're depressed because you think you suck at your job, so you're jealous of Mindy, who's great at her job. Sure, maybe Mindy is great at her job, but did you know that Mindy has an eating disorder? No, because you can't tell that without getting to know her pretty well. The point is, you might be jealous of Mindy's competency in one particular area of her life, but is her life perfect? No. Is she happy? Maybe, maybe not.
When it seems like life is going easier for everyone else around you, think about what you think an "easy" life is. Also, you're forgetting that there are aspects of your life, even minute ones, that are not an issue for you and that yes, someone else you know is probably jealous of you for. Secretly, Mindy is jealous at how normal your relationship with food is because she's relapsing back into bulimia.
Point is, there ARE things in your life that you do well and that are easy for you; you just take them for granted.
6. "Suicide is the only way out."
Nope, nope, NOPE. Suicide can seem appealing when you're depressed because it seems like the only sure-fire way to escape the pain, but the problem with death is that you won't be able to enjoy the release from anguish because you'll be dead. Kaput. There is no victory or glory here; there is nothing gained. Sure, you might not be in pain anymore, but that's because you no longer exist. So where is the appeal in that?
Remember the first point I made that this episode will pass? It will. And you don't have to go through the hassle of killing yourself to get to an okay place again; just do all the boring shit you know you're supposed to do and wait it out. You've got nothing if not time. And trust me, the human body is resillient as hell and you probably won't succeed at suicide unless you pick some horrendously painful way to go, which defeats the purpose of using suicide to escape pain in the first place.
Suicide is just a big 'ole mess (sometimes literally) and you've got enough on your plate already, bud. Just take it one day at a time, and in the meantime, you can make ironic dark jokes about the void and the meaninglessness of life. It might freak out the people around you, but to chronically depressed people, it's almost universally hilarious. (Humour is a great way of processing things that scare us or seem to be out of our control!)