My Depression Has Been Exposed as the Liar It Is
I still get goosebumps when I recall the moment it hit me: I’m being had. It was like I just woke up from a nightmare and for some reason I was able to see things about myself I had never seen before. I suddenly saw a cause-effect relationship at work resulting in a life filled with anxiety, depression, disappointment, discouragement and fear. I realized I had never had a gatekeeper to stem the flow of this process.
My thoughts and what I perceived to be life’s truths had become one in the same. I hadn’t questioned this metamorphosis because I had no reason not to trust my instinct or intuition. I knew I was depressed and my brain chemistry was messed up. So I just took this process at face value.
“Of course I feel this way. Of course my life is this way. I have depression.”
However, after this realization, the years of believing the horrific thoughts, bouncing around in my head, began to crumble. As if I had suddenly learned a new language, I was able to decipher the way my subconscious gave these thoughts credence without first filtering, questioning, examining and putting them on trial to test their validity.
I’d been had, suckered, fooled. I had been believing things about myself and my life, without even questioning them first. And just like when George Bailey suddenly realizes he’s alive again, it all came into focus. What if my thoughts aren’t true? What if I am depressed because I am being lied to? What if my depression is a lie? What if my depression is a liar?
I’m not suggesting my depression is some entity or being that has the ability to lie. I know my depression is something I created as a defense mechanism, a coping mechanism or an escape mechanism, something my doctor calls major depressive disorder (MDD). What I am suggesting is, as a result of my depression, I had been thinking wrong things about my life and had never even stopped to question these thoughts. I had let these patterns of negative thinking about my own life and circumstances control my life and circumstances. I had not lived a life examined and so I was living a life I didn’t want to live.
I never questioned if I really believed what I was thinking about myself, about my life and about my circumstances. I just let these thoughts control me like a puppet, like an if/then statement, like an “on” switch. I never even considered there was an option. But, now I know my depression is the great liar.
What it tells me to believe about myself is simply not true. What it tells me to believe about my life is simply not true. What it tells me to believe about my circumstances is simply not true. They are lies, deceptions, brain farts, scratches on my brain’s record that keep skipping and won’t move on, immature reactions to mature situations, childish pouting expressed in a 50-year-old mind, selfish pity where no other source could be found, earned helplessness, surrender, forfeit, fear, rejection and doubt. Lies.
Being a Christian, I know my soul has an enemy. The Bible calls him the “father of lies,” “the accuser of the brethren” and “a lion on the prowl seeking to destroy.” I know his goal is to make me live a miserable life, to make me depressed, to prevent me from questioning the lies my depression whispers to me, to live my life and never wonder why I do what I do, think what I think, live like I live. It wants me to put it out of my mind and write it all off as part of my depression. That’s the way things are, born like this.
Outside of my Christian perspective, I know my depression is the result of years of keeping truths from myself, trying to deny the real me, which means accepting who I am, what I think, what I feel, what I want, what I need and who I was created to be. Years and years of knowing these things, but always having an answer that starts with, “Yes, but…” And years build up plaque over these truths so they become hard to see. A truth that is hard to see is a truth that is malleable and one that can very easily be turned into a doubt. Doubts become questions that, over time, are just more easily answered with lies than they are with truths, especially when the truth is painful, scary or looks daunting.
I’m not saying my depression is over and I’m not saying it will not be a battle I continually fight. I know better. What I do know is I now have a weapon I can use against my depression. I can now enter the fight, instead of suffering like I have an emotional gut shot. I can now intercept my thoughts and test them before they materialize in my life. If they are found to be true, then they will be my mechanism for living. However, if they are found false, I will call them by their name: Lies!
I will no longer allow my depression to lie to me, to dupe me, to destroy me. It has been exposed for what it is and I will never believe it again.