man with his hand out

The Thoughts Depression Tricks You Into Believing

5k
5k
13

No one likes you. There’s something wrong with you. You never do anything right. Depression’s voice isn’t kind, and it can be difficult to separate out depressive thoughts from reality. If you’ve experienced depression, you know it can trick you into thinking things about yourself and your life that aren’t true. Here are some thoughts that depression can trick you into believing:

People don’t want to be around you: Depression makes you feel completely alone. Even if you have friends and family who love you, it can trick you into feeling like they don’t really care, or that no one wants to be around you. It can highlight insecurities about yourself and your relationships which can actually cause you to isolate yourself more. Gradually taking steps to re-engage with those you want to reconnect with can help to counteract your social withdrawal.

You don’t deserve to get better: Depression can toy with your self-worth, making you feel like you deserve to be this miserable. Trust me, you don’t. You are worth every minute of effort others spend trying to help you get to a better place, whether it’s your counselor, parents or a close friend. If you’re having a particularly difficult time figuring out if you should seek help, try to pretend that your friend is going through what you’re feeling right now. What do you think that they deserve? It’s often much easier to be a good friend to others than it is to ourselves. Take a two-minute anonymous screening at HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org to find out if your symptoms are consistent.

You are only your depression and nothing else: Depression may be something you have, but it’s not who you are. It can become really easy to get wrapped up in your feelings and to even start defining yourself according to your symptoms because of how often you feel them, but it’s so important to fight back against these thoughts. Try to change even simple phrases you say to yourself like, “I’m depressed” to “I am feeling depressed right now.” Reminding yourself the other parts of yourself you offer to the world can help boost your self-esteem and can restructure these thoughts.

Reaching out for help won’t make a difference: The problem is, you’re not trying hard enough, right? Wrong. When it comes to mental illness we’re quick to assume we should be able to fix the problem ourselves. You wouldn’t try to set your broken leg alone would you? Reaching out for help for a mental health issue should be no different. Up to 80 percent of those treated for depression show an improvement in their symptoms generally within four to six weeks of beginning medication, psychotherapy, attending support groups or a combination of these treatments.

Living with depression can be unbearable. If depression is tricking you into thinking some of these harmful thoughts, it’s important to confide in a friend or loved one, and to seek help.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

 Lead image via Thinkstock.

5k
5k
13

RELATED VIDEOS

TOPICS
, Contributor list
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

'You Have One New Message From Depression'

27
27
2

Everyone has heard the cliche breakup line, but here is a non-cliche (hopefully) message from depression to you:

“Hey there, you! So you probably know me by now. I’ve been around a little while. I liked to make you think you were imagining me at first. I really had you going there, didn’t I?

You thought it couldn’t be me. Maybe it was hormones. Maybe you were just overtired. Maybe you were a little sad. Maybe you just had a lot going on.

You also thought maybe there was just something really wrong with you. That you were just a really broken person. That you were the problem.

I managed to isolate you. Make you lose touch with friends. I had a good go at breaking up relationships.

Even when someone mentioned me, you had your doubts. You had a list of reasons it couldn’t be me, but I kept on going. Kept on ruining things. Your sleep. Your time out. Your appetite.

I really can do some serious damage when I want to. Even now that you know who I am, you still think I’m your fault and that you can’t get better. I just thought now I’d hold my hands up. Just this once.

It’s not you. It’s me.”

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock.

27
27
2
TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

What It's Like to Wake Up With Depression

2k
2k
9

I, like many others, battle depression every single day. Symptoms like fatigue, guilt, anxiety, hopelessness and others can weigh me down some days. Other days can be easy and even downright normal. This is not one of the easy days.

Today, I woke up in the full grips of a depressive episode. Having barely slept, I finally gave up and dragged myself out of bed before 5 a.m. This is one of my first symptoms, insomnia coupled with complete exhaustion. I manage to take my morning meds and start a pot of coffee. Before it is halfway finished brewing, I am sobbing with my head down on my kitchen table. Part of this comes from overwhelming fatigue and part comes from knowing what kind of day depression has in store for me.

I drag myself to my couch and stare at the television. Something is on. I think it might be funny on a normal day. Today, I can barely focus to watch. Mostly, I just stare. I am so fatigued that my body actually hurts. As I sit here, my mood shifts from sad to empty and apathetic. This lasts several hours.

As she leaves for work, my roommate tries to convince me to take care of myself today. She wants me to eat, to rest and to take things one hour at a time. (Honestly, I am lucky to live with such a good friend.) Her advice brings me to tears. I feel overwhelmed and hopeless that I will be able to complete even these simple tasks. I feel guilty for not being able to do more than survive this day. I can barely take care of myself. Days like today, I feel like a burden more than ever.

I sit crying on my couch. My dog is lying next to me. Loops of negative talk begin to fill my mind.  

How will I get through this? Nothing I ever do is right. Why should I do anything anyways? Who would want to be around someone who is so sad and useless all the time? Things will never get better. I don’t think I can bear to feel this hopeless for another second. I will never be happy again.

Depression prevents me from remembering the good days, even if yesterday was one. At some point, I stop crying. I don’t remember when. I didn’t even notice. I’ve been sitting in the same place for so long that my back hurts. I can barely stand up. Every part of my body feels like it is made of lead, and I am trying to swim through quicksand. I drag myself to the kitchen. Even though it seems pointless and I am not hungry, I make myself eat cereal in what may or may not have been a clean bowl.

What difference does it make?

The day drags on. It is barely 2 p.m. I am still in my pajamas, and I don’t think I have brushed my teeth yet. It looks like it might be a beautiful, sunny, fall day outside. My depression sees the sunshine and mocks me.

Thought you would enjoy a warm sunny fall day? Thought you would accomplish things around your house? Thought you would go for a walk or out for a cup of coffee? Forget it!

I draw the blinds closed. I don’t even want to see the sun. I hate that my depression is taking the day away from me. I sit in the quiet darkness staring at the television once again. It’s not even on this time.

Deep down, I know there are some things I should do to fight this episode. Things I know have helped in the past. Things that can keep one lost day from turning into a lost week or longer. Finding the energy to do any of these things is nearly impossible. I end up sleeping on the couch instead. At least when I am asleep, the sadness, hopelessness, guilt and shame are gone.

I wake up a few hours later just as exhausted as before I lay down. I wonder how long this depressive episode will last. My mind starts to become anxious.

What if this episode doesn’t lift? What if I am never happy again? What if every day is this difficult? What if I become suicidal again? What if my family and friends finally give up on me this time?

My brain does not think clearly or logically during a depressive episode. I try to stay calm and think back to my self-care list. What can break this depressive cycle? What has helped in the past?

I try listening to music. It always helps. I get online and read articles on The Mighty. It gives me a sense that I am not alone in this struggle. I take my evening meds and eat another bowl of cereal, this time out of a clean bowl. Just a few tiny steps toward self-care is a start.

I head back to bed early. I have survived this day and many others like it before. I go to bed knowing tomorrow might be better. If not, then I will survive tomorrow as well. Sometimes, this is the best I can do, survive the bad days and wait for the good ones to eventually come back around.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock.

2k
2k
9
TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To the Depression Fighting to Control My Life

240
240
2

You have ruined my life. Your ability to drain the color out of everything I used to enjoy is impressive. You have been a presence in my life since the age of 12. Every time I’m able to break your cyclical horror and see the “light,” I’m quickly reminded your torment loops back around.

Your devastating demeanor is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life. Your ability to make me feel worthless, inadequate and full of self-hatred scares me. How is it possible that you can leave me so hopeless that I’d rather die than have to deal with your ugliness?

Thanks to you, I’ve lost a lot of people in my life. It’s like you pull them out from underneath me, right when I need them the most, as if it is some sort of sick joke. Despite all the pain and sadness you have caused me depression, I’m still alive.

So with that, I say I’m the real winner. Combating you every day is exhausting, but I will keep battling until you’re gone for good. Although you may never truly leave me alone, I’m committed to not letting you control my life anymore. Every day, I’ll be seeking the help I need and doing the things I need to do without giving you the time of day. So, good luck depression. You’ll need it.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock.

240
240
2
TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

When Your Thanksgiving Doesn't Look Like the Hallmark Version

59
59
1

It’s strange how the holidays come at the same time every year, and yet they still sneak up on me. The Christmas songs on repeat in Target, my neighbor’s overly-lit yard that could confuse a small aircraft, the frantic rush at the grocery store on a Wednesday… I knew something was up, but I wasn’t ready to talk turkey.

a place setting at a table with a card that says mom

No offense to the turkey. I just don’t get that excited about large feasts of any kind of bird, truth be told. I don’t like green beans, and I’m not a fan of fried onions. And when they touch? Ew. I’m not into setting tables, and I’m certainly not into “unsetting” them. I don’t see the point in brewing coffee a couple hours before bed just because we’re having dessert. It all seems, well, a bit much.

But before you gear up to get all Starbucks-red-cup on me and blast me for not embracing one of America’s major holidays, let me pose a question. Can you celebrate the holidays in the traditional, quintessential manner, like they do on the Hallmark channel, when you’re missing one key ingredient — a tribe?

Some people — like those deployed or working abroad — are apart from their families. And that’s hard. But I’m talking about the people who’ve outlived their families or have been forgotten by them. I’m talking about the people who are too depressed and/or anxious to be social. I’m talking about people like me who, due to lack of procreation, family divides and emotional and physical distance, will face another holiday season with less than a party of four. For us, Thanksgiving can feel like any other Thursday night, not the day that many other people spend weeks prepping and planning for.

I’ve struggled since my teenage years with depression, anxiety, eating issues and self-acceptance. As I’ve gotten older and become a parent and a therapist, I’ve learned to manage and overcome many of my challenges, although it’s always a work in progress. We always are. Holidays have been tough for me for a long time. My parents split when I was 16, and our tribe was already small. Ten years ago, my dad died a few days before Christmas. That can certainly put a damper on the holiday cheer. But more recently, my husband and I have been struggling, and for the past three years, sh*t seems to hit the fan every November. This year’s been no exception. But when my mother busted out with “Why bother doing it? What do we even have to be thankful for?” in a moment of despair and disappointment, I un-bunched my panties and really thought about it.

Instead of counting my blessings, I thought about what I wish I was thankful for. And I let myself grieve for the lost dreams I had of a large family with big love surrounding me and my son, for the loud laughs carrying through adorned hallways, the gobs of people huddling around a table sharing stories, the stragglers who linger until the last drop of wine pours them out into the night. That is not my holiday. That is not my reality. But my goal is to pour gravy over that grief and point my arrows in a new direction — gratitude.

My tribe is small. My tribe has some cracks. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have plenty to be thankful for. For starters, my happy, healthy, beautiful little toddler. He deserves a different experience. So I will strive to teach him that love can come in tiny whispers and simple ways, every day. That special doesn’t always come in fanfare and feasting, but in shared moments and handholds and in quiet spaces and peaceful places. As this world challenges us to find purpose and meaning, we will remind each other that numbers are nice, but they’re not necessary. We will get back to roots and the true tradition of this holiday — to be thankful for one another, for what we have, and maybe even for what we don’t have. Because when all is said and done, maybe we’ll be thankful to not have to deal with the heated political arguments, dry turkey, and a congested drive over rivers and through woods to grandmother’s house with that god-awful green bean casserole.

For those with small tribes, my best advice is to remember the power of gratitude and charity. Do for others if you’re alone or just feel alone. Seek out connection where you can, and focus on what you do have. Even if it’s something that seems little, it’s often not: health, a best friend (human or furry), a warm bed, or the freedom that many others in some parts of the world may not have. Perspective is always a choice.

Lead image via Thinkstock.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

59
59
1
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

The Myth of ‘Choosing Happiness' in Life With Depression

1k
1k
6

This piece was written by Kaitlynn Kelly, a Thought Catalog contributor.

Some of my Facebook friends recently got into a comment war over a tweet. A television personality or talk show host (a half-famous celebrity type) said that people with depression just need a good pair of running shoes and a long run. And poof! No more depression.

Like my friends, I felt my blood boil. It was the same nonsense advice I have seen for years. Go for a run. Listen to upbeat music. Choose happiness. There is perhaps nothing less helpful than telling someone with depression to choose happiness. Yet, as I was reading my friends’ comments, I was lacing up my own sneakers to battle my own depression.

When I was diagnosed with clinical depression my sophomore year of college, it was no surprise. I had spent the night before in the psychiatric ward of a central Illinois hospital after taking pills. Part of my release involved a prescription of an antidepressant and required therapy through my university.

This type of treatment works for many people, but for others (like myself), it didn’t do anything but make me feel inadequate for being unable to manage it myself. When I graduated and the prescription ran out, I ditched the pills and therapy. I searched for my own way out.

However, the problem is there isn’t a way out of depression, and depression isn’t just sad music and crying. Don’t get me wrong. It has involved plenty of nights of crying for hours on the couch, but depression is much more boring than that.

It’s complete apathy and fatigue. It’s lying in bed all day not because you want to but because you can’t get up. It’s letting the dishes and the garbage pile up and wearing the same dirty clothes because you can’t get yourself to wash them. Depression is a terribly mundane monster that sinks its fangs into your back until you’re numb. You sit and watch your life pass you by, unable to reach out and grab it.

One afternoon last summer, I decided I should go for a run outside. I hadn’t run outside before, but I threw on my dusty sneakers and just started running. Two miles later, gasping for breath outside my apartment, I felt a rush of joy that was so overwhelming. I wasn’t sure what to do. I kept running, going further and further every week through Chicago’s warm summer light.

Running became the thing that cleared my mind and gave it back to me, unlike therapy or medication. Running became my treatment, my attempt to remove the monster from my back. I’ve turned it into a practice. When I go a while without running, I feel its effects.

You can’t outrun depression, and you can’t just start listening to happy music and change your life. Yet, you can find a treatment that works best for you. My self-love is running, but that is not a cure-all for everyone dealing with depression on a daily basis.

People who have never been clinically depressed have a lot of advice for those who have, and pretty much none of it is helpful. In fact, it’s dangerous and causes even more confusion. Yet, if you can sift through the garbage and find one nugget of wisdom that is true for you, treat it like the precious gift it is. You can’t choose happiness, but you can choose to find your peace.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

This story is brought to you by Thought Catalog and Quote Catalog.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock

1k
1k
6
TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Real People. Real Stories.

8,000
CONTRIBUTORS
150 Million
READERS

We face disability, disease and mental illness together.