4 Common Lies Depression Tells You
In good conscience, I cannot idly stand by watching others continue to struggle. Depression is a deadly disorder that affects millions of teenagers and adults. According to the National Institute of Health, 2.2 million adolescents experienced a depressive episode in 2016. These episodes sometimes lead to deaths, and I want it to stop.
To begin, we cannot perpetuate the lie that mental health issues should remain hidden in the dark, unspoken and ignored. The truth is, we need to talk about them. Truth, honesty and openness are needed to help others overcome depression and the lies depression tells.
Lie 1: You are worthless.
This lie attacks one’s self-esteem and rocks the inner core. Whether the inner voice is a whisper or a scream, it is a constant refrain reminding those with depression that they have no value to anyone, anywhere, at any time.
This is false.
Even if you have depression, you must understand you have value. Being a teacher myself, I know the reason we teach is because of our belief in our students. You are worth the 60-hour work weeks of grading, teaching and planning. We are here because each of you is worth it. As children’s television icon Mr. Rogers stated, “There is no one else in the world exactly like you.”
Lie 2: You are unlovable or unlikeable.
Love, friendship and community are the enemies of depression. If you feel loved, worthy of love or even cared for, then that love becomes the single candle bright enough to banish the darkness and the cold. But depression lies. It takes any and every opportunity to say no one loves or could love you.
You are lovable and worthy of love. You have a place in the community even if you haven’t found it yet.
As a community, we need to remind each other that someone cares. Someone with depression may need the reminder that there’s someone who loves them.
Lie 3: No one knows how you feel, no one has problems like you and no one could understand.
If any variations of these phrases were actually true, then I could not write this article. I know about depression intimately. I suffer from depression and have since the fifth grade. I know the lies well. I also know the feeling of emptiness and isolation that is difficult to describe. I know how cold it feels on the inside when you are desperate to feel anything other than depressed.
You are not alone. There are other teens, adults and children who suffer from the same thing. There are so many individuals out there who can be trusted to listen to you, care for you and to help: your teachers, friends, parents, counselors and so many others.
Lie 4: It’ll never get better; you will always feel this way.
This is the most dangerous lie, especially during the teenage years. Depression wants you to feel hopeless. Depression tricks you into seeing despair. I have been struggling, fighting, losing and winning this battle for over a quarter of a century, yet I’m still here. I will not lie and say one day, depression will magically disappear. My depression can be a daily struggle of emotionally treading water, like being capsized in the ocean without a life jacket. I still have days when I leave my job believing I have failed miserably as a teacher, a colleague or a friend.
But I have also learned to cope, and so can you. I’ve gotten better at handling it. I know when I need to talk to a friend, relative or counselor. I’ve learned to find joy in everyday moments. You learn to laugh at yourself and at the absurdity of life. You learn to surround yourself with the people who love you unconditionally, support you and hold you accountable. For me, my faith is an essential component. You may find your solace in a myriad of different people, places or pursuits.
Why the lies are dangerous:
If left unchecked, these lies lead to the thinking, “It’d be easier if…” or “The world would be better off…” which can quickly escalate to suicidal thoughts.
I know what it’s like to want to give up or to just quit. I know there are days when you feel like life is pointless. In the end, you would rather feel nothing than what you do feel. Please do not dwell on or give in to those thoughts and lies. Talk to a counselor, parent, trusted adult, teacher or friend.
Remember: The world is better with you in in it. You matter.
Unsplash via Maksym Kaharlytskyi