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The Lies I Tell Because of My Mental Illness

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I read a line in the book “Niceville”by Carsten Stroud a couple weeks ago, and the line is still stuck in my head.

“It was just that lying to somebody was a sort of cowardice, like you couldn’t handle what they might do if you gave it to them straight.”

So we lie to benefit ourselves, we don’t want the consequences of telling the truth.

I know I have a mental disorder. I know it’s not my fault. But when someone asks how I’m doing, why do I say I’m OK? When hubby says my eyes look puffy, was I crying last night? I say no, maybe I rubbed my eyes too hard when I woke up, I’m not in the mood for discussion. My doctor asks how it’s going, I say fine. I don’t want my meds adjusted. For the hundredth time. I’ll tell him next time I see him. Why lie?

I tell myself it makes life easier this way. Hubby needn’t worry. Let him go about his day, he’s got enough on his plate. He doesn’t need to think I’m moping around the house, or that he needs to stay home with me, or that he should call me every couple hours to see if I’m OK. And the doctor? He’s busy. He’s got patients to see that are way more important than me. I should stop taking up his time, my meds are fine. Stop being such a whiny baby. Goodness, don’t you think everyone has problems? What makes yours so special that you need attention?

So do I lie because it’s easier for them? Or in reality am I lying because I don’t want the consequences of telling them the truth? That it hurts. That the hurt is so deep, so very deep. That they can’t do anything to fix it. It can’t be fixed. I can’t be fixed. I’m flawed so very deep down. I feel I should be embarrassed about my whining. I feel I am not worth their time. I feel I am not even worth the air I breathe. Look at the people out there in the world who have real problems. And you want attention just because you cry all the time?

What would happen if we told the truth? What would happen if we told our significant other, or our mom or dad, that the depression is overwhelming, that it feels life-crushing right now? Well, he would have to stop whatever he had planned today. He would have to sit on the couch next to me all day. He would have to try and understand how I’m feeling when I don’t even understand. And it will feel like this tomorrow too. It would ruin his day. And then he would resent me. For being whiny and crying. Again. For not having a solution. For being weak. For not being strong enough to just suck it up. Yup, lying is easier. Maybe that’s why, when someone dies by suicide, people are shocked and say they had no idea things were that bad.

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

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

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Unsplash photo via Lukas Muller

Originally published: February 4, 2018
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