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When Depression Makes You a Liar

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I have a confession to make.

I’m a liar.

I lie again and again, day after day.

I lie to friends and family, and even to virtual strangers.

I don’t mean to – it just comes out.

“I’m fine.”

I say it with a smile as soon as someone asks, “How are you?” Even my husband of over 20 years – I tell him I’m fine all the time. I don’t want him to worry. I don’t want anyone to worry. I don’t want to be a burden or an inconvenience. I don’t know what else to say. Not everyone needs to know my personal plight, but I lie even to those close to me. I don’t want to tell them I’m suffering from depression. Yes, suffer, because that’s how it feels.

I’m practicing with my husband, telling him when I’m not fine. I see the worry in his eyes. My two-month hospitalization last year is still fresh on his mind. We developed a rating scale of one to five. Five being I’m doing great. One means I’m a potential  danger to myself. Yesterday I told my husband at the end of the day that I had been a two. Why didn’t I tell him sooner?

I didn’t want to worry him. I wanted to lay in bed and hide from the world. I didn’t want someone to give me a pep talk or try to make things better. But then I did. I realized part way through the day that living in my head without reaching out to someone is dangerous for me.

Lately, I’ve been “outing” myself – telling people I’m not always fine. More people are calling me on it and sharing their own struggles. We commiserate over the troubles that plague our lives. It makes me feel more normal. It makes me feel less alone.

I’m a liar.

But I’m also an advocate. And I will do my best to tell the truth so others can do the same.

Originally published: January 22, 2016
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