The truth of the matter is depression is a bully! A big, fat, cheating, loathsome menace, that only you can beat when armed with awareness and mindset. I know this because I have experienced it; I had postnatal depression, as well as other dark bouts of depression up until my forties.
I was lucky enough to emerge with an awareness of the damage it can do and the lies it can tell. Forearmed is forewarned, and I am quick to recognise its insidious grip these days before it can do much damage.
For those that may not know, depression is very real. Without prejudice, it attacks the mind, body, and soul, seizing the neurotransmitters in our brains and setting up home there.
For those who struggle, here are a few whoppers that the beast will try to convince you of:
Depression will decimate your confidence until it makes you feel like a broken toy. You feel the only solution is to be thrown away, to make space for a new, upgraded toy. Your thoughts can rollercoaster until this becomes your new truth.
But it is a lie – you are still there, beneath the cracks and scratches, but you just need some help to polish yourself back to where you once were. With support, help, or medical advice, you will become like new again.
When low, and lacking motivation, your little demon will tell you that you’re being lazy; you are not trying hard enough.
It can feel like wading through treacle when your body is coping with emotional duress. Your sleep may be affected, and there are a whole host of reasons why it is harder than usual to just ‘get up and go’. Be kind to yourself.
You are weak
For too long, stigma has shadowed depression and told people they are weak. It is stigma like this that delays you getting better, or seeking the right help. Negative beliefs like these are NOT the truth. The mind and brain have a delicate and intricate relationship with a whole host of neurons that can misfire! You are not weak.
The longer depression digs its claws in, the bigger lies the demon on your shoulder will tell you. It will scream ‘what’s the point?’ It is lying again; trying to make you feel helpless and keeping you stuck.
The truth is this – you can find your direction and purpose again. By tweaking and retraining a few of your thoughts, you can slowly change your world. Kick that lying demon to the kerb!
Being alone is better
I always know if I’m slipping when I start feeling alone. The little demon convinces me that I have no friends, nobody likes me, causing me to retreat into my shell! These negative thoughts come from the damage of past events in my life, and I recognise this now.
It is the very time to do the opposite and speak to friends, go out and have that coffee, perhaps meet up with a friend for a walk in the fresh air. Talk to anyone and everyone. Data proves this helps.
Remember, that clever little demon is the one lying, telling you that you are a burden; trying to convince you that you shouldn’t share your problems with others. Ignore him!
It will always be like this
Depression is so surreptitious; it can infiltrate like contaminated air that we breathe. Once we are filled up with it, we are convinced that it was always like this, it is like this, and it will always be like this! Not true.
Everything is temporary; how you feel today is not how you will feel next week, next month or next year.
The world would be better without me
If we slip far enough down the slippery slide of depression and let it dig its dirty claws in, it can corrode our ability to rationalise. This is the time the demon is at its worst! Suicide rates are higher in men than women, mainly because the stigma of ‘weakness’ stops them from seeking help or talking to others.
Never listen to this voice and if ever you feel this low, seek immediate intervention. Whilst it may feel there is no way out, recovery is always possible. Psychotherapy and/or meds can be like someone throwing a rope over the edge of the void to start the journey of helping you out. There is always hope.
I hope some of the above gives an insight into some of the lies that depression is guilty of.
Think of it like a little monster on your shoulder, niggling away and telling you that you are not good enough. He slowly eats away at your confidence and wellbeing until you can no longer see him, forgetting that he was even there in the first place.
Wake up! Be aware at all times of this intruder on your shoulder. Don’t listen to him, because…. DEPRESSION LIES.