6 Lies Your Depression Wants You to Believe (& How to Not Fall Into the Trap)

depression lies

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Camus

When depression hits, it hijacks your thoughts and feelings. It whispers seductive lies into your ears; lies that gradually start sounding like the truth. I know how that feels, because I have struggled with it too. If on the other hand, you knew the lies depression commonly uses, then you can ignore or replace them with your own inner truth. And every time you do that, you have healed a little bit.

So, here are some common ‘depression deceptions’ to watch out for:

1. It’s a chemical condition. So I can’t really do anything about it right?

Wrong.

I’m a psychiatrist and so I hear this one a lot. And it dismays me. As a society, we have gone from one extreme-thinking that everything was related to your mother-to the other extreme-now everything is a chemical condition that is beyond our control. Both are too simplistic. We are complex individuals with unique and rich stories. There is no one answer that will always fit all of us.

Yes your brain is made up of electrical impulses and chemical substances that change a million times in a day and make up your thoughts and/or emotions. And yes, often times, severe clinical depression requires medications. In fact, they can be essential and life saving in some situations. But, and listen to this very closely, even when they work well, medications alone don’t keep you from getting depressed again. What they do, is give you enough relief to then work on your self, and change the things in your mind and life, so that hopefully, you don’t feel that depressed again.

In fact, some forms of therapy, such as Mindfulness based cognitive therapy, has been shown to be even better than medications at lowering the risk of relapse (as long as you’ve gotten over the worst hump).

The human mind is very powerful but much of it is amenable to change. It’s a tough process, but so worth the effort.

2. Anyone with my childhood/job/marriage/health/finances would be depressed!

Each of us lives in our own heads and so we only can feel our own pain. Yes we can empathize with others, but we can’t fully feel anyone else’s joy or pain as intimately as we can feel our own.

This can lead us to feel trapped by the pain of our own life circumstances.

I used to feel this way as well. My depression would tell me “Your mom committed suicide and your dad is a narcissist. It’s not possible for you to ever be happy”. The worst part was, I believed it for a long time.

Since then, I have been fortunate to feel my own strengths, to learn about the brain, to read books and meet amazing people who have overcome great odds, proving to me over and over again that the human spirit is greater than the sum of past events.

You have great inner strength and wisdom within you. Whatever may have happened in your past is only one part of you. Don’t let it dictate your whole life.

3. I’ve tried everything. Nothing works for me.

Do you feel like you have tried every single thing to help yourself? And nothing is working?

If that’s the case, maybe you’re trying too hard. Sometimes chasing happiness makes it more…..elusive, like a butterfly that will only come and softly sit on your shoulder when you can simply be in it’s presence without chasing it.

Try just surrounding yourself with people who seem genuinely happy. Not the Polly Anna kind of superficial happy. But the folks that exude a sense of deep contentment and peace from within. Don’t compare or force happiness to come to you. Just be in its presence.

4. I’ll be happier once I lose weight/get a raise/buy a home…

I wasted lots of my time in my 20’s hoping that if I just worked desperately toward  achieving this or that, I would live happily ever after. Well, I did achieve most of those things, and it did make me feel excited briefly, but soon I had gone back to my usual state of mind. Feeling confused, I would replace it with another “goal” and chase after that, hoping that this time, the happiness would be deeper and long lasting.

And one day I was explaining this theory to a close friend, and she said simply “What’s wrong with now? Why not just be happy now?”

It blew me away. Because she wasn’t telling me to not reach for my goals, but rather that I was missing out on the possibility of NOW.

This very moment is alive with possibility. Whenever you begin to worry about the future or connect your happiness to some elusive goal, take a moment to bring your awareness back to this moment. Use your senses to really see, hear, smell and touch your immediate surroundings. And think of one thing you are grateful for today. Maybe it’s your morning cup of coffee, the hug your son gave you or that your friend called to share a joke. Whatever it is, if you truly loved it, spend a few moments being genuinely thankful that you had that TODAY.

5. I’ve screwed up a lot. I hate myself. I’m not worthy of happiness.

This is a tough one, because when we don’t love ourselves, that’s where the work must start. No foundation, no building.

Whatever you may have done in the past, it’s gone. That moment can never come back.

However, every new breath you take now is a new chance at life.  It’s totally fresh and alive for you to shape as you like. And if this one doesn’t do it, that’s fine, your next breath is again a fresh possibility. And the next. And the next.

Until you take your last breath, you have millions of moments to start over and become the person you want to be. It’s up to you what you do with each one.

6. Most of my life is okay, except for that one ‘X‘ thing

I once read a story that goes something like this.

A professor puts up a big white board with a black dot on it, and then asks his students to describe what they see.

Most of them come close to scrutinize the board and blurt out the answer excitedly “The black dot! There is a black dot on it!”

Finally, the professor says “It’s interesting that most of you didn’t notice the whole white board in front of you, but rather chose to focus on that one small black dot”

This is what happens when we focus solely on the negative things. I’m not saying your difficulties are just dot sized. Not at all. All I’m saying is: Don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful expanse of white in your life. Because it’s there.

Does your depression/anxiety hijack your mind too? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo by Luis Hernandez

85 thoughts on “6 Lies Your Depression Wants You to Believe (& How to Not Fall Into the Trap)”

  1. Holy cow. I have never thought about it that way. I’m quite young (Barely 22) and I’ve been telling myself a large majority of these things since I was “diagnosed” at age 19. I never realized, how much control over my life I really do have. How each breath is another chance at now and my future. Thank you very much for this article (almost makes me want to cry!)
    My depression has hindered myself, my boyfriend, family, friends, studies, and has closed me off for years.
    I just never knew how powerful though, my mind was. I am pretty excited now though, to change.

    1. Dear Desie,

      I’m so glad you felt empowered after reading this. Yes depression is a very difficult and neuro chemical brain reaction, yet, you still have SO much control over your recovery. Don’t let depression define your entire identity. Be your full alive and amazing self! Wishing you the healing that comes with hard work and helps you write your own life story :)

      1. Depression is awful. Im suffering from it as well as my bfriend but i agree that most of my thoughts are lies ive chosen to believe and by replacing these lies with more realistic truths can make a difference

    2. I know that this blog is several years old now, but I just found it and reading it helped me feel better for now. It’s extremely tough battling depression, but I’m determined not to give in and let it take me. I really loved the story of the black dot on the white board as well. Thanks for this.

      1. Hey Paul, i liked your comment.

        I too found the article now, lying in bed, afraid to ‘pretend’ “out there”, dont want to fall apart so stay in bed. I worry how and when this mind will change and i can go about my day, life but for now i let myself be here. I worry i will never get better, never get up, i wish ‘it’ would go away. I thank you for this community and place to share. Good wishes to everyone,

  2. Having been re-diagnosed (from dysthymia to bipolar II), and after a year and a half of finding a basically working set of medications and a good therapist, I still have the occasional down sad day. Having also been an alcoholic in recover for over 27 years, I have the additional blessing of an awareness that “This too shall pass.” All that said (well, typed), I still needed to read item 5 on your list. That is my depression’s favorite road to go down, and interferes most with my continued growth and progress as a human being. Thank you very much; this entire post is very helpful.

    1. Dear Cathy,

      So glad you found the post helpful. I have also struggled with #5 and have found that reminding myself of the possibilities in this moment, this new breath, helps me start anew.

      Good luck on your journey and let me know if I can help in any way Cathy.

  3. Dear Desie,

    I found this to be spot on. Thank you for relieving me of stress.

    I would like to add that a major cause of depression is OCD. Many obsessive compulsive people are depressed because they critically view their own lives as well as everyone else’s. The key is to look on the bright side of life, the beauties, and make the most of what you’ve got now, not worrying about the future. Have fun, folks.

    1. Dear Kyle,

      I’m glad this helped relieve some stress for you.

      Your comment that OCD is about critically viewing your own and others lives for perfection is very astute observation!

      Cheers!

  4. I really appreciate this article, Kavetha. About six years ago, I was really going through a rough time after a reaction to medication. I was highly anxious and the medication wreaked havoc on my nervous system. While I could have curled up on the couch and sat with my pain, I started to see that the only way out was changing my behavior and thinking. I’m so glad you mentioned Mindfulness cognitive behavioral therapy. I didn’t see anyone, but I did read several books that helped me change my thinking.

    What really helped was exercise, healthy eating, and decreasing my work hours. I was the typical Type A. The harder I work, the better I am, right? When I started taking time for me and exercising every day, I was no longer anxious. Does that mean I never have anxious thoughts? No way! But with exercise, a healthy diet, and putting myself first, I have healed what I thought was an irreversible condition.

    1. Dear Tammy,

      Kudos to you for doing something to make meaning and find healing from your anxiety. Yes I can totally relate to the Type A thinking. Slowing down enough to be in the moment and take care of yourself and enjoying your body by working out are excellent ways to feel better. Thank you so much for sharing!

      As you mentioned, mindfulness is a powerful form of therapy. If you are interested, I have written a free e-book about it with easy to follow audio meditate exercises, fee free to check it out at http://www.talk-doctor.com

      Wishing you continued peace and freedom from anxiety,
      Kavetha

  5. So many of these things hit home for me. My self-esteem has always been low and for most of my life I have honestly believed that my ONLY value was my intellect – I have a near genius level IQ and throughout school there was nothing I couldn’t grasp if I just set my mind to it. Not that I all came easy, I had to work – and work hard – but I could do it. I never failed at anything in the academic arena until my PhD fell flat on it’s face – largely due to a sever depressive episode and working myself into complete clinical exhaustion 3 times in 3 years. Even to the point of being hospitalized once.

    After that, everything seemed to fall apart for me. If I couldn’t get my PhD, if I couldn’t maintain the perfect academic record I had – I was nothing. That doctorate had been my goal since I was a teenager. If I couldn’t get it, all my plans for my life went up in smoke. That one failure lead to a downward spiral of more failures until I tried to take my own life on two separate occasions, convinced there was nothing I could do to make my life bearable.

    Since then I’ve been diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder, Bi-polar, and an anxiety disorder. I’m on medication but I currently am lacking in any kind of therapy because I don’t have any insurance. The only reason I’m able to get medication is because of a county charity thing for low income individuals. I can’t even hold down a job at the moment and have had to move back in with my parents. Another blow to my sense of self-worth.

    Between the utter collapse of my self-esteem and the fact that mental health issues run in my father’s family I’ve often felt trapped. Like this was always going to be my fate and there’s nothing I can do about it. That I can never really be happy in a long term sense. Struggling to find any real value in myself AS me is an ongoing battle – one made all the harder because I can’t afford the therapy I know I need. So often I feel that if only I’d been able to get my PhD then everything would be fine. Logically, I know that’s not true, but when has logic ever ruled over our emotions? Beside, I know now even getting the PhD wouldn’t have made everything fine. Not when I have always looked in the mirror and hated what I see. And because I failed in the one area I’d always excelled in, I so often DO feel that I deserve what’s happening now. My genetics and I made my bed and now I have to lie in it.

    I’d add one more thing to your list of Depression’s insidious lies though. And that is that what you see when you are depressed is the truth. One of the reasons I’ve had such a hard time is that part of me doesn’t want to get better and not just because I think I somehow deserve this. It’s because there’s a part of me that believes that that is the only time I really see myself for who and what I am. That when I’m “better” THAT’S the real lie. That’s it’s only depression that holds up an accurate mirror.

    1. Dear Georgia,

      Thank you for your grace and courage in sharing your story.

      From what you are describing, it seems like the low self esteem has been hurting you for a very long time. It makes me wonder if your childhood was particularly hard in some way…

      As you said, getting your Ph.D or not isn’t what determines the story…it is how we view that particular loss. And what each loss actually means to us. I think you are totally spot on about depression making life feel more “real”, which is also one way it can get to us.
      In truth, ALL parts of you are real. Whichever part you give fuel to, may be STRONGER though…

      If Borderline personality (BPD) is part what you are facing, I would highly recommend DBT (Dialectical Behavior therapy). It is the most successful treatment for BPD, and is often available in group treatment centers as well. Ask your medication provider for ideas.

      In between your thoughts and your actions, lies your freedom to choose.

      Wishing you peace and joy soon,
      Kavetha

    2. Georgia,

      I wish we were friends. Seriously.
      I think we would get along with each other.
      Isn’t it sad, how no one around me is able to understand what I am going through but some random strange on the web you don’t know probably would?

  6. Thank you for this post. While I don’t suffer with it personally, my partner does I am interested to read any articles you have on supporting someone with depression.

    When my partner has “episodes” (forgive me if this is wrong but for the most part she is happy and bubbly) I feel useless to help her. It’s almost like she shuts down and completely disconnects from everything and everyone.

    Recently we have been going through rough time (she has changed jobs is finding it tough) and her depression has been more prominent. It’s getting harder for us to keep our cool (She is on edge and I am on edge for fear of making her feel worse), I have tried suggesting solutions to her problems and helping her resolve them but due to her disconnecting nature, the response is usually “No that won’t work” without taking the opportunity to think it though.

    Recently I’ve started to wonder if I am escalating the issue buy making suggestions and causing further distress or if there could be another method to approach it so any suggested reading could be a big help.

    Thank you.

    1. Dear Adam,

      From your post, it seems like your partner’s low moods are quite frequent, interspersed with “bubbly and happy” periods. If so, wonder if it might be more helpful to talk to her her during one of the happier phases, so you both can plan for how to communicate during her low phases. Of course, the other important suggestion would be for therapy. If your partner is hesitant to do so, maybe you can start off with couples therapy, openly telling her that you want to learn how to best support her during these phases?

      Depression can be very stressful on a relationship. I can tell that you seem to really care about your partner, kudos to you for trying to find ways to support her. Feel free to check out related articles at http://www.talk-doctor.com

      I wish you both peace,
      Kavetha

  7. I don’t know, I am ‘over the hump’ with my depression, but I barely have it in me to keep myself together, to not freak out my family, to smile. When I am alone I just cry. I tried a lot of things, I’m still medicated, still in therapy, tried meditation and so forth. I don’t have panic attacks, anger issues, not suicidal anymore, but still I’m anything but happy. And I don’t see how I can change that. And I want to ask – how does it feel, to be happy now?

  8. Hi Elvina,

    Thank you bringing up something so crucial. Being “over the hump”is often mistaken as not being suicidal or paralyzed with panic etc; But if, as you say, you are barely keeping yourself together, and you cry when alone, it seems to me that you are still climbing the hump.
    Meditation is a very long process, sometimes needs months of consistent daily practice to feel any change. Some things to consider for your therapy: if you feel you are living your “purpose”, what from the past might be keeping you in this emotional state and the depth and meaningfulness of your connections. I’m glad you are reaching out and getting help, and the very fact you are reading this shows you are fighting for your happiness. Kudos to you.

    Please feel free to check out related information at http://www.talk-doctor.com
    Also let me know if I can help in any other way.

    Sending you warm healing thoughts,
    Kavetha

  9. Hello Kavetha,

    Twenty two years ago I suffered from severe clinical depression. I had lost a great job, a wife/child and all my worldly possessions through divorce. It seemed like life was no longer worth living and there was no place for me to start over. I knew my brain was messed up (sick) but didn’t know why. I had no idea how to fix it either. I think that was the frustrating part. It was like there was an invisible brain monkey (great Professional term, huh?) that got inside my head and rattled all the cages and broke all the toys and then crapped all over the place. OK, that’s not an analogy you’d see in and Professionally Published Paper, but that’s what it felt like for me. The scariest part was that it would never go away. I lived like that for close to a year before I couldn’t take it any longer and finally popped a cap in my coconut. I do remember the sensation of the bullet entering my brain right before I lost consciousness……..it was a feeling of ultimate relief…..better than any drug I have ever ingested (and I’ve tried a lot….). My head felt like a Tea Pot hat had to get rid of the steam. The bullet WAS relief. I don’t know why I’m still alive to talk about this, but there is a reason for it, I’m sure.

    The bullet was not a cure-all. I spent 65 days in the hospital 28 days in a coma and the remainder in intensive therapy. I tried several other types of mood altering drugs to fix the depression which was still an issue, although not as big a problem as it was before the suicide attempt. We tried Zoloft….NO good for me. We tried several others as well…Depakote/Depakene and none of them worked. One day I decided to quit smoking and was placed on Wellbutrin. Ah! Serendipity! Five weeks after taking this drug, all depressive thoughts and behaviors have ceased and never returned. It was as if I heard a loud POP! And the popping noise was the sound of my head removing itself from my ass. All the gray fog and the muddled thinking disappeared in about 5 weeks after taking this drug. That was 22 years ago. While my life has never been perfect, it sure is a lot better with NO depression. I firmly believe that there is a drug for everyone that will ease depressive thoughts/behaviors. I still have a bullet lodged 1/2 an inch from my brain stem but am well passed any type of seizure activity because of it. I still haven’t quit smoking either. Dopey me!

    1. Dear Tim,

      Your story made me stop in my tracks. I’m sorry for the awful pain you had to go through but I’m soooo glad that Wellbutrin worked so well for you. I wish you many, many more years of health and happiness. Take care of yourself, Kavetha

  10. Help me Rhonda, !!! What a great post.

    It’s a chemical thing and Im powerless. I can totally relate to these delusional thoughts that confine us on in our own mental jail.

    Thank you for putting this together, gives me a little more reinforcement for adjustment in belief systems around depression

    1. Hi Kael,

      Glad you found it helpful! Yes depression and anxiety make things worse by also telling us lies that we gradually tend to believe.

      Take care :)

  11. This is a great article. What a huge eye opener. It really does matter what we focus on. We all have issues in our life, it’s part of being human. But we don’t have to focus on what isn’t working in our life or what is wrong. We all have a lot to be thankful about to. Sure I can’t speak for every single person but even if you do have all this stuff wrong you’ve got to look for what is right.

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Glad you found it useful! I agree that focusing on the positive can help. Although, it’s totally okay, and sonetimes essential, to look at the hurt and pain, as a way to move past it in some way. Wallowing in despair is what allows depression to grow…

      Take care,
      Kavetha

  12. Hi Kael,

    You are welcome, glad it was helpful :)

    Yes it’s amazing how helpless depression wants to make us feel huh? It takes a lot of insight and practice to not let it run your life.

    Sounds like you are already on the right track with that! Good luck and take care!

    Best,
    Kavetha

    1. Hi Esther,

      Struggling with a loved one’s depression can be very hard. Do have him/her check out other articles at http://www.talk-doctor.com. Also, the book “Feeling good: The New mood therapy” by Dr.David Burns is very helpful, as is “The mindful way through depression” by Mark Williams and co.

      Sending you hope,
      Kavetha

  13. mahavir nautiyal

    Excellent, motivational article, dear Kavetha. There is a touch of spirituality in you. The simile used by you of chasing happiness with a butterfly which sits on my shoulder only if i stop chasing it, is simply beautiful and appropriate. Yes, happiness is elusive, like a mirage, it descends on us gently like snow flakes when we are at peace and harmony with ourself and the world around.
    When I wake up in the morning, I thank God for keeping me alive. One may not believe in God yet thanking Him or whosoever I believe in for the gift of life means that I still value my life. If it is so, where is the reason for depression. ” Every new breath you take now is a new chance at life “.

    1. Dear Mahavir,

      Am so glad to hear you found the article motivational.

      As you said, I do believe in the beauty and possibility of the present moment, this new breath. Guess my spirituality in that sense is about the here and now and the underlying connection between all living things :-)

      Have a wonderful day,
      Kavetha

  14. I’ve struggled with anxiety and paranoia more than depression in the past. I agree with all of your points. For me, the answer was within myself. Through exercise and writing I have been able to overcome most of my fears.

  15. Hi Gena,

    Yea I had the same reaction when I first learnt about all the mind distortions that depression plays on us!

    Helps to be aware so we can challenge these thoughts right?

    Take care Gena! Wish you well.

    -Kavetha

  16. I don’t know if I’m technically “depressed,” but numbers 4 and 5 really stood out to me. I had to re-read them a couple of times. I find that I get a lot of anxiety when I think about things I “should have” accomplished already and I get overwhelmed with what I should do next. My main problem is that I worry about making the “right” decision and I become completely paralyzed from making any decisions at all. Then I feel frustrated when I am in the same spot. I like the way you put it – each breath is a new chance. That makes me feel hopeful :)

    1. Hi Sadiya,

      Im glad you found the post hopeful ☺
      Sounds like you are struggling with wanting to either do things perfectly or not at all? Mindfulness is very useful as a way of observing our inner thought patterns and learning to detach from them.

      Wishing you lots of good luck,
      Kavetha

  17. I think number 5 was the hardest for me and still is at times. Learning to get over the imbued sense of self-hatred is tough. I was diagnosed as borderline personality disorder which is in a then new ballpark depression. I don’t agree with number two necessarily. I think you need to accept that your childhood was very tough for you and then accept that you are no longer in it and are responsible for yourself as an adult. I think denying the feelings that you were hurt doesn’t lead to healing. You need to accept them and then give yourself what your parents never gave you. Love.

  18. Hi Sebastian,

    Yes I agree that self-hatred, guilt, shame kind of feelings are the toughest to have to deal with.

    And I’m totally with you on the point of accepting and working through childhood trauma. What I meant was that depression sometimes makes you feel HOPELESS and to GIVE UP the fight because of what may have happened in childhood or past relationships or finances etc;
    IMO, that’s a big lie depression tells us, because as you said, whatever may have happened, each person deserves love.

    Wishing you hope and healing and joy,
    Kavetha

    1. Thanks for the clarification. It is true that depression can make you feel hopeless and want to give up and it amplifies because it finds reasons of how messed up things are. It casts a blanket over life and makes everything darker than it actually is.

      Depression does lie to us because it clouds one’s thinking. It drains hope. Hopefully we can all start living life’s worth living.

      Have a wonderful day!

  19. This article makes us realize the white board in our life, and not just worry about the black dots. I am depressed for quite a long time in my life, but i slowly started boosting myself.

    I am depressed when i lost my job, no friends to help, no recognition in society, no happiness in family, everything seems to be putting me down.

    I started enjoying the things in my life, that i am proud of. I maintained good relationships with others, helped others, and motivated myself towards my goals. I keep inspiring myself everyday and will inspire others too.

  20. It’s interesting how so many people who are depressed are actually Empaths.

    That once piece of information could really help and change people people’s lives, but most just seem to be unaware of it.

  21. I am pretty cranky right now. Is anyone here my age? (53). I just found this blog while searching”Waiting for my life to change”. Husband and I are ready for massive change to our circumstances and currently I am in despair. I have little patience for pithy feel good -isms. I spennd alot of time trying to “not concentrtae on” all the things which really bug me. Sometimes I say to God..So God WHAT is gonna happen today? ANYTHING?!!!

    1. Paulette,

      I wish I could tell you that your life will change soon for the better, but thats not what you need to hear. What you need to hear is the truth. All the time you’re spending trying to not concentrate on all the things that bug you, could be your biggest problem right now. Its no secret that what you concentrate on is what you’ll get more of in life.

      Instead of trying not to concentrate on what bugs you, try concentrating on what brings you joy. Start looking for the good in everyone and everything. Especially the people and things that bug you. Instead of trying not to be bugged by circumstance, try to be humbled by it.

      If you don’t like your present circumstance, you can always change it. It won’t happen on its own but small actions everyday will make big things happen over time. You’re already headed in the right direction because you’re seeking answers. Just don’t dismiss them too easily.

      Wisdom has nothing to do with age, some of the wisest things I’ve ever heard came from some of the youngest people I know. My kids.

  22. First of all big up to for this excellent eye opener. Personally i have been there and got stuck for way too long until one day my inner sibling had enough. Social anxiety, persistent illness, however the moment one decides to face the gun, we are surprised at how easy it sometimes can be for us to overcome stress.

  23. This is amazing!!

    Thank you for taking the time to put this together for us!

    Let me know if you want to write for GrowthGuided

    Have a great weekend

  24. Hi Kaveta,
    I liked the depth of this post.

    We often get variety of thoughts during various moments. What’s important is to which thoughts we “actually’ listen and adopt.

    It’s our listening and adopting to quality thoughts that determines the quality of our actions.

    Yours was a great post to read.

  25. I have always thought that way and try to apply it but when something happeness I forget it all and I let myself go… for a day or two or somethimes even weeks.

  26. I hate to say it, but those all seem like lame excuses to me. I’ve never dealt with depression to any extreme, but I have managed to overcome fairly severe fear issues and making excuses will never lead you out of the dark.

  27. This reminded me a lot of eckhart tolle’s teachings in the book “the power of now”. Thank you for this article it was very wise. If people didn’t doubt or at least give these methods a chance? we would have a lot more mentally healthy and happy people around today.

  28. I love this post!

    When I lost my job, I did convince myself that I had every right to be depressed, that I was well within my right to walk around feeling sorry for myself.

    But through reading self help articles and reading stories of people who came out of depression, I realized that I can still have a spirit of gratefulness, that there are still parts of my life that are awesome, and I started focusing on those.

    Thank you for pointing out these lies, it is so easy to really start believing them. Great article!

  29. Great post

    What people have to understand is depression is REAL. Much different from sadness or lack of self confidence or worth.

    There are different triggers that make depression worse.

    When I live in uncertainty my depression escalates. Why? I’ve never been sure
    When my back is up against the wall- I always preform.
    You are soo right- the human spirit is very powerful.

    thanks for an eye opener.

    SW

  30. I believed everybody gets depressed at some point in their life for their own reasons. I have battled with depression for years. I never believed it was a disorder or chemical issue but rather an emotion. I get depressed with my circumstances especially when I dont see how to make them better. A feeling of powerless and restriction. It is true, when feeling depressed it can alter your perceptions, influence your thoughts and your choices which can keep you in that depression cycle.

  31. I can relate to what depression feels like. Your tips are helpful, our personal attitude being at the heart of how we perceive things. When we’re depressed, we’re always disconnected and feeling separated. Then we focus on negative things, and because of that we attract more of the same into our lives. It’s tricky, because the key is to think of what you want without getting attached to it. You have to be able to appreciate the moment as it is, while chasing your dreams as if you’re already there.

    But one important thing to realize about depression is also that it brings comfort, as strange as it may sound. Some people are so attached to their emotional state of depression, that they don’t really want to get out of it, even if they say they do. They just love to get attention, sympathy, and be comfortable with not having to take responsibility for their feelings.

    A friend of mine is depressed, and I never hear from him anymore. I used to call him and send him messages, but he rarely replied. So I dropped it, because if he really wanted to help himself, he would reach out. In the end people are responsible for themselves, and sometimes it’s better to stop sending comforting sympathy, so they can wake up.

  32. Seven years ago I crashed emotionally. I was in a bad way. I never forget though that as I lay there in the depths of depression a tiny voice told me to go and search for a book in the local library’s catalogue. So I did that. I had no idea what I was supposed to be looking for but I typed in “self development”. On the first page in the list of books, about half way down this book just jumped out at me “Excuse Me Your Life Is Waiting” by Lynn Grabhorn. I queued it, I collected it, I read it, I love it, I bought it, it became my bible, it turned my life around.

    Since then I have made personal development a life time commitment. I am a work in progress and love that every day I now live a happier, wealthier and healthier life.

  33. Depression is a demon that whisper lies into our ears.

    Are you trapped into believing that demon?

    You may be challenged by what happened to you in your childhood

    or

    you may be challenged by what you perceive about what happened
    to you in your childhood.

    We all have the ability as adults to re-visit the moments that haunt us.

    Of course, we can be co-conspirators in our depression,
    if we choose to be.
    We can also conquer the negative passions of our lives,
    if we choose to do so.

    People that feel that they are failures
    have given up too soon.
    All of us have a higher purpose
    and reasons for what we have experienced.

    Some of the greatest “failures” have gone on
    and become role models
    for those that haven’t had to struggle
    to the same degree.

    The elusive butterfly can land on us
    when we take the time to be quiet
    and accept who we are.

    Your post, Kavetha, is a refreshing reminder
    that we don’t have to be captives
    of our own thoughts.

    Thank you for writing this post.

    You are helping so many people.

  34. Dear Dr. Kavetha,

    Thank you first of all for the great advice and the quick responses you gave to people. I was depressed since I was a little kid and it hit me severely five years ago. It felt like my spirit wanted to do good but my body wanted to do bad. It felt like my body overpowered my spirit. Going to counselors, doctors, diagnosis’, it felt hopeless. One day I went into town and all the people i thought were my friends abandoned me. I decided I’m going to go home and appreciate and not do it again. For some reason when I woke up the next morning my whole world changed I saw the beauty of nature, the beauty of truth, love, virtue and meditation. I started getting into Buddhism and started going where I wanted to go instead of where everybody else was telling me to go. And I’ve been in recovery for the last four months, but the thing is I have been falling into my old ways of thinking. Ive been trying to do positive stuff to combat it like prayer, meditation, exercise but for some reason in this particular moment it seems to make it worse. Thank you for your time and avice

  35. This is a good and somewhat helpful blog post until you start talking about being unworthy of happiness.
    Depression is not about being unhappy. I am incredibly happy and incredibly depressed, they are by no means opposites or incompatible. Depression is, for me, a sense of hopelessness. It is a feeling that everything is heavy and impossible. It is a feeling that now, in this moment, I cannot function as a “normal person” is “supposed to” function. This does not make me unhappy. It makes me different, and that is okay.
    We are constantly told to strive for happiness, and are told what should make us happy. We are shown what happiness should look like. I notice and appreciate all that is beautiful in the world, including things that others may not perceive as beautiful.
    I have tried lots of different methods to treat my depression. I see a therapist I have been seeing for years, I journal, I walk outside when the sun is out, I socialize when I can bring myself to get out of bed, I have taken anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. I educate myself in ways that others have at least relieved symptoms of depression. These things may make me “happier”, but no less depressed. I do not feel more hopeful because I can see the sun. SSRIs always made me more numb instead of functional.
    What I’m saying is that I know there are great and beautiful things and people, and I experience them and adore them. I am happy. Knowing that life is beautiful does not make it any easier to get out of bed, to talk to the beautiful things and people. I know things get better, they have before. I know that things are fine now. It’s really just the lack of motivation and feeling that I am expected to strive for a different type of happiness than I currently experience that is affecting me.

    1. Hi, Becca,

      It’s certainly true that being happy does not mean you’re not depressed. Often uncleared shock / trauma will bring you down no matter what you try. I suffered form it for many years.

      The only thing that cured my depression were Bach Flower Remedies (and only the right one at that)

      Have you looked into them?

  36. This article is really awesome. I am so happy that there are psychiatrists who actually want to help, not just make money and prescribe pills. Thank you!

  37. Thank you so much for this article Kavetha. I REALLY appreciate your pointing out the antidepressants are not a cure for depression, but can help us feel better enough to have the motivation to start working through the underlying causes of our depression.

    It’s so important that people are aware of this because for some reason most people out there think the pills will cure them and are then discouraged, frustrated, and confused when they go off their meds and the depression comes back. I’m not against anti-depressants – they do have their use, but as you said, are not meant as a cure for depression.

    Cheers,
    Julia Kristina
    http://juliakristina.com/blog

  38. I have read and truly tried to apply all of the above mentioned advice. I still can’t seem to shake my depressive feelings. I don’t feel suicidal, just numb to everyday life. I feel as if I have no emotions, just discontentment. When good things happen I don’t feel excited or happy, when bad things happen I feel just as unaffected. I do not have a perfect life, but I don’t have hard or bad life either. Do you any advice for me?

    1. I’m with you Challen. It’s sucks not to be able to get excited or be inspired by events going on around us. This might sound weird, I hate to hear you’re struggling with this, but I’m glad I’m not alone having this struggle in life. Maybe you thought you were alone too. Looking forward to seeing what’s going on.

  39. Hi
    Just wanted to say thanks . I have never thought about them this way . It blew my mind in so many levels :) . WISH YOU ALL THE BEST and I really mean it . THANKS again . thank you so much

  40. Thanks you for these really powerful reminders.

    I especially appreciate when the “WHEN/THEN” myth that our culture tries so hard to get us to believe. WHEN I am or have x, y, or z THEN I’ll be happy. And as you said, we even WHEN become or have those things we are still not totally happy or satisfied.

    As a therapist myself I work a lot with my clients struggling with being focused on the WHEN/THEN, as opposed to what your friend said, “What’s wrong with now?” And further to that, I believe strongly that this is life. Right here and right now. And if we spend all our time thinking we need to change everything or be someone else in order to be happy we’re going to miss it.

    Thanks again,

    Julia Kristina
    http://juliakristina.com/blog

  41. I was hit by depression a few months ago when my main business went down.
    After that I tried to seek alternatives to replace that business with something new and different.
    I had a constant online income so after working online for more than a decade, I don’t want to go back to work for others.
    So, I decided to try something new which gives me freedom and a decent income to travel the world.

  42. How do you stop hating yourself? I totally loathe the man I’ve become and just want to die. Life just takes too much effort and I can’t be bothered anymore.

  43. I have suffered from depression since childhood. Even attempted suicide once. As I am typing this i am lonely and depressed. I have been so since last 8 years,sitting at home thinking about ways to kill myself.

  44. It’s a totally different ballgame when you’re always alone and have to try to deal with mutiple sclerosis in your everyday life. Not feeling sorry for myself but there are days that are so hard to try and find something to smile about.

  45. I have been dealing with this since childhood. Like you,I thought by achieving my goals house,career etc.it would bring me happiness. I was happy, for a moment. I than would fall back in a funk.What disappoints me the most is.I have a wonderful wife, beautiful children and with this depression it causes me not to enjoy them and the memories we make. That leads to me feeling horrible because I feel ungrateful and feel guilty for not appreciating the wonderful gifts gods giving me. Why can’t I just be satisfied and enjoy my life. I feel it affects my decision making as a husband and father. Overall I feel like I’ve failed everyone including myself. Thanks for this. It’s hard for me to express without feeling like I’m complaining, when I no people are struggling all over and dealing with situations I couldn’t even imagine. That’s the confusing part. Even with my thought process, I still beat myself up.

  46. I have been suffering from depression going to 3months now,it was worse initially,it made me lose appetite,n literally dis organise my taught and imagination,with different pictures of my past present n future playing in my head,putting me in a static mood,with unexplainable feelings. Now it has made my believe in God look strange making me more curios about his existence,how the plannets sprung up,the stars just making everything look strange living me with doubts upon doubts,and all this is worst mostly in the mornings,even when I read the bible is like I don’t seem to understand it making everything look like a lie n deceit.

    1. Wow- I feel this same exact way. I grew up in a Christian environment and trusted God with my entire life. Now after 3 years of depression- I feel so lost and distant. I question everything and when I try to read the Bible I just get more sad because I doubt its truth. Nice to know someone else is dealing with a similar strange situation.

  47. Kavetha … I just discovered your fine article, “6 Lies Your Depression Wants You To Believe …”, which I enjoyed reading very much. The Comment section was particularly helpful to me since I, too, suffer from Bi-Polar Type II and can relate to many of the other commenters.

    You’ll be pleased to know that I agree with most everything you wrote, but with one exception. With all due respect I cannot agree with your position that “The world we have created is a product of our thinking…” is a “lie” as you call it. It is not a lie and here’s why I say that:

    If a person thinks, behaves and believes that h/she is a failure in, say, a chosen profession then the human mind will accept that as fact regardless of whether it is actually true or not. The mind will even become an active influence in reinforcing what the person thinks and believes is their “reality”.

    The converse of the previous example is true as well. When someone thinks, believes and acts as though h/she were an outstanding performer in a profession then the mind will eventually accept that as reality. It will continue to accept and influence that belief until it is “wired” to accept something different.

    The two examples I’ve just described represent actual manifestations of the human mind regardless of whether a person is suffering from a diagnosed mental/mood disorder or even one who does not suffer from a mental disorder at all. The outcome is still the same: The human mind is “hijacked”, as you call it, and compelled to believe something is reality. If a person’s mind is tricked into believing that something is reality then it IS reality to that person.

    Truth is, the human mind doesn’t really care one way or the other if a “reality” is true or false if you actively reinforce it enough times. Possible exceptions might include innate “realities” associated with pain, hunger, and the like which we all experience from birth. But even those basic realities have been known to be altered through various forms of meditation, mind control or because of some human abnormality from birth.

    In general I hope you will agree with me that the human mind simply accepts what it is repeatedly told as being fact. As I’m sure you are aware this phenomenon even has a scientific name: “Neuroplasticity”. This phenomenon is generally accepted in the psycho behavioral community as being entirely valid.

    I am on an effective Rx regimen to “smooth out the jagged edges” of my Bp disorder. Despite my medications, I still have those moments (even hours and days) when my true, positive reality is “hijacked” by feelings that are very destructive to my overall well-being. During those rare episodes my reality DOES change and feels very real at the time. I simply wait for those episodes to pass and everything is good again before I know it. There’s no beating up on myself for lost time that I will never get back. It is what it is.

    Finally, my comments here are NOT intended to deprive anyone of any hope of overcoming any destructive or negative “realities” that they may be experiencing as a result of a diagnosed mental disorder. I happen to know first-hand how others may be suffering in regards to “hijacked” feelings about one’s self.

    Thanks for this opportunity to read your own thoughts on this subject and for allowing me to offer my own input.

    Never Give Up!
    MG

  48. Its really hard to read all of these comments because I think all of these things myself. My name is Dylan, I’m 26 years old and I struggle a lot every day with my depression. I’m working a lot with councilors, rehabilitation programs, and with mindfulness meditation. Since my “diagnosis”, I’ve been on lots of different medications and have been in and pouit of mental institutions for being self destructive. Since then, I have been really working on myself, which makes me very happy! But when it hits me, its like I forget all of my progress and go back into a depressive episode for a few weeks. I am aware of chemical changes in my body, stacked with meds, drugs and alcohol, and crappy circumstances. I wanted to ask for your advice on what to do to prevent feeling like I can’t control my thoughts. Thanks! -Dylan

  49. What do you do when you sink so low you just dont care anymore. So many things have destroyed your happiness you stop feeling all together. Being dead appeals more to you than being alive. But all that holds you back is the hurt you might cause others. So many sites like this try to help by changing your mindset but all we really need is to be loved by someone to feel valuable in someones eyes, to feel worth something. The worst thing about real depression is you will withdraw and even alienate yourself. Asking for help is not even an option. People dont want to be seen in a depressed state, in their everyday life they cover it up. The power of depression can be so strong it leaves you in a pathetic heap of self pity and can physically Immobilise you. Suicide enters your thoughts often but you wish there’s a way thats easy with no issues and hurts to others. At the bottom of depression is the feelings of worthlessness and a hoplessness you just cant see a way to turn around. If you want to help someone who is depressed make them feel valued, bring out before them and show them that you are worth something to somebody. And go and see them (advance notice) it will speak volumes , saying, your worth my time. Depression is a powerful debilitating sickness some small caring thoughts and some real caring actions can be the difference in someone’s recovery.

  50. Danielle Guyger

    I am bipolar II and nothing has helped. not group therapy, not one on one therapy, i been on every medicine on the market and also had ect, electro convulsive therapy. NOthing has worked. I am sure i inherited, everyone on my fathers side is bipolar. The depression just wont let up, it just wont.

  51. Ive come out of a lot of bad situations and just was starting to have a PTSD and a depression attack. Ive been diagnosed with both sense I was a little kid. I’m now almost 22 and I read this trying to find a way to distract myself and I never thought about it this way.

  52. I just love reading articles like this and everyone’s comments. I do believe depression and anxiety are the number 1 issue in our society, everyday I see stressed out people and they have no way out. It just keeps snowballing as they internalize everything and keep going. I suffer from anxiety and find that when it creeps up I need to slow down. Write in my journal, take time for me, figuire out what is happening in life that I need to look into. It’s tough but I love the feeling of self help. And yes some days I am depressed, very sad and just want to cry. It happens to everyone now and again but for us it’s a constant struggle. I send love out to all and wish everyone great success!!

  53. I fell into depression and anxiety when my family let me down. Nobody really stood up for me when my sister who is very sensitive and depressed made trouble on xmas. I told her to shut the fk up..her husband slapped me. Only one person stood up for me. I stopped seeing them for a year. Then mum got cancer and HAD to go back to see her. I am nice around the others for mums sake. She is getting worse. Anyway i am always tired..moody. .lonely..my kids do their own thing. WHy dont i want to look for a job? I stay in bed thinking “why should i get up?” When I was training i did placement 120 hours in Aged Care and i felt good. NOW that’s it’s finished..i am back to my old depressed self. whats wrong with me?

  54. Hello. I always have a problem with the advice “surrounding yourself with people who seem genuinely happy.”, for if we all take that advice, I would surely by cultivated out of everyone’s life who I know as a person who is often not exuding genuine happiness. I really don’t think the answer for anyone is to to eliminate certain people and surround yourself with people who only make you feel great. For what are those of us who don’t feel great to do? Not only isolate ourselves, but be isolated by everyone around us?

  55. I was a goal driven person- finding contentment in achievement and not much else. I also realised that I didn’t like myself very much, which is an odd thought and very destructive. Mental health is a very hidden disease which so many of us suffer from. One of my therapies is exercise…

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