Depression is a Liar

A few days ago, my prolific blogging friend Don Charisma set the challenge to blog about “Vulnerability”.
Writing about vulnerability is something that is intensely personal and not many people will admit to being vulnerable in any way. When you are vulnerable, it opens you up to the the possibility of exploitation from others.
We see it every day with those who are old, frail or disabled and are taken advantage of by those who have no scruples.
Vulnerability implies that protection is required.
Yet even those who are strong have vulnerabilities. Samson lost his strength when his hair was cut and Achilles died from an arrow in his heel.
In recent times I have seen memes circulating on social media about the link between depression and strength. It states that depression is not a sign of weakness but of having been too strong for too long.

This could well be true in many cases.
What I do know is that depression does make those who suffer from it vulnerable.
It makes us vulnerable because it lies to us.
It tells us that we are worthless. It tells us that nobody loves us and that we are a burden upon them. It tells us that the world would be a better place without us in it.
Sadly, some listen to the dark words whispered by depression in their ears and see no way to make the words stop other than ending their lives.
In February, I wrote “When it all gets too much” about the suicide of  Australian celebrity Charlotte Dawson. Last night I watched her last ever interview in which we see her telling the world how things were going to get better. Unfortunately, she took her life less than a month later.
Her sisters and other friends were also interviewed. Her good friend, (designer) Alex Perry shared his heartbreak at losing a “bright, shining” person from his life. He spoke the words “People tell me that she is in a better place now but I just want her here with me”. Her sisters spoke about Charlotte not knowing just how much she was loved because depression was lying to her.
The people left behind felt so helpless.
They realised that this woman was vulnerable and  the lies that depression were telling her kept her from seeing the truth.

On the night that Charlotte took her life, I was having the same thoughts as her.
Life would be better without me.
My family don’t need someone with so many flaws in their life.
I wouldn’t be missed.
I was vulnerable.
I believed the whispered words in my mind from a mental illness.
An illness that changes the way you see the world.
Luckily as I lay on the bed contemplating my thoughts, I drifted off to sleep.
Another blogging friend of mine calls this, wearing “Depression Goggles”. These goggles distort the way you see the world and how you believe the world sees you.

The worst thing with depression is  that it not only makes you vulnerable with your feelings, but acknowledging your depression to others increases your vulnerability.
When you acknowledge this and share with others, it leaves you wide open to many things. The gossip of others. The pity they bestow. The lack of understanding.
Many people in the past week have asked me why I am leaving my job. I don’t want to tell them that it is for my own mental health. I’m not ready to be vulnerable to some people.

It takes special people to love you through your vulnerability and depression and I am blessed to have them in my life.
I wish that Charlotte only realised that she had them in hers.

(Whilst this fitted in with Don’s prompt, it is something that weighed on my mind today also).

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46 thoughts on “Depression is a Liar

  1. It is difficult for me to be vulnerable at most times, and of course even more so when very depressed … those depression lies, they’re powerful!

    And I think now we’re down to 15 days? Fingers and toes territory. At the end of this week, fingers territory! Yay!

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  2. Suz, this is a very insightful and informative piece. I hope that anyone suffering from depression would have a chance to read this. It could be very valuable and I hope you can find a way to share.
    I wish you well and hope you are happy, because you are valuable.

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  3. Sue, you hit the nail on the head with this one. I don’t think I’ve seen a piece of writing that describes it as well as you have here.

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  4. This is incredibly brave of you to share such a personal thing with us, and I bless you for it. You are strong, believe it.

    I used to suffer with depression and had those thoughts go around in my head on a fairly daily basis, but then things changed for me a few years ago, when I was made redundant for the second time in my career in 2009. I began to see what I was born to do, to write and to help people. From Oct 2011 to Oct 2012, I took a year out of work, and I did a ton of courses. A lot of practical courses and a lot that were to do with mindset, attitude and positivity. This changed my life for the better forever. I began to view myself in a different way, to change myself for the better and to like who I am. I hope that when you leave your job, you too, take time out to do what you like, enjoy, love and what makes you happy. Give yourself gifts and treats, go out on day trips, pamper yourself. Write down all of your strengths and say them aloud every day. If something in your life is not making you feel good, get rid of it or be around it a lot less. It may be controversial to say, but it would seem from my experience, that a lot of people’s unhappiness, is caused by the way other people view them, and not by the way they would view themselves otherwise. Take care of you, keep posting, keep smiling, keep sharing. Keep believing you are an awesome woman, blessed with a gift of writing and many other special qualities. Love and huge hugs to you xx

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    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful words. I am hoping in my time out to spend time writing, studying and sewing whilst waiting for the next door to appear before me.

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          1. Feed your soul with what makes you happy. Traditional forms of therapy such as being ‘quiet’ and breathing exercises don’t work for me, I like noise therapy. I also like to keep super busy and distracted. I used to suffer with depression and although I don’t have it anymore, I need to take every precaution to make sure it doesn’t come back, by continually doing what makes me happy, over and over again. Don’t be afraid to do whatever makes you happy, not others. If something makes you feel great, do it.

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  5. I can remember my daughter saying something to me like this, I don’t want to go into why, but I remember saying things to her about her future, don’t you want to go to university? don’t you want to get married one day? Don’t you want to travel? I had no idea what I was doing, but I said these are things to look forward to, and while it all hurts now, you will get through it, it will be hard, but you have all this to look forward to. She never did anything, and I am so glad. Sometimes I wonder if the problem is we think too much about now and not enough about what will happen in the future.

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    1. I’m not sure about this Leanne. I think sometimes depressives worry too much about the future and the one that they see is very bleak (looking through depression goggles). I’m glad your daughter got through it Leanne. There is always hope and life does go on.

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      1. I think her depression was quite specific, if that makes sense, there was a cause and she was seeing the right people to help her get through it, and it was very tough at the time, but issues have been worked. I used to suffer a lot of it when I was younger, and people get through it in different ways. I found ways of making myself get out of times when it was bad, though I was told once I was a very strong person, don’t know if that is true, but I think it effects everyone differently and we all have to remember that, what worked for me, may not work for you. I don’t get much depression anymore, it happens from time to time, but nothing like it did in my early 20’s.

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  6. For me, the worst part is pity. I don’t want anyone to pity me so I don’t like to tell what really goes through me head. Yesterday someone told me that I needed to start writing from that dark place so others can understand. I am terrified and these things are in my head. I can’t imagine how others would view it.

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    1. Don’t worry about how others will view your writing at this point in time just put pen to paper and write. I often say that writing is the cheapest form of therapy and whilst you are writing you are getting your feelings out there. That’s the most important thing.

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  7. God blesses us in ways that seem miraculous when the time is right for the complete realization.Its awful difficult sometime to live through the in-between time. I pray that His full blessing will bring you great joy Suz.
    Sincerely
    ~ Eric

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  8. I’m happy, that you share with us in here Sue. You describe the feelings about having a depression so perfect. You are right, we are very vulnerable, when we share our deepest inner thoughts, but to do that also make us stronger. Great post Sue.

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  9. So very, very glad you drifted off to sleep.
    Your comments about Charlotte made me sad for those who loved her, and I’m glad you are surrounded by those who love you just as much as she was loved.
    On another note, you are so right that even strong people have vulnerabilities … and in fact, without intending to, you have hit on a problem for strong people. They don’t get the support they need because they always have to be (or think they have to be) the strong one.

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    1. I think it is tragic that Charlotte could not see just how much she was loved and allowed cyber bullies to fill her head with their hate.
      I have often said over the years “Someone has to be strong right now and I guess that it’s me”. Unfortunately strong people do have their Achilles Heel.

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  10. I really don’t like to be vulnerable. Once in awhile I let it out but somehow I’m usually abandoned or have a feeling of abandonment, so I keep things inside and protect myself. I’m trying to get better at it but it’s not natural for me to open up. It’s easier for me to be the happy-go-lucky smiley one. I feel if I make one mistake and apologize it will not be forgiven so I only show one side.

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  11. Opening up to others about my feelings, fears and concerns is one of the hardest things for me to do. You are right about feeling even more vulnerable when doing so. There’s a lady I’ve recently begun to talk to. What’s odd, is that for some reason when I’m talking with her, everything just comes out. Obviously there’s something about her that comforts me. It’s hard to find people who won’t judge you for being human, but it’s so wonderful when you do.

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  12. It is a dirty rotten liar. I’m reading a book, The Mindful Way Through Depression. I’m not very far into it, but I thought about you because you mentioned meditation. So far, I’m liking the book. But, I have to re-read what I already read because I’m not sure I retained all the information. I downloaded the book, and hope to get to reading it, because it is very interesting on how it described why we get depressed and having the right frame of mind to keep it from spiraling. I’ll give a full book report later.

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  13. I wrote something quite some time ago that I entitled “(Expletive) Vulnerability” and as I read I was reminded of it. I was in a really super guarded place then. I never posted it though.

    I don’t blame you for not wanting to be vulnerable to certain people…especially when it comes to mental health because there really is such a stigma behind it. The last thing you need when feeling so fragile is to take the chance that someone might look down their nose at you or judge you in some way.

    I hope you are feeling better soon. I completely understand what it’s like to have depression.

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    1. I am sorry that you know depression also. It truly is a beast. I am in a not-too-bad place right now as I’m dealing with it. I hope to be in a much better place in the near future. Thanks for your lovely thoughts.

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  14. Yes, that’s exactly what I’ve noticed. That Depression is a liar. Also since it is a disease in your head, you can think it’s you. You ARE depressed. No, you HAVE depression. You wouldn’t think you ARE cancer.

    It’s difficult, but I think it is important to know what voice is talking. It is not difficult to recognize, but it is difficult during an episode for YOU to have enough wherewithal left to distinguish yourself from the voice of depression.

    There’s a mechanism to it, too. Depression wants to persist. I think like the Ego in that sense. So Depression kicks into high gear with its lies whenever something goes well and you are feeling good about yourself.

    It’s a big, big burden for a depressed person to have to live with it.

    This was a good post. Here’s another one that my depressed friend sent me that helped me understand how to be supportive.

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    1. I’ve always liked Stephen Fry so that quote was awesome and I’ve shared it. lol
      I read her about page on her blog as well and she has very valid points to make. I was interested to read her thoughts on the liver and kidneys. For some strange reason my liver has been behaving a little strangely in past months so that may very well be a trigger. Thanks for the link Nia. It’s a good read.

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