The lies depression tells us are cruel and all-consuming. They have the power to strip us of everything we need to survive: our self-worth, ambition, hope, happiness – even our very will to live.
For most of my life I’ve been consumed by depression’s intrusive thoughts. For so long I believed every malicious self-criticism, every declaration of eternal hopelessness and assurance that I would be better off dead.
I didn’t know that depression was a silk-tongued manipulator screwing with 264 million people in the exact same way that it was screwing with me. I didn’t understand that depression was the master of cognitive distortions and bare-faced lies. But once I did, I made it my mission to rebel against depression’s mind-fuckery. I wasn’t going to blindly put up with it any longer – and neither should you.
You are loved. You matter. Your life is worth living and there is a light at the end of this tunnel.
Depression is lying to you, just as it lied to me. Here are 7 lies depression tells you.
Lie Number 1 – “You are worthless”
You didn’t get that promotion? You’re a failure in life. You have a bad day? You’re completely defective. You snap at your partner? You’re a disgusting, terrible creature who doesn’t deserve any shred of kindness or compassion.
Depression is a master of the super-personal, highly-exaggerated absolute statement. It plagues us with negative, self-critical statements so often that they subconsciously become our core beliefs.
Truth: Depression shatters our self-worth and self-esteem to keep us in line – but this damage can be undone. Psychologist Deborah Serani says that positive self-talk is vital in the fight against depression, acting as a direct weapon against intrusive negative thoughts.
Using daily positive affirmations has helped to quieten that negative voice inside my head. Though it isn’t an instant fix, it has gradually given me the clarity to embrace realistic, positive truths about myself instead.
Lie Number 2 – “You’ve always felt this way and will feel this way forever”
Always and forever are the key words here.
Depression can rob you of your happiest memories. It can convince you that recovery is impossible, that your internal suffering has and always will be perpetual. This all-or-nothing mindset infiltrates your everyday life, turning you into an utter failure, someone who will never amount to anything.
Truth: Black-and-white thinking distorts our view of the world by refusing to acknowledge any middle ground, forcing us to see the worst in situations rather than the more realistic perspective. It is a harmful cognitive distortion because it negatively oversimplifies life, maintaining depression’s no-hope, everything-sucks attitude.
Realistically, life is not black and white. It helps to let go of absolute terms like ‘never’, ‘always’ and ‘forever’ in favour of more practical terms and positive resolutions. For instance, instead of thinking ‘I’ve always felt depressed’, try the more realistic approach of ‘It might be a struggle to remember them, but I experienced happiness before my depression – and I will experience them again in time.”
Lie Number 3 – “There’s nothing you can do to get better so what’s the point in trying?”
Maybe you’ve tried therapy and medication to no avail. Maybe you eat three balanced meals a day, exercise and practice mindfulness but still can’t shake the chronic emptiness. Or maybe you recovered from depression for a while, but now it’s come back with a vengeance. You feel as though nothing you try ever works – so what’s the point in trying at all?
Truth: Depression wants us to believe that fighting back is pointless. It conditions us into a state of helplessness by making us feel weak and out of control. Every time we don’t successfully quash our depression, it uses the experience as proof that it will always win.
Consider trying a different therapist or therapeutic approach. Switch up your medication (it took me ages to find the right antidepressant and dosage for me). Incorporate more self-care activities into your life with these 70 self-care ideas, or use Blessing Manifesting’s self-love and self-care workbooks to seize back control of your confidence, happiness and life (affiliate).
Lie Number 4 – “You’re not depressed, you’re just lazy”
You struggle to get out of bed in the morning. You can barely muster up the strength to have a shower let alone do any housework and even just thinking about starting that new project makes you want to cry. Every time you try and fail to do something, depression’s nasty voice whispers that you’re not depressed, you’re just lazy.
Truth: Depression doesn’t want us to acknowledge that we have a legitimate mental illness, so it does what it can to convince us that what we’re feeling is all our own fault. Laziness is an easy scapegoat because it produces the same results as depression. However, laziness is a choice whereas depression is not.
Depression comes with multiple debilitating symptoms such as lack of motivation, cognitive distortions, reduced problem-solving ability, lethargy and more, all of which can make completing day-to-day tasks (and even hobbies) incredibly difficult. It is not the same as staying off work to play video games just because you can’t be bothered!
Lie Number 5 – “You’re a burden”
Not only are your problems self-inflicted, but they’re stupid and not worth other people’s time. It doesn’t matter how many times your friends and family tell you that they are there for you and want to help – the voice in your head tells you that you are a burden. A nuisance. All your problems do is drag other people down.
Truth: This is another cognitive distortion that has us inflicting self-hatred for depression’s gain. See, depression wants us to feel alone. The more isolated we are and the less support we have, the easier we are to manipulate. So, depression will have us bottle everything up and push everyone away in order to keep us believing all of its lies.
Even though it can be difficult to support someone with depression, it doesn’t make you a burden. You are just a person who needs some extra love and care through a difficult time – and that’s absolutely fine! There are people willing to help you, whether it be a family member, a friend, an online community or a therapist.
Lie Number 6 – “You would be better off dead / your family would be better off without you”
If you suffer from suicidal thoughts, please immediately seek help. Check out my resources page for more information.
The belief that you would be better off dead is the cruellest, sickest and saddest lie that depression tells you. It is the lie that makes depression one of the world’s most fatal mental illnesses, contributing significantly to the 800,000 deaths by suicide every single year.
Truth: Having lost a parent to suicide when I was a child, I know first-hand the devastation that such a belief brings. I also know the soul-destroying agony of being plagued by suicidal thoughts and just how convincing they can be.
Depression is lying to you, just as it lied to me. There are so many beautiful reasons to stay alive. There are so many things you will miss, so many hearts you will break, so much love that you have left to give. Remember – you are loved. You matter. Your life is worth living and there is a light at the end of this tunnel ❤️
The lies depression tells us are nothing but sneaky manipulations used to keep us under its spell. I am not a mental health professional, but I believe that by uncovering depression’s cognitive distortions, we can begin to fight against them. What do you think?