It’s 4 am on a Monday morning. I’m lying awake after what’s become yet another sleepless night. Although I wish I could go back to sleep for a few more hours before starting the work week, my brain is telling me otherwise.
I’m filled with countless thoughts that trigger memories and emotions I’d much rather forget. I’m fighting a war inside my head, and I’m being pulled in what feels like a million different directions. The voices infect my brain with negative thoughts and self-hate. I just want to make the pain go away.
Although I desperately try to switch off my mind, the reality of my life sets in. These thoughts aren’t going anywhere. Instead, they’re waiting to strike at just the right moment.
And that’s when I remember: This is depression.
But what I sometimes fail to remember is that depression lies – a lot.
Depression tells me no one loves me.
It leads me to believe that the people in my life only feel bad for me, and that’s why they stick around. Even though people may act like they care, they really don’t.
What it doesn’t tell me is that my friends and family care about me more than words could explain, and they’ll do anything to make sure I’m okay. I have a support system full of people who want to help me and will be there for me at a moment’s notice.
Depression tells me I’m not good at anything.
It tells me that I suck at my job and no matter what role I’m in, I’m going to fail. It tells me that I don’t have any talents, and I shouldn’t bother trying. It tells me that I’m a terrible writer, baker, photographer and mud runner.
What depression doesn’t tell me is that I am good at all these things, and I have talents I don’t even realize. I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.
Depression tells me I’m not enough.
It tells me I’m not a good enough wife, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, coworker or employee. It tells me that I’m not beautiful enough, smart enough, talented enough or good enough.
But what depression doesn’t tell me is that during my darkest days – the days where I can’t get out of bed and struggle to get anything done – I am enough. And even if I don’t want to believe it, I am good enough just the way I am.
Depression tells me I’m broken and worthless.
It tells me that I’m useless, unfixable and unloved. It tells me that I don’t have a purpose, and I’m an awful person.
But what depression doesn’t tell me is this is just the illness talking. I’m beautiful, smart, funny, kind, strong and so much more. And although I feel like I’m broken, there’s hope for me. I won’t always feel like this.
Depression tells me I’m weak.
For having depression and feeling sad, numb and empty all the time. It tells me I’m weak for going to a psychiatrist and taking medications because I should be able to do this on my own.
What depression doesn’t tell me is that it’s okay to not be okay all the time. There’s no shame in seeking help from a psychiatrist or therapist, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with taking medication to help you overcome a mental illness. None of these things make me weak; they make me a fighter and a warrior.
Depression tells me I’m lazy.
Because I have trouble focusing and getting my work done. It tells me I’m lazy because my office is a mess, the dishes are piling up in the sink and I haven’t done laundry in weeks. It tells me I’m lazy because just getting out of bed is the most difficult task in the world most days.
What depression doesn’t tell me is that this is just my illness making it hard for me to complete tasks. Instead of being hard on myself, I should be proud of myself for the small things – like getting out of bed, taking a shower, finishing a workout, making it through work, doing my hair and putting on makeup.
Depression tells me I’m a burden to everyone around me.
It tells me that I should feel guilty for reaching out to people for help because no one should have to deal with my illness. Depression makes me feel ashamed for feeling the way I do, and I feel like I need to hide my emotions from the world.
But what depression doesn’t tell me is that people need other people, and I wasn’t meant to carry the weight of my struggles alone. There are countless people who want to help me, and they’ll literally do anything to make sure I live another day – even if it means sitting on the phone for two hours talking me down from taking my own life.
Depression tells me that I’m going to feel like this forever.
And things will never get better. It tells me there’s no way out. That I’ll never experience joy, happiness or love again.
What depression doesn’t tell me is that these feelings are temporary, and better days are ahead. It doesn’t tell me that I still haven’t experienced the best days of my life and that there’s so much to fight for.
Depression tells me that the world would be a better place without me.
It tells me that I have nothing to offer and that I bring others down. I believe that no one would miss me if I was gone, and there’s no point to continue living.
But what depression doesn’t tell me is that I matter, and so many people would miss me because I am loved. And although it’s tough sometimes, my life is worth fighting for.
Depression tells me I don’t deserve to get help
And I’m not worthy of treatment or recovery. But that’s not true. Not even a little bit. My life is important, and I deserve to get better. I deserve brighter days full of love and laughter. I deserve mornings where it’s not so hard to get out of bed. Evenings where I can sit on the couch with my husband and dog and just enjoy our time together. And the only way any of that will happen is if I get the help I need and deserve.
If you’re in the depths of your depression and any of the words above sounded familiar, what I want you to remember is this: Depression is a monster, and it’s lying to you.
You are not a burden. You are not a terrible person. You are loved, wanted and needed.
So, stay alive. Keep fighting. Know that hope is real, and help is available. Better days are ahead, and you will come out of the darkness stronger than ever. You will find yourself again. I promise.