(This article was originally published at themighty.com)
“That’s your depression talking…”
My therapist says this to me fairly often. It’s one of the most basic traits of having depression. It speaks for you, about you and to you.
It’s not an advocate. It never tells you, “Hey, great decision!” or “You got this!” Sometimes, it says, “You should get TWO hot fudge sundaes,” which isn’t good. However, it’s better than, “Dude, you can’t even curl up in the fetal position correctly.” (Which is why I’m interested in taking yoga, but that’s a different blog.)
Trained therapists are sometimes able to see when it’s the depression talking. Your spouse, your friends, your boss and even you are not always able to see it. For me, my medication helps to keep me in a state of mind that allows me to identify when I’m headed down into the depression sinkhole.
My depression will start telling me things like, “You should just disappear. Make it easy on your wife and your family. Everyone is sick of hearing you whine.” Those are lies but a less than lucid mind can’t identify them as such.
Before I found the right medication, I’d buy into it 100 percent. Then, I’d start letting it do the talking for me. I’d say things like, “Just leave me alone. I’m not worth your concern,” or “What’s the point of this? I can’t do it.” or “Yeah, can I get the number six, medium and TWO hot fudge sundaes.” Not only was I depressed, I was getting fat.
One of the goals is to be aware of when the depression is talking for you or to you. Sometimes, it feels like it’s your only friend. So you let it consume you, and you believe its lies. Then, you begin to repeat its lies out loud.
Be mindful of who you really are. When I’m feeling good and clear headed, I’ll make notes on 3×5 cards to remind myself of my good qualities. I’m compassionate. I’m funny. I can eat TWO hot fudge sundaes at a time. It’s all about how you spin it, right?
I’m lucky. I have friends and family who understand the battle. I think they get it because I’ve been as open and honest about it as I can. There’s no shame in having depression. There is some shame in eating TWO hot fudge sundaes back to back, but I contend it’s OK on occasion.
Help is out there. If you do get to a point where you feel like you can’t reach out to family or friends, the crisis text line has saved me a few times. Get in touch with them if you need help. Just text “home” to 741741.
Now go make some notes about your good qualities! Start with “I’m a kind person who reads Dave’s blog because he craves acceptance from strangers.”