Depression – and the lies it tells
It’s often difficult for the person going through Depression to discern the truth in their thoughts. This is because Depression is an adept liar, a master manipulator at deceiving and can convince a person into feeling hopeless and helpless. Therapist call this Cognitive Distortion (unhelpful thinking patterns that cause one to see reality from a distorted view), although logically we may be able to discern the truth we can often be convinced of the lie.
Common Cognitive Distortion:
I have always felt this way, and I always will.
It isn’t worth even trying, nothing ever works.
I am weak and/or pathetic for feeling this way.
I don’t even deserve happiness.
Happiness never lasts, why bother.
Depression lies, because it’s goal is to keep you depressed. Depression wants you to stay in bed, avoid family and friends, to give up and believe it is just no use.
So, what can you do about Cognitive Distortion?
The first step is recognizing the unhelpful thinking patterns you have, or the downright lies that Depression is attempting to make yourself believe. Often this dialogue in one’s head has been going on so long, it is like the humming of a fan, we do not even realize it is there. Truth is, you are always thinking, and you are always talking to yourself. What you say to yourself has huge implications on how you feel. You can boost yourself up, or you can tear yourself down! Take a minute, what are some unhelpful ways of thinking you regularly fall into?
Once you recognize what you are saying or thinking to yourself, then it is time to get to work. How true is what your saying? How helpful is it? Often there might be a grain of truth in these negative thoughts, but the reality is that Depression blows it WAYYYY out of proportion.
Here is an example:
If you are telling yourself I have always felt this way, and I always will. Is that entirely true? Have you ALWAYS felt this way? Maybe a more true statement is “I haven’t always felt this way, but I have felt like this for a long time” , Do you really believe that you always will feel this way? Or do you have hope and maybe reason to believe that things usually get better? Maybe a truer statement is “I look forward to feeling better, and hope it is soon”.
The differences in these statements may seem slight, but imagine the impact of feeling that things have and will never change, pretty devastating. With a little more honesty to ourselves we can instill a bit more hope and open the door to more positive possibilities. Besides, who likes a liar? So why lie to yourself, don’t you owe to yourself to be honest?
For milder depression, or just a bad day, changing some of your unhelpful thinking patterns can help improve your mood and mind set. Learning to recognize the thoughts that are untrue and then shifting your mindset to more truthful thinking can be quite uplifting.
For deeper, longer term or clinical depression the help of a therapist is often needed and can be extremely helpful in assisting you in not only recognizing your patterns of Unhelpful Thinking, but to change those patterns for good.
The truth is you are a good person and you deserve happiness!