Ten Lies Depression Tells You

7 Aug

1. You are a bad person who deserves bad things.

2. You are unhappy because you are lazy or lacking in willpower. Happiness is a choice, a choice that you have failed to make. Somehow, somewhere over the course of your lifetime, when faced with some metaphysical fork in the road, you chose the wrong path. You brought this curse down on yourself.

3. Your sadness is the baseline by which the rest of your life should be measured. This sadnesss is your norm, and any other emotions, especially positive ones, are exceptions to the rule. Yes of course there will be good times, of course there will be flashes of joy; you will certainly, on occasion, experience the pleasure of a good book or a ripe juicy peach,  However, those experiences will be few and far between. Your bad days will always outnumber the good.

4. Your family and friends do not love you. Your family are people who feel obligated to spend time with you because as luck would have it you share a similar genetic makeup. Your friends are people that you somehow tricked into thinking that you, as a person, have some kind of value, and now they don’t know how to extricate themselves from your pathetic, needy grasp. No one spends time with you because they enjoy it; they do it out of a sense of duty, a feeling of pity. Whenever you leave a room everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

5. Your family and friends do not want to hear about how sad you are. No matter how sympathetic they may seem, no matter how sincerely they might ask how you are feeling, remember that it’s all an act. The more that you open yourself up to them, the more you pour your heart out, the more resentful of you they become. Do not fall into the trap of sharing your feelings; do not give into the temptation to draw back the curtain and, like a tawdry magician, reveal your grotesque sadness. Your sadness is a choice, remember? This burden is yours to bear alone.

6. Your friends and family deserve better than you. Everyone deserves better than you

7. In order to make up for your unhappiness, it is your responsibility to make sure that everyone around you is happy. If you can manage to maintain a near-constant veneer of kindness, helpfulness and sincere interest in others, then that will make your presence more tolerable. Your amiability, though entirely inadequate, is the best apology that you can make for your existence.

8. Everything is your fault.

If you plan a picnic and it rains, it’s your fault. You should have been more thorough when you checked the weather. You should have learned to be an amateur meteorologist so that you could better read the clouds. You should have packed a canopy. If you go out for dinner, for your once-in-a-blue-moon, hire-a-babysitter-and-wear-a-nice-dress date and the food or service or conversation is anything less than exceptional, it’s your fault. You should have read more restaurant reviews, should have asked friends for more recommendations, should have prepared cue cards with talking points. If someone is unkind to you, it’s your fault. You should have smiled more, been more gracious, tried harder to be whatever it was that they needed in that moment.

Everything is your fault.

9. There is no cure for your sadness, no effective treatment, no way of managing your symptoms. There are, of course, doctors and pills and various therapies that help other people, but you’ve tried all these things and they don’t work for you. Nothing will ever work for you.

10. You will feel this way forever.


84 Responses to “Ten Lies Depression Tells You”

  1. Ashley Austrew August 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Thank you for this. Saving it for a rainy day.

    • bellejarblog August 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

      Thanks! It’s pretty much just right for a rainy day.

  2. Natasha Nunn August 7, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    well at least you know they are lies – that’s an excellent start!

    hugs from a internet stranger 🙂

  3. Karen Power August 7, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Oh Anne. I’ve been there, I really have. And it sucks. Even though these days I’m usually on an even keel, I still have times when I’m so very afraid that the depression will come back, will take over again. You are SO RIGHT, these are LIES. Outright, damnable lies. None of those things are true, and I’m sure your close friends and family would agree. Thank you for sharing how you feel, because I know this isn’t easy. Big ((((hugs)))) to you.

    • bellejarblog August 7, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

      I’m sorry you’ve been there, too, Karen ❤

      Thank you for the hugs and for sharing your experience. I value both of those things a whole lot!

    • Heather Genereux November 3, 2013 at 3:50 am #

      I deal with high depression and anxiety as well as being bipolar everyday. I constantly feel like everything is crashing down on me. I am still working to find the right kind of meds. It is a rough road and my family and friends are my cheerleaders, always rooting for me and all that I can be. I don’t see what they see in me and I worry that my daughter will end up like me. I am a single mom and my daughter is 7. I had to leave work because my anxiety and panic attacks got to much to bare, especially in public. It always is a good feeling to find that it is really not me that is so bad after all and that I’m not alone in this crazy world of gloomy days and sleepless nights.

  4. E August 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    Wow. Thank you for such an insightful view into the reality of depression. So so true and you have managed to put it into actual words.

    • bellejarblog August 7, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

      Thank you. I’m so sorry that you’ve been there too ❤

  5. Sarah August 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Once again, you hit the nail on the head. I hope that you are doing okay. It was very comforting for me to read these things. I haven’t been having a great couple of days either. It’s nice to remember that these are lies, but also that there are others who actually do understand the way I feel. It’s very validating. Thank you.

    • bellejarblog August 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      Oh no, I’m sorry you’ve been having a rough few days! I totally get that it helps to know that there are others out there like you. I feel that way too ❤

  6. themagicblackbook August 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    spot on. all of it, it’s just spot on. thank you for posting, i needed to read this today 🙂

  7. Writer / Mummy August 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    Oh my, it’s like you’re in my head. Especially point 8. Traffic jams, bad service, weather, rude people, everything is always my fault. Always.
    I read this post and I know these are all lies, in my head. My heart tells me you’re wrong and all these things are true.

    I’m reading a book about learning to speak happiness as a second language and I thought it was helping. But a day spent with anyone but myself makes me think it’s impossible to be happy because I’m a horrible person and everyone hates me. Sigh. I will keep reading your post and hopefully one day I’ll believe it in my heart.

    • bellejarblog August 8, 2013 at 3:23 am #

      Oh hon, I don’t think you’re a horrible person! But yes, it is so hard to get rid of those voices that tell you that.

      Have you ever tried cognitive behavioural therapy or anything like that? I am reading something called Mind Over Mood right now and I find it helpful!

      • Writer / Mummy August 8, 2013 at 9:22 am #

        I did try reading a book on NLP (Neural linguistic programming) which I believe is similar. I’m not very good at self-study though: I’ll do it for a week or two and then give up, thinking I’m not worth the effort. My husband has quite a few books like that though (he suffers from anxiety and panic attacks) so perhaps I should have a read through them.
        Thanks for the words of encouragement! Back at you!

  8. armsakimbobook August 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    Yes and yes and yes. Every one of your points describes me in my depressed state – which is threatening to rear its ugly head again imminently. Thank you for your eloquence, as always.

    • bellejarblog August 8, 2013 at 3:28 am #

      Ohhhh I hope you manage to avoid it, or at least that it’s just a bad cold instead of pneumonia ❤

  9. berajeevish August 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    This is a poem, and a good one.

  10. Nancy Power August 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    Anne! As others have commented, you have really hit the nail on the head here. I am beginning to get better, but I certainly have my spectacularly awful moments/days/weeks from time to time. I want to remind you that you are SO loved! I love you and your lovely family, and so does Graeme. You are an amazing, brave, sparkling, beautiful, passionate, inspiring woman. I am blessed to count you among my friends. Thank you for putting yourself out there time after time, and by so doing, helping those who can’t always bring themselves to do the same.

  11. Julie Gillis (@JulesAboutTown) August 7, 2013 at 5:18 pm #


  12. ardenrr August 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    I don’t know these feelings. What I do know is you’re a beautiful soul and this bad day will pass.

  13. Dylan August 7, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Very good post. I’d also like to note that some of these things were told me to by other people. If I had a nickel for every time someone blamed me for the things that happened to me…well, you know the the drill.

  14. Merry August 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    May I add: And that your family and friends would be better off without you. Your partner would be finally released from your roller coaster mental state and find true happiness with a non-depressed person. Your children will not “catch” it from you. And your friends will not have to listen to another round of “I’m just not feeling happy/off…..” while sitting there looking lovely and perfect and together, no doubt thinking ” what a whiner……” Yes. Depression lies.

  15. raineycolours August 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    Just so true.

  16. Jennifer Sheppard August 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    You have beautifully captured what goes through so many of our heads. Thank you for writing this, and posting it, because for once in my life I feel like I’m not alone. That means you’re not alone either.

  17. pfstare August 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    There may be no light at the end of the tunnel at the moment but just know it’s a tunnel that does have an end.

  18. Amanda Wood August 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    And even without realizing it, the lies take over and become truths you cannot escape. Because some of the lies are in fact truths that must be balanced. If we are sad all the time, who wants to be with us? If we are walking dark clouds, it is no wonder we are dismissed or omitted. Who determines how much can be tolerated before it is too much?

    • Merry August 7, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

      So true. And we become trapped in the Web of Depression, constantly struggling to break free, knowing it’s lies seduce us like nothing we have ever known but succumbing to them again and again….

  19. Amanda Wood August 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    Reblogged this on Journey of Mixed Emotions and commented:
    If you ever wonder why I am who I am…well, this is the template.

  20. andreabehindglass August 7, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    Reblogged this on frombehindglass and commented:
    A great post on depression!

  21. Meg August 7, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    Another is that “there is nothing wrOng with you. You a just sensitive (touchy, a crybaby.). You need to grow and deal. Heard this most my life till an understanding ob/gyn diagnosed me with postpartum depression. Once I started meds I realized I had suffered from depression all along.

  22. Madame Weebles August 7, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    These are all really accurate and true, unfortunately. I’m sorry you know about these lies, Belle Jar. And the hardest part is REMEMBERING that they’re all lies when you’re in the midst of it!

    • kinfauns2 August 10, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

      I agree Madame Weebles–the hardest thing is to remember that all of these hopeless thoughts are distortions and lies. Depression is such an insidious thing. This list makes me feel less hopeless about grappling with the “noonday demon.”

  23. Kate Hoyle August 7, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

    That post was quite a revelation for me! Thank you for putting things into perspective – it’s so true and so crazy it’s almost funny! K

    Sent from my iPhone

  24. Random Musings by Swati August 7, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

    Reblogged this on Swati Nitin Gupta.

  25. thequornstar August 8, 2013 at 12:34 am #

    As one of those friends and family members I find it hard to read this. You feel that the person suffering has equal worth to you what ever mood they are in it doesn’t matter if they are “fine” or hurting you love them just as much no matter what.
    It’s painful to see them put on a veneer of happiness and them just refuse to believe you really do care about them. It’s like I can take the sadness they feel but I find it harder to take the pushing away and lack of belief in me as someone here to support them. It’s very hard not to blame oneself when you only see them hurting more by trying to please you as if they’d be so much more comfortable without you. It’s just hard for everyone involved from the sufferer out.

  26. Lady Phoenix August 8, 2013 at 1:41 am #

    Thank you for sharing this, it is a good solid reminder for those days when we forget ourselves that these are lies and we start believing them again.

  27. araneus1 August 8, 2013 at 1:52 am #

    thank you

  28. My Say August 8, 2013 at 3:55 am #

    I can tell you .. I have felt the same way being haunted by depression and I could feel every bit was so true ..
    and more than anything the worst is the feeling that nothings gonna change for good .. that this is just a phase ..
    it takes lot of self belief to overcome the phase which sucks you inside !!

  29. Su Leslie August 8, 2013 at 5:47 am #

    Reblogged this on phoenix journies: a story about starting over and commented:
    I know this … but I still believe them, every time!

  30. Marley August 8, 2013 at 6:11 am #

    How nice it must be to have family so depression can lie about whether or not they love you.

    I remember those days. A long time ago.

  31. stunnedandstunted August 8, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    This is all very true for me, well said!

  32. alienorajt August 8, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Beautifully expressed, painfully honest and so damn true. As a life long sufferer from both depression and severe anxiety, I can both sympathise and empathise with the strand of despair running behind the feisty sarcasm. I like your style. I shall return. Alienora

  33. paleyellowmoon August 8, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I have depression. I read that list and didn’t know whether to cheer or cry. I have felt or believed all those things in the past, and am sure I will again (see, I’m sure that was on the list above). Thank you.

  34. charliedaelander August 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    I dont know what to say. This was heavy stuff, an awakening for me.

  35. nesseva August 8, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    SO TRUE!! Been there, done that!! ((HUGS))

  36. mommyincolor August 9, 2013 at 4:11 am #

    When I suffered from depression a few years ago,I felt all these things..and NONE of it is true!

  37. margueritte August 9, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    Oh my goodness,reading that was like a breakdown of my life.your advice to get cognitive, behaviour therapy was excellent.I have been receiving c.b.t over the past few months and it has been so helpful,I feel I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.I’m not there yet but for the first time in a very long time I believe that I will.<3

  38. A. Hoffman August 10, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    Maybe it’s ten lies your significant other has been TELLING you because he needs you to lose confidence in yourself in order that he can paper over his alcoholism, which is only rare binge drinking… works for HIM if you become fragile and dependent, you can’t LEAVE! and everyone will then BELIEVE it’s you, not him. And when you finally get away, you find out the shrink record shows they never found anything wrong with you and they KNEW it was psychological abuse (without getting swore at or hit) all along, but they made a shitload of money drugging you, which made you even MORE debilitated. It’s not ten lies your depression told you. Ever heard of “gaslighting”? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting Even your friends start to think something’s wrong with you, and you get more and more isolated.

    • Gurgi August 10, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      Thanks… it was my older sister, who needed someone to blame, someone who’d accept the blame.. just saying this I feel guilty! Finally, others pointed out that she does it to others, that I wasn’t alone in being the ‘victim’… now, I’m 61 and it’s still a struggle to not hear that voice of blame, that voice telling me it’s my problem, that I’m unstable and I ‘heard’ things in her comments because I must be at fault… Thank you… but it’s a struggle!

  39. studentlondon3 August 12, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    Everything is your fault. I can relate to that. To all of it, in fact, but particularly that.

    • goth27 August 13, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

      Yeah same here. All these thoughts come through my mind fairly regularly but especially that one. And the one about feeling like getting help wont work. Going through a paticularly rough patch right now, and earlier I was talking to them about it. And they were (for the upteeth time) saying I should really seek professional help, but like I explained to them, this depression/low self estem is just the tip of the iceberg. What causes my depression is the genuine knowledge that I am socially awkward, that I have very little common sense, that I have the worst memory ever, ettc. And those are all truths. How is seeing someone going to help my memory fix itself to an appropiate level or help me make the correct split second decision? It makes no sense. At the most the medication will help boost my mood some, but can it change my thinking? Its just like that whole speaking posittiviity over my self. The only thing that will cause is make me look like I am in denial about the type of person I am. I am glad I found this though, a good way to remind myself at least I am not the only one who has a bully brain to constantly make you feel worse than you already do.

  40. Kylie August 14, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    When I started blogging, I kept promising to write about the lies I tell myself.

    This is the list of lies, almost exactly.

    I never wrote the list. Thank you for doing it.

    • bellejarblog August 14, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

      xoxoxo sometimes it’s so hard to see that they’re lies

  41. hats88 August 23, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    This is a fantastic post! Thank you. So many of these ‘lies’ resonate with me. I always find myself wondering if I will ever be happy. And the depressive part of my brain is utterly, utterly convinced I have no real friends and that anyone who spends time with me would rather be somewhere else. I find it helps to imagine that if these were not my thoughts, but the beliefs of somebody else what would I say to them…mostly ‘don’t be so silly!’ It helps to laugh at yourself sometimes.

  42. lizzieonawhim September 4, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    These all rang true for me, but especially number seven. I’m always afraid to make a request or express a preference or in any way attempt to influence events in any kind of social gathering, including family events, because I don’t want to be “difficult.” It’s gotten better over the years, but especially right after I left high school, I realized that I had somehow come to the conclusion that I was, at best, tolerated in social settings, and if I made myself too inconvenient, no one would want me around anymore. I’m still far too ready to conclude that I’m not wanted and disappear. I don’t know what to do about it, except keep trying to form meaningful connections and try to speak up every now and again. I hope this isn’t permanent.

  43. Christine O. October 4, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    W.O.W. I was just writing a blog and needed to take a ‘mental health break’ because I got a little tense. I am a newly diagnosed depressed person (although, not at all newly depressed) and I happened to stumble upon your post. My blog is about my tendancy to work to assure people never had to go out of their way for me. I always felt like I was causing people trouble and that made me feel guilty and like I was a burden. If only I had read your blog sooner. But then, I suppose, you would have had to name it…’Hey dummy, if you believe these to be true then you are depressed!!’

    I loved the blog and look forward to reading more.

    Thank you!

    – Christine

  44. Irina October 14, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    Oh yes. I have #4, #8 and small helpings of #6 and #7. I resisted the idea that I was depressed for a long time because I didn’t feel sad as such– worthless, desperate, useless, inadequate, but never sad. Coming to terms with it now, sort of.

  45. Sarah November 1, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

    I’ve been wondering for at least a year now if I actually do suffer from depression. These lies have been my life for as long as I can remember, even back to elementary school. Thank you for opening my eyes to this.


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