6 Lies Your Depression Wants You to Believe (& How to Not Fall Into the Trap)

6 Lies Your Depression Wants You to Believe (& How to Not Fall Into the Trap)

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Camus

When depression hits, it hijacks your thoughts and feelings. It whispers seductive lies into your ears; lies that gradually start sounding like the truth. I know how that feels, because I have struggled with it too. If on the other hand, you knew the lies depression commonly uses, then you can ignore or replace them with your own inner truth. And every time you do that, you have healed a little bit.

So, here are some common ‘depression deceptions’ to watch out for:

1. It’s a chemical condition. So I can’t really do anything about it right?

Wrong.

I’m a psychiatrist and so I hear this one a lot. And it dismays me. As a society, we have gone from one extreme-thinking that everything was related to your mother-to the other extreme-now everything is a chemical condition that is beyond our control. Both are too simplistic. We are complex individuals with unique and rich stories. There is no one answer that will always fit all of us.

Yes your brain is made up of electrical impulses and chemical substances that change a million times in a day and make up your thoughts and/or emotions. And yes, often times, severe clinical depression requires medications. In fact, they can be essential and life saving in some situations. But, and listen to this very closely, even when they work well, medications alone don’t keep you from getting depressed again. What they do, is give you enough relief to then work on your self, and change the things in your mind and life, so that hopefully, you don’t feel that depressed again.

In fact, some forms of therapy, such as Mindfulness based cognitive therapy, has been shown to be even better than medications at lowering the risk of relapse (as long as you’ve gotten over the worst hump).

The human mind is very powerful but much of it is amenable to change. It’s a tough process, but so worth the effort.

2. Anyone with my childhood/job/marriage/health/finances would be depressed!

Each of us lives in our own heads and so we only can feel our own pain. Yes we can empathize with others, but we can’t fully feel anyone else’s joy or pain as intimately as we can feel our own.

This can lead us to feel trapped by the pain of our own life circumstances.

I used to feel this way as well. My depression would tell me “Your mom committed suicide and your dad is a narcissist. It’s not possible for you to ever be happy”. The worst part was, I believed it for a long time.

Since then, I have been fortunate to feel my own strengths, to learn about the brain, to read books and meet amazing people who have overcome great odds, proving to me over and over again that the human spirit is greater than the sum of past events.

You have great inner strength and wisdom within you. Whatever may have happened in your past is only one part of you. Don’t let it dictate your whole life.

3. I’ve tried everything. Nothing works for me.

Do you feel like you have tried every single thing to help yourself? And nothing is working?

If that’s the case, maybe you’re trying too hard. Sometimes chasing happiness makes it more…..elusive, like a butterfly that will only come and softly sit on your shoulder when you can simply be in it’s presence without chasing it.

Try just surrounding yourself with people who seem genuinely happy. Not the Polly Anna kind of superficial happy. But the folks that exude a sense of deep contentment and peace from within. Don’t compare or force happiness to come to you. Just be in its presence.

4. I’ll be happier once I lose weight/get a raise/buy a home…

I wasted lots of my time in my 20’s hoping that if I just worked desperately toward  achieving this or that, I would live happily ever after. Well, I did achieve most of those things, and it did make me feel excited briefly, but soon I had gone back to my usual state of mind. Feeling confused, I would replace it with another “goal” and chase after that, hoping that this time, the happiness would be deeper and long lasting.

And one day I was explaining this theory to a close friend, and she said simply “What’s wrong with now? Why not just be happy now?”

It blew me away. Because she wasn’t telling me to not reach for my goals, but rather that I was missing out on the possibility of NOW.

This very moment is alive with possibility. Whenever you begin to worry about the future or connect your happiness to some elusive goal, take a moment to bring your awareness back to this moment. Use your senses to really see, hear, smell and touch your immediate surroundings. And think of one thing you are grateful for today. Maybe it’s your morning cup of coffee, the hug your son gave you or that your friend called to share a joke. Whatever it is, if you truly loved it, spend a few moments being genuinely thankful that you had that TODAY.

5. I’ve screwed up a lot. I hate myself. I’m not worthy of happiness.

This is a tough one, because when we don’t love ourselves, that’s where the work must start. No foundation, no building.

Whatever you may have done in the past, it’s gone. That moment can never come back.

However, every new breath you take now is a new chance at life.  It’s totally fresh and alive for you to shape as you like. And if this one doesn’t do it, that’s fine, your next breath is again a fresh possibility. And the next. And the next.

Until you take your last breath, you have millions of moments to start over and become the person you want to be. It’s up to you what you do with each one.

6. Most of my life is okay, except for that one ‘X’ thing

I once read a story that goes something like this.

A professor puts up a big white board with a black dot on it, and then asks his students to describe what they see.

Most of them come close to scrutinize the board and blurt out the answer excitedly “The black dot! There is a black dot on it!”

Finally, the professor says “It’s interesting that most of you didn’t notice the whole white board in front of you, but rather chose to focus on that one small black dot”

This is what happens when we focus solely on the negative things. I’m not saying your difficulties are just dot sized. Not at all. All I’m saying is: Don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful expanse of white in your life. Because it’s there.

Does your depression/anxiety hijack your mind too? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo by Luis Hernandez

Kavetha Sundaramoorthy

I am a psychiatrist, passionate about using neuroscience and eastern mindfulness to help people live their best lives. Subscribe here for a free E-book on 'How to beat depression using mindfulness', or find me on Facebook.

63 Comments

  1. Holy cow. I have never thought about it that way. I’m quite young (Barely 22) and I’ve been telling myself a large majority of these things since I was “diagnosed” at age 19. I never realized, how much control over my life I really do have. How each breath is another chance at now and my future. Thank you very much for this article (almost makes me want to cry!)
    My depression has hindered myself, my boyfriend, family, friends, studies, and has closed me off for years.
    I just never knew how powerful though, my mind was. I am pretty excited now though, to change.

    Reply
    • Dear Desie,

      I’m so glad you felt empowered after reading this. Yes depression is a very difficult and neuro chemical brain reaction, yet, you still have SO much control over your recovery. Don’t let depression define your entire identity. Be your full alive and amazing self! Wishing you the healing that comes with hard work and helps you write your own life story :)

      Reply
  2. Having been re-diagnosed (from dysthymia to bipolar II), and after a year and a half of finding a basically working set of medications and a good therapist, I still have the occasional down sad day. Having also been an alcoholic in recover for over 27 years, I have the additional blessing of an awareness that “This too shall pass.” All that said (well, typed), I still needed to read item 5 on your list. That is my depression’s favorite road to go down, and interferes most with my continued growth and progress as a human being. Thank you very much; this entire post is very helpful.

    Reply
    • Dear Cathy,

      So glad you found the post helpful. I have also struggled with #5 and have found that reminding myself of the possibilities in this moment, this new breath, helps me start anew.

      Good luck on your journey and let me know if I can help in any way Cathy.

      Reply
  3. Dear Desie,

    I found this to be spot on. Thank you for relieving me of stress.

    I would like to add that a major cause of depression is OCD. Many obsessive compulsive people are depressed because they critically view their own lives as well as everyone else’s. The key is to look on the bright side of life, the beauties, and make the most of what you’ve got now, not worrying about the future. Have fun, folks.

    Reply
    • Dear Kyle,

      I’m glad this helped relieve some stress for you.

      Your comment that OCD is about critically viewing your own and others lives for perfection is very astute observation!

      Cheers!

      Reply
  4. I really appreciate this article, Kavetha. About six years ago, I was really going through a rough time after a reaction to medication. I was highly anxious and the medication wreaked havoc on my nervous system. While I could have curled up on the couch and sat with my pain, I started to see that the only way out was changing my behavior and thinking. I’m so glad you mentioned Mindfulness cognitive behavioral therapy. I didn’t see anyone, but I did read several books that helped me change my thinking.

    What really helped was exercise, healthy eating, and decreasing my work hours. I was the typical Type A. The harder I work, the better I am, right? When I started taking time for me and exercising every day, I was no longer anxious. Does that mean I never have anxious thoughts? No way! But with exercise, a healthy diet, and putting myself first, I have healed what I thought was an irreversible condition.

    Reply
    • Dear Tammy,

      Kudos to you for doing something to make meaning and find healing from your anxiety. Yes I can totally relate to the Type A thinking. Slowing down enough to be in the moment and take care of yourself and enjoying your body by working out are excellent ways to feel better. Thank you so much for sharing!

      As you mentioned, mindfulness is a powerful form of therapy. If you are interested, I have written a free e-book about it with easy to follow audio meditate exercises, fee free to check it out at http://www.talk-doctor.com

      Wishing you continued peace and freedom from anxiety,
      Kavetha

      Reply
      • I can’t wait to check it out! Thank you, Kavetha!

        Reply
  5. So many of these things hit home for me. My self-esteem has always been low and for most of my life I have honestly believed that my ONLY value was my intellect – I have a near genius level IQ and throughout school there was nothing I couldn’t grasp if I just set my mind to it. Not that I all came easy, I had to work – and work hard – but I could do it. I never failed at anything in the academic arena until my PhD fell flat on it’s face – largely due to a sever depressive episode and working myself into complete clinical exhaustion 3 times in 3 years. Even to the point of being hospitalized once.

    After that, everything seemed to fall apart for me. If I couldn’t get my PhD, if I couldn’t maintain the perfect academic record I had – I was nothing. That doctorate had been my goal since I was a teenager. If I couldn’t get it, all my plans for my life went up in smoke. That one failure lead to a downward spiral of more failures until I tried to take my own life on two separate occasions, convinced there was nothing I could do to make my life bearable.

    Since then I’ve been diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder, Bi-polar, and an anxiety disorder. I’m on medication but I currently am lacking in any kind of therapy because I don’t have any insurance. The only reason I’m able to get medication is because of a county charity thing for low income individuals. I can’t even hold down a job at the moment and have had to move back in with my parents. Another blow to my sense of self-worth.

    Between the utter collapse of my self-esteem and the fact that mental health issues run in my father’s family I’ve often felt trapped. Like this was always going to be my fate and there’s nothing I can do about it. That I can never really be happy in a long term sense. Struggling to find any real value in myself AS me is an ongoing battle – one made all the harder because I can’t afford the therapy I know I need. So often I feel that if only I’d been able to get my PhD then everything would be fine. Logically, I know that’s not true, but when has logic ever ruled over our emotions? Beside, I know now even getting the PhD wouldn’t have made everything fine. Not when I have always looked in the mirror and hated what I see. And because I failed in the one area I’d always excelled in, I so often DO feel that I deserve what’s happening now. My genetics and I made my bed and now I have to lie in it.

    I’d add one more thing to your list of Depression’s insidious lies though. And that is that what you see when you are depressed is the truth. One of the reasons I’ve had such a hard time is that part of me doesn’t want to get better and not just because I think I somehow deserve this. It’s because there’s a part of me that believes that that is the only time I really see myself for who and what I am. That when I’m “better” THAT’S the real lie. That’s it’s only depression that holds up an accurate mirror.

    Reply
    • Dear Georgia,

      Thank you for your grace and courage in sharing your story.

      From what you are describing, it seems like the low self esteem has been hurting you for a very long time. It makes me wonder if your childhood was particularly hard in some way…

      As you said, getting your Ph.D or not isn’t what determines the story…it is how we view that particular loss. And what each loss actually means to us. I think you are totally spot on about depression making life feel more “real”, which is also one way it can get to us.
      In truth, ALL parts of you are real. Whichever part you give fuel to, may be STRONGER though…

      If Borderline personality (BPD) is part what you are facing, I would highly recommend DBT (Dialectical Behavior therapy). It is the most successful treatment for BPD, and is often available in group treatment centers as well. Ask your medication provider for ideas.

      In between your thoughts and your actions, lies your freedom to choose.

      Wishing you peace and joy soon,
      Kavetha

      Reply
    • Georgia,

      I wish we were friends. Seriously.
      I think we would get along with each other.
      Isn’t it sad, how no one around me is able to understand what I am going through but some random strange on the web you don’t know probably would?

      Reply
  6. Thank you for this post. While I don’t suffer with it personally, my partner does I am interested to read any articles you have on supporting someone with depression.

    When my partner has “episodes” (forgive me if this is wrong but for the most part she is happy and bubbly) I feel useless to help her. It’s almost like she shuts down and completely disconnects from everything and everyone.

    Recently we have been going through rough time (she has changed jobs is finding it tough) and her depression has been more prominent. It’s getting harder for us to keep our cool (She is on edge and I am on edge for fear of making her feel worse), I have tried suggesting solutions to her problems and helping her resolve them but due to her disconnecting nature, the response is usually “No that won’t work” without taking the opportunity to think it though.

    Recently I’ve started to wonder if I am escalating the issue buy making suggestions and causing further distress or if there could be another method to approach it so any suggested reading could be a big help.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Dear Adam,

      From your post, it seems like your partner’s low moods are quite frequent, interspersed with “bubbly and happy” periods. If so, wonder if it might be more helpful to talk to her her during one of the happier phases, so you both can plan for how to communicate during her low phases. Of course, the other important suggestion would be for therapy. If your partner is hesitant to do so, maybe you can start off with couples therapy, openly telling her that you want to learn how to best support her during these phases?

      Depression can be very stressful on a relationship. I can tell that you seem to really care about your partner, kudos to you for trying to find ways to support her. Feel free to check out related articles at http://www.talk-doctor.com

      I wish you both peace,
      Kavetha

      Reply
  7. I don’t know, I am ‘over the hump’ with my depression, but I barely have it in me to keep myself together, to not freak out my family, to smile. When I am alone I just cry. I tried a lot of things, I’m still medicated, still in therapy, tried meditation and so forth. I don’t have panic attacks, anger issues, not suicidal anymore, but still I’m anything but happy. And I don’t see how I can change that. And I want to ask – how does it feel, to be happy now?

    Reply
  8. Hi Elvina,

    Thank you bringing up something so crucial. Being “over the hump”is often mistaken as not being suicidal or paralyzed with panic etc; But if, as you say, you are barely keeping yourself together, and you cry when alone, it seems to me that you are still climbing the hump.
    Meditation is a very long process, sometimes needs months of consistent daily practice to feel any change. Some things to consider for your therapy: if you feel you are living your “purpose”, what from the past might be keeping you in this emotional state and the depth and meaningfulness of your connections. I’m glad you are reaching out and getting help, and the very fact you are reading this shows you are fighting for your happiness. Kudos to you.

    Please feel free to check out related information at http://www.talk-doctor.com
    Also let me know if I can help in any other way.

    Sending you warm healing thoughts,
    Kavetha

    Reply
  9. Hello Kavetha,

    Twenty two years ago I suffered from severe clinical depression. I had lost a great job, a wife/child and all my worldly possessions through divorce. It seemed like life was no longer worth living and there was no place for me to start over. I knew my brain was messed up (sick) but didn’t know why. I had no idea how to fix it either. I think that was the frustrating part. It was like there was an invisible brain monkey (great Professional term, huh?) that got inside my head and rattled all the cages and broke all the toys and then crapped all over the place. OK, that’s not an analogy you’d see in and Professionally Published Paper, but that’s what it felt like for me. The scariest part was that it would never go away. I lived like that for close to a year before I couldn’t take it any longer and finally popped a cap in my coconut. I do remember the sensation of the bullet entering my brain right before I lost consciousness……..it was a feeling of ultimate relief…..better than any drug I have ever ingested (and I’ve tried a lot….). My head felt like a Tea Pot hat had to get rid of the steam. The bullet WAS relief. I don’t know why I’m still alive to talk about this, but there is a reason for it, I’m sure.

    The bullet was not a cure-all. I spent 65 days in the hospital 28 days in a coma and the remainder in intensive therapy. I tried several other types of mood altering drugs to fix the depression which was still an issue, although not as big a problem as it was before the suicide attempt. We tried Zoloft….NO good for me. We tried several others as well…Depakote/Depakene and none of them worked. One day I decided to quit smoking and was placed on Wellbutrin. Ah! Serendipity! Five weeks after taking this drug, all depressive thoughts and behaviors have ceased and never returned. It was as if I heard a loud POP! And the popping noise was the sound of my head removing itself from my ass. All the gray fog and the muddled thinking disappeared in about 5 weeks after taking this drug. That was 22 years ago. While my life has never been perfect, it sure is a lot better with NO depression. I firmly believe that there is a drug for everyone that will ease depressive thoughts/behaviors. I still have a bullet lodged 1/2 an inch from my brain stem but am well passed any type of seizure activity because of it. I still haven’t quit smoking either. Dopey me!

    Reply
    • Dear Tim,

      Your story made me stop in my tracks. I’m sorry for the awful pain you had to go through but I’m soooo glad that Wellbutrin worked so well for you. I wish you many, many more years of health and happiness. Take care of yourself, Kavetha

      Reply
  10. Help me Rhonda, !!! What a great post.

    It’s a chemical thing and Im powerless. I can totally relate to these delusional thoughts that confine us on in our own mental jail.

    Thank you for putting this together, gives me a little more reinforcement for adjustment in belief systems around depression

    Reply
    • Hi Kael,

      Glad you found it helpful! Yes depression and anxiety make things worse by also telling us lies that we gradually tend to believe.

      Take care :)

      Reply
  11. This is a great article. What a huge eye opener. It really does matter what we focus on. We all have issues in our life, it’s part of being human. But we don’t have to focus on what isn’t working in our life or what is wrong. We all have a lot to be thankful about to. Sure I can’t speak for every single person but even if you do have all this stuff wrong you’ve got to look for what is right.

    Reply
    • Hi Michelle,

      Glad you found it useful! I agree that focusing on the positive can help. Although, it’s totally okay, and sonetimes essential, to look at the hurt and pain, as a way to move past it in some way. Wallowing in despair is what allows depression to grow…

      Take care,
      Kavetha

      Reply
  12. Hi Kael,

    You are welcome, glad it was helpful :)

    Yes it’s amazing how helpless depression wants to make us feel huh? It takes a lot of insight and practice to not let it run your life.

    Sounds like you are already on the right track with that! Good luck and take care!

    Best,
    Kavetha

    Reply
  13. Thank you for the post. I am struggling with someone else’s depression! I wish they could put some of this into action…

    Reply
    • Hi Esther,

      Struggling with a loved one’s depression can be very hard. Do have him/her check out other articles at http://www.talk-doctor.com. Also, the book “Feeling good: The New mood therapy” by Dr.David Burns is very helpful, as is “The mindful way through depression” by Mark Williams and co.

      Sending you hope,
      Kavetha

      Reply
  14. Excellent, motivational article, dear Kavetha. There is a touch of spirituality in you. The simile used by you of chasing happiness with a butterfly which sits on my shoulder only if i stop chasing it, is simply beautiful and appropriate. Yes, happiness is elusive, like a mirage, it descends on us gently like snow flakes when we are at peace and harmony with ourself and the world around.
    When I wake up in the morning, I thank God for keeping me alive. One may not believe in God yet thanking Him or whosoever I believe in for the gift of life means that I still value my life. If it is so, where is the reason for depression. ” Every new breath you take now is a new chance at life “.

    Reply
    • Dear Mahavir,

      Am so glad to hear you found the article motivational.

      As you said, I do believe in the beauty and possibility of the present moment, this new breath. Guess my spirituality in that sense is about the here and now and the underlying connection between all living things :-)

      Have a wonderful day,
      Kavetha

      Reply
  15. I’ve struggled with anxiety and paranoia more than depression in the past. I agree with all of your points. For me, the answer was within myself. Through exercise and writing I have been able to overcome most of my fears.

    Reply
    • Hi Dan,

      You are absolutely right that excercise can be mentally healing. In fact, several recent studies, such as the one below, have confirmed that too.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21658349

      BTW, I love your blog :)

      Peace,
      Kavetha

      Reply
  16. Wow, this is so true.

    Reply
  17. Hi Gena,

    Yea I had the same reaction when I first learnt about all the mind distortions that depression plays on us!

    Helps to be aware so we can challenge these thoughts right?

    Take care Gena! Wish you well.

    -Kavetha

    Reply
  18. I don’t know if I’m technically “depressed,” but numbers 4 and 5 really stood out to me. I had to re-read them a couple of times. I find that I get a lot of anxiety when I think about things I “should have” accomplished already and I get overwhelmed with what I should do next. My main problem is that I worry about making the “right” decision and I become completely paralyzed from making any decisions at all. Then I feel frustrated when I am in the same spot. I like the way you put it – each breath is a new chance. That makes me feel hopeful :)

    Reply
    • Hi Sadiya,

      Im glad you found the post hopeful ☺
      Sounds like you are struggling with wanting to either do things perfectly or not at all? Mindfulness is very useful as a way of observing our inner thought patterns and learning to detach from them.

      Wishing you lots of good luck,
      Kavetha

      Reply
  19. I think number 5 was the hardest for me and still is at times. Learning to get over the imbued sense of self-hatred is tough. I was diagnosed as borderline personality disorder which is in a then new ballpark depression. I don’t agree with number two necessarily. I think you need to accept that your childhood was very tough for you and then accept that you are no longer in it and are responsible for yourself as an adult. I think denying the feelings that you were hurt doesn’t lead to healing. You need to accept them and then give yourself what your parents never gave you. Love.

    Reply
  20. Hi Sebastian,

    Yes I agree that self-hatred, guilt, shame kind of feelings are the toughest to have to deal with.

    And I’m totally with you on the point of accepting and working through childhood trauma. What I meant was that depression sometimes makes you feel HOPELESS and to GIVE UP the fight because of what may have happened in childhood or past relationships or finances etc;
    IMO, that’s a big lie depression tells us, because as you said, whatever may have happened, each person deserves love.

    Wishing you hope and healing and joy,
    Kavetha

    Reply
    • Thanks for the clarification. It is true that depression can make you feel hopeless and want to give up and it amplifies because it finds reasons of how messed up things are. It casts a blanket over life and makes everything darker than it actually is.

      Depression does lie to us because it clouds one’s thinking. It drains hope. Hopefully we can all start living life’s worth living.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Reply
  21. This article makes us realize the white board in our life, and not just worry about the black dots. I am depressed for quite a long time in my life, but i slowly started boosting myself.

    I am depressed when i lost my job, no friends to help, no recognition in society, no happiness in family, everything seems to be putting me down.

    I started enjoying the things in my life, that i am proud of. I maintained good relationships with others, helped others, and motivated myself towards my goals. I keep inspiring myself everyday and will inspire others too.

    Reply
  22. It’s interesting how so many people who are depressed are actually Empaths.

    That once piece of information could really help and change people people’s lives, but most just seem to be unaware of it.

    Reply
  23. I Had panic attacks for 7 years id the worst sensation in the world, Thanks for sharing this information

    Reply
  24. I am pretty cranky right now. Is anyone here my age? (53). I just found this blog while searching”Waiting for my life to change”. Husband and I are ready for massive change to our circumstances and currently I am in despair. I have little patience for pithy feel good -isms. I spennd alot of time trying to “not concentrtae on” all the things which really bug me. Sometimes I say to God..So God WHAT is gonna happen today? ANYTHING?!!!

    Reply
    • Paulette,

      I wish I could tell you that your life will change soon for the better, but thats not what you need to hear. What you need to hear is the truth. All the time you’re spending trying to not concentrate on all the things that bug you, could be your biggest problem right now. Its no secret that what you concentrate on is what you’ll get more of in life.

      Instead of trying not to concentrate on what bugs you, try concentrating on what brings you joy. Start looking for the good in everyone and everything. Especially the people and things that bug you. Instead of trying not to be bugged by circumstance, try to be humbled by it.

      If you don’t like your present circumstance, you can always change it. It won’t happen on its own but small actions everyday will make big things happen over time. You’re already headed in the right direction because you’re seeking answers. Just don’t dismiss them too easily.

      Wisdom has nothing to do with age, some of the wisest things I’ve ever heard came from some of the youngest people I know. My kids.

      Reply
  25. First of all big up to for this excellent eye opener. Personally i have been there and got stuck for way too long until one day my inner sibling had enough. Social anxiety, persistent illness, however the moment one decides to face the gun, we are surprised at how easy it sometimes can be for us to overcome stress.

    Reply
  26. This is amazing!!

    Thank you for taking the time to put this together for us!

    Let me know if you want to write for GrowthGuided

    Have a great weekend

    Reply
  27. Hi Kaveta,
    I liked the depth of this post.

    We often get variety of thoughts during various moments. What’s important is to which thoughts we “actually’ listen and adopt.

    It’s our listening and adopting to quality thoughts that determines the quality of our actions.

    Yours was a great post to read.

    Reply
  28. I have always thought that way and try to apply it but when something happeness I forget it all and I let myself go… for a day or two or somethimes even weeks.

    Reply
  29. I hate to say it, but those all seem like lame excuses to me. I’ve never dealt with depression to any extreme, but I have managed to overcome fairly severe fear issues and making excuses will never lead you out of the dark.

    Reply
  30. This reminded me a lot of eckhart tolle’s teachings in the book “the power of now”. Thank you for this article it was very wise. If people didn’t doubt or at least give these methods a chance? we would have a lot more mentally healthy and happy people around today.

    Reply
  31. I love this post!

    When I lost my job, I did convince myself that I had every right to be depressed, that I was well within my right to walk around feeling sorry for myself.

    But through reading self help articles and reading stories of people who came out of depression, I realized that I can still have a spirit of gratefulness, that there are still parts of my life that are awesome, and I started focusing on those.

    Thank you for pointing out these lies, it is so easy to really start believing them. Great article!

    Reply
  32. Great post

    What people have to understand is depression is REAL. Much different from sadness or lack of self confidence or worth.

    There are different triggers that make depression worse.

    When I live in uncertainty my depression escalates. Why? I’ve never been sure
    When my back is up against the wall- I always preform.
    You are soo right- the human spirit is very powerful.

    thanks for an eye opener.

    SW

    Reply
  33. I believed everybody gets depressed at some point in their life for their own reasons. I have battled with depression for years. I never believed it was a disorder or chemical issue but rather an emotion. I get depressed with my circumstances especially when I dont see how to make them better. A feeling of powerless and restriction. It is true, when feeling depressed it can alter your perceptions, influence your thoughts and your choices which can keep you in that depression cycle.

    Reply
  34. It is indeed our thoughts that dictate the life we lead. There is great power in knowing that we therefore control our lives through our thoughts.

    Thank you for sharing this post.

    Reply
  35. I can relate to what depression feels like. Your tips are helpful, our personal attitude being at the heart of how we perceive things. When we’re depressed, we’re always disconnected and feeling separated. Then we focus on negative things, and because of that we attract more of the same into our lives. It’s tricky, because the key is to think of what you want without getting attached to it. You have to be able to appreciate the moment as it is, while chasing your dreams as if you’re already there.

    But one important thing to realize about depression is also that it brings comfort, as strange as it may sound. Some people are so attached to their emotional state of depression, that they don’t really want to get out of it, even if they say they do. They just love to get attention, sympathy, and be comfortable with not having to take responsibility for their feelings.

    A friend of mine is depressed, and I never hear from him anymore. I used to call him and send him messages, but he rarely replied. So I dropped it, because if he really wanted to help himself, he would reach out. In the end people are responsible for themselves, and sometimes it’s better to stop sending comforting sympathy, so they can wake up.

    Reply
  36. Really good article, i especially like the story about the dot and the white board, that little story says a lot about how we think. thanks!

    Reply
  37. Seven years ago I crashed emotionally. I was in a bad way. I never forget though that as I lay there in the depths of depression a tiny voice told me to go and search for a book in the local library’s catalogue. So I did that. I had no idea what I was supposed to be looking for but I typed in “self development”. On the first page in the list of books, about half way down this book just jumped out at me “Excuse Me Your Life Is Waiting” by Lynn Grabhorn. I queued it, I collected it, I read it, I love it, I bought it, it became my bible, it turned my life around.

    Since then I have made personal development a life time commitment. I am a work in progress and love that every day I now live a happier, wealthier and healthier life.

    Reply
  38. Depression is a demon that whisper lies into our ears.

    Are you trapped into believing that demon?

    You may be challenged by what happened to you in your childhood

    or

    you may be challenged by what you perceive about what happened
    to you in your childhood.

    We all have the ability as adults to re-visit the moments that haunt us.

    Of course, we can be co-conspirators in our depression,
    if we choose to be.
    We can also conquer the negative passions of our lives,
    if we choose to do so.

    People that feel that they are failures
    have given up too soon.
    All of us have a higher purpose
    and reasons for what we have experienced.

    Some of the greatest “failures” have gone on
    and become role models
    for those that haven’t had to struggle
    to the same degree.

    The elusive butterfly can land on us
    when we take the time to be quiet
    and accept who we are.

    Your post, Kavetha, is a refreshing reminder
    that we don’t have to be captives
    of our own thoughts.

    Thank you for writing this post.

    You are helping so many people.

    Reply
  39. Dear Dr. Kavetha,

    Thank you first of all for the great advice and the quick responses you gave to people. I was depressed since I was a little kid and it hit me severely five years ago. It felt like my spirit wanted to do good but my body wanted to do bad. It felt like my body overpowered my spirit. Going to counselors, doctors, diagnosis’, it felt hopeless. One day I went into town and all the people i thought were my friends abandoned me. I decided I’m going to go home and appreciate and not do it again. For some reason when I woke up the next morning my whole world changed I saw the beauty of nature, the beauty of truth, love, virtue and meditation. I started getting into Buddhism and started going where I wanted to go instead of where everybody else was telling me to go. And I’ve been in recovery for the last four months, but the thing is I have been falling into my old ways of thinking. Ive been trying to do positive stuff to combat it like prayer, meditation, exercise but for some reason in this particular moment it seems to make it worse. Thank you for your time and avice

    Reply
  40. This is a good and somewhat helpful blog post until you start talking about being unworthy of happiness.
    Depression is not about being unhappy. I am incredibly happy and incredibly depressed, they are by no means opposites or incompatible. Depression is, for me, a sense of hopelessness. It is a feeling that everything is heavy and impossible. It is a feeling that now, in this moment, I cannot function as a “normal person” is “supposed to” function. This does not make me unhappy. It makes me different, and that is okay.
    We are constantly told to strive for happiness, and are told what should make us happy. We are shown what happiness should look like. I notice and appreciate all that is beautiful in the world, including things that others may not perceive as beautiful.
    I have tried lots of different methods to treat my depression. I see a therapist I have been seeing for years, I journal, I walk outside when the sun is out, I socialize when I can bring myself to get out of bed, I have taken anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. I educate myself in ways that others have at least relieved symptoms of depression. These things may make me “happier”, but no less depressed. I do not feel more hopeful because I can see the sun. SSRIs always made me more numb instead of functional.
    What I’m saying is that I know there are great and beautiful things and people, and I experience them and adore them. I am happy. Knowing that life is beautiful does not make it any easier to get out of bed, to talk to the beautiful things and people. I know things get better, they have before. I know that things are fine now. It’s really just the lack of motivation and feeling that I am expected to strive for a different type of happiness than I currently experience that is affecting me.

    Reply
    • Hi, Becca,

      It’s certainly true that being happy does not mean you’re not depressed. Often uncleared shock / trauma will bring you down no matter what you try. I suffered form it for many years.

      The only thing that cured my depression were Bach Flower Remedies (and only the right one at that)

      Have you looked into them?

      Reply
  41. This article is really awesome. I am so happy that there are psychiatrists who actually want to help, not just make money and prescribe pills. Thank you!

    Reply
  42. Thank you so much for this article Kavetha. I REALLY appreciate your pointing out the antidepressants are not a cure for depression, but can help us feel better enough to have the motivation to start working through the underlying causes of our depression.

    It’s so important that people are aware of this because for some reason most people out there think the pills will cure them and are then discouraged, frustrated, and confused when they go off their meds and the depression comes back. I’m not against anti-depressants – they do have their use, but as you said, are not meant as a cure for depression.

    Cheers,
    Julia Kristina
    http://juliakristina.com/blog

    Reply
  43. I have read and truly tried to apply all of the above mentioned advice. I still can’t seem to shake my depressive feelings. I don’t feel suicidal, just numb to everyday life. I feel as if I have no emotions, just discontentment. When good things happen I don’t feel excited or happy, when bad things happen I feel just as unaffected. I do not have a perfect life, but I don’t have hard or bad life either. Do you any advice for me?

    Reply
  44. Hi
    Just wanted to say thanks . I have never thought about them this way . It blew my mind in so many levels :) . WISH YOU ALL THE BEST and I really mean it . THANKS again . thank you so much

    Reply
  45. Thanks you for these really powerful reminders.

    I especially appreciate when the “WHEN/THEN” myth that our culture tries so hard to get us to believe. WHEN I am or have x, y, or z THEN I’ll be happy. And as you said, we even WHEN become or have those things we are still not totally happy or satisfied.

    As a therapist myself I work a lot with my clients struggling with being focused on the WHEN/THEN, as opposed to what your friend said, “What’s wrong with now?” And further to that, I believe strongly that this is life. Right here and right now. And if we spend all our time thinking we need to change everything or be someone else in order to be happy we’re going to miss it.

    Thanks again,

    Julia Kristina
    http://juliakristina.com/blog

    Reply

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