On depression: the lies we tell ourselves
Last week I lost my job. I work in a do-or-die industry with a relatively brutal hiring and firing ethos — especially if startup founders are doing their job right. It is something I rationally understand and accept by choosing to pursue a career within it.
Despite departing on good terms with my former employer, this event caught me by surprise, and when combined with other factors in my personal life, not to mention the anxiety I now constantly feel for our country, and our planet, it was for me unbearable.
For the first time in my life I understood what depression feels like. I told my step-father this, a man who has struggled with depression for much of his life. When I told him of the darkness, of the powerful sense of self-doubt, and most of all the fear, he shared something with me that was profoundly meaningful to me.
The voices in your head don’t tell the truth. They are determined to be heard, revered, awed; to get you to hear them at all times — to take them very seriously. They want to be looked upon as the voice of God. Nothing modest about them.
To achieve their goals they lie like crazy. They know you — have been around you a long, long time.
They know the lies you will buy, the ones you cannot dismiss — they know all your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and they are going to work on you as only a great Pro can.
Remember they have your brain so finely tuned, and aware of all your knowledge and insight. They are going play the whole shebang against you.
They are going to lie to you as you’ve never been lied to before. It’s a crisis and they know how to savage you. This is their chance to take you over, to ground you down into fine nonexistence. To powder.
So you go into the immediate moment. The taste of a certain of ice cream. The power and glory of walking down the street holding the hands of Harper and Daisy. The awe your brain and its emotional system can pour into your entire being.
You have to keep repeating the obvious very simple truth: your inner voices are fucking liars big time.
Every time, you tell them that. And expect that they will up the ante. As I said before you’re up against incredible Pros. This is their time, the moment they’ve been praying and waiting so long for.
You have a beautiful mind. Now is the time to use it fully. Resist their lies, resist their bull shit. Every time. When they come forward with one more round of “truth,” shoot it down line by line, so called truth by truth.
Since telling my step-father how I felt, and of the darkness that surrounded me, my friends and family have stepped up and offered tremendous support. Where once there was darkness, I see light.
I am lucky. I cannot imagine the challenge of dealing with depression long term, and it feels like a trite luxury for me to be able to say that. Almost as if I shouldn’t say anything at all lest I diminish in some way the struggle others have with depression.
But I found strength in my step father’s words, and through them I was able to punch through the veil of darkness to chart a path forward for myself. I share in the hope that his words may provide a similar strength to others.
When you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, your problems don’t seem temporary — they seem overwhelming and permanent. But with time, you will feel better, especially if you get help. There are many people who want to support you during this difficult time, so please reach out!