Lying to Myself

Lying to Myself

Depression lies. Every day is a struggle to determine what is truth and what is chemical fiction. Is today going to be the day where my brain wins or life wins? Before you even open your eyes and your feet hit the floor, you don’t know.

Everything is a struggle and a choice; even down to the smallest minutia. You don’t want to (insert verb here) but you can’t live with the guilt of not doing it so you suck it up, put on your “happy” face, and get moving.

But you don’t want to get up because your bed is the only place where you feel safe and not judged and found lacking. That’s depression lying. I know the world isn’t perfect but it is beautiful. There is value and goodness worth fighting for and kindness is needed. A cartoon character named Iroh from the Avatar/Legend of Korra series said, “If you look for the light, you can often find it. But if you look for the dark that is all you will ever see.” Humans are designed to look for the light, but depression lies and keeps us hiding in the dark. It’s a vicious cycle; a mental snowball that’s crushing and devastating.

You don’t want to go to work because it sucks so bad and what’s the point. The kids don’t care, parents care even less, administrators only think of you as a valueless sap on resources. There’s no paper and the copier is broken again anyway. Why bother? Again – that’s depression’s deceit. There’s value in the work that I do; I honestly believe it. I know how lucky I am that I get to do what I love so much. Depression is just like a big yellow highlighter marking up all the ugly. Sure we struggle but it’s not as bad as my brain is making it out to be. So I fight against myself so I can fight for education and my kids.

When you come home you’re exhausted because of the mental battle you’re in all day. I can’t wait to crawl back into bed to sleep and sink into oblivion. I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. When I do, it takes everything I have to stay out and not race back home where it’s safe. I have a good time when I do go out, but getting out is a struggle. I’m like an old car that won’t start in the morning. Once I get going I’m fine, but it’s the getting going that’s the hurdle.

Depression lies. It tells me to pretend to be sick because no one wants to hear about how I feel. Because physical illness is more socially acceptable than mental illness. I make plans to find healing with my friends, but depression convinces me to break them. It’s a cycle of self-abuse that my friends get caught in the middle of. They deserve better.

Life becomes something you deal with every day rather than something you love and embrace. Depression wants you to throw that gift away.

So what do you do when you live with a liar? Your best. Day by day. Sometimes hour by hour. You stick your fingers in your ears and sing “lalalala you can’t hurt me” until you start to believe it. Platitude by platitude. Fake it until you make it. Put on a happy face for real when it naturally comes along. Hang in there until it gets better; because it does. Take a deep breath.

Depression lies, but you have to choose to listen to the truth.

Karen Padden

Karen, Queen of the Paddens and first of her name. Teacher, Baker, Petter of Cats, Multiple Sneezer and Crocheter of Wubbies. Believes in kindness, always.

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