Full disclosure: depression is a d**k. It’s a nagging voice in the back of your head telling you the scariest things it can come up with. Things you don’t want to hear. Stuff specifically designed to hit you where it hurts. It can be hard to see it when you’re at you worst but these things aren’t your fault. They rarely make much logical sense and, importantly, they’re not true. There’s no easy fix for getting rid of these thoughts, but it can help to remind yourself that depression is essentially just a liar. Here’s a few things it might be telling you that I promise aren’t true.
“You’re not trying hard enough”
Rubbish. Living and functioning with depression is really, really hard. We’re trying every single day. And okay, we might not always get the things done that we want to, or we might not always succeed but, really, who does? Sometimes the hardest thing we have to learn how to do is to go easy on ourselves. The trick I use is to treat myself like I would a friend. Would you ever tell a friend they weren’t trying hard enough? No. Would you be proud of them for trying at all? Absolutely. Trust me, if you’re getting out of bed, you’re trying. And that’s more than enough. (It’s also okay if you don’t manage to get out of bed, because there’s always tomorrow).
Spoiler alert: they definitely do. It’s really easy to feel like no one else on earth could possibly even understand how you’re feeling, much less care about it. But I promise you, they do. Whether it’s family members, friends or a professional, there’s always going to be someone waiting to listen, and people who love you- not in spite of your depression, but with acceptance of it. And if you think no one cares – I’m writing this right now because I do.
“You’re a bad person”
This is maybe one of the less obvious ones. Depression has a way of reminding us of every bad thing we’ve ever done and magnifying it. Screaming it at us until we can think of nothing else and then convincing us that we’re horrible people and we deserve to feel like this. The key word here is magnifying. None of the things depression tells us is accurate, but its also a major drama queen. It blows things out of proportion and makes them seem like the biggest thing in the world when in reality they’re just not. I promise you that no one else thinks you’re a bad person. They’d probably think you were ridiculous for even suggesting it. But that’s what depression does – it makes us see things that aren’t there. Again, the best thing to do here is look at it objectively and treat yourself like one of your friends. You wouldn’t dream of thinking they were a bad person, and you’re not either.
“There’s no way out”
Everyone with depression knows what this feels like. When you’re in the middle of a slump and you just can’t seem to find a way out, you start to think that you’re always going to feel like this and that there’s no escape. Often, this is where a lot of suicidal thoughts can start. But the next time you’re feeling that way, do me a favour and just stop for a second. Think about all the times you felt awful before, and all the times you came out of it (because you did come out of it) and then trust that you will come out of it this time, too. I know it’s hard, but hang on. Once you’re on the other side, I promise you’ll be glad you did.
Where to find help
Reading my advice might be helpful to an extent but it’s important to remember that there are legitimate points of contact you can go to if you need support.
- Student services: Every University has a support system in place if you feel like you can’t cope and most have online forms to fill out if you’re not comfortable speaking to someone in person straight away.
- NHS: The NHS offers free counselling services. The waiting times are, quite frankly, ridiculous, but it’s 100% worth making an appointment. You’ll feel better knowing you’re doing something productive, and it’s something to wait for. Once you get there, they’re actually really good.
- In an emergency: If you need support in an emergency, helplines are the best thing to reach out to. Even just talking to someone will help you feel less alone, and you’ll start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Samaritans are for everyone, and they’re run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – you can reach them on 116 123.