Depression tells me lies

I wish I had been able to write this last Wednesday. But I couldn’t – I was restrained by the voices of depression.

Those voices tell me lots of things, and none of them are nice. Please don’t misunderstand; I’m not hearing audible voices. These voices are actually just thoughts in my head. You know, the way I talk to myself. And I don’t say very nice things. I’m full of negative self-talk, and I judge myself very harshly. Even without depression, I talk to myself like this a little bit. But with depression, the voices are loud – they fill my ears and echo around in my head.

I didn’t write on Wednesday because my thoughts said that I have nothing to write about. I have absolutely nothing that anyone would want to read. I’ve read others’ blogs – they’re more eloquent, they’ve said all that needs to be said,… I have nothing of value to add.

[Side note: I’ve had several friends suggest that I write a book. But the depression voices tell me that I have nothing to write that hasn’t already been written. I should know – I’ve read lots of books about depression. I have nothing else to say, and certainly nothing original.]

The depression voices on Wednesday told me that all I could do was sit on the couch. They told me that I have nothing to do, nothing that I can do, no one to do anything with, and no one would want to do anything with me anyway. I played with my kitten and watched hours of TV, binging on Netflix, and playing ridiculous games on my iPad, one after the other. I had no interest in doing anything productive, in knitting, drawing, writing in my journal, going for a walk to take pictures, not even coloring a mandala pattern. Even though those are things that I used to enjoy, I can’t – I’m depressed.

The voices told me I wasn’t hungry, except when I was famished. But don’t worry about what to eat – it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m already fat and round, and therefore unattractive. No different diet, no change in wardrobe, no exercise, nothing will change the fact that my appearance is, well, maybe not ugly, but also not good looking. Don’t worry about eating healthy, don’t go for a swim or to the workout center – it won’t make a difference.

I don’t want to do anything – not see new friends on Thursday, not go out on Friday to meet a WI friend passing through town. I will do that, though – it will be good to connect with a sandbag.  But where should we meet? The depression voices remind me that even though I’ve been here 5.5 months, I don’t know my way around. What was the name of that place? Should I just invite them over here? Oh goodness, no! How do I decide? The voices point out that I can’t even make a simple decision – I need someone to tell me what to do.

I feel guilty about not exercising, not doing anything on my to-do list, about my non-activity and non-contribution. I’m lazy (“rotten, good-for-nothing…” – sounds like Yosemite Sam, but the sentence always completes itself as my own thought). I’m stupid. I’m selfish. I’m unattractive. I’m helpless. I’m better off staying by myself ’cause I’ll only bring others down. These thoughts go on and on and on.

BUT THESE ARE ALL LIES!

This negative self-talk is not truth. It is depression talking. And once I let the depressive voices start whispering to me, I can quickly descend into harsh self-judgement. I start believing the lies. They feed on each other, and I spiral quickly downward, further into the dark cavern of depression.

I’ve discovered that the key to silencing these thoughts comes when I recognize them as “not me.” And I have to be firm as I expose them. Not a wishy-washy “stop that.” No, I have to say “Stop! These are not your thoughts! This is not how God sees you! And what God sees and says is truth. So This Is Not Truth!”

When God looks at me, He sees the absolute opposite of these thoughts. He is full of compassion. Psalm 116:5 NIV.  He is gentle – He knows I’m hurting from the depression. Matthew 11:29 NIV  He loves me completely, entirely, passionately. I John 3:1a NIV  He says I am the apple of His eye. Psalm 17:8 NIV  He delights in me. Psalm 18:19 NLT. He rejoices over me with singing! Zephaniah 3:17  I am not helpless – I have His Spirit living in me; the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead – in me! Romans 8:11a NLT  And He has words He wants me to say, words that might bring comfort (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT) or healing to someone who struggles with depression, maybe even with these same thoughts.

I have been told many times by both of my psych docs, by both of my therapists and by my husband, “Be gentle with yourself.” Cut myself some slack. Take the time I need to heal. Talk to myself as I would speak with a friend, not harshly judging.

Depression is an illness, and it brings negative thinking and harsh self judgement. But those thoughts are not mine; they are depression talking, telling me lies about myself. I can replace them with truth. And truth is what the Bible says about me as a Christ follower. Truth is obeying God. Truth is

… taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5b NASB. 

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29 thoughts on “Depression tells me lies

  1. rlseaton September 7, 2015 / 5:29 pm

    Peggy, thank you so much for writing from your heart, and for sharing the truth along with it. What an encouragement to me! God has given you a gift of writing, and please continue to use it.

    Before my husband passed 8 years ago, I began to suffer from pretty severe anxiety attacks. God taught me two things in how do deal with them – remember that the truth is that they won’t last – ride the wave (like the disciples in the boat with Jesus fast asleep – they wouldn’t drown because Jesus was with them in the boat, no matter how high and frightening the waves.) The other thing he taught me was to fix my inner eyes on Jesus – don’t even entertain thoughts as they would come that weren’t the truth. Literally, I would awaken every morning with a “familiar” sense of panic for the day (I was raising a son with autism and felt very vulnerable, and my physical protector was gone). And as literally, I would have to turn my inner eyes away from the day and the panic, to Jesus (Hebrews 12). God kept me and held me through it until I could begin to heal. I am eternally grateful. I occasionally have minor attacks now, over 8 years later, but they are nothing like they were, and he has given me a story to tell of his amazing power and goodness.

    Keep doing it girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    • peggyricewi September 7, 2015 / 5:35 pm

      Thank you so much for the encouragement. I will use your advice daily!

      Liked by 1 person

      • rlseaton September 7, 2015 / 5:37 pm

        I’m so glad God crossed our paths. We are all in this battle together. As another friend and I say to each other – we are fellow warriors. So good to know we aren’t alone! I’m thankful for you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jennifer Deg August 25, 2015 / 9:08 am

    Great post. Have you ever looked into deliverance? I used to struggle with a spirit of depression and heard the same voices, but I have been delivered of the spirit praise God! No more medications, no more voices, no more depression! 😃 Many Christians are unable to truly walk in freedom because they are oppressed by spirits that have entered via open doors. Jesus tells us to seek deliverance and deliver others. I actually recently graduated from deliverance training boot camp through Above & Beyond Counseling Ministries. They were featured on Lisa Ling’s “Our America:Fighting Satan.” My counselor does world wide deliverance/counseling via Skype. Not sure if you have tried that, but it’s worth a try if not! As children of God we don’t have to settle. We can be set free! Hallelujah! May God bless you. If you reach out to them ask for Phyllis Tarbox. She is AMAZING, and very anointed by Holy Spirit. 💞

    Like

    • peggyricewi August 25, 2015 / 9:12 am

      Hi Jennifer. No. I haven’t done that. I had a friend in WI (where I moved from) who prayed deliverance. I wish that I had pursued it with her. I guess I was nervous, and perhaps there was some embarrassment for me (darn stigma).
      Thanks for the suggestion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Deg August 27, 2015 / 9:15 am

        I suggest trying it! Give Phyllis a call at A&B just to chat. She is amazing. There nothing hooky spooky about it. I didn’t have any manifestations. 😉 It’s worth a try to get rid of depression once and for all! 😄 Check out client testimonials of depression on their website. Blessings! 💞

        Like

  3. Julie August 23, 2015 / 12:26 pm

    If I lived near you, Peggy, I’d want to go for walks with you. And the truth is, as evidenced by your gravatar photo, you are very attractive. So keep telling those voices to shutty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dawnlizjones August 19, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    Checking in with your blog specifically to see whazzup. You one of my heroes. Your courage and experience (and the interpretation of that experience) is valuable to the rest of us reading your writing. And, yes, Satan is a liar. Those are lies from the pit of hell. And I agree with you concerning what God says about you is important to declare (out loud, even!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • dawnlizjones August 20, 2015 / 6:37 am

      5:30AM on the patio before work. AMAZING how chilly it is here in southern MO for this time of year. Anyway, I was thinking and praying for you. It occurs to me how opportunistic Satan is to use our physical ailments (including neurotransmitters/hormonal/etc) to effect our spiritual progress. Not only because he hates us, but also because he FEARS us. He fears God in us, and the destiny that God has given us to bring about the collapse of his hellish kingdom. And he hates the when we are weak, God is strong. I think of others who went through mental disorders that accomplished great things for God’s kingdom, lasting things of impact. One of my favorites is John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress. You are in very good company, and Satan not only wants to destroy you, he wants to destroy the work God is doing and plans to do through you for others and His kingdom. Anyway, enough. Hope this isn’t too rambling, as I’m not going to proof it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • peggyricewi August 20, 2015 / 8:39 pm

        Thanks, Dawn, for your supportive words.
        I’ve read some stories of various giants of the Christian faith who lived with depression – it’s encouraging to see how God used them in their weaknesses.
        And you’re right, Satan is an opportunist who will seize any weakness, and wreak havoc. Again, it’s why I need to be grounded in His word, to fight those lies as soon as I recognize them.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Aunt Peggy August 19, 2015 / 10:39 am

    One of your SANDBAGS just gave you DOUBLE LOVE…❤️😘

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Aunt Peggy August 19, 2015 / 10:26 am

    ….. and your prayer warriors and cheerleaders are busy as they cheer you on and bend their knees… What a joy to be on your TEAM…. We have been blessed to have you to cherish and love since the day you were born…
    God gave us a beautiful gift and I thank Him daily…Can’t wait to spend time with you when we return…Love you so…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aunt Peggy August 19, 2015 / 10:21 am

    …. and your prayer warriors and cheerleaders are at work… You will
    never know the joy you have brought to our lives since the day you were born…God gave us you to cherish and treasure during the good, the bad, and the ugly.. I am so thankful for His gift … Can’t wait to share many moments together… Love you so…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Sarah Buchanan August 17, 2015 / 9:22 pm

    When I was in the throes of my depression, I had to yell “Stop!” at myself loudly and even do a hand gesture indicating stopping when I kept finding excuses not to shower. Weird how we have to yell at our voices sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • peggyricewi August 17, 2015 / 10:17 pm

      Sometimes, out loud is the only way to make them stop!

      Like

  9. Jahaira August 17, 2015 / 9:15 pm

    I like reading what you write, I hope those mean voices go away!

    Like

  10. kbailey374 August 17, 2015 / 9:03 pm

    Have you heard the song The Voice Of Truth? You may have mentioned it … I am trying to get myself to write too! It has been a while!

    Liked by 2 people

    • peggyricewi August 17, 2015 / 9:57 pm

      Love that song, by Casting Crowns. I even pulled up the video to link it, but the lyrics weren’t quite right for the post. Still, love this song! Come back to writing as soon as you can!

      Like

      • kbailey374 August 19, 2015 / 9:39 am

        Thanks! I will. I relate to you so much!

        I just thought the lyrics fit since you are hearing the lies of depression – and you need to hear the Truth – that you are loved, and capable. Do you listen to much music? That might help, if you listen to positive Christian songs. Then when you least expect it you will hear THOSE in your head instead of the other stuff that hurts you and keeps you down
        (and the other stuff can be sooo powerful!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • peggyricewi August 19, 2015 / 11:16 am

        K – I love Christian music, listen to it almost exclusively. I was even thinking that I need to put on my play list for encouragement. I also have one for dark days, and one that focuses just on the holiness of God. Voice of Truth is on one of those! And you’re right, I love it when those lyrics (or Bible verses) fill my head instead of lies. I was singing Voice of Truth when I finished writing this post.

        For those not familiar with the song Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns: (thanks, YouTube)

        Like

    • dawnlizjones August 19, 2015 / 9:51 pm

      I absolutely LOVE that song. And I hope you start writing also!!

      Like

  11. Dawn Wurzel August 17, 2015 / 8:03 pm

    Thanks for writing this. It validates what I have been feeling though not true. You are a true Blessing

    Liked by 1 person

  12. andih94 August 17, 2015 / 6:41 pm

    So glad you wrote this Peggy. That is a victory in itself. So many of us feel like we’re alone whenever we feel like this but your description proves that we all get the same junk thrown at us, the same lies and the same triggers for despair. And you have moved out of that wordless stage and in naming the experience you have diminished its power. God’s word really is a sharp sword. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • peggyricewi August 17, 2015 / 7:47 pm

      Thanks, Andi. I really want to be writing from the middle of this depression, to show my experience. Because I agree with you – even though each person’s depression is their own, there certainly are similarities! The same junk! And God’s Word and promises to cling to!

      Liked by 1 person

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