Depression is the ultimate villain. It brainwashes you, hoping you will succumb to its darkness, apathy and despair. But you must fight back. You must never surrender. And in order to conquer the enemy, you must understand its tactics.
Here are 5 treacherous lies depression wants you to believe:
1. Depression isn't real
No, depression isn't really a thing. "Depression" is just the word people use when someone is really sad, sensitive, fragile and dramatic.
(Or) Depression is for people who have gone through horrific events and are totally screwed up. That can't possibly be something you have.
2. There's a reason you're not happy, and it's your fault
You just need to do better and be better. God says happiness is always given to good, righteous people; so perhaps you're sinning. There has to be a reason you're feeling this way.
You just need to be perfect. You need to be skinnier and dress better. You need to be more fun, outgoing, skilled, smart and ambitious. You need someone to love you and validate you—then you'll be happy. You're just not good enough right now.
3. You're stuck like this
Give up now. You're depressed, and there's nothing you can do about it. Accept the fact that your life will be sad, lifeless and dull forever.
You've screwed up relationships and will continue to do so. Your family is tired of dealing with your issues, and your friends don't want to be bothered.
4. You're too weak and broken to do anything
People don't need help from someone with a mental illness. You are unfit to give advice or serve in any capacity. No one wants a depressed employee, and you're certainly too weak to contribute anyways.
Retreat into your dark lair of TV shows and terrible sleeping habits. That's where you belong right now.
5. You don't matter
Life continues just fine without you. While not wanting to get out of bed, you scroll through your Instagram feed and everyone you know is doing great: marriages, babies, graduations, new jobs, perfect vacations and flawless snapshots of "everyday" living.
Everyone looks so happy. Everyone is succeeding and living their dreams. No one really cares you're trudging through the worst days of your life. You don't matter.
Depression is real. According to Harvard Medical School, factors such as genetics, stressful life events and biological makeup interact to bring on depression. These elements change brain chemicals and nerve connections that regulate your mood, perceptions and how you experience life. Depression really is a disease, and there's lots of research to prove it.
You don't feel right and you're not happy because of the disease. It's not because of the thousands of reasons that plague your mind every day. You may deal with depression for a few months or your whole life, but things will always get better. Bad days come to an end, and you can get help.
Although you are dealing with a serious illness, you can do something about it. You can get medical attention. You can exercise. You can set goals and work to be happy and content, independent of anyone or anything else. You can lift and inspire and serve and do so much good. You can empathize with others better than ever before. People still need your light, even if it's flickering low right now.
You can get out of bed each morning and fight the despair. You can fill your life with positive, uplifting things. You can smile and laugh and be grateful. You can learn and work and overcome. You can conquer.
Alyssa graduated with a degree in Middle East Studies & Arabic and continually adds to her list of random life experiences as she faces one adventure after another. With too many hobbies to count she especially loves hip-hop, soccer, and photography.