Are we the makers of our own depression?

download (3)

Much like in Mary Shelley’s critically acclaimed novel Frankenstein, where young scientist Igor became consumed by guilt and then anger at the monster he had  created, are we similarly responsible for our own monsters that stalk the recesses of our minds?

When we experience guilt about how we are feeling/ acting in a certain way , even over seemingly the most trivial of things, do we have the power to rationally dissect and tear apart its lies?

What do you think? While depression is arguably a condition whereby it is exceedingly to pinpoint a single or even multiple factors for its existence, the question remains -are we in part responsible for constructing the myriad of irrational thoughts that it forces upon us?

If this is the case, then surely it is equally our responsibility to take steps in order to ensure that we deconstruct one lie after another? Whether by the help of therapy or medication or with the support of family and friends?

In the last week, I have deconstructed my depressive thoughts by:

  • Going out to meet up with a couple of friends at a bar. Previously my mind had told me lies such as, they are only meeting up with you because they pity you and they’re only inviting you to go as a last resort since someone better than you couldn’t make it.
  • Upon retrospect, my friends wanted to meet up with me because I am a fun, even if a bit of sarcastic person to be around – they also suffer with mental illnesses themselves so they are more likely to be thinking of themselves and their own problems rather than ‘pitying’ me.

 

So tell me, what one thing have you done in the last hour, week or month in order to deconstruct the lies that depression whispers in your ear? Let me know in the comment section below!

18 thoughts on “Are we the makers of our own depression?

  1. Thanks for the post! I think you make a good point that there are steps that someone can take to protect themselves from the brunt of depressive symptoms. I think that it might be counterproductive in some people to think that they are (even in part) responsible for these depressive thoughts, however. I personally experienced demotivation, guilt and shame when I took too much responsibility for my “bad days” and I am having to accept that I have no control over the worst of the symptoms yet. However I know that this thinking can be helpful for other people.

    In answer to your prompt, I walked away from an unhealthy relationship. I stopped believing the lie that depression told me saying that I deserve the negative emotional and physical consequences and that I deserved no better. I stopped believing that I owed anybody a part of me that I don’t want to give them. I stopped believing that other people are ENTITLED to any part of my body or will.

    Thanks again for writing, I enjoy your posts!

    Like

    1. I completely accept your point in regards to this line of thought being counterproductive to some people who suffer with depression. What works for me won’t necessarily work for others. I guess my point with this entry was that it is, at least to some extent, our responsibility to take a step back and analyse what our minds tell us. Specifically, I find trying to back up irrational thoughts with solid evidence to be a helpful way of dispelling many of the lies our minds can perpetuate. Saying that, depression effects each of us differently, and your method of controlling your symptoms clearly works for a lot of people too, so thank you for making this point!

      I am glad to hear about that. Having never been in a relationship I can’t say that I can relate to the emotional pain being stuck in an unhealthy one must have caused you, but it must take a lot of strength and willpower to be able to walk away from something like that. Well done to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. No, I totally agree with you! I have days where analysing my thoughts and identifying unhelpful, distorted ones really help my mood. In fact it’s the basis of therapies like CBT, so we must be doing something right 😉 I just need to learn when I can take control and when to accept that it’s not my fault.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am partly responsible for my depression because I took some medication that led to me developing a mood disorder similar to bipolar. In that case so are my doctors.
    They are many ways depression can develop. People can live in a tough situation, be bullied by others (especially if they live with a narcissist), med side effects or experiencing emotional trauma. I agree that people need to make steps to overcoming it.
    As for how I fight depressive thoughts I remind myself of the facts and focus on the positives in my life. Although, it’s a lot easier for me to overcome depression because my mood will change within a few hours or two days. But sometimes my mind needs to push my moods in the right direction.

    Like

    1. Your story is an interesting one if unfortunate one. I hadn’t really considered the negative consequences of taking the wrong medication when I wrote this entry! Yet I wouldn’t say you were completely responsible for it. Your doctors clearly hold a lot of responsibility however, as you rightly say.

      I can sympathise with living with a narcissist – I lived with one in my final year at university. What I learnt from that experience was that they are totally self absorbed and are incapable of accepting any wrong doing on their part. As a rational person I was continually bemused by her behaviour! It certainly did not help my mental illness at the time – it made me second guess myself constantly. Was I actually the one in the wrong? etc etc. Thankfully I came to my senses and saw her for what she really was in the end.

      It can be very useful to remind yourself of the facts I agree. Thanks so much for commenting and being so open with your story!

      Like

  3. I think my depression (and other mental issues) are a combination of chemicals gone haywire & everyday life stuff causing me grief. For me, when I am in a state of depression or completely anxious I tend to “feed” the monsters in my mind. I can completely relate to meeting up with friends & convincing myself it’s because they pity me…I have to work really hard to slay monsters that are telling me I’m pathetic. I’ve cancelled many plans last minute because I just can’t get past that toxic dialogue! Medication, therapy, mindfulness & meditation and all the living in the NOW stuff really help. I had a shaman (yes, a shaman) tell me I need to picture positive self talk as a garden in my head: if I nourish & water it I keep it alive. If not the weeds (negative talk) take over….BUT can always pull the weeds out and start again 😉 I enjoyed reading this post, your writing is great at promoting reflection

    Like

    1. I can relate entirely to what you’re saying! The only difference being is that I do often meet up with friends -but I won’t be able to fully engage with the conversation. I’ll just sit there convincing myself that I don’t deserve their friendship and all that sort of unhelpful thinking. It’s something I am getting better at fighting but I have a long way to go.

      That’s a great metaphor that your shaman gave to you to contemplate on. You’re completely right. You can pluck out those weeds any time you want. I just did that this morning after an ill advised night of heavy drinking and subsequently excessive self criticism. I woke up, and immediately poured myself green tea and will do some weight training soon enough. Instead of eating some unhealthy cereal and doing nothing productive per say.

      I think I will keep this image in my mind from now on as it is really apt. Thanks a lot for sharing it! And thank you for the praise – it keeps me going!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope you have a wonderful day my friend, green tea is a such a good starting point! It’s never easy to face the day after a night of drinking & the negative self talk that is amplified thanks to the depressive effects of alcohol. I have been there, many times 😦 I enjoy your blog & value your conversation

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey there..!!
    I know how your mind tells you lies..because I have felt the same..most of the days I spend at least an hour thinking why was I even born..I just cannot be sane with all the thoughts going around..most of the time I think suicide is the only way out..I feel stuck in a moment of time thinking about the mistakes I had committed or the intuitions that runs across my mind ( which becomes correct 80% of time) .I feel there is no way out of the mess that I have created…this post made me think that there are also many people out there who feels just like me..

    For the past 2 years I was not able to concentrate on my studies…I was that all-rounder girl in the class and popular too..but my depression had caused all the destruction to my grades..and I just want to show others that I can be who I was and that I am never too late to what I might have been..I just want to be better than my old self..
    answer to your question is that I don’t know if it normal or usual..but I like to block myself from everyone..not talking to my friends ( I have a fair few of them) ,read..that’s the only thing I can do for healing myself..to be honest I walk away from everything I used to be and give myself a fresh new start…
    Thanks for posting.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there. Firstly thank you so much for your honesty. I can relate somewhat to thinking that suicide is the only way out – the only reason why I have never made a serious attempt on my life is because of the moments where my mind is completely in the present – and life feels pretty decent as a result. I need to meditate daily to keep my mind in the here and now, but I find that it works. You’re far from alone with those thoughts that plague you – if you haven’t tried to meditate before I’d urge you to give it a go. With some perseverance it can really help in the long term!

      The only thing we can do is to take small steps to improve ourselves each day. Each hour. Each minute even! So with time, and more importantly, forgiving yourself when you do make mistakes, you will get there.

      Sometimes we need our own head space so I can understand why you’d block out people in your life. I have to be careful when I do this as I can concentrate too much on the negative thoughts – but if it works for you keep doing it. Thanks for your kind comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Firstly, thank you for taking your time to reply to my comment..not only me..but I have noticed that you put your heart and soul in helping people..I will surely take your advice and give meditation a go..yeah..moreover forgiving myself..guess that’s what I don’t do nowadays..will keep everything in mind..
        welcome..and thank you once again.. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love what your site has to offer.
    I have my degree in psychology and I’m working on getting a degree in counseling psychology that helps individuals with anxiety and depression. I believe that we are the gatekeepers of our own happiness, but when depression is active, it can be very difficult to snap out of that gray mindset.

    Like

    1. Thanks so much for the compliment!

      I completely agree with you. Having that academic background must help! I think I would have studied psychology if characters and stories did not entice towards studying English Literature instead! Not to say that hasn’t helped me in regards to blogging – It has helped me find my writing style for instance – I just have to do a lot of research is all!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Writing is my passion, psychology was more the backup. Besides wanting to help people, I wanted to make good money just in case the writing didn’t work. But I chose a hard back up plan. I still have a good amount of schooling haha.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a total mind f**k question. I think in many ways we’re the generation with too much choice and not enough responsibility. It’s easier to get lost. Really like your site 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi Claire. Thanks a lot for the compliment! I do agree with you – it’s not an easy question to answer! I think in hindsight while it can be difficult to control our negative thoughts, some people might be able to control their negative behaviours that come as a result of those thoughts. However everybody’s situation is different and I realise that. Nonetheless it’s a quote that it interesting to ponder over 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Good question. Depression does whisper in my ears. Sometimes it whispers lies, sometimes it whispers half-truths, but most of the time it whispers statements that are or seem absolutely true. Dismissing lies is relatively easy, but how do you dismiss the truth?

    Sorry, I’m not answering your question. But you’ve allowed me to express myself, so thanks. 🙂

    Like

  8. Hey Daemon. Good to hear from you again! I think you raise a perfectly valid point. While in my case, a lot of those thoughts are built on lies, it’s difficult to argue that there is not sometimes an element of truth to what you say. I mean, sometimes I get depressed because I cannot get away from the monotony of everyday life by travelling the world for instance.

    If I had more money this would not be an issue. This is a fact. While seeing all the beauty far away lands has to offer will not cure me, I believe it would go a long way in helping me manage my symptoms. Money does not solve mental health issues – but it can help.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s