All I could hear was the voice of my depression. Talking back to it was a type of narrative therapy that helped me silence it.
The voice was so loud that I couldn’t focus on anything else. It was growing louder and more frantic as it rushed through my head, constantly trying to get me to focus on its demands and declarations.
This was the voice of my depression. It was an incessant voice that infiltrated my mind and body.
It was impossible to read a book because of all the noise rushing up against the walls of my skull.
School was impossible too — whether it was trying to take notes in a lecture hall or manipulate equations in college algebra class.
I remember thinking that my professors were speaking in a different language. And when I was sitting in front of an exam, I didn’t think I could solve the quadratic equations like I used to.
Instead, all I could hear and understand was the voice of my depression. It seemed to soundproof the rest of my world, leaving me in its clutches altogether.
The voice of my depression told me that I was worthless and not able to accomplish anything.
No matter how hard I tried to succeed in my classes, and regardless of my grades, I always felt disappointed in myself. Depression followed me through every one of my classes and refused to let me see anything good in my work.
Negative thoughts and beliefs are common features of depression, often referred to as cognitive distortions or thinking errors.
Studies show that there is often a link between low self-esteem and depression. For example, A 2019 study of Vietnamese students found an association between lower self-esteem and increased anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Despite these findings, low self-esteem and its role in depression can sometimes be overlooked.
My depression is a result of my bipolar disorder, which involves extreme shifts in mood, including both ups and downs. I had bouts of depression and mania when I was a child, but it wasn’t until the end of high school when these episodes became more severe that I got my diagnosis.
I have quickly learned that low self-esteem and a negative self-image are common parts of my depressive episodes. My depression would belittle and put me down. My self-esteem was constantly battered and made my experiences of depression always reliant on creating a negative self-image.
When I’m trapped in the clutches of depression, unable to hear beyond its voice, I may see the world differently. The world may look dark and bleak.
In the middle of a depressed mood, I feel like I will live like this forever. Thoughts of suicide may slide through my head.
Help is available right now:
I never thought that I would get better. I believed that I would be drowning in this depression forever.
I didn’t think that my psychiatrist would be able to help me. I didn’t think that we would ever find the right medication that would give me a chance of having a life. I didn’t think that I would be able to graduate from college.
These feelings are overwhelming when I’m in the midst of depression. And being able to reason with or even silence that voice of depression can seem impossible.
But the message that I want to send out to the world is that depression lies.
Luckily, I have had people in my corner who were able to help me see things differently and fight back against the voice of my depression. I have a psychiatrist who has helped me learn that depression lies through cognitive distortions.
I’m currently recovering from a very severe episode of depression. During this time, it was my psychiatrist’s words that gave me hope. He reminded me that a few years ago, I went through the same depression but got through it. He reminded me that with the right medication, I got better.
When I come out of a depressive episode, I am amazed at what I went through. I have strong thoughts of wanting to die, and I’ll be ready to pick up a bottle of pills to do so. But when I’m depressed, I don’t see the world accurately.
My depression distorts my thoughts, making me believe that I will never feel better again. It lies to me. This is something that many people with a mood disorder may go through. We can’t see our own moods accurately enough when we are trapped so deep within ourselves.
Depression is a consuming experience and one that cannot go away without professional help. If I stay in its clutches, I will remain feeling worthless and may never find a way to focus on anything else.
Learning that my depression lies has helped me feel like I can talk back to it. I need to talk back to my bipolar disorder, especially when it tells me that I am depressed and I want to die.
Medication is my first step to tackle depression, to put me in a position where I feel I can talk back to it.
I like to think of talking back to my depression as a type of narrative therapy. I talk to my depression to externalize it and to think of it as something separate from my own personality and being. It helps me to feel powerful.
Research suggests that narrative therapy can be a useful treatment for depression as it allows people to “re-author” stories about themselves. These stories can be powerful tools to improve self-esteem by focusing on positive emotions.
I can talk back to my depression and see it for what it is: distorted thoughts. Depression is not realistic and I need to recognize my depressive moods for they truly are: mental illnesses that trick me into trying to believe something that isn’t true.
If you’re depressed, it’s likely that you’re viewing the world differently. When I am depressed, everything is negative.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms of depression, it’s important to reach out to trusted support for assistance. Always remember, you are not alone.
To recognize some of the cognitive distortions common with depression, a therapist like a clinical psychologist, social worker, or counselor can help. Recognizing these negative thoughts is one of the first steps to feeling less depressed.
A medical evaluation may recommend a higher level of care, even if temporary, to stabilize your moods and depression.
Recognizing that depression lies, and learning to talk back to it, has turned the impossible into a possibility. When I was depressed, I never thought I would achieve anything. But I am now working on my third master’s degree. It is possible!
Medically reviewed on July 07, 2022
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