The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

The deepest lie is the one that FEELS true

The most insidious aspect of Depression is that you KNOW it to be TRUE. You know in the way you feel it in your bones: the world is not worth living in or making the effort for in any way.

And when you are confronted with this TRUTH, this absolute certainty you are seeing the world as it REALLY is, you have the overwhelming sense the veil has been lifted. Therefore, any time you might have been happy in the past must have been an illusion. Clearly you were distracted, you were being naïve, the happiness was hollow and false and you were too stupid to see it for what it was.

And what this means is that you can NEVER be truly happy in the future. The best you can hope for is moments of distraction when you briefly forget the TRUTH of the world. So is it really worth making the effort for these brief respites in a false reality? Of course not.

You feel all the hollowness, all the grief, all the despair, all the deep, aching pain and you KNOW with every fibre of your being it is REAL and nothing else is.

So when someone says, just pull yourself together, snap out of it, go for a walk – that’ll cheer you up, all you can do is look at them with pity and contempt for their shallowness, their blindness to reality, their assumption that their veiled illusory world is somehow superior to yours.

Let’s face it, they are happier in their illusions. There is no point in dragging them into the TRUTH. You wouldn’t wish this feeling on your worst enemy, let alone your loved ones. Let them stay in the Garden of Eden – it’s only you who really sees it is nothing more than a patch of overgrown weeds and poisonous plants. They are better off not knowing the full reality of it. They are better off without you. That way you cannot INFECT them with the TRUTH and destroy their lives too.

This is what Depression feels like.

How on earth can you battle against that, when you KNOW it’s pointless, that you’ve lost before you even start?

My way has been to deny the TRUTH of ANY reality.

We are 3 (or 4) dimensional creatures living in an 11 (or more) dimensional universe. We exist for a few seconds within Billions of years. We are the smallest speck on the smallest speck in a universe full of trillions of trillions of stars and is billions of light years (or more) across.

Anyone claiming to KNOW the TRUTH is lying or delusional. There is no way we can possibly know the TRUTH about the universe and our existence in it. And if any multi-dimensional being tried to explain to us what it was about, it would be like us trying to explain quantum mechanics to a pubic louse. We are so small, we are so insignificant in the universe, TRUTH is impossible to grasp.

What we do deal with on an everyday level are “truths” (small letters, inverted commas); relative “truths”, convenient “truths”, accepted “truths” which help us to operate in the world, as we perceive it.

All “truths” are man made; all “truths” are human constructs; all “truths” filter our perceptions of reality.

Most of them are created not by one person, but by many: cultures, religions, political systems, relationships, sciences, games etc, all have a set of accepted rules which we abide by (or kick against) for the duration.

None of them have a monopoly on TRUTH. To assume that any are ABSOLUTE TRUTH is like saying football is more true than chess, or yellow is more true than wicker baskets.

So what does this tell me?

It tells me the idea my view of reality when I am Depressed is the TRUE one, is complete and utter bollocks. It is a lie. All it is, is a construct for the duration, which I accept as TRUE. It as a “truth”, not the TRUTH.

Don’t get me wrong, this understanding doesn’t stop me feeling everything associated with the condition, but what it does do is allow me to know it is lying to me: it is NOT the ONLY TRUTH, no matter how convincing it seems.

And this in turn allows me to understand there are other ways of perceiving and interacting with the world, which are just as valid.

It doesn’t HAVE to be this way. It IS worth taking the time and making the effort to try and find a way out, and keep going until you do. The notion that it isn’t - one of the cornerstones of Depression – is a lie.

In order to combat Depression, I have out-argued reality.

Not everyone’s route, admittedly, but it seems preferable to suicide.

There are other benefits to this approach too, the most notable one of which is you don’t have to accept other people’s constructs of who you are. You are in fact free to become who you wish to become.

But I’ll leave that one for another day.


Anna van Schurman said...

Eleven years in grad school with the postmodernists to learn what you learned from a disease? I'm struggling to decide which path to the conclusion is worse.

I'm confused. We learned this in grad school, truth*s* not A Truth (and some of ours even, like, totally conflicted) yet there were so many grad students on anti-depressants (and three suicide attempts in the English department in one semester).

For whatever reason it seems to work for you--keep at it.

problemchildbride said...

That's it exactly, Kim. Perspective is everything and can turn on a dime or a misfired neuron. Truth hardly matters because it's too big to look at anyway. All we have is shifting perspective on truth and being depressed simply means you have a crappier view at the moment and you're starting to wonder why you ever bought a ticket for these lousy seats.

Your perspective WILL change again, Kim, and you will not always feel this way. In the meantime you need to make sure it doesn't get any worse, for your own sake and for those that count on you.

See your doctor while you're still able to articulate this stuff, Kim. In the meantime also, try putting yourself physically in places where you are forced into a different perspective. Climb a hill or walk in damp earthy woods. It might sound trite and difficult to work up the will for, but it can be sustaining to do that. And sustaining, while not "better", is better than sinking further.

Strength to you, Kim, toots. It's horrible to feel as you do and I wish you relief from it soon. I know you've taken medication on the past that did no good, bu do consider going to see your doctor again. Pharmacology can be a wonderful thing when they get it right.

Kim Ayres said...

Anna - remember, those who are attracted to studying philosophy are already struggling with thier existence in the universe, otherwise they wouldn't be interested in the subject.

But there's all the difference in the world between learning about an idea and accepting it

Sam - it's OK, that's not how I feel most of the time now - I'm on the meds and they hold it at bay most of the time. My main preoccupation these days is the tiredness.

This idea I began to develop about a year to 18 months ago and have been using it to combat the worst days. I had an awful lot of them in the 2nd half of last year.

But this was just something I felt like writing about now.

It's OK - I'm breathing :)

ADW said...

Much hugs and kisses to you darling. The fact is, your words may be able to help me and others like us. I am not comparing my bouts with yours, as they do not affect me the same way, but sometimes, like today, I read a post and it helps. This one has.

Carole said...

"There are other benefits to this approach too, the most notable one of which is you don’t have to accept other people’s constructs of who you are. You are in fact free to become who you wish to become."

I question this last sentence because if all other factors are off the table, then yes we don't have to accept other people's constructs of who we are, but if we are dealing with depresssion or tiredness or addiction--even if we know the "feeling" to be a lie--how do we see clearly to become who we wish to become?

I would like to find a word picture here that says what I am trying to say, but I take comfort in the fact that as a philosopher, you think, therefore you know what I am trying to say.

Eryl Shields said...

No wonder you're knackered, you've turned into Nietzsche: my hero!

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Mm, that all reminds me of the CBT stuff I've done, so I can really relate to that stuff.

It's such an ass of a thing to try to do when you're in that hole, to try and dig yourself out. It seems counter-intuitive, like you're just making things worse, but as you said you can really battle against it and get yourself to a place where there is some light being shed on the situation.

Anyway man, I'm glad you're battling it.


Gyrobo said...

The more I learn about philosophy, the less happy I get.

Therefore: I must have been extremely happy before I was born. That's just science.

PI said...

'It doesn’t HAVE to be this way. It IS worth taking the time and making the effort to try and find a way out, and keep going until you do. The notion that it isn’t - one of the cornerstones of Depression – is a lie.'
I can't tell you how those words lightened my spirit. As you probably know by now my intellect is not of the highest and I have to trust my instinct and inner nous most of the time, but I really believe that is true; there can be light at the end of the tunnel and there is always hope.
I know you aren't talking about religion but Terry Hatchet - diagnosed with Alzheimer's and always a non believer said the other day, he suddenly knew everything would be OK- that someone was there.
Only a true believer has doubts.
BTW Kim I Loved your father;s painting. How wonderful to have that gift in the family.

PI said...

Sam is such a wise young woman.

Kim Ayres said...

ADW - if you can gain anything from something I've written, then I'm really glad

Carole - I admit that last sentence doesn't contain the "how", but I still believe it's possible, which is the starting point. That's not to say it's necessarily easy, but before we can act we first need to know we CAN act. Before we can be free, we need to know we CAN be free. It is the starting point rather than the conclusion.

Moving forward then requires looking at the obstacles, our attitudes to them and how we deal with them.

Step by step we can then start building up a new Narrative in the shape of one we want, and become who we would like to become.

Needless to say there's still a great deal more I need to write about this...

Eryl - I think he was about 45 before he went completely insane, so I still have a couple of years left in me...

FLG - I firmly believe the key to being free is to first of all understand that you can be. By far and away the biggest restriction to our development is the feeling that it's impossible. If we can find a way to overcome THAT feeling, we open the doors of possibility

Gyrobo - time for reprogramming :)

Pat - Sam is a very wise woman indeed, quite probably the wisest of us all.

I'm afraid I don't have the hope that comes with religion, but I do have a certain hope in the human spirit. On good days...

I'm pleased you like my father's painting. You can see many more of them at his website, which is listed on my sidebar under ARTISTS

Conan Drumm said...

All I can do is nod as I read what Sam has written.

It's a fine line you have to walk and intelligence, as a wise lecturer once said to us. is not of itself a defence against mental illness.

Kim Ayres said...

Conan Drum - I've heard it speculated before that intelligence is more of a hinderence when it comes to mental illness...

Mary Witzl said...

Sam has already said what I intended to say, and she said it better than I would have too.

I set myself small goals every day when I'm feeling low. Reading helps me as does going for (very) short walks or doing piddling tasks in the house. I get satisfaction sweeping out the conservatory or weeding a 5-foot patch, say, in the garden. (Too bad I don't feel the same way about vacuuming.)

Hang in there, Kim. Check out that Christopher Titus video on the internet -- Norman Rockwell is Bleeding. That cheered me right up.

Archie said...

I'm crushed. I always thought yellow was the truest of all, far more true than wicker baskets, anyway. Where to from here?

Kim Ayres said...

Mary - I'm not actually that bad at the moment - see the reply I gave to Sam

Archie - it will all end in Strawberry Catapillers...

Stella said...

Wow Kim, very deep.

Restaurant Gal said...

As always, I seem to be late to the comments. But here's how I see it--we face our crap and frickin' sadness/depression head on. We fully appreciate what has been and what will be again, good. You have much good on your side, regardless of the tiredness, the CFS that is always in the wings. I hope you are not offended that I always manage to insert a bit of my own experience in my comments to you. Because, after all, we all simply struggle on. Because we damn well know how, from much experience for vastly different reasons.

apprentice said...

Well it is a persuasive arguement and it clearly works, so more power to you Kim.

Kim Ayres said...

Stella - or dark and murky...

Restaurant Gal - how could I ever possibly be offended by you inserting your own experiences :)

Apprentice - it does help me, although I still have lots of other areas to work on :) Good to see you again

no longer anonymous said...

Wow You write so beautifully & so truthfully it brought back my own battle with depression & the incredibly hard climb out of it . I found my truth in looking at my son . The beauty inate in him to this day gives me a hope that cannot be denied in any reality. I hope your truth becomes easier

Kim Ayres said...

NLA - I'm really pleased you found a way out that works for you :)

MaLady said...

Hi Kim. I've been busy and completely MIA, and now sorry I've missed this interesting conversation for so long already.

I love that first observation of human behavior and your willingness to look at the truth about your own perceptions and say it.

In the past I have been depressed, quite depressed, and probably still am but I'm not willing to wear that label in my own self-image (apparently I like to lie to myself). This is what has helped me SO MUCH: coming to the belief in what I consider over-arching truth - there is negative and there is positive (though how they are defined is relative, very relative to perception and experience and circumstance). I can choose to focus on positive over negative in my thoughts and choices. At first I only used this to help me illuminate my internal depression (deep dank darkness) but just today I finished realizing that I don't have to do that anymore, I can doggedly pursue the positive outwardly, especially when I'm depressed, an antidote and a continuation of choosing to identify with positive "stuff" inwardly. It has been clicking into place for me (all those confusing thoughts and emotions) and creating order in my internal universe. Phrases like "happiness is not the destination, it is the journey" and Mother Teresa's teaching "the triumph of love is in the loving, not the results" suddenly make so much more sense. In other words, I had been learning to "center in" and find myself in the chaos, now I know I'll do better "centering out" toward the positive actions, knowing that above all I choose to identify with positive "stuff". Moving forward with it makes it real rather than imaginary. I always tried to be good and nice for those very reasons, so on paper it really sound very "duh" but it seems inwardly like I've gone a full circle that spiraled upward to a more realistic hope, a more realistic reason to believe in love and loving-kindness. It is really the same very common idea but my expectations and human hopes are no longer attached to the process because of the choice to identify with "good" whether or not I can own it in any way.

Do I make any sense? I hope so, after writing so much. Blessings, and thank you for a great post.

MaLady said...

I wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't also say that I do believe these thoughts of mine are quite compatible with Christian scriptures - despite how some experts may interpret it all.

:-) What fun!

Ma Lady

Kim Ayres said...

MaLady - welcome back :)

I think the idea of creating a positive centre is extremely powerful. It is a way of continually reinforcing a postive self image rather than listening to the inner voice that says you can't.

I also think that to focus on the being/doing rather than the results is the best way forward. It's rather like my approach to losing weight - the focus is on eating healthily and making healthy choices, then the weight loss becomes a beneficial side effect of it, rather than the focus.

MaLady said...

I'm glad I came back. :-)

I really do believe in positive /vs. negative on a level above the way people usually talk about it. That would be the key.

These thoughts help with a positive self-image as a by-product but more so it gives me a reason to live in a world that has a lot of ugly scary-to-my-tender-soul negativity.

These conversations, though, really drive home that I need to go back to school! I have so much to learn and I think I've even forgotten how to communicate ideas... all I need is twice as much energy and a third more time... energy = courage, doesn't it? ;-) My language that isn't careful about other debatable philosophical ideas must drive you crazy! You are so patient to be so kind.

Kim Ayres said...

Explaining ideas becomes easier with practice. I'm really pleased you took the time to write yours. Although you mention Christianity, a lot of what you say is very Buddhist in nature

Kiwi said...

This is definitely a new way to deal with depression. I've struggled a lot with myself and finding out who I really am. Yes, I do agree that we are all specks on some rolling ball of dust, and that everything seems insignificant, but the thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that even an ant can make a difference. I'm learning to just live day by day, and making it a habit to wake up every morning feeling beautiful, loved, and happy. Good, evil, even God are just what people tell us. In the end, it's up to us to decide what we are.

Kim Ayres said...

Kiwi - it's true, it can be up to us, but it usually requires a bit of working on. Most of our lives are spent being taught to obey other people.

In order to be free, firstly we have to realise we CAN be free; and then we have to practice it.

The thing to do is create an idea of the kind of person you want to become - the kind of person you could like, love, feel respect for, etc. Then start practicing becoming that person.

Practice enough and we get better at it :)

LegalMist said...

Really well said. And helpful. I probably should have taken more philosophy classes in college... Thanks, Kim.

Kim Ayres said...

LegalMist - I've heard philosophy is a good one to study before you do Law as a postgrad :)

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