The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Depression is a lying bastard

A few weeks ago I saw a picture on Facebook of a lovely sunset with the words "Depression is a lying bastard" written across it.

I clicked "like" after an inward smirk - it's something I've written about before.

Depression is something I've had an ongoing battle with over much of my adult life. Currently I'm in the fortunate position to not be struggling with it on a daily level. Many of the techniques I have learned and used to help combat my ME/CFS also work against Depression. But I understand it intimately.

With the recent suicide of Robin Williams, there seems to have been a lot of stuff flying about on different social media sites, from understanding to non-understanding, confusion to condemnation. So I thought I would repost a blog I wrote over 6 years ago - and was titled, "The deepest lie is the one that FEELS true".

Perhaps it will shed a little bit of light on this dark condition.


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 seemed 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 - you don't have to stay being the way you are.

But I’ll leave that one for another day.


Kateri Von Steal said...

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

YES. Oh my dear Lord, YES.

I think this is exactly how I combated my depression and dark thoughts so long ago. I just out-argued reality..

This post is written beautifully, and speaks the overwhelming truth, that I hope someone in the darkness can hear.

I am going to share this on my personal FB... It's that amazing.

Kim Ayres said...

Kateri - thank you :)

injaynesworld said...

The genius of this piece is that it is so very sensible. I totally get it. Once we accept that there are an infinite of realities or truths, we regain our ability to choose. BTW, I just read that in addition to depression, recovery from open-heart surgery with all the drugs that entails, and handling addiction, Robin was recently diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinson's. How much is one supposed to shoulder in this world? Great piece, Kim.

maurcheen said...

It is.

Kim Ayres said...

Jayne - there have been times when I've marvelled at the fact more people don't suicide, given the appalling circumstances they are under. However, the thing about Depression is, it's very often not related to external circumstances. People can have plenty of money, friends and "the good life", but when the black dog takes hold none of it feels it has any value. On the flip side there are people who have survived the most appalling of circumstances who bounce back.

It's not about the problems people are dealing with, it's their ability to cope with them - and the thing about Depression is it can turn even the simplest of things into an insurmountable ordeal.

Maurcheen - I hear you

maurcheen said...

Today is good.

Kim Ayres said...

Maurcheen - :)

maurcheen said...


neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

I live in a land of extreme ignorance when it comes to mental health issues.

They mock, scoff, belittle those suffering from depression, or any other mental problem.

The more I read, the more I learn, and the more I am able to tell people.

I will read this again, several times, and share what I learn.

People like you are brave for sharing, Kim.

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana-Gyal - it never ceases to amaze me how people can accept things go wrong with the body - legs get broken, lungs stop working, blood fails to absorb enough iron - and yet somehow our moods, emotions and thoughts are meant to be independent of our brain, which is an extraordinarily delicate organ made of blood, tissue, synapses and chemicals.

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing. I'll be sharing this one with some that "get it".

I suffer with anxiety. (anxiety attacks in the past, mostly lower grade anxiety disorders nowadays)
The WORSt thing you can say to me is, "Pull yoursewlf together."
I hate it with a crazy-woman-screaming-like-a-ninja passion!

Because most people say it to you when you're sitting there holding yourself together like a broken glass in a tornado and... they think you AREN'T together??? They have no idea. :-\

I've compared notes with two friends who suffer with depression. Similar in some parts, very different in others!

I have a friend who combatted her depression in a most (to me anyway) unusual way - she reprogrammed her brain.

I helped her write the anxiety section. It... sort of helped. I flunk on reprogramming my brain, but some of our ideas did make me more aware of what I do. Now if I could just remember that when I panic... ;-)

Kim Ayres said...

Michelle - here's an interesting radio slot (only about 4 minutes long) about a Buddhist Monk who has basically rewired his brain through meditation:


Michelle said...

That was brilliant. Thanks Kim. My husband has depression (on-off since 1970s) He recently started meditating. I'll save this link to show him.

Kim Ayres said...

Michelle - glad it was of use :)

The best book by a long way that I've ever read, and it has a CD and proper, practical steps for dealing with Depression is:

The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness

I can't recommend it highly enough :)

Michelle said...

Thank you. I'll go check it out.

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