This time I wrote James about depressions trickery, that enables it to do damage undetected. As always I tried to write with a calm mind, but the topic makes me very emotional. I hope James will find some of the answers he is looking for…

Dear James,

Forgive me that it took me so long to write the next letter for your curious spirit. I had an especially hard time the past weeks, as my depression was playing its cruel tricks on me. And it is exactly that trickery I want to write you about. I can imagine, that it will not be easy to follow something so treacherous, if you have never felt the shadow of that illness yourself. I will simplify it and I will try to write as sober as possible. And I want to remember that I write completely subjective about my own experiences and theories, that I have observed and formed along my stony path.

Depression has control over my emotions. That was a hard one to find out and process, because I really didn’t want that to be true. Who would want to find out that they can not trust their own feelings? When depressions shadow gets darker, it does not only darken my thoughts – no, it let’s me feel desperation and hopelessness. So it leads me into a dark thoughts cycle. I feel some desperation coming up and my brain starts instantly to look out for the cause of that feeling. I don’t think that anyone leads a life that free of problems, that there is nothing to find to worry about. So my brain will find something and it will make a plan to get me out of that situation. My brain loves finding solutions to problems, so it will be occupied with it and will push all the other things aside that needed to be done. But of course no solved problem will let the feeling of desperation disappear, because the desperation is caused by depression and not by reality. So what I end up with is a worried brain that tries to solve everything bad at the same time and is doomed to never succeed. And if you remember my last letter about how much depression exhausts me, you for sure can understand how easily this combination leads to great misery.

And the most horrifying part of it is that depression hides itself so good that even when you already got your diagnosis, you will struggle to see the magnitude of that illness. Although I technically knew what I have (after 13 years of undiagnosed struggle) I still didn’t really see the whole picture of how depression makes my life miserable. I still don’t see the whole thing for sure – I am continuing to observe and learn – but I see much more now.

There is a mantra, depressive people like to recall that is as simple as this: Depression lies. And that is true for sure. It will tell you that you are worth nothing, that no one loves you, that everything will go to shit, that you can do nothing right and lies like this. It will be your own demotivational speaker that you can’t block out. But the tricky part is, that you will think – you will be convinced – that that are your own self grown thoughts, your own self developed feelings, when in reality you wouldn’t feel and think that way, if you wouldn’t have depression. It took me so long to realize that. But this understanding helps me so much in my struggle.

Depression still has the power over my emotions and it still darkens my thoughts in dangerous ways, but I know that these are not my original thoughts and feelings. I know depressions messes with it. And when I get rid of the shadow, even if it is just for a short while, I feel immediately better. I switch in and out quicker nowadays, which has two practical side effects. One is that through this fast up and downs I can feel the difference between depression caused feelings and my own very clearly – which makes me more self-secure in my fight for sure. The other thing that comes with it is the strength of my memory. Even in the darkest of times, I remember that my main problem is depression and not all the other problems it tries to sell me as culprits. I remember that depression makes pauses. That it will rest in maybe hours, weeks or months, but it will not continue without breaks. And I know and remember how fast it can go. I can be in a fight for my life and suddenly it stops and I will feel love, hope and safety again. It can be in the next 5 minutes. I will survive 5 minutes. I can always handle 5 minutes more – at least that is my mantra for now.

Well, actually my mantra against my suicidal thoughts is: I want to live!, which I train in better times to never forget it in the darkness. But that might be a topic of its own.

Sometimes people reflect on the question, what they would tell their young self. I realize now, what my answer to that question would be: “Don’t trust your dark feelings! They are trickery! Find that beast called depression and rip its mask down! Don’t let it fool you! And love as much as you can, it will lead you through your struggles.”

Puh, I don’t think this was as clear as I wanted it to be. But you are clever and you know me, just read it with your good heart, then you will understand.

Take care of yourself,

All the best,

Sibylle

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