“No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered with a searching but at the same time a steady eye.” ~ Winston Churchill
The top search terms that bring people to this site are ‘do people with depression make up things’ and ‘do people with ptsd make up things’. It’s been that way pretty much since the day I first bought my domain name, and they feature in the top of my stats nearly every day.
Which suggests that there are either a lot of people seeking answers to those questions or just a couple of quite desperate people.
As I knew what I thought the answer might be but had never even come across the questions before in any of the research that I’ve done into depression and PTSD, I did some Googling myself. And came up with nothing.
So I thought I’d answer the question in relation to myself. Unscientific I know. But I hope that it might help to shed some light for those of you who are reading this because you wanted to know whether people with either PTSD or depression make things up.
I don’t recall ever having made anything up about either my depression or my PTSD, either in regards to my experiences and symptoms, or my diagnosis.
I do find that between the brain fog that is depression, the numbing medication I was on for most of the last year, and the blackout that my PTSD has imposed on large chunks of memory, it’s difficult to try to describe to the people I’ve been avoiding for months on end just what I’ve been dealing with. It’s possible that my explanations may sound vague or patchy.
Also, I didn’t get this sick overnight. The mental health crisis that began five months ago had been brewing for so many years that even I’d failed to notice that something was wrong. Low level depression at least had become what was normal for me. But I pretended to other people for long after my depression had devolved into a major problem that there was nothing wrong.
There were many reasons for this:
- I didn’t want to worry people.
- I didn’t know how to tell people I was sick when I could barely identify what was wrong myself.
- I genuinely thought that if I ignored the problem I could, through force of willpower, make it go away.
- I have trust issues that make it really difficult for me to ask for help.
- I was scared that even the people I don’t worry about discussing things with would be so weirded out by the sheer volume of the crazy that was going on in my brain that they’d run away and abandon me.
- I’ve turned to the wrong people to help me with the root of these illnesses in the past and they’ve either used it against me or promised the earth and then left me high and dry.
However, I appreciate that the incongruence between the front that I’ve put on for most of my adult life, and the person with a serious mental illness that I’ve been unable to hide being for the last year, might seem a little incomprehensible to some.
In fact I know that there are some people who have been unable to get their heads around the idea and think that I’ve been melodramatic at best, dishonest at worst, when explaining my illnesses.
Some people would just prefer not to believe that someone they know could have been abused, or could experience thoughts of suicide, or could self harm or overdose. So they choose not to. Regardless of the reality.
But I have never lied about my illnesses.
I don’t understand them well enough. I could never have imagined that there was this place mentally, or emotionally, that a person could be in to be able to have made it up.
I hope this goes someway towards giving you the answers that you are looking for.
10 thoughts on “Do People With Depression Make Things Up?”
I know exactly what you are talking about. As vague as it may seem to you.
Reblogged this on Seeing Rabbits and commented:
Generally speaking, it takes a lot for someone with a mental illness to be honest about the extent of their struggle. If someone opens up to you, never assume they’re lying. It probably took a lot of courage to get to that point.
I made up a couple of back stories to hide the gaps in my life I have due to depression, for years I thought it would somehow make me more acceptable but you cannot live a lie indefinitely and it led to me losing everything I held dear, now I am trying to put those wrongs right and face up to my depression and finally deal with it.
I understand why you dont tell people. Im the same for the same reasons you are. Your reasons make so much sense. Kat 🙂
Thank you. It’s always comforting to know I’m not the only one, although I’m sorry for you that you’ve had to experience it too.
I identifiy with everything on your list of reasons not to tell people how bad you were feeling. I would add one other – which I think may also be true in your case: when you are relatively intelligent and articulate and used to being in control people struggle to believe the depths of your illness.
I struggle to get even health professionals to realise how ill I am – I finally managed to get a referral for therapy from my GP by losing control in her surgery and shouting and crying. I was so desperate for help that my “I must be in control in public” slipped for once – it took me literally days to recover from that doctor’s appointment as my self-loathing for losing control was so intense.
There seems to be an entrenched belief in society, even within medical circles, that if you can talk intelligently you cannot be mentally ill; if only that were true.
That’s one of the reasons I started writing about it actually. I come across a lot of people in my work who have difficulty communicating what’s wrong with them and in analysing their situation. And I know even more people who think that the doctors always know best.
I sort of feel that since I can describe what’s happening in my head, and I do have the confidence to ask for another opinion if a doctor tries to fob me off, then I really should.
Having said that, my current GP has been brilliant. I’m so sorry that yours let you get to that stage before helping you. You shouldn’t hate yourself, I’m sure you already know that it’s really not your fault.
I hope your getting the right treatment and support now.
I think the most irritating and offensive thing that I’ve heard when I have explained to people that I have Bipolar Disorder, is the shock. I seem so calm and balanced how could I possibly be that INSANE? I’ve had that talk more than once. If a person essentially arguing with you about your own health isn’t ridiculous enough, lots of people then advise me against taking medication. Funny, because people who knew me before I started taking medication…don’t really talk to me any more because I was so unstable.
I think I can understand how people who have no other knowledge of mental illness than what they’ve seen on TV can find it hard to understand when I tell them that I’m ill. The people who tell me not to take my medication baffle me though. I just can’t see where that idea comes from. And I want to slap the people who tell me it’s just a placebo, like they think that I was only imagining that I was unwell and the doctor has just given me a box of tic tacs to trick me into seeing sense again.
Come to think of it though, if someone outright asked me if I was making it up I don’t see how I could carry on being friends with them.