In this fourth in a series of articles regarding depression we examine the last two lies of depression.
Here is a list of the five lies of depression:
- I am not good enough
- I am not strong enough
- I am not loved enough
- I am not worth enough
- I am not needed enough
Holly Bridges, in an article published in the Mighty called “When We Allow Depression to Dictate Our Self-Worth”, wrote that self-worth is the sense of our own value in life. When we have low self-worth, we have difficulty loving ourselves and therefore have a hard time thinking others would love us.
This shows the ways in which the lies of depression play into each other. If I am not good enough or strong enough, I can easily develop a failure identity. A failure identity has difficulty receiving and understanding love. If I do not feel like I have worth then I feel unlovable and the cycle continues.
And when this is going on, the lie that I am not needed can be convincing, Low self-worth is a trigger for depression and depression is a trigger for low self-worth.
The feeling that I am not worth much is both a comparative and an intrinsic statement. As the depression begins to take hold, isolation and negative self-talk increases. The victim believes they are not good enough or strong enough and as a result not able to be loved,
However, who I am is not based on how I feel. I am a child of God. And even if I wasn’t, I still would have incredible value and worth to the Creator of the entire universe. Right in the first chapter of Genesis, the first book of the Bible God tells us that we (you and me) are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). Then in Psalm 139, God says that we (you and me) are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139 :14).
Then there’s the whole Jesus sacrifice for all as in everybody, as in you and me (2 Corinthians 5:15).
Everyone has worth in the Father’s eyes no matter how we feel about ourselves or what others, including ourselves, say about us.
And now the last lie, the one that can push depression into the darkness of suicidal ideation. The lie that I am not needed enough.
This lie lays in wait as the first four take hold and do their damage. And it can attack in stages. For example, you can be needed as a Dad but not as a spouse. This lie claims your value is in what you do and not who you are. In this scenario, as your depression worsens, your value becomes smaller and smaller until you have difficulty functioning at all. And the lie reminds you that since you are not functioning well, you are not needed.
This lie is based on a series of lies that we are taught at an early age. That we are only valuable if we do something useful. A doctor is more useful than a worker at a homeless shelter for example. In the hierarchy of being useful to society, the ill and depressed are coldly cast aside. If I can no longer participate in usefulness than I am not needed. Thus, this lie is performance based and not based on identity. It is easy to forget that we do what we do but we are not what we do.
Who I am is the real question behind these lies and especially this last one. Am I needed? Of course, the answer is yes. If you were not needed, God would have not created you. Jesus would not have died for your sins. The depression spirits would not be trying to convince you of their lies. There is a real battle for your mind. No one fights for things that are not needed!
God says that just as all parts of the body are needed, so too are we (you and me). One part can’t tell the other part you are not needed or that it is not part of the body (1 Corinthians 12:20-27). In the same way we are all connected to each other. God made it that way. In ways, we cannot even understand we are all needed and that means you are needed as well.
All these lies are defeated by the truth of Christ. In the concluding article we will look at how knowing the reality of who we are is the best defense against these lies.
Depression is treatable. Please see a doctor or counselor if you experience symptoms of depression.
More in the series:
Andy Becker is a retired counselor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon). He and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministries which offers love, hope, and encouragement to one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods, North Central Regina. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca