Depression lied to my sister, told her that she was worthless. A burden. Unlovable. Undeserving of life. I imagine these lies were like a kind of permanent white noise in her life — a running narration of how unworthy she was. After years of the lies and the torment, my sister believed that depression told her the truth. In the notes she left for my parents and me, Aletha wrote, “don’t feel sad, I’m not worth it.”
She was so wrong. Depression lies. I have to tell the truth.
Here is the truth: My sister was amazing. She exuded life and made my life millions of times better just by existing. Any time I needed help, any time I was struggling, any time depression and anxiety overwhelmed me, Aletha was there. Any time I had a good day, I needed to share it with her. She was my anchor. Aletha and I had a relationship and a closeness that I will never have again.
Depression stole decades of our lives together. Depression lies. I have to tell the truth.
My sister’s depression fed on her desire to keep it secret and hidden from everyone. I could not save my sister. I could not reach my sister through her depression. Aletha slipped from my grasp and I cannot bring her back. I can only urge others to distrust the voice of depression. I can plead for people to seek help and treatment. I can talk about depression and invite others to the conversation. I can tell everyone that will listen that depression lies. I can tell the truth.
The lies of depression can exist only in isolation. Brought out into the open, lies are revealed for what they are.
Here is the truth: You have value. You have worth. You are loved. Trust the voices of those who love you. Trust the enormous chorus of voices that say only one thing: You matter. Depression lies. We must tell the truth.
There is a thick black line that separates the before and the after of my life: I’m still new to the after territory. It feels uncertain, disorienting — like walking through a carnival funhouse where the floor is uneven, rotating, slanted, curved.
I know only two things for sure:
Depression lies. I will tell the truth. Join me.