The Five Lies of Depression & What to do About Them
Reflections from a former suicidal D1 athlete — Darryll Stinson founder of Second Chance Athletes
Depression. We’ve all felt it. Especially during uncertain times.
Whether it’s circumstantial pressure or clinical illness, feelings of lowness spark a war of thoughts in our minds.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than 48,000 lives in 2018.
As a suicide survivior, and one that’s been diagnosed with clinical depression, I’ve discovered that depression tells us five primary lies.
Here they are and what we can do about them:
1. No one really cares about you, and you don’t matter.
I remember my early days as a non-athlete, just after I had a devastating career-ending injury. My phone wasn’t ringing for media interviews. Coaches weren’t checking in on me to see how I was doing. My former teammates and friends were busy with their lives, and my family couldn’t see beyond my athletic success.
My first thought: “No one really cares about me. They only cared about my athletic ability.”
This may sound different for you. You might think that the only reason why people care about you is that you’re gifted at singing, leading, relationships or running a business — aka your gifts, and not you.
This is a lie. People do care about you, but it’s hard for them to show you how much you care when all they’ve seen is your gift, and they’ve never seen your pain.
You have to show people your pain if you want them to see beyond your gifts.
Vulnerability is a batman signal for love
Choose to be vulnerable and let people know what you’re really going through, not what you’re sort of going through. This was so hard for me as an athlete because I was used to suppressing my emotions so I could perform. The problem is that I learned not to show weaknesses, so when I was battling depression, I continued that behavior pattern.
In order to overcome the lies that no one cared about me and I didn’t matter, I had to learn how to share my full emotions and let people know my hardest struggles, worst fears and deepest pains.
It felt unnatural at first. But the more vulnerable I became, the more love I’ve experienced.
My mentor taught me that it’s hard to be fully loved when you aren’t fully known. I had to let people FULLY know me so I could experience the fullness of their love and finally overcome the lies that I didn’t matter and people didn’t care.
People do care when you show them your real struggle.
It’s hard to be depressed when you’re surrounded by love.
Let yourself be surrounded by love this week.
2. The future is meaningless and will be unfulfilling.
- “Nothing will ever be better than sports.”
- “My best and most fulfilling days were as an athlete, and it won’t get any better than that.”
- “I’ll never be as good at anything like I was at sports.”
These were my constant thoughts throughout my first year of (forced) retirement.
Depression will always over-fantasize your past and undervalue your future.
I learned that my best days were not behind me, but they were in front of me. No matter how good you were at what you did, or how much you loved that person you lost, your best days are still ahead.
Because everything you were and everything you’ve learned you bring into your future. A loss of something or someone you love may feel like you’ve taken a step backwards, but in reality you’ve gained more than you lost.
A universal truth: Every experience good or bad is a teaching moment that provides an opportunity for growth.
You take everything good of who you are into who you are becoming.
If you’ve lost a job, you take the experience you learn into the next opportunity.
If you’ve lost someone you loved, you take with you the lessons and love you’ve learned from them.
If you’ve made mistakes, you learn the consequences and how to avoid similar future situations.
The list goes on and on.
Never judge your future fulfillment by what you’ve experienced in your past.
The truth is that none of us knows what tomorrow will be like, so we might as well just enjoy today and live with the mindset that if life never gets better, we always will get better and have the option to enjoy today.
3. You’ll never heal from your pain.
As a national speaker, an experienced pastor and founder of Second Chance Athletes, I’ve NEVER met someone battling depression who didn’t have emotional wounds.
Whether it’s something as serious as being molested as a child or something less traumatic like an all “A” student getting his first B on a report card, pain is pain, and none of us want it or like it.
Usually, we start to feel like we’ll never heal from our pain because some pain never totally goes away. We might get stronger, but every once in awhile those failures, mistakes, betrayals and traumatic moments come rushing back to our minds through our memories. When that happens it feels like we’ve made no progress and that we’ll always have to deal with the pain.
Can I be honest with you?
This may be one of the hardest lies to deal with because it’s the only depression lie that might be true.
You may never heal from your pain. But you will get stronger!
Those memories may come back from time to time, but each time you’ll learn new ways to move forward.
Don’t let the pain from your past keep you from recognizing the strength of your soul.
Which brings me to the next lie of depression…
4. You’re weak because you struggle.
Liar. Liar. Pants on fire!
You’re not weak because you struggle! Are you kidding me? The fact that you’re still fighting when everything in you wants to quit and throw in the towel is evidence of your strength, not your weaknesses.
Even superman has Kryptonite that drains his strength, and you’re no less of a hero because you’re fighting a battle.
People who battle depression are actually the strongest individuals on the planet.
Why? Because it takes real strength to keep living when all you want to do is die. It takes true strength to get up when all you want to do is lie in bed. It takes authentic strength to go to work when all you want to do is numb your emotions with alcohol.
If you’re reading this and depression has been lying to you telling you that you’re weak because you’re taking some punches, tell depression to kiss your white, red, pink, black, brown, tan or albino behind.
You’re not weak because you struggle. You’re strong because you’ve survived.
5. There’s nothing special about you.
This one couldn’t be further from the truth. The crazy thing about this lie of depression is that it’s so contradictory to its voice.
In one moment depression tells you that no one can relate to you . . . AKA you’re so unique that no one understands.
And in other situations, depression tells you that you’re average or below and there’s nothing special about you.
Tell depression to kick rocks.
There’s something special about you!
You might not be the MOST gifted, but there’s definitely something special about you.
Isn’t your fingerprint different from anyone else’s in the world?
The same is true about your identity and your life’s purpose! I personally believe that your life’s purpose is as unique as your fingerprint.
I believe there never was, is or will be another person like you.
You are unique. You are valuable, and you have purpose.
It’s why purpose discovery is built into my process for every entrepreneur I coach and every athlete we mentor through Second Chance Athletes.
You’ll find your uniqueness when you ask the right questions. And through years of research, we’ve found the right questions to help people find their purpose.
But don’t just take our word for it, look what podcast host and TVI Imports sales representative Brenda Alderete had to say:
“You guys do such an amazing job of piecing together someone’s confusing thoughts to make the direction clear. I felt understood, I felt heard, and I really feel like I am able to do what I am setting out to do, with this level of clarity. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!! I will sincerely recommend this to everyone I know!”
Brenda’s results and hundreds of others came from asking the right questions. Whether you’re asking the right questions or not, trust our experience with others when we tell you that you truly are unique, and there is something special about you.
Don’t skip reading this conclusion.
On behalf of myself, Second Chance Athletes, former pro athlete Chris Gronkowski, Athlete Network and thousands of others across the globe, please don’t just read this and go about your day.
Help us help others by joining and sharing the challenge on your instagram.
Written by: Darryll Stinson
Darryll Stinson is a thought leader on athletic transition. As a dynamic TEDx speaker, hip-hop artist, pastor and certified John Maxwell coach, he shares his life experience of overcoming addiction, childhood rejection, mental illness, depression, and multiple suicide attempts to produce success in his life.
Darryll played defensive end at Central Michigan University from 2008-2011 where he supported his team as they won a MAC championship and became a 23rd nationally ranked team.
Darryll founded Second Chance Athletes, a holistic athletic transition company, in 2017 to help athletes who are passionate about creating their legacy increase their visibility, impact and revenue.
When he is not working, Darryll enjoys rapping, reading, entertainment, music, sports and spending time with his wife and three beautiful daughters. #girldad
Temperature – 67degrees , no light, 2 hour wind down routines, no disruptive energy… alcohol caffeine, caffeine, caffeine ( watch mindless tv, listen to music, play with your children. Bed comfortable sleeping.
Also, the same time going to bed. (Have to be sleep at 11, so he can wake up at 4)
Practices… for me… 4 step process.
- Acknowledgement – ego based consciousness (when I’m creating interference, self sabotaging, not feeling worthy,)
- Stop – Don’t resist it and correct it.
- Breathe (drop) – getting centered
- Move – roll into your core beliefs
What do I want to experience today? There’s no emotions attached to an outcome? This..
— How can I help them?
How do you build a community? Everyone has a frequency of your own.
Yours can be mental,… consistency persistence pursuit.
Completely happy where you are, but do everything you can
You need to practice articulating it.
The more you are proactive articulating it.
All is do is defining the third step of