Tuesday, June 8, 2010

All I do is lie.....

"I never know with you," my therapist said yesterday. "You always come in smiling but the exterior doesn't match what you're telling me."

"It's a defense mechanism," I explained. "I'm hiding the truth."

I lie every day. To family. Friends. The general public.

If I appear sad, I always brush it off as me being tired.

When someone asks how I'm doing, my typical reply is, "I'm fine, how 'bout you?"

It's so much easier to lie. To keep it to myself.

Imagine if a bank teller asked how I was and I said, "I'm severely depressed and want to die, how 'bout you?"


Sometimes I can't fake it though. When my therapist mentioned me possibly having to be on medication, my half-smile quivered, my blue eyes welled up, and I couldn't stop fidgeting with my fingers.

With all that said, if you asked how I was today, I'd reply with a smile, "I'm fine, how 'bout you?"


Jackdaw said...

I think everyone does that. Strangers use the 'How are you?' question as a sort of 'hello'. Family, close friends and a therapist in particular, on the other hand, are (or at least should be) really interested in your answer and so they deserve the truth.

Joey said...

Dean -

You are not alone in this behavior. I believe it is a social norm to tell everyone that you are fine in life despite the fact that we may be screaming on the inside.

I am one of those people. In the south it is typical to greet and be greeted by almost everyone you pass along the street. The usual greeting is "Hey, how are you?" In true southern style, the response is "Fine, and how are you?" I, too, believe that it would be awkward to say "I am having the worst day of my life!"

At the same time, it is unhealthy for us to hold in all of these negative feelings. I have been in the same boat. It is good to talk with someone about what is going on in your life. It can be your therapist. (I loved talking with mine.)

I will always be here (online, phone, even in person) if you need someone to talk to about what is going on in the world of Dean! I am here for you.

Take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

I do the same thing, i understand....im fine, how bout u;)

The Cool Cookie said...

You know, the meds they have today are pretty damn awesome. The way I came to gripes with going on these 15 years ago (first Zoloft, then recently Lexapro, and taken for clinically diagnosed DEPRESSION and Seasonal Affective Depression) is that you have to look at the human mind. Its pretty much the same brain that humans had 2,000 years ago, and it was designed for that world.

Now, look around and see the world today.

We are living in tiny spaces, few of us live in stress free, outdoor surroundings. We have clocks, everywhere telling us what time it was, is and will be. And all the pressures that lump on top of everything. We were not built for existing like this.

The drugs take the edge off. Does it cure the depression? No. But it gives you so space to deal with the things that haunt you. The little stuff and the big stuff all kinda doesn't matter quite so much. They give you a break from the immediacy, the PRESSURE, the Tea Party loud mouths.

But the key to making the pills work is that you, and your medical doctor and your psychotherapist have to find the combination of meds that work for YOU. And the other half is that once you find the regimin that works for you, YOU have to stay on them and not self medicate.

These pills changed my life, for the better.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

It is easier to lie and to keep things to yourself, but it's also good to open up to people. But I know how hard it can be. It's good that you're seeing a therapist, because then you have someone who can not only listen to you but help you with what you're going through.

Anonymous said...

Dean, it's okay to say you're NOT fine, but we all understand that it's less draining to say 'I'm fine'. Because as soon as you do that, the person asking thinks, 'oh, great. I shouldn't have asked.'

I rarely say 'how are you' to people I greet, unless I genuinely want to know how well they're doing. Asking 'how are you' in our society is such a passer-by thing that it really means nothing unless YOU really mean it.

You mean something to me, so 'how ARE you'? I hope you are better now after speaking with your therapist. We ALL need the kind of honesty a therapist can give us.

Be well and cheery. I think it's great that you are able to keep up the appearance of 'everything going well' on the outside, but still seeking help to heal what's hurting on the inside.

Keep in mind, by appearing happy, you are still helping those you come in contact with feel good about themselves...and that in turn, can help YOU to feel happy and worthwhile.

Carol Nelson said...

It must be awful to live with thinly veiled inner torment, Dean. Have you tried antidepressants? It might help you feel better.

Unknown said...

Hi there Dean,

I can relate to what you are saying.

But at least you RECOGNIZE your sadness and desperation.

Don't you think the bank teller fears that her life might be meaningless too? Aren't we all terrified, in our own ways, of being found out?

What a brave person you are for having put this forth. What are you afraid of, beyond the moment where your eyes well up?

What a beautiful expression of the sanctity and sacred in all of life to work with your pain to create a masterpiece.

It's not easy, but beauty can be found even in the darkest recesses of our minds.

All the best to you.


naturgesetz said...


First, the question, "How are you?" or in New York, "Howya doon?" is a social pleasantry, not a serious request for information. The correct answer is always something like, "Fine, thanks. And you?" So don not consider yourself to be a liar because you do not spill your guts to the bank teller. You're not supposed to.

If you really feel like sharing with family and friends, that's okay, but not obligatory. You might get some welcome understanding, but it does require a considerable degree of openness.

I think the smile is maybe a coping mechanism as well. You do need to handle the depression somehow, and if smiling through the pain helps, so much the better.

But all that said, I think it is good that you are thinking seriously about whether it is useful for you to hide your depression from those who are close to you and love you.

No, you aren't lying; you are maintaining privacy. Maybe it would be good to be a little less private.

Meanwhile, when I read "'"I'm severely depressed and want to die'," my heart goes out to you. I so want you to live. I so want you to find joy. I so want you to experience love. The love we, your cyber-friends, have is genuine, and I hope it will give you some comfort as you come to know love from those who are present to you.

melanie said...

Hey Dean' i totally relate, however after lots of therapy which i have become very fond of' I am now the woman who tells the cashier at the supermarket or the bank teller, how i really am' most of the time' yes it is awkward, sometimes for me, mostly for them' they were expecting me to say fine' free therapy' that's how i like to think of it...
A useful tool i learned along the way'
In response to the "how are you?" I began to reply I don't know...because when i started therapy' mostly I just didn't know...
I was so accustomed to not knowing' It took time and patience and kindness with myself...
and if your anything like I used to be' That was a tall order.
I started by stopping being mean to myself'
Hugs n warm wishes' Mel

Writer said...

I always say that "I'm fine" and like you turn the conversation around so the other person is the focus. There is almost no one that I'm absolutely honest with about how I am - except for one friend, and he lives in Michigan.

But that's common, we have several different personas (we in general, not we as me and you) that we present to different people depending on who we're talking to. I'm actually much more open and honest on blogger and making comments on blogs, because I feel like I can. So though I feel protected by the distance of an Internet-connection, I feel closer to my blogger-friends.

Sorry, about possibly having to be put on medicine. I was on Welbutrin for a week once - until I started breaking into hives and had to pop allergy pills every hour for a whole weekend.

Meeko Fabulous said...

There's nothing wrong with being on meds Dean. Sometimes it can be a good thing. My anxiety levels can be through the roof sometimes, I don't like having to depend on them, but when nothing else works, I can take a pill and it will chill me out. Why not give it the good ol' college try?

Brian said...

I just dont know what to say, Dean. I do empathise with you as I too feel the depression and anxiety like a lurgy (Irish for small plague), settling on me so very often. Just know you are thought of in a positive way. You come across as a beautiful person, honestly. I always like reading how your days' are going and keep hoping that you had a good one. Please take an Irish blessing and reach up to the tips of Magilikuties Reaks (Irish mountain range), and smell the beauty of their untouchable splendour. Hugs and regards.

Dean Grey said...


My family doesn't really think I suffer from depression so it's just easier for me to keep those feelings from them.



Thank you, Joey!!




Ask the Cool Cookie!

I'm glad medication has worked so well for you!


Neurotic Workaholic!

I'm trying to be more open in my day-to-day life but it takes time.



I'm doing better today, Corey. Thanks for asking!



I'll have to talk more with my therapist before I make a decision about taking antidepressants or not.


R. Bailey!

Richard, my eyes welled up at that moment because it felt like if I needed meds it meant I'm not normal and have to be "fixed".



"Maintaining privacy".

That's a good way of looking at it!



I guess it will take time, patience, and kindness with me too!



Like you, I'm much more open to my blogger-friends!



Why not give medication a try? Because I'm scared!



Thanks for the Irish blessing!


Everyone's supportive words are greatly appreciated!


GayHermit said...

Found your blog through Green Ectomorph and really like it. It is one I check daily now.
Other people have made this comment, but you're not really lying. You're just conforming to societal standards. (Which may be worse. That is for you to decide.) ;) If you were to respond honestly, it might be better for you, but would really creep people out. (Which could be a good thing, depending on whether or not you like creeping people out.) {giggle,snicker} (It could also creep you out when they respond in kind.) {Always good to be careful when opening certain doors.}
Anyway, congrats on taking the step to get therapy to take care of yourself. Keep in mind that the meds can help, but that you need to find the underlying reason for your depression. That reason may be medical, so keep that in mind as well.
One thing you could try in the meantime is St. John's Wort tea, if you haven't already. (Feel free to research it online first. Also be sure to check out allergic reactions if you have any issues there.) I have personally found it to be helpful in leveling out some of my depression. It also tastes pretty good too. (At least to me.)
Love your work that I have seen so far, (about the last month or so). Keep up the good work and hope to keep hearing from you for quite some time to come.
(Above positive thoughts brought to you by a glass-half-empty person. You may now commence self-appropriate reactions of shock and dismay.) {eye-roll} :P
Actually, a sense of humor is one of the greatest things you can use to help yourself through whatever. "A person who can laugh at themselves will never cease to be amused."

Randuwa said...

Lies? You are aware of something that others just take for granted.... Stop beating yourself up for being special. No one's life is easy, brother, but it's the same for each of us. Embrace your awareness. Become fully you. You've nothing to fear, and plenty of friends who are here to support you.

AndyDrewby said...

I think that is what being polite has come to mean to most people, lying to spare someone else.

Dean Grey said...


I appreciate the suggestions and the fact that you're checking out my blog so faithfully!



I do need to stop beating myself up, don't I?



Yeah, I guess I don't want to bombard others with my problems.


Thanks to the three of you for adding your thoughts on this!


Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

Yeah, I do that, too. In fact, when I was going through the toughest time of my life, MOST people had no idea. I did what the nuns and my mom always told me to and SLAPPED A SMILE on my face. I found that I actually LOVED going to my horrible job, because in my mind there was a lovely basket at the door, and as I entered I would chuck my misery (in my mind) all wrapped up, in that basket, and NOT deal with it till I left work. I found that I could put my sadness and hopelessness 'away' for those few hours.

On a side note? What an odd thing for a therapist to say "I never know with you..." DUH! He's never seen anyone put on a happy face? A very good friend had a therapist like this - he was in a deep depression - and the therapist 'dismissed' him, because he 'seemed' OK. JERK! That was the worst thing that could have happened to him - he thought he had NOWHERE to turn! *sigh* I guess it's up to YOU to push to continue. You'll be OK. Just keep trying, Dean. We're all with you.

mikielawson said...

something beautiful in that sadness. we all do it. anyone who has been where you are completely understands.

Dean Grey said...


I've only seen my therapist three times now so I'm still trying to get a feel for him. Maybe I should switch shrinks?

I will take your advice and keep trying!



That's comforting to hear!


I appreciate you two chiming in on this!


Anonymous said...

hey dean!
I'm new here and i'm glad i found this blog. I can totally understand what ur saying. This is one of tge reasons i cancelled my date with a therapist twice, cos i knew i'd lie as soon as i stepped into that room, try to pretend, or convince her that there's nothing really wrong with me.
Take care!

Dean Grey said...


I'm glad YOU found me!

There's nothing wrong with canceling the therapy session if it didn't feel right to you at the time. You have to want it. You have to be ready for it.

In time, you will and when that happens you just need to reschedule.


Leigh said...


This post was like looking in a mirror (without the therapist part since I just can't bring myself to go see one). Especially the part about brushing off appearing sad as being tired.

I'm so sorry about your uncle. I don't know if you care for prayers, but I'll say one for you and your family anyway.

Thanks for continuing to share your thoughts, even through this hard time.


Dean Grey said...


Looks like I'm not the only one to hide how I'm really feeling, huh?

Thank YOU for continuing to read my thoughts!


em said...

hi.. i agree its always easier to lie than to share what you think and feel.

Dean Grey said...


Yeah, it is, isn't it?


Unknown said...

I had a dead-end meaningless part-time job at a museum last year. I had a few co-workers who I really liked because we could be so honest with each other.

One crappy morning my co-worker asked how my morning had been. I replied, "Fucked up, but I'm here and ready to pretend I'm happy to see our patrons."

He replied, "Fuck yeah - my thoughts exactly. You just made my day."

I replied that he made my day by telling me that I had made his day. We kept up the "f..." comments throughout the day when no one was around. As we left work we wished each other a fucking awesome evening.

Dean Grey said...


Now when I'm not feeling my best at work and someone asks how I am, I give a similar reply (minus the f-word!), "I'm bit tired today but am glad to be here."

This way I'm honest yet still showing I'm there ready to work.