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Senior Contributor

Five lies my illness tells me...


When an illness takes hold, it can significantly change the way we view ourselves and the world. Our thoughts can shift and ruminate on particular themes, and at times it can be hard to discern between truth and lies, between real and unreal, between helpful and unhelpful. A confusing and scary place to be. 

One young person shared her story on our blog, detailing the lies that OCD tells her. You can read about it here

It left me wondering....

What lies does your illness tell you?

How do you recognise when your illness is telling you lies?

What strategies do you use to cope?


Re: Five lies my illness tells me...

This is exactly what I’ve been thinking about today but I don’t know the answer @Margot. I was thinking of posting something trying to seek answers. 

Edited to say that one of the things I’m battling with is abandonment. The feelings outway the logic and even though I try to check the facts the feelings still win. 

Re: Five lies my illness tells me...

I can't list what my MI tells me, too hard, too triggering

Sometimes I can recognise that it is a lie, other times it takes hold.

To cope I have different scripts I read and use my safety plan and try and distract myself

I don't know if this will help anyone



Re: Five lies my illness tells me...

Hi @Margot
My illness tells me all the time that I'm not s good person. I'm bad I'm ugly im fat I'm not a good mum. My illness tells me I'll never get better. I'm weak and this is how I'll be forever.
I struggle to recognise the lies because I believe them so much.
What strategies do I use to cope? I guess I just go with it. When I'm very emotional distressed or dissociating I believe it all 100 percent. Not sure I use any strategies st the moment.

Re: Five lies my illness tells me...

I'm battling badly too with abandonment @Teej I can sometimes see what my psych says to me but my belief wins. I always believe my belief. Does that make sense?

Re: Five lies my illness tells me...

@Margot I really can't recognise the lies, too convincing maybe. I try distractions when it's not too bad like gardening, crafts, music, but when it's bad nothing works and I guess I just agree, there haven't been many other voices in my life to disagree.

Re: Five lies my illness tells me...

That battle with rational/irational and emotional/logical can be so incredibly difficult @Teej

There's a real sense in what everyone's saying too that it's so so difficult to recongise the lies when they arise. Like any good story teller, our unwell minds need a good listener. And too often we feel like we have no other choice but to listen. After all, lies by their very nature are good at hooking us in. If only there was a way to sort of turn down the volume on the thoughts. 

When the lies are particularly convincing or particualrly loud, some choose to notice them and accept that they're there, allowing them to move in and out of focus, without necesarily givig them too much attention. In that way, it free's us up to direct our energy and attention to thoughts or activities that are helpful - like following a safety plan as @Snowie mentioned, using distraction, like @Maggie mentioned, or just letting them play without reacting like @BlueBay mentioned.

This is a tough skill to build but for some people, it gives them a little break from tuning into the lies. 

Re: Five lies my illness tells me...

I think you've really tapped into something here @Margot I agree with most of what's already been said. 


  • You're unloveable
  • It's your fault
  • Your kids are better off without you
  • People think you're (insert negative adjective here) 


I find trying to counter these ideas nearly impossible and just end up in arguments with myself, my mind churning. The best way forward that I've found is to let it be; accept and recognize the thought but don't get caught up in it. This only works if I'm not too distressed and can pause in some way...not always possible.

@Maggie I also feel, like you, that there haven't been many other voices in my life to disagree. There are some people who fuel the lies. Shutting them out isn't always and option.


Re: Five lies my illness tells me...

@Margotthe issue for me is that the "lies" seemed to have almost become my normal thinking. Trying to break that is super difficult. I am not sure if I would call them lies. Are they lies when we believe them? 

I believe what my mind is telling me, others try to tell me different. But those thoughts are so overwhelming, so believable.

I think I am rambling now



Re: Five lies my illness tells me...

Oh no not rambling @Snowie. I totally get what you are saying and often feel the same. I struggle to know what are lies, what are thoughts, what is me, what is real? 

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