My dog is a vicious liar

Published 10:24 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2018

By Nathan Rice

Talking dogs are nothing new in the land of make believe. My favorite talking hound has always been the mystery solving Scooby Doo. Unfortunately, there is another talking dog, and it is very real. The “dog” of depression speaks, and his words are cruel. This is a time when a dog’s bark is indeed worse than its bite.

The words depression whispers into the minds of those who battle this condition can create pain, confusion, desperation and an overall feeling of hopelessness. This dog, however, is a liar. I have found that recognizing that this dog lies and arming myself with the truth before an attack is a way I can fight back when the talking dog begins his verbal assault.

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How the dog works, and the lies he tells, varies based on the person he is attacking. There is no one-size-fits-all plan, but I share some of mine in the hopes that they can help others begin a plan of their own.

The dog whispers repeatedly, “You are worthless!” This bite from the dog hurts, and it feels as if he is speaking the truth. It’s foolish to deny what is being felt, so I’ve learned not to ignore the pain. Rather, I fight back through the pain. “Liar! My Heavenly Father paid a great price for me!”

Circling around, the dog growls, “There is no hope, and there is no future for you.” Again, the sting is real, and his statement during the attack feels accurate. I know, however, from my preparation that he is lying once again. “You are a liar! The One who has proven Himself to me over and over again has said I have a hope and a future.”

It’s hard enough to fight the lies, but another terrible part about this talking dog is that it knows my innermost thoughts. It also has access to every single memory, and it knows my deepest fears. The dog uses these thoughts, memories and fears to attack me in the most personal of ways. It is a master at twisting those things and making an enemy out of my own mind.

Memories of everything that I could have, and perhaps should have, done differently come flooding into my mind. The dog’s evil grin widens as he points out every single flaw, every mistake, every little misstep and every missed opportunity. He connects these to my deepest fears and throws in a few lies as he relentlessly continues his assault.

Sometimes, I’m not prepared for the twisted memories mixed with lies. There are times I don’t have answers for all the words he speaks in my ears, but I do know he is a liar. When I have no answers I simply say, “You lie. You lie. You lie.” I might not always have a quick reply, but I know the dog of depression never speaks the truth.

I encourage those who have a “dog” of their own to prepare for the next attack. The dog lies, and while knowing the truth doesn’t always stop the pain, it does help. Put truths so deeply in your mind that you’ll know them even when you don’t feel them.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 800-273-8255.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at