The Distorting Grey Lens Of Depression

When depression is part of our life, it can alter our perception of the world. Sometimes it’s as though we have grey-tinted glasses on, making everything appear grey, dull, and colourless. This can alter our decisions, the way we view ourselves, and how we interact with other people and our environment.

The Distorting Grey Lens Of Depression

The World Appears Grey

On a scientific level, the world can quite literally appear more grey when we have depression. Depression can alter our contrast perception. This means that we find it harder to detect differences between black and white contrasts. The world genuinely appears greyer to us, and the lower our mood is, the greyer the world becomes.

How We Experience The World

The distorting grey lens doesn’t only alter the way that the world looks, it can also distort the way that the world feels. For example, on sunny days, we can visually process the fact that the sun is shining. But that doesn’t mean that we can feel it. Often we can’t feel the sun – we know it’s there, but we can’t feel it. There is a disconnect between what we can see and what we can feel. Somewhere in the middle the grey lens distorts it. This doesn’t just happen with sunlight, it can happen with all sorts of other things, too. Our whole experience of the world can feel distorted and disconnected.

How We See Ourselves

The grey lens of depression doesn’t only colour how we see the world, it also colours how we see ourselves. It can colour our self-confidence and self-worth, causing us to see ourselves as worthless, useless, and a waste of space. We see ourselves as grey and boring and stop seeing the value in all that we have to offer the world. Depression smothers our sparkle and stops us seeing how colourful and wonderful we really are.

Our Relationships

Depression never misses a spot when painting our world grey. Our relationships often get grey paint treatment, too. We repeatedly stop being able to see the value that we bring to our relationships and start seeing ourselves as a burden. Depression can leave us feeling as though our relationships are very one-sided. As though people are ‘putting up with us’. It can feel like our friends and family do so much for us but we don’t do anything in return. The grey lens of depression stops us seeing how much we have to offer. It causes us to forget the times that we’ve made our loved ones laugh, and have gone out of our way to be there for them.

On top of that, it can suck the colour and love out of our relationships, leaving us feeling as though people don’t really care, and don’t really want to be around us. It can stop us from feeling the love that other people have for us. We might start feeling as though people only spend time with us because they feel like they ‘have to’. This isn’t the truth – it’s a lie depression tells us. It’s the grey lens of depression altering the way we see the world.

Our Choices

When the grey lens of depression comes down, it can often feel as though there are no good options. We all make choices every day – from the small choices such as what to have for lunch, to much bigger choices which have a greater lasting impact on our lives. The distorting grey lens of depression can leave us feeling as though there are no good options. There is nothing that looks appealing or as though it will bring us any joy. This can leave us feeling paralysed and stuck, and can mean that every single choice we have to make takes us a really long time and is wraught with uncertainty.


When everything is grey and distorted, we often find ourselves drifting from one task to the next. A colourless, lifeless, world doesn’t usually fill us with much ‘get up and go’. We frequently find ourselves feeling bored, drifting along, struggling to make decisions, moving slowly, mindlessly scrolling our social media feeds, feeling lifeless.

Feeling ‘Broken’

The distorting grey lens of depression can often leave us feeling ‘broken’. Everyone around us seems able to get on with life, yet our view of the world can feel dull, lifeless, and as though time stretches on for eternity. Often we look at those around us and feel like we are somehow ‘wrong’, or ‘broken’. Our distorted, grey lens can add to this feeling. It can leave us viewing ourselves as worthless and useless.

We are not broken or ‘wrong’, we have immeasurable worth, we just can’t see it when the distorting grey lens of depression comes down.

The Colour Can Come Back

The grey lens of depression is almost like wearing tinted glasses. We see everything through it. Everything. There isn’t a single part of our life that escapes the grey lens. Every part of our life has the colour sucked out of it.

The colour can and will return to our life, little by little. It might take a while. We might find that at times the colour begins to return but then things become overwhelmingly grey again – recovery is never linear. But however long it takes, however up and down it is, a grey life isn’t permanent. We might have the distorting grey lens of depression right now, but it doesn’t mean that we always will.

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