Depression isn’t a mental illness. This is physical, too.
People who tell us it’s all in our minds or to pull ourselves together obviously haven’t been through it. The macho men who claim that an hour in the gym will benefit me have obviously never felt this physical pain, this complete bodily exhaustion. It’s not their fault, they’re trying to help us, and they may even be right. Exercise may be a great medicine for depression. It may be the silver bullet we’re all so desperate to find.
I wouldn’t know because the act of summoning up the physical energy to get to the gym (not to mention the anxiety humps I’ll need to get over to just get out of the house and face a gym full of people) is Herculean, most of the time impossible. I’d be perfectly happy to tell the world if I thought it would work but, as I can rarely get out of bed, I wouldn’t know.
So don’t go to the gym. Just go for a walk.
A walk!? Are you fucking kidding me? What if I bump into someone? What if I bump into someone I don’t like??? The school bully still lives a few streets away and if I bumped into him while puffing and panting and sweating and struggling to exercise, I think I’d vomit with fear.
Pull yourself together, then!
Look. I’m sure you mean well but, fuck, you’re not helping. This is a medical condition, mental AND physical, that I sincerely hope you never have to experience. This is real and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
So next time you hear of someone who is depressed, instead of puffing out your chest and telling us to get over ourselves, that there are worse situations to be in, imagine what it feels like to be terrified – bodily terrified – of leaving your own house. Imagine what it feels like to walk down the street with sweat dripping from you and thinking that everyone you pass is talking about you, laughing at you, judging you. Imagine struggling with yourself, tying yourself up in mental knots, internally beating yourself up for being such a wimp. Imagine not being able to do your job – the job you love and always dreamed of doing – because you’re too afraid, scared, like a child lost in a city. Imagine not being able to leave your house to visit your own fucking mother.
Imagine it. Because I pray that you never experience it.