I saw an article the other day when I was scrolling through Facebook. The gist of it was that people who struggle with mental illness, more specifically in this case though, depression, have to work out and exercise in order to feel better. This didn't sit right with me at all.
It's so incredibly frustrating and disheartening when people generalize huge, intricate issues which shouldn't and can't be generalized. It creates more of a stigma around them, a lot of misunderstanding, and just all-around more uneasiness. This happens a lot with mental illness.
In regard to that article, that is wonderful that the author found her mental health improved when she also made an effort to go to the gym. That's wonderful that worked for her.
But that's exactly the point: it worked for HER.
Implying that is what everyone needs to do in order to help their depression is extremely inaccurate and it's not a one-size-fits-all issue. The argument that working out is good for your mental health is absolutely true, but the way this was argued was incredibly harmful. It implies that if you don't do that, you won't help your depression.
Again, it's important to stress that depression affects people differently. I know in my case, I do deal with depression, and I do work out as part of my routine in order to be healthy physically and mentally.
But, there have been times in my life where my depression was so "bad" that even getting out of bed in the morning seemed like the most difficult task in the world. On days like that, if I don't go to the gym, does that mean I've failed and I'm not working to make my depression "better"? No, it doesn't.
On days like that, I focus on doing small things: getting out of bed, taking a shower, cleaning my room, going somewhere, etc. Those small things are actually huge victories for me on those days.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
Everyone who has depression has a different experience with it and implying that those who don't go to the gym right away, or at all, are somehow "failing" is flat out incorrect. That's wonderful it's what helps that specific girl all the time, but it's not the case for every other human on earth who suffers from depression.
Let's stop generalizing these things and putting out messages without making sure to word them accurately.
Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.