"You're always sleeping."
"Why don't you just get it done?"
"Of course you're late again."
"You're so lazy. Just do it."
These are common phrases spoken by people who all too often mistake depression and anxiety for laziness. What those people do not realize is the person they are talking to may be really struggling and be proud of themselves for simply getting out of bed that day.
And, the person criticizing them minimizes that accomplishment.
It may be hard for others to understand, but battling depression and anxiety every day in and of itself is draining -- mentally and physically. The constant worry and/or lingering lack of motivation keeps the mind running all day. For those with anxiety, often the lack of energy to do what needs to be done creates more anxiety.
For people who are very involved in school, their job, etc. (like myself), daily life activities are enough to drain someone's energy on their own. Pair that with high anxiety and already lessened energy due to depression, and the result is often a person who has the best of intentions but simply can not keep up with everything. This person is most likely doing the best they can but feels as if they are drowning. They are likely beating themselves up about not being able to keep up with their responsibilities like other people can. Criticizing them or calling them out only makes them feel worse.
Being a full time student, a sorority sister, a member of a leadership organization, a girlfriend, friend, sister, daughter, and person with a disability, I would love to have the energy to keep up with all of my school work, go to the gym, be social, and participate in extra activities. However, the reality is some days I just have to do the best I can. This is true for so many people with high standards of achievement who are also limited by anxiety and depression. Some days, they may be late to class because they didn't have the energy to get up on time that morning. Sometimes, it means not being able to focus on assignments because their anxiety levels are through the roof. Some days, what they really need is support and understanding, not "tough love."
We are not lazy or inconsiderate, we just struggle to keep going and some days are harder than others. If we need a day to just sleep or have a break from everything to recharge, that is perfectly okay.
The next time you see a person running into class late, fumbling with their books, and judge them as disrespectful or careless, or get impatient because the person you are meeting with is late, or judge someone for not doing a homework assignment or studying, stop and think that just getting out of bed and facing the day could've been the biggest accomplishment in the world to them and for that, they deserve an applause.