I’m so tired of seeing people, even some professionals, sending people away to ‘try yoga’, ‘go for a walk’ or even ‘get some fresh air’ when revealing their struggles. Yes, these things can help, but they are not a sustainable cure for mental illness. Depression is a chemical imbalance, and I’m not too sure going for a walk can cure that.
It was a Tweet I saw that triggered this blog post. Below is an image of the tweet I’m referring to so you’re aware of what I’m talking about:
Honestly, I’m not sure where to start with this. There’s so many things I want to say about this spread of misinformation concerning mental illness.
First of all, if you’re not a doctor, don’t tell someone their depression isn’t legitimate unless they have tried going for a walk. Second of all, depression is a mental ILLNESS – a disease of the brain – just like diabetes is a physical illness. The brain is an organ, so to make out depression is just a ‘low mood’ rather than an actual illness is wrong on so many levels. It’s a dangerous message to send, and is simply not true.
Don’t get me wrong! Yes, going for a walk and doing yoga is a great thing to do to try to lessen some of the symptoms of depression, but it is NOT a cure. Depression is often what prevents people from doing these things. Getting enough sleep may sometimes seem impossible when someone’s thoughts are surrounded by negativity. Eating nutritious foods is hard when you don’t even want to live. Exercising is often out of the question when you can’t even bring yourself to get out of bed.
To act like a sufferer who isn’t doing the things listed isn’t helping themselves isn’t helpful whatsoever. All it does is make the sufferer feel more guilty about their illness. Believe me, it’s so incredibly hard to help yourself when you’re suffering from a mental illness, and if you don’t realise that you need to do some vigorous research before sending out such a dangerous message to a mass audience. You’re not a professional, so don’t act like one.
Depression isn’t a mood; it’s an illness.
Let’s start treating it as such.