When I was finally starting to admit I’m struggling with both depression and anxiety, I went into my university’s health center during my junior year to see if I could get some help. It did not go well to say the least – there was not one moment where I felt welcome by the nurse practitioner who helped me with (briefly) getting on medication. During my first visit with him, he spent some time focusing on how I should exercise and lose weight, which really only made me feel worse about coming in to get help.
But the thing is that even during my best days, I struggle to get out of bed and do things like shower and cook. It’s hard for me to really accomplish pretty much anything other than sleeping. Getting out and exercising some days (hell most days) is damn near impossible to be completely honest.
And I’m not the only one who has struggled with this issue. Creigh and Caley Farinas (sisters) wrote about the six reasons why we need to stop telling people with depression to lose weight – even citing a study that found that weight discrimination actually promotes weight gain.
Helping someone through depression can be difficult but the thing is to not make everything about you. Struggling with depression can be hard – as Kate Bartolotta describes it:
It’s isolating. It’s a solitary experience. We feel like no one could possibly understand how dark things are. We often lack the emotional energy to even reach out and try to connect and find understanding.
For me, it’s always so nice when people reach out and make sure I’m okay, even on the good days. It’s nice when people don’t assume my experiences and especially when people don’t minimize what I’m going through by saying things like “there are people going through worse”. (Seriously, that’s a terrible way to support someone struggling with depression – for me, it only makes me feel worse and it makes me want to not be around you in any context.)