I’ve had debates with myself on this one for a while, and this one really belongs in the series of Dealing With Well-Meaning Friends I, II, and III, but has become relevant to this week’s theme. Recently I saw a tweet in which a YouTube personality said “Tell [depression] to jog on…do positive stuff.” This kicked up a bit of a storm among followers, and he defended it with (and I am paraphrasing) “I just meant go do something positive because it has helped me.”
The reality is that, for all debate on this post, he has an element of truth. When we do positive things, we feel better about ourselves. This much is true. However, the idea that everyone who has depression is in a place to be able to do that is lacking in understanding. When we are feeling down, doing something fun helps. When we suffer a setback, taking our minds off it and spending time with friends or some other activity is a great way to find some balance.
However, there is a difference between being depressed and having depression. A big difference. Any of us can experience a bit of depression after a rough week. By Friday we feel like our week has been a fight, and each day we got out of bed just to take a beating. It happens to us all. But when this is every day of every week of every year, things are a bit different. The “go do something positive” advice only inspires the desire to throw a coffee cup at someone. It’s not helpful.
Coming full circle we wouldn’t tell the broken leg to jog on – “Anyone with a broken leg – Tell the broken bone to jog on, and jog on it! Jogging builds leg strength & you don’t want that leg getting weak!”
Here are today’s three takeaways:
1 – If it’s broken, it’s broken. Leg, arm, heart, or mind. It’s broken and will take time to repair.
2 – Recovery, all recovery, hurts. It takes time. It involves baby steps, a plan, and support.
3 – The one things this guy got right is that positives in your life will help. Keep a journal of the good things that happen. Is this a simple cure for mental illness? Of course not – mental illness, like physical illness, requires treatment. However, it may just help give a little lighter view of life.
At PsychSpot we are working on a couple of different programs to help change the view we often have of the world. Watch this space (well, the site in general, not this page) for details. We should have at least one of these plans running in the next month. The other project is a little bigger in scope.
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