There are a lot of things besides medication that help depression. You see these lists, you get recommendations from your doctor, and aside from some glaring woo stuff, a lot of it is true. Because some of it works, it is often recommended instead of medication.
Exercise. A clean, decluttered environment. Healthy eating. Getting out of the house. A routine. Self-care.
All of these do help depression to a degree. Not in place of medication, therapy, or medical treatment, but they help.
Here’s the thing, though. Depression prevents you from doing these things. It makes not only major life changes like changing the way you eat and starting an exercise routine but small tasks like taking a shower immeasurably more difficult.
I’d love to go for a workout, but you see, it seems getting out of bed is going to require all of my energy today. My room is a disaster, and the sight of it is draining, but putting on pants can sometimes seem like running up five flights of stairs, so tackling this room seems impossible.
Your ability to function can fluctuate. When I get a burst of energy, my first inclination is to do one of two things: get some writing done while my head is clear, or do something I enjoy while I have the capacity to enjoy it.
Joy can be fleeting, and I sometimes choose to grab the joy instead of the vacuum.
I’m trying to work up to the major life changes that I know will help my depression, but it is a vicious circle. The changes help the depression, but the depression prevents the changes, and the frustration from this infinite loop makes the depression worse.
And for the people who have a shiny new pair of sneakers sitting in their closet from six months ago, or who have managed three days of meal planning then ordered that pizza or not eaten at all, or who managed to clear off their bed to sleep, but not the clothes on the floor, I see you. I know you feel like you’re failing yourself and sabotaging your own efforts to be well.
I don’t have an answer. But I see you.
This post originally appeared on Facebook. It has been reprinted with permission.