Updated: Aug 24
Last week, I stumbled across an article, the title of which, "I Have Depression and Anxiety. Please Stop Telling Me to 'Go for a Run", immediately grabbed my attention.
The author, Beth McColl, is an individual who struggles with depression, and was apparently rather fed up by people telling her she should "go for a run" when she is depressed, as a way for her to feel better. Fed up, because when when a person is depressed, getting up and out to exercise isn't always such an easy thing to do.
As she writes about her experiences with depression and its impact on her desire to exercise, we once again see how the human brain appears to be the primary culprit for the health crisis we are dealing with in our Nation.
As she states in her article, she went on a bit of a "Twitter rant" about this a month earlier, and received many replies from individuals who described the difficulty they've experienced in trying to make themselves get up and exercise when struggling with depression and/or anxiety.
Two of the primary symptoms of depression are 1) increased fatigue, and 2) decreased motivation. If a person is struggling significantly with either of these symptoms, asking them to get up and exercise may very well be a task that is beyond what they are capable of at that moment. One person used the term "will paralysis" to describe their experiences. Meaning, their depression can lead to such significantly decreased energy and motivation, it feels as though their willpower has been completely paralyzed.
If someone is struggling with an Anxiety disorder, the idea of going outside for a run or attending a crowded fitness class can trigger worries about being judged or scrutinized by others. Particularly if that individual is a bit overweight or out of shape.
A person's ability to improve their physical health may be a very difficult thing to do without first addressing their mental health. Behavioral healthcare professionals, like us at The Well Being, are positioned well to help address those issues which are impacting a person's desire to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle. "Go see a therapist" may have to come first before an individual is able to "go for a run".
If you'd like to learn more about how we can help, please give us a call!