So the whole fam-damily headed off to the gym on Sunday, to dump the little man in the kids center where he could run wild and scream at girls ("LOTS of us boys were doing it, mom. We thought the girls were ants.") and his father and I could hit the pool. On the way in I saw an SUV (because mini-vans are just so uncool) with this bumper sticker: Running is My Prozac.
Which. Like. Well. Yay for you. Seriously, I'm not being sarcastic there. If you can manage your mood through diet and exercise, that is great. That is WONDERFUL.
BUT. It doesn't work like that for everyone. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely use diet and exercise to help manage my depression. They make a HUGE difference. But unless I'm also taking the meds, I can't function at a high enough level to manage my diet and exercise. Hell, I can't function at a high enough level to do laundry. (Although sitting on the couch and watching The Real Housewives of Orange County and silently sobbing didn't seem to pose much of a challenge, oddly enough. (I lie. It was Wife Swap.))
And while I totally support the idea that there are a lot of steps you can take to help manage mental illness, I get so leery of bumper stickers like "Running is my Prozac," because part of me feels, rightly or wrongly, that it implies that if one tried a little harder one would not be depressed. Maybe if you just got more exercise, or helped others more, or went to church, or were a better fucking person you wouldn't be such a sad sack of shit all the time. And although I have no reason to think that is the message behind sayings like "Running is my Prozac," I think a lot of people take that message away, and it is not helpful.
Depression is not a reflection on who you are. It is not necessarily caused by an unhappy childhood, or unresolved issues, or being a repressed housewife. Sometimes it is just brain chemistry.