I wanna talk about a thing that I don’t see talked about much when it comes to depression/mental illness: Personal hygiene. Taking a bath, taking a shower, washing your face, brushing your teeth, washing your hair, washing your clothes… All of those things become a chore when you’re chronically depressed or dealing with other mental illnesses.
Not being able to do these things feeds into the stigma surrounding mental illness. You get labeled as “disgusting” because you simply cannot shower everyday. When I say you cannot do it, I mean that. You cannot get up, organize clothes, take off your clothes, get in the shower, wash your entire body, get out, dry off, moisturize your entire body, and put on clothes. You literally just do not have the energy to do all of that. Just getting up and out of the bed is a major win for the day.
Some people may wear the same clothing for a few days in a row because they don’t have the energy to wash new ones or even change. Everything around you becomes a mess and you know you need to clean it but you simply cannot bring yourself to do it. This is why depression is a disability to me. It may not be in the eyes of the government or other disabled people, but it is to me.
When you encounter someone in this situation, here’s some things you shouldn’t say:
- Just do it already.
- It’s not that hard.
- Think positive!
- You’re being lazy.
- You’re disgusting.
Basically, just don’t belittle their experience.