themighty logo

Why Nike's Slogan Is Wrong When You Have a Mental Illness


Contrary to Nike’s famous slogan, I can’t just do it.

When you have an eating disorder, you can’t always just eat. You can’t always just look at food and be OK with eating it. I know, in my logical, rational mind I need to eat, that I need a variety of foods of different nutrients to be healthy. I know that. But sometimes I can’t do it. And I especially can’t do it if my food is touching. If the sauce touches vegetables or if my rice spills over to touch the meat, I can’t do it. I can’t eat it. I can’t even look at it, let alone touch it.

When you have anxiety, you can’t always just go out there and do it. Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Oh I want to. I desperately want to and I have the urge to, but my anxiety stops me, telling me all the terrible things that will go wrong if I do. Do you know how hard it is? To so desperately want to feel like and live your adventure, knowing what’s out there, but can’t live it because of anxiety?

When you have depression, you don’t just get out of it. Your rut. Your episode. Your head. How can you go out and live your wildest dreams when you can’t always even get out of your bed? How can you, when your only thoughts are those questioning your existence? When you’re trying to convince yourself tomorrow is worth it, but life is worth the fight, despite the daily battle?

When you have chronic pain, you can’t always just do things. You can’t always jump out of bed, run to work — sometimes you can’t even share a walk in the park with your loved ones. When you have chronic pain, you have to constantly monitor your spoons and hope nothing jumps out of your day to steal your energy.

When you live with debilitating illnesses, you can’t always just go out and do stuff. Of course I would love to. It would be great to just be able to leap out of bed and seize life by the lapels and conquer mountains. But sometimes, the biggest accomplishment is dragging myself into the shower and putting on a clean shirt.

Please stop telling me to just do it. I’m not staying in bed because I’m lazy. I’m dealing with a lot of pain – mental and physical, and trust me, if I could just do it, I would.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz