What I Mean When I Say 'I Can't Move' Because of Depression

Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Today is one of those days when I can’t seem to get myself to move or do anything. My body feels stuck — heavy — and my brain can’t seem to get my body to move. This is one of the many ways my depression can manifest. I never get a reprieve from my severe depression, but some days, it presents itself as a numbness, an over-feeling-ness, an inability-to-move-ness.

I never know what days I’ll be stuck in place. What days moving will not be an option. What days I’ll need to try to be prepared for not being able to move. What days my depression may feel like it’s taking over — like it’s winning.

I often feel so frustrated with myself that I can’t move. I wonder if I really can move, but I just don’t “want” to. But I’ve realized, it isn’t a matter of “want.” It’s a matter of what I am capable of on any given day, at any given moment. Getting frustrated with myself, thinking I’m a failure, judging myself, etc. isn’t helping me through those days. It isn’t helping me out of those days. It is just making them worse and harder to escape from.

I often get lost in a loop of negative self-talk. Telling myself I’m a failure. I “should” be better… I “should” do better… I “should” be capable of more, etc. A lot of “shoulds,” and not a whole lot of understanding for the battles I fight every day or the amount of energy it takes just to keep existing and enduring those battles.

So, I’m trying to be more understanding and accepting of myself — this isn’t an easy thing for me, especially having grown up with emotional, verbal and mental abuse. A lot of the statements I say to myself on the days I can’t move, as well as the days I can, come from things said to me or about me growing up. But I’m trying to be aware of when those thoughts come in. I’m trying to accept I can only do so much and that is OK.

On days like today, when I can’t seem to do anything, can’t seem to move from the couch, can’t move. Period. These are some of the things I’m trying to tell myself:

It is OK.

You are OK.

You are not a failure.

You are doing the best you can… and that is all you can do.

You are trying.

Some days, you may not be able to give 100 percent. Some days, you may only be able to give five percent, but you always try to give 100 percent of that five percent. You always do your best.

Your best is enough.

You are enough.

What you are doing is enough.

You don’t need to live up to others’ expectations.

You don’t need to live up to your own expectations.

You can allow yourself to feel proud of yourself.

You haven’t given in.

You aren’t failing just because you can’t move… just because everything in you feels so heavy and you feel weighed down by all the tears you may know you need to cry, but there are so many feelings inside you, it can be hard to get them all out — more always seem to build right back up.

It is OK to cry.

It is OK not to cry.

It is OK to feel.

It is OK not to feel.

It is OK to not be able to feel.

It is OK to just be breathing today.

It is OK if breathing is difficult… I know you’ll do it anyway.

It is OK to ask for help.

It is OK if asking for help is difficult.

It is OK to not be able to ask for help.

It is OK to not move, to not put things away, to not clean up.

It is OK to just sit there. To just exist. Endure. Survive. Because it takes so much strength and energy that you may not feel you have in you to continue existing. But still, you do it anyway.

You are still here. You are still alive. You are still existing.

You have accomplished so much today by continuing to exist.

You didn’t give up today.

You stayed, even though you may not have wanted to. Even though it took all you have and a lot of what you don’t have to stay.

You are still here…

You are still breathing…

That is huge and something to be so proud of.

You are a warrior.

You may not feel OK, but you are OK just as you are.

You are brave.

You are not wasting time.

You are not a waste of time.

You are important, even if you don’t feel like you are. You matter, even when you feel you don’t.

You are still here.

As cliche as it may feel, you did all you had to do today — you stayed alive, you stayed breathing, you stayed.

You are still here.

You are a warrior. Always and forever.

Unsplash photo via Chau Luong

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

man looking out window in dark room alone depression

The Real Reason Asking for Help Is Hard When You Have Depression

It doesn’t matter how bad you’re hurting, does it? Doesn’t matter how long you’ve laid in bed with the curtains drawn, hoping the darkness and quiet will offer some relief, an escape from all the guilt and shame you feel. Guilt and shame that comes from collapsing in on yourself, pushing away friends and family, [...]
princess leia rebel symbol tattoo for mental health

How My 'Star Wars' Tattoo Is a Symbol of Mental Health Recovery

I recently got a new tattoo: the “Star Wars” Rebel symbol with Princess Leia and a galaxy design inside. Among being a representation of rebellion and feminism, a commemoration of Carrie Fisher and a best friend tattoo, it also serves as a reminder to work towards good mental health. As many of us know, Carrie [...]
Man sitting by sea on bench near tall grass reading a book

3 Books You Can Read to Better Understand Depression

I imagine describing depression to someone new is kinda like describing dry land to a fish. “Dry land? Preposterous!” a fish must think, not because he doubts the fish talking to him, but because he cannot envision a world without water. Even an exhausted fish need only extend a fin or open a gill and [...]
man walking along road in thick fog bordered by trees

How a Memory of Driving Through Fog Relates to Depression

One day, as I was driving to work, I drove into a thick fog. It was the same road I traveled many, many times both to and from work, so I was very familiar with it. However, on this day the fog made everything look mysterious. I had only a vague view of the road [...]