To the Doctor Who Told Me to Park Further Away to 'Fix' My Depression
To the doctor who told me to park further away to fix my depression,
I no longer want to allow you to live rent free in my head, and so I will now say all the things I wish I had said. That’s about as poetic as I’m going to get today.
I want you to know the way you spoke to me was dismissive, damaging, and destabilizing. To this day, thinking about our conversation doesn’t just make me angry, it makes me livid.
Depression can come with many symptoms. They are not all well known, but as a doctor you should have at least some rudimentary knowledge of the possibilities.
My major complaint was that I was constantly exhausted. I described how this tiredness was so all consuming that I didn’t have enough energy for basic tasks.
And that’s when you asked the dreaded question of so many mental health patients around the world.
“Are you getting any exercise?”
I wept, filled with despair, because your question told me you weren’t listening. I tried again to explain.
“It takes me four hours to find the strength to walk the 10 feet to my front door.”
“What if you tried parking further away in parking lots, as an ‘easy’ way to get more steps?”
I continued to cry and left defeated. I’d lost my hope things were going to get better.
Here’s what I wish I would have said in reply:
“What if you tried kicking bricks?”
Or… something a little more colorful.
I’d also like you to know what happened next, because I never returned to your office.
Within days of this disastrous appointment, the hopelessness got so bad I wanted to end my life. I voluntarily went to the ER, and was admitted to the psychiatric hospital. Over a three-week period, we changed all of my medications; and after I was discharged, I was referred to an outpatient psychiatrist. The tiredness was still bothering me, and I was brave enough to bring it up again with this new doctor.
For your information, she didn’t recommend walking.
Rather, she offered a medication that would provide me with some energy. My life truly has not be the same since, it’s amazing what you can do when you don’t feel like the walking dead.
I suppose you’d be happy to know that nowadays, I am at least somewhat active. Like the majority of people, I’m conscious of the fact exercise can help with maintaining mental wellness. Yes, it can be part of the puzzle, but it isn’t a magical solution either. I am a whole person with complexities, fitness isn’t always a simple thing, and I deserve to be listened to.
So no, parking further away didn’t cure my depression, and frankly, I’m quite certain it never will.
Sincerely evicting you from my head,
If you enjoyed this article, please take a moment to check out some of my other articles here on The Mighty. If you’d like to follow along with my journey, you can find me on Instagram as @mentalhealthyxe.
Getty image by RobertoDavid