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Imagine you are having a hard day with your mental health symptoms. You’ve tried everything in your tool kit. Today is just one of those days where nothing seems to work. Like a kettle coming to boil, you feel like you’re about to rattle if you can’t blow off the steam and pressure being created by your stress today. In angst, you turn to a friend for support. You tell them, that you’re having a hard time with your mental health today. They listen. They consider it. Then, they ask:

Have you tried exercising?

You feel defeated. You feel crushed. If only it were that easy. If only the run you took, the five meditations you’ve tried, the journaling, the dancing, the coloring, the deep breathing, the music therapy, the movie therapy, the going outside to feel better, the self care, the food in your stomach and all of the other things you learned how to do to take care of yourself on a tough mental health day had made things better. Yes. You tried exercising. Possibly more than once.

The suggestion of exercise isn’t the problem. Exercise is an evidence-based treatment method for a number of mental illnesses. Depression, anxiety, and addiction all find relief in the stress of certain symptoms from exercise. As well, exercise provides a wealth of benefits, including better sleep, which is critical on a day where mental health is a struggle. Even on days of struggle, even when there has been exercise, sleep still may not come. Relief may not come. That is the nature of mental illness. Somedays are just those days and exercise doesn’t help.

Why asking about exercise is offensive is because it minimizes the struggle of the individual. It demeans their knowledge of their diagnosis and their autonomous ability to take care of themselves. More importantly, it lets them know that you are not willing to listen to the struggle, to have empathy or compassion for it, or even recognize it as a living experience. Simply suggesting a solution reduces the experience to a problem, which directly tells someone with mental health struggles that their experience is a problem to be solved. Mental illness is not a problem. Symptoms can be problematic. Struggles can be problematic. Having mental health struggles is not a problem that needs to be fixed, but a living experience that has to be worked through. People are not problems who need to be solved.

There are no finite solutions to mental health struggles. There are, however, many therapeutic interventions and approaches which promote healing. You can live the life you’ve wanted. The Guest House Ocala offers residential treatment programming for trauma, addictions, and related mental illnesses. Call us today to start the journey of recovery: 1-855-483-7800