Is It Possible to Stay Motivated When You Suffer From Depression?
By Adam Wakoski
Motivation and depression
Being motivated contradicts the core of depression, especially if it is an apathetic one. And while a sense of duty, or a habit, for instance, is enough to continue living when your life does not bring you joy, moving forward requires at least some kind of motivation, a reason to put more effort with limited resources.
When it’s difficult to find its source, the first thing you can try is to embrace the fact that you cannot live your life as you’d like to – for a while. This gives you some kind of freedom. You are allowed to write whatever you want on a draft without struggling to be perfect.
Give yourself some time not to look into the future. It probably seems dark anyway, so there is no point in it. It does not mean it will be like this forever. In order to endure this stage of your life, you do not need to make plans and expect certain results. Besides, it is pretty difficult when you have no wishes or only one – to want something. Try to practice self-discipline and make it a motivation itself. This way, when things change, you will not regret wasting your time.
How you can stay self-disciplined
Is it possible not to lose your way while waiting for changes? Yes, there are some ways.
1. Think twice before reading articles aiming to “motivate”
Sometimes it is tempting to learn about someone’s experience who has fought depression. It is a natural desire to make sure your problem is manageable and find out how other people have overcome challenges.
While it is good that depression is discussed more openly and stories about it are available for the wider audience, it is possible to get hurt because of them. It can be painful to realize that somebody who coped with depression had fewer problems and more support and opportunities than you did. It may be better to watch films and read books to draw strength and get inspired, so you do not compare yourself with real people.
2. Do not delve into the world of depression
The more you visit forums and websites to read more about depression, the more you remind yourself of your problems.
Besides, there is a high chance to find some “wise” advice on the web from people who have no idea what it’s like to be depressed. It’s not uplifting to read that you just need to get enough sleep (when you struggle from insomnia), create a support network (when you feel extremely lonely), socialize more (when it’s hard to endure even a 5 minute talk for you), practice sports (when you do not have enough energy to come to a gym), and even drink more yogurt.
It’s useful to learn about your state more so you understand yourself better and can explain what’s going on in case you visit a doctor. However, for that, it’s better to use reliable sources, not popular websites.
3. Break big tasks into smaller ones
It works for all people who want to increase their productivity. You can also use this approach to make your life easier and spend less energy on things you cannot avoid.
When you are depressed, and thus, not motivated, even small tasks may seem unmanageable. But if you split them into smaller parts, they are easier to get through.
You can also break your time into smaller periods. Don’t make commitments to do something every day starting from next Monday. Set up your goals for one day every morning.
4. Stick to a daily routine
It may be hard for you to do usual things like making up your bed or cleaning your house. However, you need to keep the room you spend your time in order not to add up to the chaos in your head.
It will be easier for you to keep your thoughts together when everything is organized in the outside world.
5. Design your life like a game
This is not advice to change your career path. You can make up a character for yourself to act on his or her behalf and manage your tasks like quests in a game. When you reduce the importance of things and do not worry too much about the result, you can achieve more while using less energy. And your identification with your character can help you to be a better version of yourself and possess the qualities you usually lack. Imagine that your character is motivated enough to do whatever he or she wants to.
And last but not least, think about how to melt your experience into something useful. People with depression often regret they waste their time and can do nothing about it. While others live a full life, achieve their goals and make progress, you cannot make a step forward because of your illness and feel like you just pass up opportunities.
Try to think about how you can use your experience of fighting with depression and make it valuable for yourself. For instance, you can make art of it getting rid of your negative emotions at the same time, or help other people finding a new purpose of living.