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How do you motivate yourself when you have depression?

W

Waitingforthesunnydays

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Apr 20, 2021
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London
I'm in a really, really bad place at the moment and just so lost and unsure how to get out of it. I've suffered from depression, anxiety and low-self esteem since I was 12, I'm in my 30s now. I can be normal for many months - more than normal even - funny, sociable, happy, a joy to be around! Then a dark cloud seems to come over me for months and I hate myself, think about suicide constantly, often have intrusive thoughts of harming myself in horrible ways, thoughts that people hate me, people are laughing at me, think I'm a loser. I won't go out, won't talk to anyone, won't do anything.

I'm in my late 30s now and I have no career, I've just been going from dead end job to dead end job. I want to start my own business. I have the talent, finance, and time to do it but every day I get up and achieve nothing because I have no motivation to do anything. I'm living off an investment windfall from a few years ago at the moment, so I'm maybe not as driven by money as I would be otherwise but I have so much time on my hands! Time I had originally set aside to make this happen and I cannot make myself do it. I'm terrified of failure. I feel so awful about myself, I just watch tv all day, I avoid contact with my parents, siblings and friends because I think they think I'm a loser.

I have an amazingly supportive wife and a baby. I love my son to bits, but looking at his little face every day breaks my heart and fills me with guilt because I feel like I'm a waste of space, he'll grow up being embarrassed of me, it'd be better if I killed myself and he never got the chance to get to know me because I'm sure I will ruin his life because of my depression. I think he'd be better off with just his mother as she's a wonderful, positive person and I'm worthless. I feel guilty all the time about both of them having to put up with me.

I've been on Prozac for years, had many different therapists but nothing ever changes. How can I feel like I'm worth something and work towards motivating myself to achieve something? How can I be better for the sake of my child? I just really feel like things are not going to get any better ever.
 
NWiddi

NWiddi

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It may help to have a look at these two pages on the forum: Suicidal Crisis and Mental Health Forum - Getting Help about what to do if you're feeling suicidal, or if you need emergency help. I hope you can use the forum for support during this difficult time.

If you’re thinking about suicide and are in immediate danger, please call your local emergency number (i.e. in the UK call 999, in the USA or Canada call 911, in Australia call 000 and in New Zealand call 111) or call the international emergency number of 112.

If you have been affected by the contents of this thread and would like to speak to someone about your feelings you can call one of the following helplines:

In the UK and Ireland, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123.
In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.
In Canada, the Suicide Prevention Service on 1.833.456.4566.
In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.
In New Zealand, the Need to Talk service is on 1737 or 080017371737.
Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.
 
Zana

Zana

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Apr 15, 2020
Messages
156
Location
England
Like yourself I have battled with depression since I was a teenager, about 15 years now. There's no easy way through it and no matter what one does, I don't believe it ever goes away.

About 2 months ago I stopped focusing all my thoughts on the future and how much pressure there was in order to have the best future possible. Instead now I focus on what I can do today and tomorrow to achieve a sliver of contentment. Then I hang on to that sliver like a lifeline. If one day doesn't work out, I make a commitment to myself that it is just a one-day blip and that it has no affect on tomorrow. I also dumped all social media and news which has been a real relief.

The most important thing seems to be acknowledging that you start by taking 1 step forward to 2 steps back, but with time, self love and acceptance, it will soon become 1 step forward to 1 step backward, and eventually 2 forwards to 1 backwards.

It's taking a lot of the above and ownership of my flaws to get even this far (regained weight I lost whilst ill, got my own place to live for the first time, eating routinely and exercising more), and I return to work in a few days after 2 months away so plenty of progress to come. By not being obsessed with what is to come and just taking small steps, it doesn't matter how fast that progress comes anymore.

Hope this helps and all the power in the world to you.
 
MeAndMyDepression

MeAndMyDepression

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Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
1,323
Location
Punta Gorda, Florida, USA
I'm in a really, really bad place at the moment and just so lost and unsure how to get out of it. I've suffered from depression, anxiety and low-self esteem since I was 12, I'm in my 30s now. I can be normal for many months - more than normal even - funny, sociable, happy, a joy to be around! Then a dark cloud seems to come over me for months and I hate myself, think about suicide constantly, often have intrusive thoughts of harming myself in horrible ways, thoughts that people hate me, people are laughing at me, think I'm a loser. I won't go out, won't talk to anyone, won't do anything.

I'm in my late 30s now and I have no career, I've just been going from dead end job to dead end job. I want to start my own business. I have the talent, finance, and time to do it but every day I get up and achieve nothing because I have no motivation to do anything. I'm living off an investment windfall from a few years ago at the moment, so I'm maybe not as driven by money as I would be otherwise but I have so much time on my hands! Time I had originally set aside to make this happen and I cannot make myself do it. I'm terrified of failure. I feel so awful about myself, I just watch tv all day, I avoid contact with my parents, siblings and friends because I think they think I'm a loser.

I have an amazingly supportive wife and a baby. I love my son to bits, but looking at his little face every day breaks my heart and fills me with guilt because I feel like I'm a waste of space, he'll grow up being embarrassed of me, it'd be better if I killed myself and he never got the chance to get to know me because I'm sure I will ruin his life because of my depression. I think he'd be better off with just his mother as she's a wonderful, positive person and I'm worthless. I feel guilty all the time about both of them having to put up with me.

I've been on Prozac for years, had many different therapists but nothing ever changes. How can I feel like I'm worth something and work towards motivating myself to achieve something? How can I be better for the sake of my child? I just really feel like things are not going to get any better ever.
I'm so sorry for your situation. I have severe depression, and I think it is impossible to will yourself to be motivated to any large degree. I think you can motivate yourself to a very small degree, such as taking a shower after thinking about it for hours, but not being motivated to the extent that a "normal" person can be motivated. It is a terrible aspect of this horrible illness.

One thing I do want to mention, though, is your saying the following:

"I avoid contact with my parents, siblings and friends because I think they think I'm a loser."

This is a very self-defeating attitude. I'm not an expert, but this sure sounds to me like the cognitive distortion of Jumping to Conclusions, which states that:

"Without individuals saying so, a person who jumps to conclusions knows what another person is feeling and thinking."

"In particular, a person is able to determine how others are feeling toward the person, as though they could read their mind."

"For example, a person may conclude that someone is holding a grudge against them, but doesn’t actually bother to find out if they are correct."
 
MeAndMyDepression

MeAndMyDepression

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Feb 6, 2021
Messages
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Location
Punta Gorda, Florida, USA
I just want to add to my post above: I think you can motivate yourself if your depression lifts substantially for a moment of time, but once the depression returns in full force, you can't motivate yourself to a large degree. How do you motivate yourself?
I read the following:

How to Motivate Yourself: A Summary

Getting motivated can be tough – and it can be even more challenging to stay motivated. In summary, here are 20 ways to motivate yourself:
  1. Just start and wait for the motivation to catch up with you.
  2. Break tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps.
  3. Create a positive mindset by asking yourself, “what’s good about this situation?”
  4. Create positive feelings by writing down three things you’re grateful for.
  5. Be kind to yourself when you make a mistake, then come back to the task at hand.
  6. Know that mistakes are a necessary part of progress – accept and learn from them.
  7. Cut overwhelming to-do lists down and focus on just one thing at a time.
  8. Let go of goals that overwhelm you and set attainable goals that energize you.
  9. Imagine your future if you don’t motivate yourself.
  10. Reflect on your past successes and use the positive feelings to stay motivated.
  11. Remind yourself of the reason why you want to find motivation to get things done.
  12. Remember the trade-off you need to make to get what you want, then commit 100%.
  13. Eliminate the things that distract you and then focus on one thing to achieve your goals.
  14. Tidy space, tidy mind – declutter and organize your space to help motivate yourself.
  15. Stay motivated by experiencing different food, music, books, or podcasts.
  16. Look to people in your life who inspire and motivate you.
  17. Ask close friends and family to help hold you accountable.
  18. Follow people who inspire you online.
  19. Listen – and dance! – to an upbeat song. Then dive into action when it finishes.
  20. Connect with your true potential – you’re more powerful than you think.
 
S

sleepyvalentine

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2021
Messages
5
Location
MN
Hi, I just wanted to let you know what it is like to have a father with major depression. I'm hoping to ease your mind regarding your son.

So, my dad has been depressed for the majority of my life. He received shock therapy for many years, but hasn't needed them for about three years now. He spends a large portion of each day napping on our living-room floor because he doesn't want to miss out on family time, but his depression exhausts him-- or he needs an escape. The rest of the day, he spends scrolling through Facebook and youtube, and he watches movies at night. He has a hobby, but hasn't been able to work for a long time. He receives social security checks, as he is on disability. He goes to therapy and takes a cocktail of medications.

My first piece of advice to you as a father is to be honest with your son from the very beginning. Inform him from the very beginning. I held a lot of resentment and hatred towards my dad because he thought that it would be better to tell me that he was faking his depression-- so he wouldn't have to work a job. Therefore, I thought that he was just lazy and was happy to let my mom be the breadwinner, the housekeeper, and the tutor for our family. We lost the house because my mom couldn't keep up on her own, and I saw my dad as a person who would let this happen just because he didn't like working a job.

It wasn't until I confronted him one day that my idea of him was able to change. I was eighteen when I confronted him, and I was about fourteen when he had told me that he was faking his depression. He hadn't realized that that comment about faking it had made such a huge impression on me. It wasn't able to understand him until I saw him break down and sob about how miserable he was.

My second piece of advice to you would be not to kill yourself. This dude lives the same day every day: wake up, Facebook, news, Facebook, long nap, chores, Facebook, movies, bed. Nobody should look at their dad and see a profession, they should see a loved one. I had a fantastic childhood because of him. Whenever my car breaks down-- which has happened a few times-- I call home and know that he's there to pick up the phone and save me from the side of the road no matter what time it is. Also, my friends used to always ask me to ask him their pet questions, like why her gerbil wasn't drinking water or how to nurse a humming bird back to health. I was always so proud that he was my dad when this happened.

My dad has been suicidal a few times. I know that my life would not be better without my dad, so I'm thankful that he was able to come out of those moments alive.

I don't know how to motivate you. I also have depression, and have the same symptoms that you listed (anxiety, tendency to isolate, intrusive thoughts, insecurity, etc.). However, I think that I have perspective-- as a daughter of a person with major depression-- to know that your love and companionship as a father is enough!!!!!!!!!!


Ps. Have you tried Zoloft? I took Prozac for a while and it made me very sleepy-- and therefore unmotivated. I've had a much better experience with zoloft, as it's supposed to give you more energy. I'm still taking long naps due to a trauma that I'm still getting over, but Prozac made me sleepy before I even had a trauma lol. Wishing you the best!
 
T

treasurebox

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Joined
Aug 14, 2018
Messages
509
Location
Philippines
What you are thinking and feeling is not permanent. There will be better days for you.

Listening to motivational and uplifting songs on youtube helps me. Music is therapeutic. Listen to it daily or as often as needed.

What are you good at and enjoy or love doing? Is it cooking, baking, doing arts and crafts? Whatever it is, do it for it will make you happy and even fulfilled.

Helping someone else will also help you heal. Find someone or a group that you can help in your community. You may coach or teach online.
 
A

Alexander Ypsilantis

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Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
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Location
USA
Try and take things day by day. If you think too much about long term, it can seem hopeless. Today may not be a good day for you, but tomorrow or the next day might be much better. My life has been like that. It's that hope which sustains us through the dark periods.
 
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