Lack of Motivation : How to motivate myself when going through depression


How do you motivate yourself when you go through depression? Or how do you cope with a lack of motivation to do things?

With bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), whenever I am well or hypomanic, I enjoy my family, church, work, photography, briskwalkings, making homemade bookmarks and other crafts and gifts, writing, blogging, etc.

But when I go through a relapse of clinical depression, all my motivation to do things seemed to disappear! Do you experience this too?

I felt extremely tired and easily tired. I have no heart nor energy to do anything. Waking up each morning seemed to be most difficult. I dread to wake up to face another day. I don't think I have the energy to face another day.

When severely depressed, it takes a lot to effort to even attend to basic general hygiene. I remembered days when I go without bathing or washing my face!

Eating takes too much effort as I don't have appetite. Exercise became extremely difficult because I was too tired.

Actually during clinical depression, it was due to the chemical imbalance in my brain that I am not able to enjoy anything in general.

But when I am not doing very much, I began to believe that I am useless, ineffective, inadequate, helpless and incapable of achieving anything. These negative thoughts make me feel more discouraged and in turn reduced my ability to do things. It becomes harder and harder to wake up each morning and to attend to my usual activities. This become a visual cycle and it has been called the lethargic circuit.

How to break this lethargic circuit and derive motivation to face each day?

For me, praying to God and reading the Bible daily, is my first weapon to break this lethargic circuit. I realized that unless God gives me the grace and strength to cope, I will not have the energy nor the desire to face another day.

Thank God for His faithfulness in helping me to cope. God sent me many kind friends who prayed and encouraged me. God also led me to read useful books and articles on how to manage clinical depression.

I am learning and doing the following which is helping me to break the lethargic circuit and derive motivation to face each day and to do things:

1) I am learning to wake up at the same time each day though I dread waking up. I realized that once I am up, I am able to do some things after all. I also try to sleep at the same time every night so that I get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep or rest can worsen depression.

2) I am learning to eat my meals regularly and as nutritiously as possible. Though I don't have much appetite and eating seems to be such an effort, I realized that I need all the energy and nutrition to fight this depression and therefore I must eat! I try to eat more vegetable and fruits to gain more vitamins and nutrition.

3) I am learning to exercise regularly. Exercise seemed so difficult at first as I am so tired daily. But I am learning that exercise is important to build up my strength and stamina. So I learn to start slowly and daily. I find that as the days go by, I began able to exercise longer. My body and mind becomes stronger. Exercise release good chemicals to help us fight depression.

I enjoy briskwalking. I go for briskwalks whenever I can. Sometimes I exercise by walking on my brother's treadmill or stationery bike.

4) I am learning to create a routine. I realized that without a routine, I tend to avoid doing things as I no longer enjoy anything. This will only caused me to remain in the lethargic circuit. To break this lethargic circuit, I learn to plan my days. I schedule regular exercise and some activities that I enjoy for each day. I found that with every task that I managed to complete, I began to feel motivated to do more. I began to experience a sense of accomplishment.

5) Break tasks into smaller portions. When going through depression, every tasks seemed so difficult. It's hard to began to do anything. Procastination sets in. To avoid this, I am learning to break my tasks into smaller and more manageable portions. I try to do only a portion each day and I found that I was able to get things done slowly. This again gives me a sense of accomplishment and the motivation to do more.

6) I am learning to be patient and not to be too hard with myself. I try to remember that I am unwell now and it takes time to rebuild my body and mind. So when I failed to accomplish what I planned for the day, I learn to tell myself, it's okay. I will try harder tomorrow. Or I break the task into even smaller portions.

7) I am learning not to let my negative thoughts or feelings prevent me from daily activities. I am learning that my feelings during depression are not necessarily valid. They often have little bearing on the truth. My feelings of being too depressed to cope do not mean that I will not be able to cope when I am actually in a situation. So I am learning to ask God for strength to cope with daily challenges despite my depression.

I am thankful to God for His mercies and faithfulness in helping me to cope each day. This relapse of clinical depression is yet another learning experience for me to learn to manage my bipolar disorder better. It is also another opportunity for me to experience God's love, goodness and mercies in many wonderful ways. God's Words and His presence with me is my daily encouragement and strength.

I am also thankful to my family, my church and my friends for prayers and support. I am thankful to all of you, my dear blogging friends and visitors, for your prayers, encouragements and support in this difficult time. Thanks for all your suggestions on how to manage depression and for sharing your life and experiences with me. I have so much to learn!

How about you? How do you motivate yourself to do things when you go through depression?

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a blessed day.

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19 Kind thoughts:

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

I go through a lot of the same things you described. It can be hard. I try to keep cross stitching and doing the things I love but some times it is more than I can do. I don't often get severely depressed but even the milder depression can really do me in.

Mariposa said...

This is a post that I thought I wrote! LOL This is what I'm going's not the lack of motivation for me...but it's the fatigue that is limiting me. I have the will...yet, my body says another thing...I just love to think that God has a special way of telling me that I've been pushing myself too my body asks for rest. I have been catching with my sleep this week...and battling with body pains...and work. God has been so kind to carry me through!

Anonymous said...

I'd recommend visiting Allen Darman's site.

He's a Christian in New York, who suffers bipolar, and has developed a very effective treatment for bipolar and other mental illnesses, by restoring digestive function and increasing nutrient intake, particularly amino acids which are required to produce adequate levels of neurotransmitters. You can find his story here.

I'm currently trialling his method, with encouraging early results.

I wish you all the best with your condition.

Darlene said...

I have a plaque that I've kept at my front door for many a year. I read it before I leave and I read it when I return.

It's the "Footprints in the sand".

I got this plaque when I was surviving one second at a time.

We are loved and He does carry us.

When I ask God about specific things he takes me to the same passages every time. The last few words are "your reward is in heaven".

I guess that says it all.

God bless, my friend.

Melanie said...

Hi, Nancie. I so enjoy reading your posts. I know you are struggling, but yet, you continue to find the blessings in your life and seek God to help heal you and focus on Him.

What a wonderful blessing you are to all of us out here in "blogland"!

Have a restful weekend!

marja said...

I'm thinking of you, Nancie, praying that you will soon feel better. Praise God for the strong faith you're able to draw from. You may be depressed, but you're a strong depressed person.

sbwrites said...

Dear Nancie,
Another way to break the cycle is to force yourself to break it, even if it's a baby step. So...because I'm married and had a child at home (until he went away from college), no matter how terrible I felt I always forced myself to do the following:

1. Get up every morning and shower, brush my teeth, and change into clothes (even when I was planning on sleeping most of the day). Cold water makes a difference so I bought one of those shower things that's detachable and would spray my feet and head with cold water.

Sometimes, that made me so tired I'd have to go back to sleep for hours, but when I awakened, I did number 2.

2. Walk outside and sit there for ten minutes. Natural light is really important. Walking--even if it's just outside and sitting in a chair is important.

Actually, there's too much to write in a comment. I'll post about this tomorrow. Feel better.


Spin Original said...

"This relapse of clinical depression is yet another learning experience for me to learn to manage my bipolar disorder better."

I love your attitude, Nancie!! I believe that even having this frame of mind is a step in the right direction. You do focus on the positive, and that is SO important!

Kass said...


This is a great post. One that's really inspired me! The verse that's been going through my head has been "You will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee." I keep trying to keep God in the forefront of my mind but your tips are very helpful as well!

Jennifer said...

I go through some of the things you said, it's not fun!! I rest and talk to God and going to church helps when I get in bad depressed times,sometimes I can't even push myself to go cause I just want to hide up in my room!! What keeps me going though is knowing i have family who loves me and that when we reach the other side in glory we none will suffer anymore! I pray you feel better and I understand what your going through there is no feeling like it and when the road seems dark just think of when we arrive in glory and all the pain and sorrow will be took away:) I love you nancie and if you need to talk i am always here:)

Annie said...

Nancie, I am so sorry you are feeling depressed. I know how painful and numbing it is to be depressed. Your list of things you are trying to do is courageous. I encourage you to continue with your efforts and prayers, sometimes depression takes time to run its course. Take care! Annie

Darlene said...

Just a note to say Hi:)
and I'm thinking of you :)

Have a blessed and wonderful day :)

i said...

Just dropping in to say hi! Have a blessed weekend ahead!

Anonymous said...

Nancie, you seem to be managing your illness very well and have the best attitude! You inspire me. I'm praying for you.

Bleeding Heart said...

Hey Nancie, Stopping by to say hi. Hope all is well. Still have computer problems but I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you :)

Spin Original said...

Hi Nancie!

I am just wondering how you are doing. You haven't been around lately, so I am praying you are okay. Thinking of you.

Sending love and hugs your way!!

Nancie said...

Dear Friends,

Thanks for all your prayers, encouragements and support in this difficult time. I am still unwell and waiting upon God for restoration. Thank God for preserving me daily.

Please take care too! I am keeping you in prayers.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog! My husband suffers from Bipolar as well. Most of the time it is alright; however, there are times that are just ROUGH!!! I don't know how to help him because he is normally kind hearted and wonderful; but, there are moments that he gets upset and will snap.

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