lazy good for nothings?
I can’t be the only depression sufferer who has always believedÂ themself to be lazy and without self-discipline. ReadyÂ to act, to change, to do important things, yes: pumped up and determined. But somehow incapable of doing anything much when push comes to shove. No wonder weÂ feel useless and worthless.
It’s the depression doing this. Depression takes our motivation and our initiative – of courseÂ we struggle to get stuff done. A vicious circle then: we are low, so we can’t do the things that help us feel better, so we feel worse. Rinse and repeat.
kindness and cunning
To break the cycle requires a mixture of kindness and cunning – a way of manoeuvringÂ ourselves into situations whereby the easiest, most likely-to-happen option is also the most helpful. Â This takesÂ self-knowledge, self-love and ninjaÂ tactics. Â I’m not talking about simple tricks like breaking tasks down into tiny, manageable, undaunting pieces, or going to bed in your running kit (if you want to go for a run first thing in the morning – no need to do this otherwise). Â I’m talking about what to do when that stuffÂ no longer works.
So,Â for example:
- your house is a mess but you just can’t bring yourself to tidy up? Invite a nosey friend/colleague/neighbour round for coffeeÂ tomorrowÂ – and let the emergency housework commence.
- can’t face going to that party you thought would be fun when you accepted the invitation? Â (Actually, it may be too late now, but when you accepted the invitation, knowing you ALWAYS go off the idea nearer the time, you needed to arrange to takeÂ somebody – somebody who now isÂ relying on you to get them there, and who you would hate to let down.)
- exercise makes you feel better but you can’t get out of the door to go for a walk/run/cycle ride? Having a dog you love is usefulÂ here – you won’t want to deprive them of their walk unless you are in a really bad way. Â Or, some people find success through a public commitment to do a certain race or event, preferably sponsored, and fear of humiliation/coronary failure on the day is enough to ensure at least some training happens beforehand. Â In my case, I recentlyÂ headed for ScotlandÂ on my bike with the dog and a tent havingÂ told everyone weÂ would be gone for three months.
You probably need to be feeling reasonably OK to do these. Paradoxically, the time to work hardest on recovery is when you are well, which is when you are most capable of building helpful behaviours and habits into your life.
TheÂ five key components of this approach are:
- Understand which bits of your behaviour are probablyÂ down to the depression and which are notÂ (and don’t judge the depression bits.)
- Know what usually motivates you to do difficult things. (For example, in my case it’s trying to avoidÂ people thinking badly of me.)
- Know what usually makes you feel better (these things, perhaps.)
- Use this self-knowledge and understanding to devise cunning plans which harness the power of whatever usually motivates you, to do things which usually make you feel better.
- If a planÂ doesn’t work, tweak it till it does or make a new plan – no recriminations.