How come I couldn’t get out of bed when I was depressed?

 

In his recent book The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic, Jonathon Rottenberg shares with us what he thinks might give an answer.

“Why do depressed people lie in bed? It’s not because it’s great to snuggle under the blankets; it’s because they can’t bring themselves to get out of bed. Almost any other activity or task becomes a painful ordeal, even activities as simple as taking a shower or getting dressed. This seems strange. A perfectly able-bodied  person can’t bring herself to rise out of bed. How does this happen?

The intuitive answer is that this reflects a lack of motivation. Depressed people are directionless because they are undercommitted to goals. Without goals to drive future behavior, current behavior becomes frozen for long periods. Bed is the most natural location for a behavioral pause, as the place in the house most associated with inactivity.”

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Comment from the Blog author.

I agree with the above reasons for a depressed person seeking their pillow when depressed. Further on he  tells us that when depressed we seek a pause because our goals are failing us and that “depression results from an inability to disengage efforts from a failing goal is relatively new. Could  it be a  plausible pathway into depression?”

This view surely strikes  a chord with me. I also couldn’t get out of bed in the morning because my  lack of motivation  was immobilized.  It was get up or don’t get up and then lose my job. Everyday my goal was to get up and walk. Everyday. My goal was to save my job. Motivation came with forcing my body to roll out of the sack.

Constant rumination about my goals in life, at that time, were being frustrated or about to be frustrated, till my brain felt like it was filled with cotton.

It was the continued rumination about a personal loss which  gradually and methodically pushed me over the edge. The more I tried to figure out what was going on in my body, continued fatigue with hopelessness,  the more I dug the hole deeper.    I  was in the dark abyss with no way out.  Eventually the walking paid off, my dark mood lifted, the fog cleared and the horizon looked brighter. In time I dealt with the personal loss , plus the help of the supportive group Depressed Anonymous. Life got better.

NOTE. I found this work to be an excellent guide for one’s personal growth and understanding of the experience of depression.  Hugh S.

SOURCES: Jonathan  Rottenberg. The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic.  (2014) Basic Books, NY.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

 

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