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.

 

My anti-depression tool kit: An arsenal of weapons to defeat depression.

The following is a personal story of how a member of Depressed Anonymous  used her anti-depression Tool Kit to disarm and dismantle symptoms of  depression in her daily life.

I am no longer alone

” I am writing this information with the hope  that it will help anyone who is suffering from depression that is brought on by stress, anxiety, loneliness, physical or mental emotions, death or insecurity.

I am a thirty-four year old single female, who has been suffering from depression for a long time. Most of my depression was brought on by feelings of insecurity, such as not being able to express my inner feelings, being controlled by a dominating parent, loneliness, stress, workaholic, anxiety attacks (related to work and everyday pressures of living), too much sleep, nervousness, lack of motivation, being tired all the time, sadness, weight gain, digestive problems, a feeling of being trapped, self-consciousness, not trusting myself, dreams of dying but yet managing to come back to life, withdrawal from family, or loss of interest in meeting with the opposite sex.

It seemed that I was living in another world until one of my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous meetings, plus reading the Depressed Anonymous manual have provided  me with the tools to live without being depressed. Most important  of all, the Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power) will give me strength to deal with my depression and get on with my life and be happy with myself.

The book with its Twelve Steps, has taught me that I am not alone. And that I am not the only one who is suffering from depression. It has taught me to believe more in my Higher Power and to let it handle my depression.

I read the Depressed Anonymous manual, go to counseling, and attend the Depressed Anonymous meetings. The meetings are a must. I need them to survive. The support group’s members help each other by listening, talking, expressing their feelings, and give support on how to cope with depression.   By letting my Higher Power help me, I am beginning to feel free from depression. I am not so nervous and tensed up. My Christian inner faith is getting stronger. I am not so stressed out and I am beginning to get confidence  within  myself . I still have problems with sleep patterns and I am getting some motivation back.   I have learned how to handle anxiety by taking deep breaths when I am nervous or troubled. This was suggested by my therapist. I am also learning how to stand up for myself.

All these new tools have helped me and will continue to do so. They also taught me not to dwell on my past, to live one day at a time, and to look forward to the future, but not live there. It will take me a long time to deal with depression, but I am glad that these tools are available. Life can be good for a change. Please don’t give up.”

-Anonymous.

SOURCE:  Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (Louisville, KY, 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Pages 148-149.

Please go to MENU and click onto TOOLS* FOR RECOVERY.    There you will discover those tools which can be used to dismantle those painful areas of your life which in the past have imprisoned you.

  • RECOVERY TOOLS: Exercise; Meditation; The Serenity Prayer; Cutting off negative thinking-The Law of the Threes; Being in Nature; Journaling; Managing stress; Music; Nutrition; Positive self-talk; Sleep; Social engagement; Stay in the Present.

Read more stories of persons who have dismantled their own depression. Check out the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore and order online.

I AM NOT ALONE

One of the  comments that we hear frequently at our Depressed Anonymous meetings is that “I am not alone!” Yes, in fact  to hear  that others have the same experiences as the rest of us in the group is liberation.  No longer is it a scary mystery to feel the way that I do.

At a meeting this week one of the newcomers told us how she wakes up every morning with such a heavy and dark cloud hanging over her that it makes it near impossible to want to get out of bed. She then heard how others in the group said they had the same experience. Many of us know that feeling.  But it is not impossible to deal with the lethargy and the lack of will that we feel  when we attempt to get started on our day. I know the feeling well.  It is the force of motivation that gets us out of bed and for us to  get started  on our day’s activities. The more action the more motivation. Motivation follows action!  How do we do it? We just simply do it. We don’t have that argument in our mind to do or not do it. I always lost that argument. Instead I just made up my mind to get out of bed and to start walking. That was my iron commitment to myself. I had to get back on my feet. No excuses. No “maybe later” nonsense thoughts were allowed. No inner arguments. I just did it. And after about 10 minutes of walking and moving the body I thought to myself “hey, I’m glad that I  am doing this.”  If you feel the way we have described here then you realize that you are not alone!   Been there done that! As Nike says “just do it.”

I WILL CHANGE WHAT HAS TO BE CHANGED. I WILL START NOW!

HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS(C)

I will look at myself and change whatever needs to be changed. “Nothing in life is so simple that it has only one cause. Everything that happens emerges out of a whole network of causes, and so to understand why something happens, we have to bear in mind a number of different things.” (3)

Today, I  want to do one thing that can make a difference in the way that I feel. Last night I talked with a man who was depressed. I told him my story of how I took one small piece of my life that needed changing and I changed just that one small piece. As  I added to that small piece of change, more small pieces were added.  And gradually all these small pieces added up to providing more motivation for myself to continue the process of change.

At the end of our conversation he said that my sharing made him want to go out and walk. Taking a walk, and moving about, motivated him to change one small piece of his own inactivity and isolation.