One of the things I worked on in my last therapy appointment, and have had a hard time with throughout my battle with depression and anxiety, is motivation. Especially when I am in the midst of a major depressive episode, motivation seems to be missing in action. And I mean any motivation. Motivation to shower. Get dressed. Eat. Or even get out of bed.
And of course, these motivationless moments set back the goals I want to achieve, both short and long term. It sets back my writing goals. It sets back my fitness goals. It sets back my professional goals. And, because depression can be a vicious cycle, my failures in these areas feed the very depression that caused me to fail in the first place, which really sucks and is why my therapist and I have been working on it. And as I looked back on the progress I’ve made, I thought I would share with all of you what has worked for me.
- Acceptance: I can’t will depression away, none of us can. It is going to throw monkey wrenches in my plans. Lying, and telling myself it is fine does not help. Accepting that I have depression allows me to reach the next step, which is…
- Manage Expectations: On days when I can’t even climb out of bed, it is ridiculous for me to expect to climb Mount Everest (metaphorically speaking, of course, I honestly can’t imagine ever wanting to climb that thing). I shouldn’t expect too much, because if I do it just feeds that vicious cycle I mentioned before. By factoring depression into my expectations, and accepting I might have to wait until tomorrow to tackle whatever it is that needs tackling helps me avoid that vicious cycle and meet my goals. And finally…
- Do What You Can: So, maybe I can’t do a full workout today. But I can try to at least walk around the neighborhood. And if that is too much, I can walk around the house. And if even that is too much, I can watch someone walking or running of fighting vampires or whatever whenever I want, thanks to the various streaming services. Depression wants to rob us of the will to do anything, even live, so by doing something, anything, it is a victory over depression.
And I like victories. Especially when those victories come against depression, which starts a new positive feedback cycle to help keep me motivated.
And hopefully, this approach will help keep you motivated as well. And as always, thanks for reading.