I Have No Motivation To Do Anything: Am I Depressed?
"I didn't want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that's sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you're so relieved. I woke up in a nightmare."
― Ned Vizzini, It's a Funny Story
Depression is a serious mental health condition. According to the AADA (Anxiety And Depression Association of America), depression affects around 1.5 percent of the United States population ages 18 and older in any given year. This works out to be approximately 3.3 million American adults. Have you ever found yourself struggling to get through the day without crying? Do you constantly feel tired or upset? Do the things you used to enjoy bring you no fulfillment anymore?
If these symptoms sound familiar, you may be suffering from depression. However, many people confuse depression with being unmotivated or even "lazy." If you've ever said to yourself: I have no motivation to do anything, then this doesn't necessarily mean you're suffering from depression, despite the symptoms being similar. Depression and a lack of motivation are two sides of the same coin somewhat. They can overlap without the person who is dealing with either of these issues understanding the differences between them.
Depression or something else?
If you've concluded that you're not feeling motivated to do anything, how do you determine if it's related to depression or not?
The first thing you need to do is look at what it is you don't want to do. Do you not want to take out the trash? Do you struggle to find the energy to head to the grocery store for a few things? Is it a lack of motivation for more crucial aspects of your day? Do you have no desire to get out of bed, shower, or eat properly?
If it's the latter, then you're likely suffering from depression.
Depression can be caused by many different factors. The condition is usually temporary and is treatable. There isn't always a single factor, which causes depression, which means pinpointing this factor (or factors) can sometimes be challenging.
Generally speaking, depression can be categorized as a lack of desire to do anything, not just certain activities. Those suffering from depression want to go about their daily activities, but certain psychological factors keep them from finding the energy to do so. In contrast, a lack of motivation usually is focused on something less demanding, like food, drink or entertainment.
I have no motivation to do anything - what can I do?
Factors unrelated to depression can cause a lack of motivation. A misdiagnosis of depression can lead down an unhealthy path, so it's important to distinguish between the two before addressing your core issues.
If you still have the desire and the ability to get out of bed and go about your day but feel lethargic, this is probably your lack of motivation coming into play. Some factors can decrease motivation, but the most common one relates to a complete lack of interest in your daily activities.
If this is what's happening, it's wise to re-evaluate your circumstances. You can consider your social environment, your work, and hobbies. Find the things you enjoy doing and spend more time doing them. Instead of over-indulging on food or entertainment, take the steps to better yourself physically or mentally instead.
However, if you are still finding that the things you used to enjoy aren't providing you fulfillment anymore, then this may be depression setting in. If this is the case, it's a good idea to speak to a mental health professional regarding your state of mind. Differentiating between depression and a lack of motivation is only the first step - the next step is to take charge of your life. Talking to an online therapist can help you distinguish between lack of motivation and clinical or situational depression. You can take charge of your health and get better no matter what the diagnosis is.