Why Is It So Difficult For Me To Make Decisions?

Updated February 3, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Most of us make decisions on a daily basis. Sometimes you have to decide on small choices, like choosing your outfit for the day, for example. Other times, you may have to make major decisions such as choosing a new job or moving to a new city. Whether your decision is a big one or something minor, you have to decide on something to move your life forward.

Some decisions cause anxiety and fear while others may feel more straightforward. You may have to decide whether to wear black or brown shoes to work, for example, or decide what to eat for lunch.  These may seem like easy or simple decisions to some people, but when you are depressed, even the smallest decision can seem daunting or even impossible. If this sounds like your experience, you may be experiencing clinical depression.

What Is Clinical Depression?

Do You Feel Stuck?

Clinical depression is one of the most common mental health disorders there is. In fact, almost 8% of the American population has depression—nearly 15 million people. Women are twice as likely to have clinical depression as men, and the highest rate of depression was found in women between 40 and 59 years of age. One of the most common signs of depression is difficulty making decisions. Some of the other signs of depression are:

  • Feelings of unexplained sadness

  • Loss of interest in favorite activities

  • Withdrawing from friends and family

  • Changes in sleep (sleeping less or more than usual)

  • Feeling agitated or restless

  • Extreme fatigue

  • General, chronic aches and pains

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Eating less or more than usual

  • Crying episodes

  • Lack of motivation or enthusiasm

  • Suicidal thoughts

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24/7, or you can text the word “HOME” to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

Making Decisions And Moving Forward

One of the reasons that people who are depressed have trouble making decisions may be that they are not as motivated as they used to be. The reward of making any decision may no longer seem important, so there’s no real incentive to make a choice. Some experts claim that the prefrontal cortex and medial cortex in the brain are impaired when someone is clinically depressed, and this may cause impaired decision-making ability. One study showed that the process of making decisions is affected by the severity of the depression a person is experiencing. 

Anxiety May Contribute

Anxiety can be defined as a physiological, behavioral, and psychological reaction occurring at the same time. If you are experiencing anxiety, you may feel worried, fearful, or isolated. You may also experience indecision. You could fear that you will make the wrong decision and therefore, overthink/overanalyze any choice that you make. 

Seeking help from a therapist may be the best option if you feel as though you are experiencing anxiety symptoms. Your therapist will likely work with you using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. The crux of this treatment protocol is that our cognitions contribute to our feelings and thoughts, which then impacts our mood, or in this case inability to decide. One aspect of treatment may be to work on changing negative thinking and exploring where the fear of decision-making comes from.

Is Online Therapy Effective?

Do You Feel Stuck?

Online depression therapy has been found to be as effective as in person therapy. One study found virtually no difference between the effectiveness of in-person cognitive behavioral therapy and its online equivalent when treating depressive and anxious symptoms.

An online version of CBT may be the most suitable answer for those who have difficulty finding the motivation to get up and get out of the house or even make decisions. Online CBT is also adaptable to your schedule. You’re able to reach out for help on a routine basis or in a moment of crisis. With a licensed therapist like those at  BetterHelp, you can start taking steps forward.

Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing depression:

Counselor Reviews: Anxiety

“I put off finding a therapist for a long time. I dreaded my first conversation with Neil and all the awkward, clunky explanations I’d have to give about my depression and anxiety. All of the things that felt like dirty little secrets that caused me so much pain. But I was so pleasantly surprised by the way Neil accurately picked up on what I was saying and gave me more insight into how my brain was working. It made my issue feel so much less of a personal problem and more of a universal problem we could examine together. He always gives me a thoughtful response within a day or two any time I send a message. I actually think we’ve made more progress in between sessions just by being able to communicate things that are coming up in real time. Neil is intelligent and kind. I really appreciate his communication style and highly recommend him.”

“Thanks to Melissa Powell I have come to the realization that I am dealing with depression and anxiety (a hard pill to swallow) and am now working on developing a routine/coping and grounding skills that will assist me in everyday living and in the event of an anxiety attack or a depression episode. Melissa also helped me understand that some days are going to be harder than most and on those days I have to work harder to get the simplest of tasks done and that is ok.”


No matter the cause of your indecisiveness, there are many ways to move forward if you feel stuck. One option is to utilize online therapy services like BetterHelp. A therapist can help you make big decisions that will change your life, and they can also help you find the root cause of your struggle. All you need is a phone or other electronic device where you can login to start your first therapy session right where you are. 

You Don’t Have To Face Depression Alone. Our Experienced Counselors Can Help.

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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