How do you motivate yourself when you go through depression? Or how do you cope with a lack of motivation to do things?
With bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), whenever I am well or hypomanic, I enjoy my family, church, work, photography, briskwalkings, making homemade bookmarks and other crafts and gifts, writing, blogging, etc.
But when I go through a relapse of clinical depression, all my motivation to do things seemed to disappear! Do you experience this too?
I felt extremely tired and easily tired. I have no heart nor energy to do anything. Waking up each morning seemed to be most difficult. I dread to wake up to face another day. I don't think I have the energy to face another day.
When severely depressed, it takes a lot to effort to even attend to basic general hygiene. I remembered days when I go without bathing or washing my face!
Eating takes too much effort as I don't have appetite. Exercise became extremely difficult because I was too tired.
Actually during clinical depression, it was due to the chemical imbalance in my brain that I am not able to enjoy anything in general.
But when I am not doing very much, I began to believe that I am useless, ineffective, inadequate, helpless and incapable of achieving anything. These negative thoughts make me feel more discouraged and in turn reduced my ability to do things. It becomes harder and harder to wake up each morning and to attend to my usual activities. This become a visual cycle and it has been called the lethargic circuit.
How to break this lethargic circuit and derive motivation to face each day?
For me, praying to God and reading the Bible daily, is my first weapon to break this lethargic circuit. I realized that unless God gives me the grace and strength to cope, I will not have the energy nor the desire to face another day.
Thank God for His faithfulness in helping me to cope. God sent me many kind friends who prayed and encouraged me. God also led me to read useful books and articles on how to manage clinical depression.
I am learning and doing the following which is helping me to break the lethargic circuit and derive motivation to face each day and to do things:
1) I am learning to wake up at the same time each day though I dread waking up. I realized that once I am up, I am able to do some things after all. I also try to sleep at the same time every night so that I get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep or rest can worsen depression.
2) I am learning to eat my meals regularly and as nutritiously as possible. Though I don't have much appetite and eating seems to be such an effort, I realized that I need all the energy and nutrition to fight this depression and therefore I must eat! I try to eat more vegetable and fruits to gain more vitamins and nutrition.
3) I am learning to exercise regularly. Exercise seemed so difficult at first as I am so tired daily. But I am learning that exercise is important to build up my strength and stamina. So I learn to start slowly and daily. I find that as the days go by, I began able to exercise longer. My body and mind becomes stronger. Exercise release good chemicals to help us fight depression.
I enjoy briskwalking. I go for briskwalks whenever I can. Sometimes I exercise by walking on my brother's treadmill or stationery bike.
4) I am learning to create a routine. I realized that without a routine, I tend to avoid doing things as I no longer enjoy anything. This will only caused me to remain in the lethargic circuit. To break this lethargic circuit, I learn to plan my days. I schedule regular exercise and some activities that I enjoy for each day. I found that with every task that I managed to complete, I began to feel motivated to do more. I began to experience a sense of accomplishment.
5) Break tasks into smaller portions. When going through depression, every tasks seemed so difficult. It's hard to began to do anything. Procastination sets in. To avoid this, I am learning to break my tasks into smaller and more manageable portions. I try to do only a portion each day and I found that I was able to get things done slowly. This again gives me a sense of accomplishment and the motivation to do more.
6) I am learning to be patient and not to be too hard with myself. I try to remember that I am unwell now and it takes time to rebuild my body and mind. So when I failed to accomplish what I planned for the day, I learn to tell myself, it's okay. I will try harder tomorrow. Or I break the task into even smaller portions.
7) I am learning not to let my negative thoughts or feelings prevent me from daily activities. I am learning that my feelings during depression are not necessarily valid. They often have little bearing on the truth. My feelings of being too depressed to cope do not mean that I will not be able to cope when I am actually in a situation. So I am learning to ask God for strength to cope with daily challenges despite my depression.
I am thankful to God for His mercies and faithfulness in helping me to cope each day. This relapse of clinical depression is yet another learning experience for me to learn to manage my bipolar disorder better. It is also another opportunity for me to experience God's love, goodness and mercies in many wonderful ways. God's Words and His presence with me is my daily encouragement and strength.
I am also thankful to my family, my church and my friends for prayers and support. I am thankful to all of you, my dear blogging friends and visitors, for your prayers, encouragements and support in this difficult time. Thanks for all your suggestions on how to manage depression and for sharing your life and experiences with me. I have so much to learn!
How about you? How do you motivate yourself to do things when you go through depression?
Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a blessed day.
This is a testimony of God's mercies and goodness to me in my endeavour to understand and manage bipolar disorder or manic-depressive illness (a medical condition that can be treated) and other challenges in my life, by God's grace. Thank God that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! (Romans 8:37)
Friday, June 13, 2008
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