Am I Depressed or Just Lazy?

snap out of it

Why is everything so difficult to do? Why does everything require so much energy? Am I really depressed or just lazy? I often wonder the answer to these questions. Some people choose to be lazy and live perfectly happy lives. Others are completely mentally healthy but have trouble with will power. You can be lazy without having depression. I think the answer lies in motivation and discipline. Both are required to meet a goal and having difficulty with either one of them results in failure or delayed achievement of said goal. Because both have the same outcome, it’s hard to tell the difference between lazy and depressed from the outside, but there is a difference. After all, depression is a clinical condition, laziness is not. I think if you are lazy, you have trouble with discipline, if you are depressed, you have trouble with motivation.

What is the difference between motivation and discipline? Discipline is the course of action leading to a certain goal. You use reason to determine the best-course of action for the long-term. It’s the assertion of will power over basic desires. Motivation is the inner drive to behave or act in a certain manner. It’s the “why” behind a goal. Motivation is based more on emotion while discipline is based more on reason. Motivation and discipline work together. Motivation sparks interest in a goal initially when that wanes, discipline takes over to achieve the goal.

I have no trouble with discipline. I know what I should do to better myself or to reach my goals. My problem is motivation. Motivation is the fuel you need to be disciplined. I have trouble finding the motivation to do anything, even the things I enjoy, like drawing. I know I should get out of bed in the morning, it’s the right thing to do for me, but there is no motivation behind it. I am disciplined though, so I get up and do the right thing anyway. It’s like this with everything. I force myself to do things because I know it’s what I “should” do. Forcing myself to do every little thing is exhausting not to mention miserable, so sometimes I just can’t push myself. Then I start thinking I’m lazy and I don’t want to be a lazy person, and that starts the negative self-talk cycle.

Why do I have trouble with motivation? Because I do have depression. A common misconception is that people with depression are sad all the time. That’s not the case. Part of depression is the inability to feel emotions, it’s emptiness. There’s no happy, no sad, no drive or interest, it’s just numbness. Motivation is based on emotion, no wonder we have trouble with it!

What I’ve been doing to help with this problem is to keep a routine. In a routine, you decide ahead of time what you are going to do. In the moment, it is much easier to react, than to respond. A reaction is an automatic action influenced by an external situation, like a routine. A response requires more thought, reason and control of your emotions. If you are already committed to do something, then you react by doing it. This is hard at first, but after a while, a routine becomes automatic and you start to think about it less and just do it. It allows you to rely more on discipline than on motivation, which works well for people with depression. Lately, this hasn’t been working for me. My supervisor is notorious for being unorganized and now that she is back on the grid, my life is changing at a moment’s notice. It’s really hard to keep any kind of routine. So now I’m looking for another method to help with my motivation problems. I’m going to try a few different things. I’ll let you know how it goes.


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. BeckyDue
    May 16, 2014 @ 10:11:49

    Great post. Good luck! πŸ™‚


  2. christy barongan
    May 16, 2014 @ 11:35:56

    I was going to write about the same thing today!


  3. Hayley
    May 16, 2014 @ 18:38:39

    I’ve been having the same problem with my employer. Hope you find something that helps! Great post =) x


  4. Trackback: Motivation Strategies | Somber Scribbler
  5. dkatiepowellart
    May 17, 2014 @ 11:34:39

    When I had my severe depression, I could sit fro an hour with the checkbook there, the pen here, the bill there, and not move, not get that ONE check written. It is SO unlike me. It was as if I had not free will, very odd — and it didn’t make sense until I was through it. Mine was situational, but I have great respect for depression.


  6. rosewiltshire
    May 17, 2014 @ 18:47:21

    Reblogged this on roseversusblackdog and commented:
    I got caught out by sudden tiredness early in the evening than expected. While a potentially good sign of improving health it hasn’t helped my concentration whilst I’ve been typing up my blog posts. I must take advantage of any semblance of normal sleep.

    In the meantime, before the next round of blogging here’s a “re blog” of a rather apt blog post from a somber scribbler. I love the each blog post is accompanied by illustrations in coloured pencils. I had thought of adding art to my blog, but then that WOULD take WAY too long for someone as steadfastly perfectionist as we. Therefore today I live vicariously and enjoy both illustration and considerations from the author on the topic of motivation.



  7. rosewiltshire
    May 19, 2014 @ 13:29:41

    My pleasure. Sorry about my wonky commentary, hope a few more folk got to see your marvellous drawings.



  8. weebluebirdie
    May 25, 2014 @ 14:36:24

    I often get myself stuck in the laziness v’s depression loop too. Spotting the difference isn’t always easy. If I’m feeling jittery and overwhelmed, I define it as depression. If I just can’t be bothered, I think I’m just being lazy. Your post reminded me that there is often another aspect – the numbness and emptiness. I first remember this as a distinct “feeling” when I was about 16. I remember feeling detached from myself, hovering somewhere above myself. It was after that I started referring to myself as an “Empty”.


  9. Shelly
    Jun 15, 2014 @ 09:44:01

    When I initilly commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox andd now each time a comment is added I get four e-mails
    with the same comment. Is there anyy wayy you
    can remove me from that service? Thanks!


  10. depression symptome
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