Is it ever ok to be sluggish?

I've lived with depression since I was 16 and I am 29 years old now. Blakeslee in the last year I have been suffering again with my depression most days I do exercise today I feel like I can't be bothered. I feel guilty for not being active and motivated today which is frustrating will this pass or shall I sleep or how can I get passed this if I don't feel like doing anything productive or exercising?

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  • If you wait till you feel motivated before you do anything, it's not going to happen. That sounds harsh, but it's not meant to be: someone said that to me and after feeling a bit erghh about it I realised they were right. To an extent you DO have to push yourself a little. That way, you begin to feel better for making progress. Then you realise you managed to do something and feel a little more inspired to do it again, or maybe a tiny bit more.

    The key is TINY BABY STEPS. Not huge ones.

    Go and get a notebook and pen and brainstorm a few things you COULD do - around the house, in the garden if you have one, exercise wise, whatever. Have some LITTLE goals to aim for. For instance, not 'Get a Job' but 'get out my CV, read it through and arrange to show someone else to get their opinion on how it can be updated.' Or ''Tidy a drawer' (NOT 'Tidy and clear out my bedroom'). OR 'Walk round the block tomorrow morning after breakfast and notice the flowers in the gardens' rather than 'Get more exercise'. The goals need to be ACHIEVABLE, SPECIFIC and SMALL.

    That's the first thing. Secondly, depression is an illness and needs treatment. What treatment are you getting? You didn't say.

    You will have days you don't feel like doing anything. One technique is to accept that you feel demotivated and say 'Ok, I feel sluggish today....BUT I will still do my exercise.' Afterwards, you will feel pleased you did it anyway. You will see that you have more strength than you thought. And that you can overcome this, bit by bit. It doesn't matter how much you do, just as long as you don't give yourself excuses to give up! Giving up leads to disappointment and more demotivation. You will beat yourself up more and feel like a failure. Have a go - do the 'Opposite Action' technique (it's part of DBT therapy - act opposite to how you are feeling).

    Make sure you go to bed and get up and the same times each day if you can. Ensure you drink plenty of fluids because neglecting your health can make things much worse.

    If you can, try Mindfulness meditation - there are books on Amazon if you can afford to do that, or borrow from a library. An excellent one is by Mark Williams and Danny Penman and it has a CD at the back with short, do-able mindfulness meditations on. They are designed to help you live in the moment and accept how you are feeling without judgment and with compassion - because if you are depressed, you need to treat yourself with love and compassion.

    FInally, once you have achieved something in a day, however small (make a short list each day of LITTLe things you can do and tick them off) then congratulate yourself and have some small rewards handy - a favourite drink, chocolate, scented bath or whatever. And then tell yourself that for the evening you will relax and allow yourself to do nothing at all!

  • Wow... That was just what I needed to read at 4.25 am :) thank you so much for your detailed reply.

    Ps, I'm taking Fluoxitine.

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