Depression and Lacking Motivation: Cash
This is an area I want to focus on in the times ahead…I think it’s critical that we do so.
Mental illness has become a significant issue in our churches. It always has been, but we have come far as a society in our recognition of these illnesses. However, there is still quite a significant stigma both in our society as a whole and within the church.
We’ve all probably heard the old canard that mental illness is satanically inspired, or worse that it doesn’t exist at all. Some argue that mental illness is just another name for sin.
However, most educated people realize that there is a growing body of scientific evidence that proves that mental illness is just that—an illness caused by faulty wiring in the brain.
In a series of articles, I have chosen to address the latter. I’m going to write to you who do accept the scientific evidence and hopefully offer a deeper awareness of these mental illnesses. Therefore, I will not be writing to convince, but to develop a deeper insight.
Like the Good Samaritan, we wish to do as Christ commanded us to love others in dealing with these issues, the people who suffer from these terrible illnesses.
My goal is to foster a greater understanding among the faithful followers of Jesus Christ, with the objective being to cultivate a deeper love for, and an ability to be able to more effectively minister to, people in our churches who suffer with a troubled mind and spirit due to these maladies.
The articles will offer practical ideas for overcoming the issues that come with mental illness.
By far the most prevalent mental illness is depression.
According to the National Institute for Health, An estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in a one year time period. This number represented 7.1% of all U.S. adults. That’s 2.3 million people.
One of the major symptoms of depression involves a lack of motivation.
The lack of motivation that can be caused by depression and other mental illnesses can be debilitating.
Lack of Motivation is Common in Depression
The United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has established a working definition of that defines recovery as: “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.”
You may have noticed all the elements of SAMHSA’s definition of mental health recovery require you to do something. “But,” I protest, “I can’t even get out of bed.” Depression saps motivation so completely, the depressed person can often find herself in the midst of a pile of tasks left undone, and plans left unrealized.
Don’t Mistake Depression and Lack of Motivation for Laziness
This is often where the depressed person can be, mistakenly thought of and judged as being lazy or apathetic. A depressed person’s lack of motivation is not the same as laziness. When someone is lazy, they don’t want to do work or do unpleasant tasks, even when they have the energy to do so. They are unwilling. They may be motivated just fine, they simply don’t want to exert themselves in any way.
The person who is unmotivated due to depression usually wants to work and do other things, but feels as if they can’t. This is a key difference between laziness and depression.
Since we see that becoming motivated even in the depths of our depression, or other mental illness, is a huge part of the mental health recovery process, let’s look at three ways to overcome the depression-caused lack of motivation we might feel.
3 Ways to Beat Depression’s Lack of Motivation
1. Identify the Essentials
When you’re depressed and lack motivation, you may need to adjust your ideas about what is essential and what isn’t. Doing the dishes is essential; polishing the faucet isn’t.
2. Break Up Large Tasks Into Smaller, Easier Ones
Okay, so the kitchen needs cleaning. There are dirty dishes everywhere. But it’s such a huge job when we’re depressed that we let it go and it becomes much worse. And this just serves to make our depression worse because we feel lazy and no good. So instead of telling ourselves, “I’ve got to get this whole kitchen cleaned up,” we should break it down and say, the first thing is to unload the dishwasher full of clean dishes. But this is even too much, so we tell ourselves, “okay, the only thing I have to do right now is unload the silverware.” This is a job we can usually get ourselves to do because it’s short and easy and requires only a bit of our valuable energy. Once we’re done with the silverware, we can leave the kitchen and collapse on the couch until the next time we go to the kitchen for something and break off another small chunk by unloading just the bottom portion of the dishwasher.
By doing things this way, it allows us to at least get started on our immediate tasks. Granted, it takes a bit longer using this method, but it’s better than not doing anything at all.
3. Be Positive about Even the Smallest Victories
In mental health recovery, any small step should be celebrated. Use these victories to encourage and remind yourself that you can indeed overcome one step at a time. You’ll be able to say, “I know I can do it because I’ve done it before.” When depression causes a lack of motivation, know that, with Christ’s help, you can still beat it.