Many depressed people can’t do basic things like wake up in the morning, drink coffee, or even get out of bed. Any of the simplest actions become real torture for them.
The main question that pops up in my head is why? Why get up, wash the dishes, take the children to kindergarten, why go to work, turn on the laptop, why strain? After all, it doesn’t make sense. Depression plunges us into absolute emptiness, into a vacuum.
Today we will talk about how to overcome this condition. And for starters, how easy it is to get out of bed and start a new day.
Why is this happening?
Daily mood swings are normal in depression. At certain times of the day – right after sleep, in the middle of the day or late in the evening – you can feel a sharp deterioration in mood, weakness and lack of any motivation. During these peak moments, it is hard to get out of bed, it is impossible to get to work, brush your teeth, have breakfast or take a shower.
Depressed people live on such “emotional swings” for months, balancing between the desire to die and the fear that it will take too much strength. By the way, the time of day, when the “worst thing” leans in, is different for different people. For some it is morning, for others it is evening or night. The stillness is soothing. Lulls. But it also makes us easy prey for bad thoughts.
Why can’t we get up in the morning?
Many decisions need to be made. As soon as we get up, a whole mountain of tasks falls on us.
It seems that making a choice is not difficult, but for a depressed person it easily becomes a straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Here is how Anastasia Maksimova, the author of the book Out of Depression, describes it:
“I could easily burst into tears, deciding whether to wear jeans or trousers for me, from the mere fact that it is necessary to think about it. Will paralysis is one of the symptoms of depression. More conscientious people fear that they will spoil everything with the wrong decision, but I was repelled by the very need for choice.
One day I was driving to work and thinking about the afterlife (why not?). It suddenly occurred to me that when I die, my consciousness will die: no more decisions to make, no more early mornings, no more daily chores to deal with. This made it so good! Honestly, it was a very deep feeling of accepting death.”
What to do?
First, figure out what exactly prevents you from getting up in the morning. Maybe you didn’t sleep well at night, or you don’t see the point in starting the day, or you are afraid that you will have to make too many decisions. Perhaps you are tormented by guilt, and these torments take even more strength. Or maybe you just do not believe that anything good will happen on this day.
The idea that you need to not just get up, but immediately make decisions, drives a depressed person into a state close to a stupor. If you work outside the home, you start to get nervous about what to wear, what to take with you, remember the tasks for the day … These thoughts make you feel sick – you want to freeze and not move, preferably never.
Here is what Anastasia Maksimova, the author of the book Out of Depression, did in such cases:
“I laid out clothes next to the bed – down to my underpants, bra and tights. I packed my bag, put the cosmetics that I would need on the washing machine, and thought about what to eat for breakfast. So my morning became almost autonomous: after sleep, I could act without loading my brain. It took away the fear of decisions. I was no longer so afraid to get out of bed: it no longer seemed to me that I would immediately be attacked by a million and one choices that had to be made. I have completely automated my morning.”
Structure your time
The situation is more complicated if you work from home. On the one hand, you do not need to rush anywhere. On the other hand, you don’t have to rush anywhere. Unfortunately, this requires even more self-discipline, which you most likely do not have the strength for right now. Structure your morning as much as possible. You should have a plan for literally every 10 minutes: I get up, brush my teeth, pour coffee into the coffee pot … The more detailed the schedule, the easier it will be to implement this plan. You must not leave yourself room for thought.
If you leave space for depression to seep in, she will take advantage of this, you can be sure. But when your head and hands are busy with actions, your brain becomes “closer”. It does not matter at all which part of the plan you implement. The main thing is that you have a plan for this time.
Praise yourself, even if you have made two points out of ten, and do not forget to tell yourself that this is already an amazing success.
Do one thing
Sometimes we want too much from ourselves. And then this endless line floats in my head “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t” – until we give up, cover our heads with a blanket and allow ourselves to fall into a slumber. Don’t let apathy take over your mind.
No need to plan to move mountains and build a crystal palace, just get up and do one thing.
If the mountain of dishes in the kitchen depresses you, get up and wash one cup. Only one.
It will not take much time and effort, and you will make a breakthrough from your swamp, and it will be much more valuable. If you feel the energy in yourself to wash the plate as well – great , let’s go! If not, that’s fine too. Go back to bed if you want to, and praise yourself for being able to get up and do something. See, it’s not that hard. Or, on the contrary, it is incredibly difficult. And then all the more worth considering yourself a good fellow.
Don’t get up
In general, this advice is contrary to most books about depression, which advise to stand up. But, in the opinion of Anastasia Maksimova, it is much more important to make the “rational brain” move. You may simply not be able to get up no matter what you do.
“A familiar feeling: just put your foot on the floor and all the sorrows of this world will fall. And here, in bed, there is at least the illusion of security and tranquility. And you know what? Don’t get up. No one dies if you just stay in bed today.”
There is absolutely no reason to blame yourself. Accept it as a decision, not a defeat. Much more important is not to allow yourself to lie down staring at the ceiling or the wall. Grab a book, laptop, notepad, coloring book, and crayons—anything that will keep you entertained.
Shake your brain. In the end, you can even stretch in bed – you don’t have to leave the “island of calm” for this. Don’t make it a daily practice, but don’t beat yourself up for spending one full day in bed.
Most importantly, whatever method you choose to force yourself to stand up, praise yourself for every action.
There is nothing ridiculous here. Now you are a fighter, and every step for you is a victory. It’s not your fault that you feel lethargic, it’s just how your brain works right now. You can change it. The main thing is to give yourself time for this.