Depression and Finding Motivation

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I am after some advice about confronting some personal demons of mine. I have been suffering depression since I started university, basically 9 years now. At high school I was a straight A student, I understood things easily and liked to learn ... and be challenged though I wasn't very often. I started my degree in electrical engineering and things just went down hill. I did graduate, though my GPA wasn't particularly good (Never been without a job though). I couldn't motivate myself, always did things at the last minute etc. I still did understood the subject matter though.

At the moment my life feels like it's on autopilot, I'm not challenged by anything. I have many ideas/inventions I would like to work on but can't seem to start any real work on them. I am easily distracted at work, which isn't a particularly challenging job. I do hope to get out of that line of work in the future, though economic considerations make that difficult. I am also hesitant to change careers incase I am unable to perform in any other career where as a relatively new and inexperienced employee could have bad results.

In the last couple of days I have found myself without the usual 'inspiration', whilst I am normally physically unmotivated to do anything, my mind has remained active, able to come up with ideas that can be quite creative. Now its somewhat blank. Having just finished christmas holidays I shouldn't be burnt out, maybe it's just getting back into the swing of things at work. Maybe its that fact I just had my 27th birthday and i don't feel I've achieved much.

I ask here because I feel there are likely to be people here with similar intellectual and social values as me, perhaps people who have overcome similar issues. So my questions to the people out there is how have you approached these sort of issues in life. I need a change, that I know, but it needs to be considered properly.

If you have any questions, please ask, I am comfortable being relatively open in anonymity.
 

Borg

Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,840
2,144
You noted that you are normally physically unmotivated to do anything. Have you ever tried any kind of regular exercise routine?

http://fitness.gov/mentalhealth.htm" [Broken]
 
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Chi Meson

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
1,767
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I have to second that comment from Borg. I went through severe depression a long time ago when I was an undergraduate. I started running, and I have been ever since, and I have never relapsed. No medication either. When I go for a few days without some form of exercise, I start feeling anxious and unfocused.

You also need to have something that you look forward to doing.

And 27? Pah! I just turned 45 mate! 27? IF ONLY! [wait for comments from the oldER geezers]

You have so much time. Start whatever you want to do.
 
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Excersize is on the agenda, but actually due to work pants becoming too tight :)

I realise I'm young and have plenty of time, it's just that effect birthdays have when you look back and realise all you have done is work. It will pass.

Also when I speak of physical unmotivated I meant I'm happy to sit and plan out a project, sketch ideas, research solutions etc, but breaking out the electronics and start building and programming never happens.
 
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are you seeing a doctor about this?
 
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I have in the past, and I do take medication.
 
782
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meds can help--they're not a bad thing


sounds like 'initiating' may be part of the problem
 
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Takes about a month of using meds to start seeing a benefit. If you don't see any benefit at all after 1.5 months up the dose. If that fails, then switch meds.
 
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I've been taking them for well over a year now, they have certainly helped. I feel the rest of the way is up to me now.
 
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Takes about a month of using meds to start seeing a benefit. If you don't see any benefit at all after 1.5 months up the dose. If that fails, then switch meds.
that's a generality----


I worked in the psych dept with schizophrenics and manic depressives---every case seemed different
 
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I've been taking them for well over a year now, they have certainly helped. I feel the rest of the way is up to me now.
Yea, what they usually advocate alongside drugs is therapy. I read up on some techniques they use, mainly cognitive behavioral therapy. Imo it seems like a waste. They just coach you on how to change your patterns of depressive behaviour. Which should be obvious to someone (who is likely smart given that they are posting on a science site) with half a brain.

I suggest you take a serious look at an average week in your life.

Take note of what makes you happy, and what makes you sad.

Of the list of things that make you happy, try to pick out the ones that you think make you feel happy and the things that actually produce an emotional response. I noticed that I used to get a lot of pleasure from playing video games (pre-depression), so I played video games (while depressed). But, the key word is USED to get pleasure. I continued playing games because I was seeking that emotional high which I associated with that game in the past. Needless to say, it never came. I have realized that the time I spend trying (subconsciously) to get happy from gaming is actually contributing to the depressed feeling I get mainly for being unproductive and not living up to my potential etc...

Gaming is just one example, for me.
Other things that gave me false pleasure that I slowly eliminated from my life were:
music
meaningless hook ups
99.999 % of the internet
religiously following winning sports teams

that's about it for me

let me know what you think of my "methods"
i would say i'm still about 5% depressed but i've only seriously examined my behaviours for the past month or so

try to get 1 hour of cardio/ week
if you live in an apartment building just run up and down the stairs once a day before you take a shower or go for a run
 
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that's a generality----


I worked in the psych dept with schizophrenics and manic depressives---every case seemed different


CLAP CLAP CLAP

Of course it's a generality. The general case covers more than a specific case.
 

drankin

meds can help--they're not a bad thing


sounds like 'initiating' may be part of the problem
Meds are a bad thing. They alter your brain chemistry. A doctor will perscribe one type of happy pill, if that doesn't work he'll give you another, on and on. It's complete BS. They hardly know what the drugs really do to the human brain. Just read some of the side effect horror stories.

And the last thing you want is to be "diagnosed" with depression. That could very well limit your career prospects.

Depression is something most people experience in their lifetime. It's part of life. It sucks but it goes away. It just takes time.
 

drankin

Yea, what they usually advocate alongside drugs is therapy. I read up on some techniques they use, mainly cognitive behavioral therapy. Imo it seems like a waste. They just coach you on how to change your patterns of depressive behaviour. Which should be obvious to someone (who is likely smart given that they are posting on a science site) with half a brain.

I suggest you take a serious look at an average week in your life.

Take note of what makes you happy, and what makes you sad.

Of the list of things that make you happy, try to pick out the ones that you think make you feel happy and the things that actually produce an emotional response. I noticed that I used to get a lot of pleasure from playing video games (pre-depression), so I played video games (while depressed). But, the key word is USED to get pleasure. I continued playing games because I was seeking that emotional high which I associated with that game in the past. Needless to say, it never came. I have realized that the time I spend trying (subconsciously) to get happy from gaming is actually contributing to the depressed feeling I get mainly for being unproductive and not living up to my potential etc...

Gaming is just one example, for me.
Other things that gave me false pleasure that I slowly eliminated from my life were:
music
meaningless hook ups
99.999 % of the internet
religiously following winning sports teams

that's about it for me

let me know what you think of my "methods"
i would say i'm still about 5% depressed but i've only seriously examined my behaviours for the past month or so

try to get 1 hour of cardio/ week
if you live in an apartment building just run up and down the stairs once a day before you take a shower or go for a run
I like what you're saying. I can relate to your gaming experience.

The way I see it is that when your depressed, you're in a bit of a rut in life. You have to make some significant changes to your lifestyle and get active in something totally different. Do something drastic, take up karate, learn a new instrument, just find something that requires a period to where you are applying yourself in a new way. My two cents anyway.
 
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Meds are a bad thing. They alter your brain chemistry. A doctor will perscribe one type of happy pill, if that doesn't work he'll give you another, on and on. It's complete BS. They hardly know what the drugs really do to the human brain. Just read some of the side effect horror stories.

And the last thing you want is to be "diagnosed" with depression. That could very well limit your career prospects.

Depression is something most people experience in their lifetime. It's part of life. It sucks but it goes away. It just takes time.

You're ignorant on this topic. I bet you even think that the H1N1 flu vaccine was a mind control potion devised by the CIA.

Think of antidepressants as vitamin supplements. Some people just have naturally low catecholamine levels whereas others do not. Those with decreased catecholamine levels are more susceptible to depression. Antidepressants are used to increase catecholamine levels in individuals that are deficient in the production of said neurotransmitters. So, no sometimes for some individuals depression doesn't just go away.

It's your choice if you want to declare your diagnosis.
 
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Feeling sad, having a rough patch in your life is normal and just goes away. Depression does not, there is often no logical reason to be depressed (as is my case).

And the last thing you want is to be "diagnosed" with depression. That could very well limit your career prospects.
There is an active campaign to stop this point of view, its something that prevents people getting help and only makes things more difficult.
 
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I am after some advice about confronting some personal demons of mine. I have been suffering depression since I started university, basically 9 years now. At high school I was a straight A student, I understood things easily and liked to learn ... and be challenged though I wasn't very often. I started my degree in electrical engineering and things just went down hill. I did graduate, though my GPA wasn't particularly good (Never been without a job though). I couldn't motivate myself, always did things at the last minute etc. I still did understood the subject matter though.

At the moment my life feels like it's on autopilot, I'm not challenged by anything. I have many ideas/inventions I would like to work on but can't seem to start any real work on them. I am easily distracted at work, which isn't a particularly challenging job. I do hope to get out of that line of work in the future, though economic considerations make that difficult. I am also hesitant to change careers incase I am unable to perform in any other career where as a relatively new and inexperienced employee could have bad results.

In the last couple of days I have found myself without the usual 'inspiration', whilst I am normally physically unmotivated to do anything, my mind has remained active, able to come up with ideas that can be quite creative. Now its somewhat blank. Having just finished christmas holidays I shouldn't be burnt out, maybe it's just getting back into the swing of things at work. Maybe its that fact I just had my 27th birthday and i don't feel I've achieved much.

I ask here because I feel there are likely to be people here with similar intellectual and social values as me, perhaps people who have overcome similar issues. So my questions to the people out there is how have you approached these sort of issues in life. I need a change, that I know, but it needs to be considered properly.

If you have any questions, please ask, I am comfortable being relatively open in anonymity.
I feel the same mate. I still have 2 years of electrical engineering to go and I dont feel challenged either. Ive got heaps of ideas and ambitions but they all fall short of either what im capable or what im motivated to do.
 

drankin

You're ignorant on this topic. I bet you even think that the H1N1 flu vaccine was a mind control potion devised by the CIA.

Think of antidepressants as vitamin supplements. Some people just have naturally low catecholamine levels whereas others do not. Those with decreased catecholamine levels are more susceptible to depression. Antidepressants are used to increase catecholamine levels in individuals that are deficient in the production of said neurotransmitters. So, no sometimes for some individuals depression doesn't just go away.

It's your choice if you want to declare your diagnosis.
Interesting, you allege that I believe in conspiracy theories.

Help me out, what causes the decreased amount of catecholamine levels in an individual in the first place? A lack of sertraline, fluoxetine, paraxetine in the bloodstream? Rather than trying to artificially increase these levels why don't find out why they are deficient in the first place?
 
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319
1
Meds are a bad thing. They alter your brain chemistry. A doctor will perscribe one type of happy pill, if that doesn't work he'll give you another, on and on. It's complete BS. They hardly know what the drugs really do to the human brain. Just read some of the side effect horror stories.

And the last thing you want is to be "diagnosed" with depression. That could very well limit your career prospects.

Depression is something most people experience in their lifetime. It's part of life. It sucks but it goes away. It just takes time.
While I realise this is your opinion, I think it's at best, uninformed. I lived with someone for a whole bunch of years who wound up in a state where they slept in bed, got up, drank some coffee, messed around on the computer for a bit, slept on the sofa, got up for a bit, and went back to bed. That's all he could bring himself to do. Him finding the motivation to even get dressed (never mind exercise) got really challenging. Between his GP and me, we convinced him to go to a psychiatrist, he got some anti-d meds and, after a whole, whole bunch of trial and error, wound up at a place -- finally -- where he had the where with all to begin exercising (which did help, but he had to be able to get there first) and eating properly and working on talk therapy and and and.

It's irresponsible to tell people to rule out medications entirely because you're ignorant of various levels of mental illness and what meds can do to help individuals. People do not have to go through their lives suffering simply because there are other people who think they ought to "just suck it up".
 

drankin

While I realise this is your opinion, I think it's at best, uninformed. I lived with someone for a whole bunch of years who wound up in a state where they slept in bed, got up, drank some coffee, messed around on the computer for a bit, slept on the sofa, got up for a bit, and went back to bed. That's all he could bring himself to do. Him finding the motivation to even get dressed (never mind exercise) got really challenging. Between his GP and me, we convinced him to go to a psychiatrist, he got some anti-d meds and, after a whole, whole bunch of trial and error, wound up at a place -- finally -- where he had the where with all to begin exercising (which did help, but he had to be able to get there first) and eating properly and working on talk therapy and and and.

It's irresponsible to tell people to rule out medications entirely because you're ignorant of various levels of mental illness and what meds can do to help individuals. People do not have to go through their lives suffering simply because there are other people who think they ought to "just suck it up".
Meds certainly have a place but the other side of the issue the ease of obtaining antidepressants as a fix for what is typically a normal human experience. It's a disturbing trend in our society, IMO.

"Sucking it up", is exactly what most people need to do.
 
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I have an official diagnosis as depressed and would describe it as a default tendency: overcoming it has to be sustained or you will eventually revert.

Excercise is a good suggestion.

Humor is excellent: never miss the opportunity to crack a joke or laugh at a good one.

Socializing is excellent: never miss an opportunity to get together with friends and make new ones.

Cognitive Therapy is excellent. The book Feeling Good by David Burns is what I'd recommend. Cognitive therapy claims a 40,000% better success rate than meds, or some such, and having read the book I can see why it gets better results than meds might. It helped me a great deal.
 
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Meds certainly have a place but the other side of the issue the ease of obtaining antidepressants as a fix for what is typically a normal human experience. It's a disturbing trend in our society, IMO.

"Sucking it up", is exactly what most people need to do.
Okay, I'll go with you there, drankin. Yes, I think they're over-prescribed and that an awful lot of people don't seem to want, or don't seem to believe they ought to, experience normal human emotional swings. There aren't any of us who are entirely anything all the time. Even the people I know who have the brightest dispositions, great intelligence, high personal motivation, and solid, comfortable lives, still despair from time-to-time. Then you apply coping mechanisms rather than meds. Absolutely.
 

Dembadon

Gold Member
607
89
... Socializing is excellent: never miss an opportunity to get together with friends and make new ones. ...
I quoted Zooby for emphasis.

Idealy, finding an activity or hobby which is shared with friends and/or family would be very helpful. Try new things! Running, biking, climbing, and the like, are excellent confidence builders; they can work wonders for you emotionally.
 
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From what I've seen depression and meds are sometimes necessary----the varied range of the causes of depression, and what can help is really almost individual and there's no one answer or solution.

I'd say if it gets bad, see a doctor.
 
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I like what you're saying. I can relate to your gaming experience.

The way I see it is that when your depressed, you're in a bit of a rut in life. You have to make some significant changes to your lifestyle and get active in something totally different. Do something drastic, take up karate, learn a new instrument, just find something that requires a period to where you are applying yourself in a new way. My two cents anyway.
If you can do that then you are not depressed, then you are "depressed". Most have never and will never experience a real depression and I sincerely hope for your sake that you never have to.

Your advice is perfect if you intend to prevent a depression from occurring, but once you are there the only things that will help is either a huge amount of time or some outside source.

Sorry, but I am really annoyed by people like you who thinks that psychology is trivial, who believes that you can just think yourself out of every problem! I thought that too when I was younger, but that was before I had experienced how paralysing a real depression can be. You lose control over your mind and body, you shy away from most things that can help and even psychiatrists barely gets through to you.


Anyhow, I hope your point was that the OP most likely don't have a depression and that he should prevent himself from getting one by following your advice. If so then ignore my rant.
 

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