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Depression and Finding Motivation

  1. Jan 13, 2010 #1
    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.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2010 #2


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    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]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Jan 13, 2010 #3

    Chi Meson

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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.
  5. Jan 13, 2010 #4
    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.
  6. Jan 13, 2010 #5
    are you seeing a doctor about this?
  7. Jan 13, 2010 #6
    I have in the past, and I do take medication.
  8. Jan 13, 2010 #7
    meds can help--they're not a bad thing

    sounds like 'initiating' may be part of the problem
  9. Jan 13, 2010 #8
    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.
  10. Jan 13, 2010 #9
    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.
  11. Jan 13, 2010 #10
    that's a generality----

    I worked in the psych dept with schizophrenics and manic depressives---every case seemed different
  12. Jan 13, 2010 #11
    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:
    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
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  13. Jan 13, 2010 #12


    Of course it's a generality. The general case covers more than a specific case.
  14. Jan 14, 2010 #13
    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.
  15. Jan 14, 2010 #14
    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.
  16. Jan 14, 2010 #15

    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.
  17. Jan 14, 2010 #16
    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).

    There is an active campaign to stop this point of view, its something that prevents people getting help and only makes things more difficult.
  18. Jan 14, 2010 #17
    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.
  19. Jan 14, 2010 #18
    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?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2010
  20. Jan 14, 2010 #19
    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".
  21. Jan 14, 2010 #20
    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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