Lack of Motivation Due to Depression Makes Recovery Hard

March 2, 2014 Liana M. Scott

Lack of motivation is a challenging symptom of depression. But you need motivation to recover from depression. Here’s the key to creating motivation. Read this.

One of the most difficult symptoms of depression is a lack of motivation. It's not that we don't want to feel better, we just lack the physical motivation to move and the emotional motivation to care if we move. Everything seems so difficult. Everything except staying under a warm blanket, hand on the remote, doing nothing, thinking nothing, feeling nothing. Depression and sleep always seem to go together, but laziness is not the cause of the lack of motivation depression brings.

I feel unmotivated right now. I'm in my trackies and slippers, a warm blanket wrapped around my legs. The TV is on and I've got a zombie movie playing in the background. My motivation levels are extremely low. I just want to sleep. I slept yesterday. At midday, I quit watching TV and went back to bed. I slept for another few hours.

When I woke up, I didn't want to do anything. But I did. I got out of bed, dragged the vacuum out of the closet and cleaned the floors. I didn't want to, but I did it.

I feel like going back to bed right now - feeling much like I did yesterday. The one thing I am motivated to do today is write this blog.

Depression Zaps Your Motivation

Lack of motivation is a challenging symptom of depression. But you need motivation to recover from depression. Here’s the key to creating motivation. Read this.And I guess that's the point - the way to get motivated, even just a little bit, is to commit to doing something. Just one thing - and make sure that you do it. It doesn't have to be much -clean the sink, make a phone call, walk the dog, walk to the kitchen, fold some laundry, dust something, play an instrument, play solitaire, write a grocery list, write a poem. It doesn't have to be much.

Doing that one thing can give you a sense of accomplishment. However small your sense of accomplishment, be proud. If you can, build upon it. Do another small thing (Steps To Self-Care For Depression). If you can't, that's okay too. For now, for today, you motivated yourself to do one thing. And for that, you should be proud.

Photo by Graur Codrin courtesy of

APA Reference
Scott, L. (2014, March 2). Lack of Motivation Due to Depression Makes Recovery Hard, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Liana M. Scott

Connect with Liana on Twitter, Instagram, and her site.

May, 26 2018 at 3:07 pm

Thanks for this... I’m just lost. Fibro pain, no motivation, so weak, don’t even want to eat or drink. Nothing tastes good or feels good. The more I lay here the weaker I get. I get up, one thing depletes my energy. My prayers for all of us going through this... it’s no way to live. I hope for a change soon

Linda M
March, 31 2018 at 9:10 am

Oh this fits how I have been feeling the past two weeks. I've laid in bed most of the day the past 9 days. I'm trying to push myself to go to the store today. I have chronic pain on top of depression and anxiety. We've been trying different medications and I just feel like nothing is working or helping.

March, 29 2018 at 11:10 pm

I have Bipolar II which results in more time depressed and less frequent hypomanic is not elation it's mostly agitation and over reacting emotionally. I find the articles on this website and the blogs about Coping with Depression are the most helpful things I've found in a long time. The shortness of the articles are appreciated. There is always a phrase that will stick in my mind when I'm coping with depression and lethargy. I like the sentence saying "lack of motivation is not because you're lazy". I realized I can "train" myself to focus on the positive by listing my accomplishments and write them down. One very valuable tool will be "Just one thing." I can do that and feel accomplishment. I can chip away at my habit of always thinking of what is wrong, or what will go wrong, or how terrible everything is or will be. I can celebrate my accomplishments no matter how small one blog entry says. I know all the techniques but they go out the window when my mind slumps into depression. It paralyzes me. I am on meds and was not diagnosed until I my husband died. From teen years til then 10 years ago I struggled to cope and made messes of my life. I lost faith so I have to figure how to do it for myself. These blogs have already helped. Thanks. I am willing to keep trying.

Dan The Man
September, 1 2017 at 6:44 am

I'm sat in bed reading this right now. Guess I'm not on the same planet as those who find the motivation to do something, even with a boyfriend and a few good mates I'm still not bothered enough to get outta bed. I'm gonna sit here and wait until everyone disappears. It's a good life. A good, depressive one.

July, 30 2016 at 7:03 am

I have this problem, too. I have OCD and struggle with depression. I notice that sometimes I will feel motivated to do something (this morning it was weeding my front yard) and then as soon I start doing it I feel immediately drained and exhausted and usually don't get it done.

May, 5 2016 at 7:30 pm

When I read about other people with depression stay in bed with the covers over their head, I saw myself. Before I go to bed I write down one goal for the next day. Tomorrow I plan to do laundry: dirty clothes by washer, ironing board set up so I can get out of bed and start my day with a positive outlook. Then my grandson reminds me that I am taking him shopping for a shirt and tie to wear to the senior class banquet. I can't disappoint him. When we come home my back will hurt and I will be exhausted; can't wait to get in bed. I have physical disorders so I will hurt and be exhausted. So much for my planned day.

March, 1 2016 at 10:56 am

I've been dealing with depression since I was 13. Now I'm 59.did not start on meds until I was 36. Paxil saved my life. But now I am falling again. Sleeping, avoiding,no motivation. I can't stand not knowing what is wrong. My moods are so out of control. It's not even that bad,yet. I just can't figure out what's wrong!.I started seeing a psychiatrist who I really like.always feel better after for about 4 days then it all starts again. I will never take my own life but sometimes I wish God would. I have a 4 year old grandson that just adore. But some days that isn't even enough. I really think I'm losing my mind.just let me be alone in my own place, don't call me, don't visit me, just leave me alone.

December, 1 2015 at 8:04 pm

I've certainly felt hpapier and more relaxed since becoming a nudist. Whether it is something scientific like increased exposure to sunlight and air, or just the confidence that came from accepting myself and embracing the way I wanted to live, I don't know. All I do know is that the simplest and fastest way to make myself feel better is to take my clothes off. +4Was this answer helpful?

December, 1 2015 at 6:52 pm

I extend cledoonnces in the loss of your friend. Many today carry a heavy burden of stress as they contend with our societies many expectations. But beyond the usual expectations of good citizenship, good work ethic etc., are many somewhat trivial societal standards that tend to put us into a competitive position in defense of our egos that may exceed our stress tolerance. When the clothes come off the facade is removed and what is seen is the REAL PERSON. There can be no more pretending and hiding. Everyone can be relaxed and comfortable with who they are and how they are. What a way to lay down that burden and carry it no further! +18Was this answer helpful?

October, 26 2015 at 4:32 am

You really make it appear really easy together with your presentation but I to find this matter to be really one thing which I think I'd by no means understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very large for me. I'm looking ahead in your next submit, I’ll attempt to get the hold of it!

October, 22 2015 at 6:01 pm

Depression does make one feel lonely. Lately I have started jogging and walking and that definitely helps. When I wake the mornings I immediately get out of bed and start the coffee. Just a few minutes in bed and I can feel depression starting to settle in.

August, 11 2015 at 10:54 am

I have only just found this site and golly gosh how wonderful it is to feel I am not alone. I think my depression started when I was young. (I am 66 now) but it didn't seem to be recognised then. I seem to be getting worse and am scared of what the future holds. I am on meds. Getting up is such a chore but head won't stop going round and palpitations start. I feel so exhausted during the day I just keep going back to bed and hide under the duvet. What does the future hold.

January, 7 2015 at 12:14 am

I have always believed that life has its ups and downs. I am 37 now. But when life just gave me one bad situation after another, I felt I was going to loose it. I used to think my life was similar to Job's in the Bible. In november theives broke into my appartment and stole the few valuables I had, in December I lost my job of 6 years, by January I was asked to vacate the appartment by my land lords, in February the house I moved into next was haunted. So finally had to move in with my step mother, which wasn't ideal. In March the laptop I had broke beyond repair. It seemed life could not get any worse. But I prayed all through this time, and finally was able to pull through. Even though I still do get depressed from time to time, I feel that things could always get worse. So hang in there..

January, 1 2015 at 7:03 am

I am laying in my bed as I write this comment trying to tell myself to get up but I just want to stay here in my bed....I also feel bad that my 3 year old has to see me like this and the fact that daddy does pretty much everything for him because mommy is so miserable...I am awaiting my ect treatment and think that because of the holidays and having to miss a ect treatment has caused me to relapse....its a horrible feeling and as hard as I try to talk myself into getting out of bed it does not work

November, 12 2014 at 9:47 pm

I am the type of person that will give positive advice to others in my situation, (depressed, down, done) it helps me to help them and to relate to one another. The past few years have become somewhat different. There are days I am so angry with life I don't want to speak to anyone and poor them if I do. There are days all I want to do is cry. Days I feel great for a few hours and try to accomplish everything to find later that I accomplished nothing. I'll remind myself when dealing with the mania to sit down and relax be calm for a couple minutes. When I do, I'm feeling way back down again. I have been diagnosed bipolar for 11yrs. Insurance issues like loosing my job have caused me to quit. medicine that was working. After 3yrs of hell, i am finally able to get meds again, and again, I'm in the lingo. I am tired...All I want is a good life for my babies. Structure, routine, happiness, polite, goofy, clean organized safe decent home. They are my world and it is not fair to them. They reflect me, if I'm sad, they're sad, if I'm angry, they're angry, if I'm OK, they're ok, if I'm happy, they're. happy. They deserve a better mommy and by God, I will be!!

chris teilmann
November, 9 2014 at 3:57 pm

It helps to hear the struggles of others. I feel so guilty when I spend so much time on the sofa or call in "sick" because I just can't find the energy to get ready
for work. I've tried several medications and combos but everything is such an effort and there is no pleasure in living

Sharon L. Katz
November, 6 2014 at 8:34 am

I have always done what is expected of me. I was an obedient child of emotionnally distant alcoholic parents. Married a man @ 23 who was 15 yrs older and alcoholic (but I didnt catch on to this). Found out 2 yrs after marriage that he molested his then grown daughters but I stayed because of religious beliefs. Inbetween had an affair and a child from that relationship but stayed in the marriage. Finally divorced 19 yrs later. Remarried 10 yrs after raising remaining 2 out of 5 children. I used to have abundant energy but now it seems like a chore to do anything. My husband is a good man. Now it all crashes down for some reason @ age 67. Love my bed and nightgown and my warm heating pad. Dont leave the house unless necessary. My adult children have no use for me. I dont seem to have the ability to express how I feel to my husband. I am embarrassed about being in bed until noon. He wants to move out of state which frightens me. That's it. That's where I am. Next seems to be the 'ole dirt blanket.

October, 2 2014 at 4:24 am

Doing one thing really helps me. Right now I am in a place where I have to use force to do one thing. I just want to sleep.

Alexander Wolf
April, 30 2014 at 8:57 am

This is so very true and so difficult for me not to feel terribly ashamed of. When I was younger I thrived on motivation and seemingly boundless energy or at least an ability to push myself. I was a nationally ranked swimmer as a kid, later an Olympic volleyball player for Canada, then a couple university degrees, including law. When it really hit, divorce came with terrible court battles for generous access and hospitalizations. Can't seem to get on my feet for many years. My wonderful sons keep me going and now a wonderful partner who seems to understand. Otherwise, it's still a daily struggle to move complete with tears and terrible thoughts. I live for moments of joy with my loved ones. I think I'm a good dad. Thank you for sharing. I needed to hear your story.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
April, 30 2014 at 9:18 am

Hi Alex. And thank you for sharing yours. I'm sure you're a wonderful Dad. I hope you're seeking treatment though even with such, a daily struggle it is indeed. Hugs.

I Be Here Advice
March, 30 2014 at 1:00 pm

Ever think that maybe depression and anxiety are just one of the devils games he plays with people? Ask god to be your joy.

March, 10 2014 at 6:58 am

Somehow a link to this site showed up on my facebook the other day. I have been thinking about it for a few days. Today I decided to check it out. I have suffered from depression for 16 years or more. I have been on medication for most of that time. Problem is most days I don't think the meds help much. I have trouble getting out of bed everyday. I have to force myself to get up and do something. As i write this i'm crying. I hate being this way. I have withdrawn from my own life. I live for the weekends when my husband is home. Because the weather has been so cold this winter it has been very easy to just sleep. And I think it has effected my husband and that hurts me even more. I need encouragement to get myself moving. I have tried to explain to my husband how I feel and I don't think he gets it.
On a positive note this morning I got up and decided to try to do just one thing like someone here has said. I have two shows i taped last night and could hardly wait til this morning to watched. I committed myself to not getting to watch them unless I did something productive while watching them. I decided to start small. I started a load of laundry before turning on the tv and then whenever there was a commercial on I took those 2 mins and did something. I am proud of myself. I wish I could do this everyday. Help.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 7:35 am

Hi Terry. You're doing great!! Setting yourself goals and/or reward is a great idea! I'm proud of you too! Keep it up if u can - go easy on urself if you can't. Just keep trying.

March, 9 2014 at 9:10 am

I jst read ur blog n feeling great after knowing dat dere r many people who feel d same like me...means I can talk abt my problems wid u all.n yeah dats my biggest problem u wt mentioned here dat take a task n do it on regular basis, m like I start many things like going to gym, took admission in french classes bt never went nw will try for sure...thanks a lot for dis blog n motivating me...

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 7:37 am

Hi Jasmine. Glad the blog has helped. You're not alone.

March, 8 2014 at 6:59 pm

Good comment as most have stated it is great to know it is not just you, takes away the guilt and helps to accept and deal this feeling. @ Diane, I looked up Effexor to see what it was, did you know Pfizer are recalling it .....I read 'Pfizer Recalls Effexor Antidepressant
WebMD ‎- 1 day ago
Pfizer Inc. has issued a recall for the antidepressant Effexor (venlafaxine HCI) because it may have been contaminated with a heart drug.'
Hope that helped. JC.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 7:38 am

Hi JC. Thanks for the post and the info on Effexor.

March, 8 2014 at 6:21 pm

I a funny way all this makes me feel normal (as I am in this group)nice to have this feeling & knowledge not soooo alone/upset/annoyed with myself Thank You Thank You Thank You

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 7:38 am

You're so welcome Loretta. Definitely not alone!

RaRa Loney
March, 8 2014 at 6:09 pm

This was all very true. I managed to get up around 1pm today and stay up. spent a little time with my son by just sitting by watching him play on the Wii, and cleaned the toilet. Most days, I've been sleeping almost the entire day. Depression literally sucks the life out of you. You have no life. My bed and sleep are my life...

Bob Rich
March, 8 2014 at 4:05 pm

I can really relate to what you wrote. For the last couple of weeks I've had no motivation due to my depression. Some days I'll stay in bed for most of the day and then can't sleep at night. It can be a vicious cycle if I let it be. I like what you wrote about trying to do at least one thing. Even though I don't feel like it, I do try to accomplish at least something even if it just getting up out of bed. Something that helps me a lot during times like this is my yellow Labrador retriever. Having Kaia has been a life saver and she helps keep me moving. Thanks for a good post and share.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 7:40 am

Hi Bob. I'm so glad my blog is something you can relate to. Having a dog is such a blessing, isn't it? I have 2 dogs, but 1 of the 2 is MY baby. They can feel our energy and know just what to do when we need it. Keep on doing that ONE thing. You'll get through.

March, 7 2014 at 8:52 pm

The thing that really gets me is all of the "shoulds". When I'm in a depressive dip, my inner critic is brilliant at commenting on how I'm unable to compete "simple" tasks like taking a shower or walking the dog. Even though it isn't true, it feels like if I could just summon the willpower, I'd be able to power through the zero motivation. Thanks for this post and for sharing. I feel less alone. <3

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 7:42 am

Hi Em. Back in the day, my parents used to say "just pull your socks up and get moving". They didn't know about depression back then. My inner critic screams this at me all the time and I have to do my very best to just tell it to go sod off! You're not alone.

Caroline Gillen
March, 7 2014 at 1:23 am

I had been.telling myself that yesterday was a bad day because all l did was waste time trying ( unsuccessfully)to sort out an IT problem with my lap top. But actually, l also sorted out a banking problem, and made dinner for my elderly mum, and my daughter and her fiance.
l am allowing pressure from others make me feel worse than l am, and these others don't really know diddly about depression,
what a fool l am!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 7:48 am

Hi Caroline. You're not a fool! We try so hard to do so much for the people we love AND problems need to be resolved and you resolved them! BE PROUD! And, try to go easy on yourself.

Maureen Passafiume
March, 6 2014 at 8:02 pm

Thank you for your helpful blog. Motivation is a huge struggle for me. I did do a couple of things today. Maybe it is partly due to the fact that I began taking fish oil capsules high in Omega-3's and vitamin B-12. I was reading that they can help depression, especially the Omega-3, on a high enough dose. I am also on medications, but it never seems to help as much as I would like. I am always reading the latest research on the subject and found the info on Omega-3's as part of an approach to treat depression. Here is the link for anyone interested:
I thought this doctor was spot on in his theories and treatment.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 7:50 am

Hi Maureen. I tried O-3's but got the fishy burps (uck - sorry). I've seen a commercial on TV lately for a small Krill fish oil pill with no or low chance of repeating on me. May try it again. I've heard good things about it too. Thanks for the helpful information.

March, 6 2014 at 6:55 pm

It is good to know that other people are in the same situation as me. Sometimes I feel all alone and that know one understands what I'm going through. These posts have been very helpful to me. Thank you all!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 7:52 am

Hi Lisa. I'm so glad that these post have helped you. Funny how we all feel alone though we know that we're not. I can't imagine how people 20 or more years ago (likely less than that) got support without the internet. The internet helps make this big world a lot smaller whereby we can reach out to people and get support from people.

March, 6 2014 at 6:00 pm

I am on the other side of the debilitating depression. Have been off meds for several years but when I feel myself slipping into that "funk" I have found taking 5 HTP from the health food store really helps with enhancing my mood. I would not try it while taking anti-depressants but it gives me that little boost and has kept me off meds. Hope this helps.....And know that there is another side if you can just get there!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 7:53 am

Hi Dana. I've just read/learned about HTP. I didn't know what it was. I've read that it should be taken with much caution. Glad ur in depression remission and that you've found something that can help stave off the dark times.

March, 6 2014 at 3:23 pm

I have been there too in the past. Now I'm on Effexor for the depression I was in. It made such a difference. It really does help. I have a lot more energy. I don't feel like everything is hopeless. Before I was just existing. Now I feel very much alive. Depression just doesn't go away by itself. It has to be treated. It's like being diabetic, having high blood pressure or heart disease. You need medication to control it. You have to help yourself so that you can have a better quality of life. Life is for living not just existing!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 7:57 am

Hi Denise. Excellent phrase - "life is for living not just existing". I'm one of the lucky ones too that has been helped by medication. I'm on Cipralex. I feel so bad for the people who aren't helped by meds or need to take a cocktail of this and that to feel some relief. It is an every day effort tho, keeping depression at bay.

Mary Pat Corley
March, 6 2014 at 2:42 pm

Thank you for your blog. It helps to know I'm not the only one that lays like a statue unable to find the strength to get up & do the smallest thing. I'm trying to get my meds adjusted & it has been a nightmare. Thank you to all who have commented too. I don't feel so all alone. #lazyinky

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 7:59 am

Hi Mary Pat. I just commented to Denise about how bad I feel for folks like u who need to figure out a veritable witches brew to help combat your depression. You're not alone. And, not sure what your hashtag means but you are NOT lazy either!

March, 6 2014 at 2:00 pm

I was relieved to read this blog. Lack of motivation has been the greatest symptom of depression I have been experiencing. I do one thing a day like you encourage readers to do. I have found that reaching out to trusted friends, who understand depression and don't judge me, and spend time with them or text them. They help me remember it's the depression and it's not my fault. There are days when I have to pull myself out of bed because I'm so afraid of going down that slippery slope of staying in bed and sleeping all day to becoming depressed again. Thanks for sharing. It is much appreciated.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 8:01 am

Hi Holly. Lack of motivation is a doosey! I experience so much inner-brain chatter when I'm slugging around too - "get up, do something, do ANYthing!". OY! Sounds like you have good friends. So important to have a support system. Thanks for the comments.

March, 6 2014 at 1:38 pm

I really needed this today- thanks!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 10 2014 at 8:02 am

Hi Michelle. You're welcome. I hope you're feeling better.

Leave a reply