Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Unmotivated --> guilty --> useless --> sad

I don't feel particularly motivated to do anything at the moment. Be it housework, preparing PowerPoint presentations on my research, lesson planning or private study. I feel guilty about not doing those things. Yes they are all work-related activities and one might argue that the sunny warm weather we are currently having in the UK is a great aid to procrastination. However, I don't feel particularly motivated to do anything fun either. I don't actually know what I would find fun.

In fact I just feel like staring out of the window and mulling over my uselessness to the world.

I should apply for jobs. But I can't. I don't know what is stopping me other than a mental block. But I can't.

I don't think I have anything to offer anyone. I have some skills, but don't have confidence using them. They are skills that the world doesn't seem to want. I don't have skills that are wanted: drive and motivation, ability to market oneself.

Am I of any use to anyone? Is there a point in me existing? I know there are people in my life who value me. But it's the same way I know broccoli is green. I can't get excited or happy about it. Nor do I feel particularly loved or cherished.

That again makes me feel guilty for not being able to appreciate the love that family and friends can and do give me. Makes me feel I shouldn't exist again, that someone else could live my life better than I could.

These thoughts keep cycling around in my head. I don't think I'm depressed, because I can still function. Routine helps. I can still take pleasure in things (I think). But ultimately I feel like a failure. And that isn't going to change.


Now I'm going to have a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit (despite the diet I'm supposed to be on), and find something to organise. Sometimes the act of putting things in order helps distract me from my low mood. I'll do it when I can get the energy.

P.S. Can anyone else relate to this? How do you cope?


  1. I don't think I'm depressed, because I can still function.

    I've always been able to _function_ to some extent. From my contact with mental health support, it's not about _functioning_, it is about _quality of life_.

    That said,
    Can anyone else relate to this?
    I can definitely relate to the cycle you are describing. Not necessarily to your particular thoughts (I very seldom feel someone else should be living my life for me, for instance); but the spiral of thoughts is familir.

    How do you cope?
    Nowadays, I try to tell myself that the cycle is artificial. I try breathing exercises. I try talking to someone about it; to my wife, to friends. I procrastinate viciously. I tell myself guilt is not allowed, and that I work so hard so often that any procrastination I end up doing is only fair game. I let myself at things I wouldn't be allowing myself.

    More often than not, for me, an infusion of blood sugar kicks me out of the cycle.

    1. Hi michiexile, thanks for the comment. Umm... Not sure what to write just yet, but just wanted to say thank you.

  2. Hi Chantal,

    I'm new to this blog. I've been looking for something like this. I'm a PhD student (not) working towards my candidacy, and I've been struggling for the last 6-8 months to find a rhythm that will enable me to be productive. I'm obsessed with productivity and tormented by guilt and shame at being unproductive. Today, I planned to go do reading/note-taking at my local Chapters bookstore, but it's lunch time and I haven't done anything yet (I haven't even brushed my teeth). I don't have any suggestions or comments in response to your post... I just wanted to say thanks for sharing. You definitely have something to offer.

    1. Hi Leona, thanks for sharing your comments. I think I understand the situation you're in having experienced similar things myself. I used to worry about productivity too, and in the end, my partner banned me from using the word, as I used to fixate on being 'unproductive'. It's easy, when you're new to this research lark, to get overwhelmed by all the things you're supposed to do. So much so, that you freeze.

      What is helping me at the moment (still have this problem, even though I've now finished) is a 'Done' list, on which I write down the things I've done that day. I do this for a week, and then at the end I can focus what I have achieved as opposed to the things I still have to do. Maybe this might help you?

    2. Hi Chantal,

      A 'Done' list is a good idea. I'm going to give this a try.

      I am feeling better at the moment. I hope you are too. :)

  3. Just wanted to add a link to a related blog I saw in the guardian today. It talks about one man's experience of depression, and his coping techniques for 'facing the world'. Hope it helps someone:

  4. This is a little late, but your post describes what I feel very often. I'm in college, studying to be a priest, and i struggle a lot with loneliness and laziness. The feeling of not only not wanting to do things I have to do but also things that I should want to d for the fun of it basically describes the last week of my life to a t.


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