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Doing Nothing Can Make Your Depression Worse

August 24, 2022 Mahevash Shaikh

Depression often makes me want to do nothing. Whether it's due to demotivation, apathy, fatigue, or despair, I only want to sleep as much as possible. When I know in my gut that I need the rest, I sleep and feel better the next day. But I usually fight the urge to do nothing because giving in to it makes my depression worse. This seems to be a common issue for depressives, and knowing my reasons may help you figure out yours. 

Doing Nothing to Cope with Depression Causes Guilt And FOMO

When I do nothing, I feel guilty. This is probably because of the social pressure to be productive and live a full life. Sleeping instead of doing something fun or meaningful triggers feelings of guilt. A sense of worthlessness is added to the mix after seeing curated content on social media. There's also the problem of "fear of missing out" (FOMO).

According to VeryWell Mind, it can be a significant stressor because:

"FOMO is not just the sense that there might be better things that you could be doing at the moment, but it is the feeling that you are missing out on something fundamentally important that others are experiencing right now."1

Guilt and FOMO make me anxious, and since anxiety and depression are linked for me, my depression worsens. What's more, I judge myself for being weak, lazy, and boring. Note that words like these are labels that insensitive people assign to depressed folks. Due to internalized ableism, I sometimes judge myself as harshly as the aforementioned people. 

Doing Nothing When Depressed Makes Me Feel Like I Have No Control 

Perhaps the worst consequence of doing nothing for many days in a row is feeling like I have lost control over my life. This is because depression is in charge of how I spend my time. During such times, I feel l am not living; I am merely existing. Having some autonomy is essential to feel like a free human.

According to Social Indicators Research,

"autonomy, understood as the ability to decide how to live one's own life, plays a fundamental role in shaping well-being. Perceived autonomy enhances life satisfaction, increases positive affect like happiness, and protects from negative affect like depressiveness."2

Give Yourself a Break

I hope you can see that it is better to say no when depression repeatedly instructs you to do nothing. It's in your best interest to do at least one thing, even if it is something as simple as taking a walk in your neighborhood. But if you can't bring yourself to do anything, accept it and be kind to yourself. Watch the video below to know why.

Sources

  1. Scott, E. S. (2022, July 19). Do You Have FOMO? Here Is How to Cope. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-cope-with-fomo-4174664

  2. Steckermeier, L. C. (2020b, November 29). The Value of Autonomy for the Good Life. An Empirical Investigation of Autonomy and Life Satisfaction in Europe. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11205-020-02565-8

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2022, August 24). Doing Nothing Can Make Your Depression Worse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 9 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2022/8/doing-nothing-can-make-your-depression-worse



Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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