Depression Can Drain You Of Your Will To Live

March 16, 2014 Liana M. Scott

When depression drains you of your will to live, there's one key thought that can save your life. Don't know what it is? Learn how to stop the drain. Read this.

Depression can drain you of a lot of things: motivation, self-esteem, focus, decisiveness. The list is long (Why Live When You Feel Like Dying?). The very worst of these is when depression drains you of your will to live. I know. I've been there.

Depression Drained My Will to Live

I think about that day a lot, less than two years ago, when I almost killed myself. I sometimes wonder if I would have gone through with it. How much lower would I have needed to be? I was pretty low - holding the lethal pills in my hand. I felt so desperate, so sad, so lost and alone.

At the very lowest moment, I had one, very brief moment of clarity in which I asked myself to think about just one thing that I was looking forward to.

And then I lived.

The 'Just One Thing' That Stopped Depression From Draining My Will To Live (And More)

From that moment on, that technique of finding just one thing has become my saving grace. When I lack motivation, I tell myself to get up and do just one thing, like vacuum the rug. When my self-esteem is low, I remind myself about just one thing that I am good at, like writing. When my focus is blurred, I pick just one thing to concentrate on, like reading. When my depression threatened to swallow me whole, when I nearly took my own life, I thought of just one thing to stay my hand: my daughter's wedding.

Can Something So Small Stop Depression From Draining Your Will To Live?

It is a very rudimentary, yet powerful, technique I learned during cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). People scoff at psychotherapy, calling it ineffective. When partnered with other treatments, psychotherapy and CBT can save your life.

Today, my particular battle is with this unbelievably long, brutally cold and snowy winter (What is Seasonal Affective Disorder, Seasonal Depression?). I'm trying very hard to think about just one thing I appreciate about the winter besides my love for wearing warm, cozy sweaters; the just one thing I appreciate about the winter is that is always ends (eventually), and it always ushers in the spring!

When depression is draining you of you will to live, of all those things that make you who you are, try, if you can, to think about just one thing that can help change your state of mind. Try it. It works!

APA Reference
Scott, L. (2014, March 16). Depression Can Drain You Of Your Will To Live, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Liana M. Scott

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November, 18 2014 at 2:25 pm

22 months ago I lost one of the loves of my life, my sweet little boy hung himself at the age of twelve. Afterwards I was diagnosed with BPD. Every day since I deal with my depression. My wife lost her job and got a new one a year later at half the salary. She is the sole breadwinner and now we have no savings and broke as can be. We will be forced to declare bk. I go to bed at night hoping that I won't wake up. We also have to other children. I'm sure they sense something wrong with Dad. I am depressed and want to die. I just cannot hurt them so bad but I am suicidal on a daily basis and do take meds to keep me off the cliff.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Erin Schulthies
November, 19 2014 at 3:27 pm

Hi Bob,
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your son. It sounds like you have a ton of stress to deal with right now. I think it's great that you're checking out Healthy Place and that you're writing about your feelings, like in this comment. Our Suicide Information page has a lot of great resources that may help you out, too. Hold on! You're worth it.

Jennifer Tazzi
November, 12 2014 at 5:31 am

Dear Jill,
I'm sorry that you're going through all of that. I hope that you get the help and support that you need.
- Jenn

November, 6 2014 at 10:33 pm

I turned 40 years old yesterday . I have no will to live . I lost my husband the love of my life 16 months ago . He was my life for 18 years . He took me to work one morning and never came to pick me up after work because he passed away . I am the time was my grandmothers caregiver for 4 years . After my husband passed away I could barely care for my grandmother with Stage 5 Alzheimer's Disease and she was placed in a nursing facility 3 1/2 months later . They were my life when I woke up to when I slept . I am now homeless living in the vehicle , everything has been stolen , most people quit speaking to me . My job of 17 years is slowly fading away and I see me getting laid off within a year . Bills are stacked up so high I have to decide who gets their money first . I wish God would call me home soon because I cannot take this anymore .

October, 23 2014 at 11:44 am

I have no will, husband dying, no money, house in foreclosure, cannot get work. Have pawned wedding bands, ele will be cut off on Mon., no more credit cards, no more savings, 401K, 7 years of this, no vacations, no dinners out, no holidays, no fun. NO HOPE> I pray to die, every night. God hates me.

Elizabeth Woodfield
October, 17 2014 at 5:07 pm

From the time I was a little girl until I started taking antidepressants in 1998, never a day went by that I did not think about killing myself. The most serious was the day I thought about driving my car into a bridge abutment. I didn't do it is because my girls were ages 2 and 6. How could I do that to them? Antidepressants totally changed my life. I no longer felt the deep despair and emptiness. I am a different person now: I have confidence, I feel loved, I feel like I have control over my life.
When I read the FB entry about the bravest thing you ever did was continuing your life when you wanted to die, my stomach spiraled in complete understanding.
However, when I read your

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Theresa Sipes
May, 26 2018 at 4:49 pm

Really? I’ve been fighting this depression for more Beth’s now... getting worse everyday. I spend my weekends in bed only get up to work. I’m overweight and used to love to cook and eat... I have no energy to eat nor desire to eat. List 30 lbs in 2 months. I have been reading self help books etc. I’ve been doing EVERYTHING to avoid antidepressants. #1 weight gain. Gaining more weight will depress me more. And people say you have no emotion or sex drive?

October, 12 2014 at 3:45 am

Coming up eight years since my 16 year old son died by suicide. Didn't understand depression. Do now, grief showed me what it is. I still struggle and wait for the day to find my boy but I will wait. I beat you depression. I have and will survive. I can't let you win. My other children need their mum to. You took my son, I hate you.

October, 12 2014 at 2:20 am

Thank you. This is beautifully written, and is such good advice. It is good to have a refresher from someone who truly knows. Im so glad you are still here too.

October, 11 2014 at 12:54 pm

hi Liana
i have struggled with depression since a nasty break up with a man i thought i was deeply in love with. He was a narcissistic, bi-polar mess. he took me on the roller coaster and the merry go round. when i finally got off the rides, i realized i was majorly depressed. i had never been depressed a day in my life. i thought "this too shall pass"... it never did. a few years later my mom ( who i was very close to ) was diagnosed with cancer. that really spiraled me down. i drank and drugged to numb myself. i moved with my job (travel nurse) to many locations trying to outrun the sadness, but it only followed. after my mom passed, i really hit bottom and got arrested several times for DUI's, domestic disputes... i never had kids (thank God). so i never felt i belonged to a family after my mom died. i have finally put down the drugs and alcohol so i could feel reality and it's a struggle every day. i am back on the upswing after nearly losing my nursing license due to my criminal background. i just wanted to share and say thank you for your article. it is the "one things" that keep me going. if i committed suicide, it would hurt my sister so bad and i couldn't do that to her. <3

October, 10 2014 at 11:18 am

I separated from my partner six months ago, lost my job two weeks ago, my girls left home, and I have GID. Hard to find even one single reason to live.

Deena. Deshetler
October, 10 2014 at 2:31 am

I'm all alone in my mind,in my heart and soul. One day at a time.

October, 8 2014 at 10:58 pm

Just reading your article made me feel a lot better. Finding one thing is finding life. Every day above ground is a good day. And I look forward to the challenges of each day. Becoming a fighter and staying strong. I'm telling myself 'BRING IT ON WORLD I'm not going anywhere and I'm not running. I won't self destruct and I won't let what other's do or say destroy me. I'm strong and will remain that way until GOD and only GOD see's fit to take me out of here. Not and never by my own hands. Love yourself first. You are the greatest thing since slice cheese and believing that you are and telling your self that goes a long way... Hold your head up high and your spirits even higher. Every day is a new beginning Believe it and make it so...

Hala Peniazek
October, 6 2014 at 5:42 pm

I've been depressed for as long as I can remember. No one understands unless they have it them selves....even the Drs don't get it.I've had ETC, brain stimulation and I have The fisher Wallace "zapper". Because of all this , my memory is soo bad I can't even keep a cashier job. I put myself in the hospital 2 years ago...don't remember any of it.I went there because I want to live but I thought I couldn't because of my feelings. Right now the medication is keeping me stable but I am scared to death when the meds stop working, and I know they will. This stuff sucks!It's a very horrible disease but so many people think it's bullshit. They're so lucky they don't understand it.

Scott D.
June, 8 2014 at 5:26 am

I have the urge to end it all often and to ashamed to say anything to anybody. I had a wife who was a psychiatric nurse. she says I have bpd. It runs in my family. My ex-wife divorced me because I took to the drink when I lost my life savings in a bad choice and I didn't give her the attention she needed. I'm alone now and trying to find that "just one thing". She wants to be friends but it hurts to much for me. I live with guilt and shame but still seem to have some common sense. I think I need to accept that I have BPD and get help for it. Thank You for this site!!!

June, 2 2014 at 9:24 am

I have depression & anxiety for years. I have BPD. Im feelinf donw today fvarious legitamate reasons. A lot of times I cant wait till the day is over. For a year now iv'e craved getting high to feel good even if its temporary.. I would do this at night if I had the resources to get anything.. oxycodone, hydrocodone is my happy pills. I dont drink. Im also a self harmer. I really dont have anyone besides a therapist & 2 friends I can talk about this stuff with. Im also still grieving the loss of my dad summer 2011. He was the last of my family.. mother, brother gone too. Just my daughter & myself. She also has mental illness, but is in a home that can take care of her. Yesterday was a good day.. hard to come by, hope to have many more one day. Never felt sooo alone since loss of family. A couple nights ago I felt the bad urge to cut my self. Sorry, guess I've said enough here. Good luck to yall.

March, 22 2014 at 9:55 pm

I am a single Mother/ Both My children have been given a mental Illness Label Of each there own issues. Son 17 (he lives outside my home)anger issues.
My daughter 14 yrs of age just recently was hospitalized and has severe anxiety. an eating disorder, depression. Its so hard to help them as I myself was Dignosed with bi-bipolar.
I am holding in there but when its gets bleak and dark. They are the light at my tunnel.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 23 2014 at 5:07 am

Hi Awake. It's so hard when our kids have mental illness, like ourselves. I wrote a blog about it a while ago. I know it can get very dark. Keep them in your focus. They need you and I know that's hard.

Heather Fay
March, 22 2014 at 5:32 pm

I have been battling depression most of my life.I have had many treatments including ect and it did help.I have noticed that now that am an older female with grownup children and no partner,I feel that I have very little to offer.I can' go back to be young again and do the things I always dreamed of doing.I believe that my life is over as a vital contributing member of society. I feel drained and have no emotion.I would love to feel again.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 23 2014 at 4:59 am

Hi Heather. You're mistaken if you think you have nothing to offer. While we can't go backwards, we can go forwards. When I'm feeling less than vital and valuable, I volunteer to help somewhere where people need me. It doesn't have to be much at all. Help with a charity. Donate blood. Help with a battered women's shelter. The list is endless... and volunteering can really help.

March, 22 2014 at 9:20 am

That one thing would be my 90 year old mother. Throughout my life she has been my rock, and even though now she has mild dementia and I can't lean on her like I used too she is still there for me to look at her beautiful face. I am only 50 and I know she won't be around forever, but she will always be in my heart.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 22 2014 at 11:39 am

Hi Lisa. We're almost alike; my mom is 88 and I'm almost 50. You're right, they won't be around forever.... but their love always will be! My mom will ALWAYS be there for me.... as will yours. <3

March, 22 2014 at 9:03 am

when depression hits me, I have no self esteem, want to end my life...I pray... thank God that I have a roof of my shoulder and fortunate that I am still here.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 22 2014 at 11:38 am

Hi Barbara - depression and self-esteem are so connected, it's awful. Honestly, start writing down things you're good at in a journal... write down everything! Such as; I'm a good cook... or, I have good taste in books... or, I like my hair.... or, I'm generous with strangers... All those things. When you're at your lowest, you reread this stuff and it reminds you or what a good person you are. And you really are!!!

mary worzel
March, 22 2014 at 5:47 am

I have been to that place where I have come so close, and have even taken an od, not knowing or caring if I ever wake up again. Besides battling bi-polar depression, ptsd, anxiety,@&the last 2 years,-breast cancer, it's getting more difficult to find that"one thing." I do love my family and few friends,who have been there for me, but I m so very tire of the constant struggle, with no future in sight. My Dr has suggested ect treatments, but they offer no hope to me. Maybe it's just my time? I'm more afraid to live than I am to die.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 22 2014 at 11:30 am

Hi Mary. You've been through so much. I hope and pray you find the strength to continue to find just one thing. Hugs. <3

March, 22 2014 at 5:16 am

Need that I feel like death is the answer and I then remember my kids. What I'm afraid of is one day them not being enough. I have always been sad but I would hide it by helping others. Until last June I did good then I broke and found out my husband of 19 years and 3 wonderful children was living with someone while off working. It has knocked me so far down and shattered me. This is a man that I almost lost 2 times to a wreck and having to have pacemaker put in at 33. And I lost him to cheating. I never left his side in either and I still am waiting to be enough and him ce home. He reason I spent to much and didn't save. I feel I have no family except my kids BC I have shut everyone out. All they say is u deserve better and it will get better. They don't grasp how I feel how deep I love him. I would die for him or my kids. My life is meant only to protect and serve God my husband and my kids. So what use am I now!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 22 2014 at 11:51 am

Hi Shan. Sounds like you've been through a lot. I have 3 kids too and they're all over age 20. You know... they never stop needing us, really. And, besides God, your husband and your 3 kids, you need to take care and protect yourself, as well. Be well.

March, 20 2014 at 2:43 am

This is where I have been at for the last two days following a brief manic episode. I really crashed hard. Feeling better this morning. I think I am rapid cycling. I like this coping skill from CBT. I incorporated that "one thing" into my computer and facebook password so that I am constantly reminded of it throughout the day. It really helps.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 20 2014 at 3:30 am

Hey Dawn... that is a WONDERFUL idea... a continuous reminder to do just one thing. I never thought of that! HAHA - spell it out with fridge magnets :-)

March, 20 2014 at 2:00 am

"Just one thing" is what I focus on. Sometimes I even find it hard to find. This one thing can seem impossible

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 20 2014 at 3:29 am

Hi Nikky. Yes... the one thing can be very difficult to find. During those times, I start very small. Focus on saying the words on the national anthem... in the right order... takes focus. Motivation... wash my face and put cream on it. Something to look forward to.... a tv show I like. Very small. Then build. You can do it! :-)

Kelly Morgan
March, 19 2014 at 2:44 pm

I do try to come up with a reason every day. My four year old granddaughter, my dogs, my amazing husband and children. I volunteer. I fight it every day, even if it's just getting up to let the dogs out.monce I start, I can keep going, and I've learned to be happy with just one thing some days. Better than not doing anything :)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 19 2014 at 2:48 pm

Hi Kelly. Good on ya! Sounds like you have quite a few "just one thing"s. :-)

March, 19 2014 at 10:22 am

What if you can't find that one thing?????

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 19 2014 at 10:41 am

Hi Julia. It is very hard sometimes, I know. I had to reeeeally dig deep on that fateful night 2 years ago, to come up with something. Start small and try to build upon it. Your "just one thing" could be to go online and watch funny animal videos on youtube. Depending on where you live, it could be planting a flower or herbs and watching it/them grow. You can do it!

Craig woodhead
March, 19 2014 at 10:18 am

I suffer from deep depression.
It comes in waves of guilt and regret
The only light for me is my children
I'm only 31 but feel 70.
Hopefully the light will be strong enough

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 19 2014 at 10:38 am

Hi Craig. I am so very sorry. Children can be amazing with their light. Try hard not to feel guilty, thought as a parent, I get it. I hope you are seeking and/or get professional help for your depression. It can be managed.

Faye Deaver
March, 19 2014 at 10:00 am

I love this. This is article is my 'just one more thing today" . Thank you.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 19 2014 at 10:37 am

Hi Faye! I'm so glad! If you can, build on it. :-)

Kelly Morgan
March, 19 2014 at 5:17 am

The grief it would cause my family has long been my reason to want to live when I would otherwise gladly close my eyes and never wake up again. My depression is mostly seasonal since I hit my thirties. The twenties were a lot harder. Anxiety and guilt over my depression are an added kicker, especially watching my kids struggle with the same problems, and during long trying winters like this. Medication for both is the only way I made it through this winter!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 19 2014 at 5:30 am

Hi Kelly. Can you think of "just one thing" that you're looking forward to?
I hear ya about anxiety, guilt AND seasonal depression. You've come to the right place. is an awesome website for information, coping techniques and personal experiences.

Laura Gehrke
March, 19 2014 at 4:32 am

My family is my "just one thing", I haven't seen them in 21 years, but will in May. I'm hoping to find that spark that will remind me on my dark days that I am loved. Until then, and even after my visit, I'm working on my physical healthand my mental health, the biggest rewards are the ones II've worked for.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 19 2014 at 5:06 am

Hi Laura. I so happy for you that you'll be seeing your family. And, making your physical and mental health a priority is huge as far as keeping depression at bay. Thanks for commenting.

March, 17 2014 at 1:48 pm

I suffer with depression and I see a thrapist every week,as I told her my weakness and depression comes from a unsuccessful marriage and I found myself on a down spiral, when I feel like I am at the bottom I think of mt son,I have two other children,but it seems like my son and I have been through the most since he was born. He's 21 now,but he keeps me going,I talk with God a lot,but sometimes I need the physical to get through sometimes from day to day.Is there something I can do to appreciate more of me,instead of seeking out others for the campionship that I am needing.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
March, 17 2014 at 2:46 pm

Hi Sharon. I'm glad you're going to therapy and that you have someone in your life who can support you. Thanks for commenting.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 7 2018 at 2:57 am

Hi im may not be able to understand much but I'm 15 years old as of now and when going through my days in life i always have to put on a blank face to show everyone else doesn't need to worry about me . it's getting nearly impossible to live with myself because my low grades in class keep pulling me down and my sister always just flat out complains about me on how I'm special due to being the first born, the last thing is that i can't help but feel alone whether I'm watching my favorite things on youtube or playing my videogames I'm starting to notice how thoses distactions aren't working anymore.

June, 10 2018 at 7:59 pm

Hang in there. Life is good but many times not easy. I never had good grades or GPA. Flunked numerous times. But with many struggles I did finish college and ended up with a decent career. Just be yourself and never worry what others think. You are you and that is what matters.

October, 3 2018 at 11:49 pm

To the 15 year old boy... I hope you're doing okay

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