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stardust's avatar

How do you keep going when you have nothing left to give? (Depression)

Asked by stardust (10544points) April 1st, 2014

How do you continue to function when you’re experiencing particularly bad depression?
I’ve been here before, but it’s different now as I’m living over 4 hours drive away from any family members.
I do not have someone who will make sure/cares if I get out of bed from one day to the next. I am at that stage where getting out of bed is a huge struggle.
I cannot think, critically or otherwise.
I work from home normally and am struggling to hold that together.
I cannot keep up with my studies.

What do you do to stay afloat when breathing feels like an enormous effort?

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16 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@stardust Just take it one step at a time. Don’t try to grab all the details, just break it down into small pieces that you can digest and move on. If you want PM me and we can talk further. Hang in there, we’re pulling for you. I tried working from home. I hated it. I need to have interaction with people or I get stir crazy.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Thank you for trusting us and asking this question. Just by reaching out to us, you are making the attempt to find help. You are signaling yourself you want to get better.

I have bipolar disorder, and in the past, I’ve battled severe depression. I understand your situation. When I was severely depressed in the past, I gave myself one task to perform each day. On my lowest days, that task might be as simple as brushing my teeth. If I accomplished that, I counted it a successful day.

Are you under a doctor’s care for your depression? I sincerely hope you are getting the help of a professional.

Are you currently taking any medicine for your depression? Please, contact your doctor and describe your situation. The doctor can prescribe something helpful or change the dosage of any medicine you’re currently taking.

You mentioned that you have responsibilities. Are you self-employed? Do you work from home for a company? Tell us about your studies. Most universities will allow you to take a break from your studies, if you’re having a medical problem that causes you to become unable to fulfill your requirements. I suggest you contact your school and ask for help.

Again, thank you for reaching out to us.

Remember depression isn’t permanent.

hominid's avatar

Tempted to PM you. But I’ll hold off for now. First thing to note is that there is something about depression that is a a guarantee: you are not in a state to make any decisions – especially of great importance. Keep yourself safe. As unlikely as it appears right now, life is worth living and it’s pretty amazing. That out of the way…

You likely will need to approach this in multiple ways:
– Seek the assistance of a professional.
– Medication may help.
– Exercise is a must. Especially when you feel that you have no energy to even get out of bed.

And in my experience, the following has proven helpful:

Get outside. Use what little energy you have to get yourself outside (during the day) and sit on the ground. You job is to simply observe. Get down real low and notice the blades of grass and the ants. Shake your perspective and see things that you have not seen in a long time – or ever.

Meditate. Just do the “simple” task of following your breath. Pay attention to the sensations you feel as you inhale and then exhale. When your mind wanders, observe it and try to gently come back to the breath. If you’re immobilized by your lack of energy, this may be doable. After some time, notice the nature of your thoughts that arise, and try to view them as thoughts, then come back to the breath. You might find that the nature of your thoughts (which are just arising beyond your control) is the fuel source of your depression. Observing the breath (even when it seems to take all of your energy to breathe) might help you ground yourself in the present moment (even temporarily), which can be of great relief. It can also help put those nagging thoughts into perspective, as you start to view them as thoughts, rather than living within those thoughts.

You will feel better. So many of us have gone through this. The fact that you will feel better is something I am most certain of. As @Hawaii_Jake mentions, nothing is permanent – even this funk you’re in.

Please feel free to reach out via pm anytime.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@stardust Don’t give up. Keep fighting. We care about you and value you.

josie's avatar


talljasperman's avatar

I start taking until I have something to give.

janbb's avatar

When I’ve been down I found that making myself get out of bed was the first step. Also, trying to have some kind of plan for the day. But I realize that is hard to do when you are deeply depressed.

stardust's avatar

Thank you all for your kind and warm responses.
I’ve been feeling depressed since around December. My sleep was quite poor, etc. It’s just become worse since. I’ve been doing all of the recommended things to make sure I don’t slip further but they’re not helping. I’ve talked to people, I’ve been exercising, I’ve been trying to meditate, etc.
I was veering between sadness and that terribly numb place for a while. Now I’m pretty much numb/detached. I’ve even noticed myself becoming quite bitter over the past couple of days. I do not want to be that person. I have so much support from people, even if I don’t see them often. Even here, I feel supported by you – thank you for that! I do not want to lose sight of how good other people have been and continue to be towards me.

@Adirondackwannabe Thank you so much. I know what you mean about working from home – all of my work is solitary. I spend most of my time in front of a computer trying to get work done so I have to make extra effort to be social, which is much harder at the moment.

@Hawaii_Jake Thank you. I know you have a lot of experience with this so I really appreciate your input. I’ve been trying to give myself a task a day to complete. I even went to my classes today, met a friend for coffee and went for a walk. I came home and got straight into bed and slept for a few hours. I was wiped. I have no desire to leave the house again any time soon.
I’m doing postgraduate study in Eng lit. at the moment and have spoken to staff who have been very understanding and supportive. I’ve tried to get to classes but the concentration isn’t there so I often come away feeling worse. I can’t articulate my thoughts correctly, etc.
I have found a new doctor but cannot get an appointment for another week so I am holding out for that. It feels like a long way away at the moment, but at least it’s in place.
@hominid Thank you for those helpful suggestions. I have been trying some meditation and I find it helps in the moment. I often find that my mood is so low that I don’t have the energy to do anything but stare off into space/sleep – I know this sounds silly, but sometimes lifting my head off the pillow feels like too much.

JLeslie's avatar

Can you take a class that you would enjoy? I know enjoying things can be really difficult during depression. Something that will force you to get out of bed. Hopefully, you will also meet some people and have some people interaction. A dance class? Painting class? Cooking class? Or, work at a job where you help people part time? Again for the interaction. I knew someone who worked at a pet store two days a week because she loves animals. It paid very little and most people there hated the job, but she absolutely loved it. It was better than volunteering to her because she did make some money, and she loved the animals and loved helping the customers.

I hope you feel better, I know how hard it can be. :(

chyna's avatar

I don’t know the answer but I’d like to give you a [[[hug]]] and just say that we are here for you.

Cruiser's avatar

Can you connect with a local clergy that may have home safety check capabilities?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@stardust “I know this sounds silly, but sometimes lifting my head off the pillow feels like too much.” That’s not silly at all. That’s chronic major depression. It’s a disease, and it’s just as real as the flu or diabetes or cancer. Just because we can’t see the disease doesn’t mean it’s not real and not severe.

I commend you for going to class today. That must have taken an exorbitant amount of energy.

I would like to strongly suggest you at least call your new doctor’s office and report your symptoms. Explain to a nurse you have an appointment, but you would like a professional to know what you are experiencing.

I wish I knew what to tell you about your work or your studies. I can suggest you talk to your superiors at work and to your professors and especially to the counselling office at your university. Tell all these people what you are experiencing, ask them for suggestions, and follow their suggestions.

Please, feel free to send me a private message if you wish.

rojo's avatar

I think this will help. I listen to it over and over until I realize that it really doesn’t matter. It helps.

At least it does for me.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

You have to get onto medication to help you make a start. Once that kicks in, you will work through it step by step. You are NOT alone in this, personally if I didn’t have to go to work, I probably would NOT step out of the house unless it was going up in flames. Believe it or not getting a dog has helped tremendously. The duty to walk it forces you up and out. If you don’t mind animals, think about it.

Afos22's avatar

For me, it’s easier to be indifferent than to wallow in self pity. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

oh, and weed really helps

Afos22's avatar

I mean coffee

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