What You Think Is Laziness Could Actually Be Depression
Laziness and depression can look almost alike, but they're very different states of being. For example, every once in awhile, you will have a lazy day. After you come home from work, you might neglect doing laundry and crawl into bed instead. Maybe you’ll turn on Netflix, have a snack, and fall asleep. It feels nice, right? We all need the rest. But what does it mean when one or two lazy days turns into a few lazy weeks? Is it laziness or depression?
Depression and Feeling Guilty for Laziness
Some symptoms of depression include decreased energy and guilt. For many people (especially those who are very committed to work and/or family), fatigue can occur followed by guilt. Here's an example of someone who probably suffers depression but worries that she's simply lazy.
Sally works 10-hour shifts and then has to pick her children up from school. Usually, she enjoys her job and spending time with her children. But after about 10 years as a mother and 12 years as an employee at the same job, she gradually notices her energy decrease. She starts to call off work and arrives late to pick up her children. Her boss threatens to fire her as it appears that she no longer wants to work. Her children complain about her being late and assume that she just does not care.
Sally does not know how to respond to her boss or her children, as this really is not like her. The truth is, she does want to do her job, but she is lacking the motivation and doesn't know why. Sally does care about her kids, of course. "So what can it be?" she wonders. "Am I just lazy? Maybe I need to get off my butt and do something."
Like Sally, many of us feel guilty for being lazy. We want to be responsible, resilient, and in full control of our wellness.
I Feel Like Sally
During the last week-and-a-half or so, I have felt completely fatigued. I have spent days in bed sleeping and/or watching Netflix. There have been very few evenings I have actually seen the sunset. Most days, my meals have consisted of pure junk food. I am sure that a lot of my bad habits have to do with my weird work schedule. But the harsh, self-defeating side of me says that this is all my fault. I think to myself that I am just lazy. I need to stop sleeping so much and write more. Over and over, I just think about what I need to do.
It's Not Laziness, It's Depression
As I was writing this article, I realized that I have not been lazy. I have gone to work every day. I have finished my articles by the deadline and just gotten it done, whatever it was.
Yes, to the average person, these might not seem like things that should make me feel proud. These are responsibilities. But I am proud because I have found that I have been productive, even during depression.
Depression's Feelings of Laziness and Guilt Require Understanding and Support
If your loved one seems lazy, please know that this could be depression. If it is, he or she needs your support. It can often feel tempting to yell at him or her to get up and do something. But that is not easy for him or her. He or she feel guilty enough as it is.
If you think you might have depression, try to talk to just one person about it (friend, family member, etc.). If the very idea of reaching out makes you feel uncomfortable, it might help to make a list of ways in which you have been productive during your depression (I Can't Reach Out, I'm Depressed). Sometimes having written evidence for productivity can change your view on laziness.
Lueck, M. (2017, July 9). What You Think Is Laziness Could Actually Be Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/toughtimes/2017/07/what-you-think-might-be-laziness-could-actually-be-depression
Author: Martha Lueck
I’m very sorry for the late response and what you have been going through! :( It definitely sounds like depression. Have you talked to anyone about it? I have found the Crisis Hotline to be very helpful.
Again, I’m really sorry for the late response! I hope you feel better soon!
I'm really sorry to hear about your motivation. It must be really hard. :( It's great that you're in your third year of college, though! So you obviously care and have worked hard. You've had motivation. So you can get it back.
I had low motivation during my last year of college, especially when the weather was bad. But with good help from friends, family, and a counselor, I got through it. I hope that gives you some encouragement.
You’re Lazy. It’s an excuse to do nothing.”
I’m willing to do ANYTHING to be motivated to do SOMETHING. I didn’t even challenge his really hurtful remark - why bother?
Nobody believes depression is real till we’re dead / in the Hospital (failed suicide attempts,) and THEN we’re “Selfish.”
Right. Nobody would choose this, and anyone who “Faked” depression would go nuts trying.
Whatever. More guilt - yay!
I'm really sorry to hear about your son's hurtful remark. Unfortunately, people who have not experienced major depression may find it really difficult to empathize with those who do. But that does not justify mean comments about mental health conditions.
If I may ask, how old is your son?
This confirms to me that I am a burden to my family.
I'm glad that this helped you figure out what you were feeling. I'm so sorry to hear about your job and financial struggles. :( Depression can be EXTREMELY draining and affect every aspect of your life, especially your job. I've been there.
Have you applied for any other jobs? Do you have any family members or friends outside of work in whom you can confide? Having a strong support system can help a lot!
I am very sorry that you are having trouble studying. :( I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you. I can certainly relate to the lack of motivation. My motivation really started to decline around this time of the year. Perhaps it was the weather, as it always changes and affects my mood.
In the morning, has your mood changed from day to day? If your mood and motivation have been low in the morning, those things probably affect the rest of your day. However, I am not a professional. That is just my thought.
Do you have friends, teachers, and/or family who might be able to help you? Perhaps they can relate as well and give you study tips.
From the sound of it, you certainly have ambition. Even those with ambition get dry spells. You can do it! The best words a friend of mine said to me: “If you care, you’ll do well.” Please seek the right kind of help. Let me know how everything goes. :)
I sincerely apologize for the late response. It was very courageous of you to share your struggles on here. So thank you for taking the time to do that.
It's great that you try to do at least one task every hour. Any amount of progress helps, even if it's just a little bit. Every accomplishment gets you one step closer to wellness. In regards to feeling "trapped in depression," I completely understand this. I have been struggling with it quite a bit lately. When this happens, I try to remind myself that I have gotten through it before; I can get through it again.
Have things improved for you? How is your support system?
First of all, I am very sorry for the super late response! :( Thank you for sharing your struggles with us.
I am very sorry that you were in such a dark place. I really hope things are better for you now. Have you made any friends?
I completely agree with what you said about people being so materialistic and greedy. You seem to be a very empathetic person, which is great! Empathy is something that this world needs. Unfortunately, a lot of people lack it or just don’t feel comfortable expressing it. So thank you. You’re a light for so many people. You are loved.
I’m very sorry for the late response and that you are experiencing so much intense depression! :( Unfortunately, depression does not discriminate against age. I feel that with social media and so many young people using mobile devices, it can be easier to feel depressed and/or anxious. It seems as though there is much more online interaction than face-to-face communication. That can make a lot of people feel lonely. Social media causes a lot of people to compare themselves to their peers. Do you use social media? If so, how often do you use it? That can definitely contribute to depression.
I know that it’s been awhile since you posted on here. Have you talked to your parents or a therapist about your depression? I hope you get the help you need!