motivation problems and how to know when to chuck something in... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 07-12-2011, 07:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been feeling a deep reluctance to do much of anything for a while now - since the beginning of this year in fact. It doesn't seem to be depression because I feel happy most of the time, low moods don't last long and I am excited by and engaged by being with friends, listening to music, camping, being in nature and reading or watching thought-provoking things - I'm just not inspired to do anything goal orientated whatsoever...to do anything that I actually *have* to do... I've been doing a diploma in Breastfeeding Counselling for over 2 years and when I'm at the tutorials or at my related voluntary job, ie with other people I'm inspired and I love it - inbetween, I hate the whole thing and wish daily I could pack it in. I struggle to get in nearly as much creative writing (my passion) as I'd like to, either because i fear it or because I know i should be doing study work and feel guilty allowing myself to do 'pleasurable' stuff. I hardly ever do yoga anymore since stopping teaching yoga, again, I just don't seem to have the motivation to do it. It's got more pronounced since I went on a week long camping trip recently - since i got back I just really couldn't be bothered with anything!

 

I feel exhausted a lot of the time and want to sleep or just read. I find most days playing with my 3 year old son is something I really have to talk myself into doing with a degree of presence and enjoyment, though when I'm on the right wavelength I do really enjoy motherhood. I feel guilty because I am not working, I packed in work last year when I found it too stressful trying to study, be a single mom and work with no support - the idea was to work my way into self employment but I now find that i really seem to lack the motivation to do anything of my own accord. Basically unless someone is standing over me saying, do it now, it doesn't usually get done - or only at the last minute. I've been unhappy with many aspects of living in the city and wanting to live more rurally and in community with others, for a long time, so I'm wondering if this is partly just a withdrawing of my energy from an environment that doesn't suit me...or if, if I moved into that situation, I'd just confront the same issues because they're something about me. 

 

I guess my question is: how do you know when it's time for an external change, and when it's an internal one that needs to happen? Has anyone been through anything similar? This is so foreign to me because I've always been a driven, ambitious, hard working person, and needed to be active and productive a lot. Now, I feel guilty and a little depressed by not achieving much but it still doesn't motivate me enough to actually get on with stuff. 

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#2 of 11 Old 07-12-2011, 12:28 PM
 
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Is there someone in your life that you could make yourself account able to? A friend or extended family member that you could meet with (or talk to on the phone) at regular, scheduled intervals and talk about your next steps and how the last steps went?

 

this is one of the thing I use my therapist for. I see her once a month and we go over what had planned for the last month and how it went. Then we talk about the next month.

 

I have a history of depression, and this simple once a month talk helps me get focused.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#3 of 11 Old 07-12-2011, 09:28 PM
 
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I can definitely relate to the way you are feeling. I feel I am now just beginning to come out of it, or gaining the knowledge of how to come out of it. For me my lack of motivation stemmed from chronic stress, unrecognized depression, general lack of direction, not knowing what I wanted or who I wanted to be among other things. One exercise that helped me was to brainstorm my desires, however unrealistic they were at the moment. That helped me get a vision for the type of life I wanted to live. That put me down the path of finding ways to get there. Now when I need to work and I am feeling unmotivated to get things done, I picture the lifestyle I want to have. I make the connection between attaining that lifestyle and buckling down to work right now.

 

You said you used to not have this problem and now you do, so I am wondering if something changed in your life in correspondence to your feeling this way.  I have been struggling with so many of these feelings in response to feeling stressed or overwhelmed. And there were times where I was in fact quite depressed and didn't recognize it because I did feel happy, optimistic, and appreciative. But on the other hand my life was chronically out of balance and my soul felt crushed. I didn't see it until I came out of it. So you might consider the possibility that there could be some depression or lingering issues that need to be resolved in your life.

 

When judging if something is internal or external, I found those things so interconnected that there is no way for me to really separate those out. I think the external conditions reflects what's inside. I just became interested in the work of Louise Hay. Watching her videos on you tube and doing positive affirmations has already made a difference in me although it has only been a few days. I recommend it for every one. Her famous book is "You Can Heal Your Life"

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#4 of 11 Old 07-12-2011, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the thoughtful responses. Linda on the Move, I would love to see a therapist but money just doesn't allow for it - and when I did a 'donation' based one last year I had a bit of a negative experience with a therapist that was too directive and judgmental. I could ask a friend, though - good idea.

 

Chimomma, your post resonated with me - I did indeed go through a very hard time 2009/2010 when I left my alcoholic partner and went through a period of poverty and homelessness, I carried on doing everything I was doing and juggling loads of responsibilities through all of that - my tutor was surprised I didn't take time out from my diploma - and then when my son started preschool this January I suddenly had some downtime and I just couldn't face rushing around and doing loads of stuff during it... I really just needed to rest. The problem is, it's continued... and I've started wondering when my 'mojo' will come back. I think one of my problems is also needing more adult interaction, I seem to get down if I don't have a meaningful conversation with an adult for more than a couple days... so a lot of my time that I should/could be doing 'work/study' I am instead orchestrating my social life or on the internet because it provides a passive way of meeting those needs. I have read Louise hay, discovered her as a teenager and go back to her work periodically,t hanks for the reminder! I know i'll get through this, I'm just not quite sure what next steps to take... it's useful to know (although a bit scary) that you can still be depressed even though you feel happy enough. I might ask a couple of friends who have recovered from depression, for their views... I'm really not up for taking meds though so not sure what the route would be. 

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#5 of 11 Old 07-13-2011, 05:17 AM
 
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Oh my gosh... I can really relate!

For me, I was working LONG days while in school full time & had many other commitments... Then one day I said "no" to one of the commitments, and let's just say it went downhill from there. Ever since (and it's been several YEARS), I am sooo unmotivated. It's like the years & years of over-scheduling myself & over-working finally caught up with me (even though I thought it was mostly enjoyable at the time, minus some personal traumas and other serious stressors). It kind of sounds like you are in a similar boat, that you had a very busy & stressful life for some time, and once that intense pressure stopped, so did your motivation?? IDK, this is something I'm still working through myself so I'm not sure if I'm explaining clearly and I'm REALLY not sure what to do about it. I know one thing that helped me is taking on more commitments -- kind of an odd way to solve motivation problems, but I find when I have too much time on my hands, I don't use that time effectively, plus I tend to prefer being busy & it's freeing a bit to do it on MY terms and retain that ability to say 'no' when I have to. Another thing that really affected me is being told my whole life that I was 'wasting time' & being lazy whenever I slept in or took 20 minutes to relax. I feel like I always need to be productive, and feel so guilty when I'm not, and sometimes the need to be doing X paralyzes me from doing Y... it sounds like you're dealing with some similar feelings, you feel like you SHOULD be doing a certain thing but you WANT to do something else... All I can say to that is, start recognizing it. DH always tells me that there's no "should" and I need to do whatever I need to do, whether that means sleeping in a half hour, enjoying a hobby when there is unfinished housework, or doing yoga when I haven't gotten enough hours in at work yet. He says I can do whatever I want and just need to relax more and stop feeling guilty or something like that. It's hard for me to internalize it, though, and there's always this voice (not a real voice! lol) telling me I should do XYZ and instead I end up doing nothing, watching TV (I don't even like TV!) or spending hours online... I use the internet similarly to how you do, I'm also really lacking fulfilling adult conversation and so desperate to meet that need somehow...

I have had some severe bouts of depression and to me this doesn't feel the same, but maybe that's because my depression was always so severe (requiring hospitalization) that I can't recognize more mild depression. Or maybe it's something else entirely. I don't really know and I'm not sure how helpful I'm being to you, I hope something I wrote hits something in you & at the very least provides you with a little more insight... I'm sorry you're struggling with this too...

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#6 of 11 Old 07-14-2011, 03:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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crunchy_mommy, thank you so much for your post. It  helps me so much to hear from people who understand even if there aren't 'solutions' offered, and in fact your post gave me a lot of insight into the 'problem'. I think sometimes giving myself permission to have down time for a while, means that my natural urge to do stuff kicks in after a time - and this seems to have happened in the last 24 hours. I woke up this morning feeling eagerness and hope and a complete willingness to knuckle down and write an essay - something I've not felt in a long time. Interesting, because yesterday I really went through a process in my head and gave myself permission to drop the course if I want to. I can totally identify with what you said about dropping one commitment leading to a slippery slope of dropping everything.I did that in January when i cut down weekly voluntary work to monthly, stopped blogging, stopped teaching yoga, stopped freelance writing, and just kept on with my diploma - although I discussed seriously with my tutor in Feb the possibility of stopping, and she encouraged me to push on. I'm looking back to last couple years before my son started preschool, and all I had was a couple hours once or twice a week when he went to a free creche, and the day he was at his dads, to get anything done - and I was so productive with that time. It's so true that the more time I have, the less I do with it. 

 

So, I'm going to try having more structure and see where that takes me - look at each week and say, this week what do I want to do, and allow that to differ, because I work better in bursts of focusing on one thing, then focusing on another. this thread, and just getting it out on here, has really helped me to clarify what's going on. At the same time I really like what your husband says, crunchy_mommy, and wish I could get rid of that internal slavedriver too!A friend suggested that maybe I'm finally getting rid of my slavedriver and finding a deeper motivation that's not based on fear of 'doing nothing' and therefore 'being nothing', which really made sense to me... 

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#7 of 11 Old 07-14-2011, 04:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Devaya View Post

A friend suggested that maybe I'm finally getting rid of my slavedriver and finding a deeper motivation that's not based on fear of 'doing nothing' and therefore 'being nothing', which really made sense to me... 


I really like this... It makes sense. Maybe in the process of finding the deeper motivation we have to completely let go of most external motivation and that means, for a time, that maybe we end up doing nothing while we figure out what it is we WANT to do.

I'm so happy you woke up feeling great, maybe you could write a letter to yourself while you're feeling so motivated and hopeful -- that way if you start feeling down again, you have something to remind & encourage you that comes from YOU, not from someone else.

Maybe this will be a new beginning for you. thumb.gif

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#8 of 11 Old 07-14-2011, 08:43 AM
 
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I can relate. Although I have ADD so that is where it stems from for me. Basically, unless there is a high amount of pressure, I just have trouble getting anything done. I find that I have to keep myself busy and active or I will slip down into depression. I can also relate on the need for adult interaction, my DP works out of town so I'm alone during the week. I think my internet usage has increased because of that. Sorry, I have no helpful advice, but I do feel ya.

                                       DS 7 ~ DS 3

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#9 of 11 Old 07-15-2011, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Crunchy_mommy, thank you. You explain this motivation thing well - I can relate. Today I managed to almost complete an essay in the 2 hours or so my son was at a free creche, and I realised that I do work better when I have short concentrated spans of time - like, I've only got 2 hours so I've got to have something to show for it. When he's been at preschool for a whole 6 hours, it was so easy to think, yeah I'll do it later, I just need to wash up/make food/go online etc etc.... I now wish i'd opted for the five 3 hour sessions at preschool rather than two  hour sessions and one 3 hour one - oh well, you learn by doing! 

 

Applecider, your comment was useful too, I had problems as a kid with 'hyperactivity' and what i think would now be termed ADD, and since becoming a mother I think some of that has come back because I can no longer concentrate like I used to as a young adult - my brain was so befuddled from continual sleep deprivation etc that I just couldn't do anything for long, and that's become a habit, like my brain has 'unlearned' how to focus on one thing for hours at a time, and needs constant stimulation etc. I think I need to go back to meditating more and working on my mindfulness, because I've really let that slip lately and it shows! Thanks everyone for the comments, I feel so much more hopeful somehow, and I've noticed how good I feel when i can say at the end of the day that I've achieved something, even if it was 'just' being fully present with my son as much as I could and having a good day with him. 

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#10 of 11 Old 07-20-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devaya View Post

I've been feeling a deep reluctance to do much of anything for a while now - since the beginning of this year in fact. It doesn't seem to be depression because I feel happy most of the time, low moods don't last long and I am excited by and engaged by being with friends, listening to music, camping, being in nature and reading or watching thought-provoking things - I'm just not inspired to do anything goal orientated whatsoever...to do anything that I actually *have* to do... I've been doing a diploma in Breastfeeding Counselling for over 2 years and when I'm at the tutorials or at my related voluntary job, ie with other people I'm inspired and I love it - inbetween, I hate the whole thing and wish daily I could pack it in. I struggle to get in nearly as much creative writing (my passion) as I'd like to, either because i fear it or because I know i should be doing study work and feel guilty allowing myself to do 'pleasurable' stuff. I hardly ever do yoga anymore since stopping teaching yoga, again, I just don't seem to have the motivation to do it. It's got more pronounced since I went on a week long camping trip recently - since i got back I just really couldn't be bothered with anything!

 

I feel exhausted a lot of the time and want to sleep or just read. I find most days playing with my 3 year old son is something I really have to talk myself into doing with a degree of presence and enjoyment, though when I'm on the right wavelength I do really enjoy motherhood. I feel guilty because I am not working, I packed in work last year when I found it too stressful trying to study, be a single mom and work with no support - the idea was to work my way into self employment but I now find that i really seem to lack the motivation to do anything of my own accord. Basically unless someone is standing over me saying, do it now, it doesn't usually get done - or only at the last minute. I've been unhappy with many aspects of living in the city and wanting to live more rurally and in community with others, for a long time, so I'm wondering if this is partly just a withdrawing of my energy from an environment that doesn't suit me...or if, if I moved into that situation, I'd just confront the same issues because they're something about me. 

 

I guess my question is: how do you know when it's time for an external change, and when it's an internal one that needs to happen? Has anyone been through anything similar? This is so foreign to me because I've always been a driven, ambitious, hard working person, and needed to be active and productive a lot. Now, I feel guilty and a little depressed by not achieving much but it still doesn't motivate me enough to actually get on with stuff. 



When you can't function outwardly, there is some real soul-searching you need to do. A year ago, I felt the exact same as you, and for the life of me, I could not figure out what it was. Luckily, I had a therapist and told her how tormented I felt about it. So we drew out a diagram of how I identified myself. On that pie chart, I put in the things in my life that I did and what I was to people (wife, stay at home mother, sister, daughter, writer, recovering addict, runner, etc) I found that I dedicated more than 80% of my life to wife, mother, sister, and daughter. Almost none of my life was dedicated to fitness, and very little was dedicated to writing. About 10% was going into recovering addict. I was giving so much into other parts of my life that I couldn't give to myself and it was making me so miserable that I couldn't clean the house and didn't want to wake up. I don't know, but I would suggest doing what I did so that you can keep track of what parts of your life you feel like you could work on to make yourself happy. I know your 3 year old will thank you as well.

 

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#11 of 11 Old 07-20-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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Great thread!  Yeah, I know it's 5 days old.  But I came here today looking for motivation wisdom, and here's this thread!

 

I've only got 2 hours so I've got to have something to show for it. When he's been at preschool for a whole 6 hours, it was so easy to think, yeah I'll do it later, I just need to wash up/make food/go online etc etc.

 

I really identify with this. 


Someone moved my effing cheese.
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