6 Signs You Are Too Depressed To Do Anything

The author William Styron memorably labelled depression as “the grey drizzle of horror”. This mood disorder may appear unexpectedly and comes in various forms, ranging from major depression to dysthymia and seasonal affective disorder. People who have bipolar affective disorder would also experience depressive episodes. 

The World Health Organization stated that depression is the primary cause of disability worldwide. More than 300 million people of different age groups from all over the globe suffer from depression. 

Now, let us all delve into 6 signs you are depressed to do anything: 

  1. You can’t snap yourself out of it 

“You really need to snap out of it,” your best friend said to you one day when she visited you during one of your down moments. 

“I want to, but…I just can’t…” you replied to her, with an ardent hope that she would understand how you desperately want to love watching your favourite movies again. 

Okay now, picture this! You visited a friend in a hospital after his right knee arthroplasty surgery (the surgical reconstruction of the knee joint). What will you tell the friend? Will you advise him “to just walk”? Of course not. You will show concern and ask him what did the doctor tell him, and to follow the doctor’s advice. Similarly, if your friend is depressed, you cannot just tell him or her “to snap out of it” since it is extremely invalidating and suggests that someone is actually “deciding” to suffer from depression (Rollin, 2016). 

According to Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C (2016), depression is not a choice. No one chooses to experience immobilizing levels of depression. If they were given a choice to stop experiencing it, they would choose to stop. Depression is a grave mental illness that requires professional treatment and medication if required.

2. You can’t cheer yourself up

Have you ever felt disheartened or downcast, however you cannot pinpoint exactly why you feel that way? 

You try to pick up your hobby, talk to your loved ones, however nothing you do seems to lift up those heavy feelings in your chest. 

A licenced psychologist, Guy Winch Ph.D (2015) stated that depression is an abnormal emotional state, a mental illness which causes extensive and long-standing effects on our thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behaviours. Depression will cause the sufferer to feel sad about everything. As a matter of fact, it does not necessarily require a trigger such as a difficult event or situation, a loss, or a change of circumstance for a person to feel depressed. Outwardly, we might see that a person’s life can be totally awesome and amazing – he or she would even admit this is true – yet that person still feels dreadful. 

3. You’ve lost interest in everything

Do you feel that everything in your life is less enjoyable, less intriguing, less important, less lovable, and less worthwhile? 

Have you felt that it is difficult for you to be motivated, feel pleasure, excitement or anticipation? 

Yes, indeed depression can colour every nook and cranny of our lives; causing everything less exciting and less satisfactory (Winch, 2015). 

This loss of interest is known as anhedonia, which means a reduced desire and lack of motivation to do anything. This symptom can be experienced in varying degrees: some obtain no pleasure from being in the presence of other people, some may feel lonely yet want to isolate themselves (Goldsmith, 2021). 

4. You can’t function like you used to 

You wake up one morning, and it feels so difficult to get yourself out of bed. You should shower, but you think, “What’s the point?” You go to work, but are unable to focus on the task at hand. 

Psychologists will assess the four dangers of abnormality to diagnose depression: deviance, distress, danger, and dysfunction. When a person experiences grief, it may take a while to pass, but a person with clinical depression is most likely to withdraw from daily activities and to stop communication with their loved ones. The mountain in front of them seems harder to climb and it feels difficult to jump over the hurdles and challenges (Bev, 2018). 

5. Your “laziness” isn’t triggered by anything

One particular day, you feel so “lazy” and unenergetic to do anything. You prefer to lie around in bed, instead of doing the laundry. 

A social psychologist, writer, and activist, Devon Price, Ph.D (2021) stated that a depressed person may look “lazy” due to apathy and impassiveness. He or she will not care to accomplish a particular goal and oftentimes one will have learned helplessness. 

Did you know that the perceived “laziness” in depression is often not triggered by one specific thing?  There is not always a lucid and direct reason why a depressed person may exhibit this behaviour of “laziness”. Therefore, if you feel that you are despondent, dispirited and lethargic all of a sudden, depression may be the reason why. 

6. Your “laziness” isn’t a choice 

“I know what I have to do to accomplish my goals, but no matter how much my mind ruminates and reminds myself about it, I never do it! I suppose I am lazy.”

Have you ever confessed the above statement to the person whom you trust? Or maybe you may have such a thought inside your mind. 

“Laziness” has become a hackneyed term associated with depression – oftentimes acts as a character judgment, really. This does nothing to help us comprehend why someone does not strive and put one’s best foot forward to do what they want to do, or what is expected of them to do. Laziness in depression is not a choice. When “laziness” is perceived as a problem rather than a symptom of a problem, a man may miss the “red flags” that he is depressed and needs treatment. Most of all, try to stop condemning yourself as “lazy”. People who view themselves from a depressive lens may see themselves as lazy and thus usually feel trapped in their behaviour. Once the underlying issues are addressed, you will be one step closer to healing (Miller, 2015). 

Final thoughts 

Depression is a complex multisystemic disease which can appear concomitantly with other psychiatric problems such as anxiety disorder or phobia disorders. A thorough and holistic understanding of depression has been elusive due to its complexity. However, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Depression is highly treatable even in the most severe cases. Depression is usually cyclical and early treatment may hinder or forestall recurrent episodes. Therefore, don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you notice that you or your loved ones exhibit the above behaviours. 


Bev, J. S. (2018, April 13). Psychological Abnormality Defined. Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/blog/blog/2018/04/psychological-abnormality-defined#1.

Goldsmith, B. (2021, March 3). A Life Without Pleasure: The Pain of Anhedonia. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-fitness/202103/life-without-pleasure-the-pain-anhedonia.

Miller, L. D. (2015, October 3). 7 Reasons Why Laziness Is a Myth. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/contemporary-psychoanalysis-in-action/201510/7-reasons-why-laziness-is-myth.

Price, D. (2021, March 4). 5 Tips for Resisting the “Laziness Lie”. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shrugging-should/202103/5-tips-resisting-the-laziness-lie.

Rollin, J. (2016, November 26). 4 Things You Should Never Say to Someone With Depression. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/mindful-musings/201611/4-things-you-should-never-say-someone-depression.

Winch, G. (2015, October 2). The Important Difference Between Sadness and Depression. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201510/the-important-difference-between-sadness-and-depression.

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