For the past year or so, I haven't considered myself depressed. Frustrated and anxious and neurotic, but never depressed (despite having been repeatedly diagnosed with major clinical depression). I figured, "I don't really feel sad so that must not be it."
I have no motivations or ambitions, and I think this has largely to do with the fact that nothing really makes me happy. Nothing is capable of making me happy or content for a sustained period of time (i.e. more than a minute), nothing brings me joy. Not old hobbies or interests, not my family.
I assumed for the longest time that maybe this was just my personality. That I'm lazy and unmotivated and indecisive and need to just decide to BUCK UP. That if I made a concerted effort, everything would change. It's that I just don't have the energy or desire to make that effort.
Do you suppose I'm depressed? What would you suggest I do if I can't afford to get help? For the record: talk therapy has never helped me and I've been through about 5-10 different antidepressants/anti-anxiety meds. I feel very lost right now, and discouraged - I don't know what to do anymore, and I know if it keeps on like this...why bother?
This is such a common thing and you need to find your reasons.
1. Love addiction
You feel love and closeness and intimacy is the only way to true happiness and well being and so think there is no reason to learn to cope on your own because it is pointless. Self help seems cold and mechanical. You might feel resentful towards self help because you feel the only way to be helped is by talking to someone about your feelings or your situation or having someone to love.
You think you must do self help perfectly otherwise it wont work. You may think you must follow every instruction down to the word in a self help book and feel overwhelmed or as if it wont work if you cannot grasp something in the book. You might be afraid of making mistakes or wont end up doing things properly and so don't want to take the risk of having that happen.
3. Fear of disapproval
You might think that sharing your negative thoughts with a therapist will result in his/her disapproval because you think they are shameful or you appear foolish. Being reluctant to share you thoughts might actually make the therapist frustrated and so you feel disapproved of and so retreat even more.
4. Putting the cart before the horse.
You think motivation comes first before action and so you wait around until you feel motivated to do something to help yourself. Since you don't feel motivated you do nothing. You might feel lethargic and lack energy to do almost anything and have no motivation the only way is to to action and start doing something to get motivation to show up.
5. Unexpressed anger
You might have reacted negatively to something your therapist said or to their personality. Rather than expressing your feelings directly, you do so indirectly such as through cancelling appointments or being argumentive or not completing assignments.
You feel your suffering and problems will go on forever and any effort will result in failure and so you rather do nothing.
7. Coercion sensitivity
You feel your therapist is tying to push or boss you around or force you to do things and so you resist and refuse to do them.
You think your feelings are controlled by things beyond your control like hormones, fate, chemical imbalances, temperament or how other people treat you. There seems little point in doing anything since you feel you cannot control your own feelings.
9. Fear of blame
If you accept the idea you are responsible for you emotions you feel you will be blamed for them. You therefore don't assume responsibility for your own emotions and might even blame other people for the way you feel.
10. Internal vs. external expectations
You feel you must meet the expectations of other people around you. You might base you self esteem on the praise or critisism you get. When you are critisized you feel sad, angry, hurt, depressed, anxious. You are so threatened and uncomfortable by the feeling of not meeting the needs of others you do nothing in order to keep the expectations of everyone around you to a minimum.
11. Resistance to a fast, direct action approach
You believe you can only get betetr by personal growth and deep insight through exploring childhood memories over many years. The idea of getting better throught the use of training program like cogntive behavioural therapy seems like a gimmick and not to be taken seriously.
12. Self labeling
You think of yourself as lazy or stupid and so you act according to those beliefs. You might think you are a lazy person and so tell yourself you are too lazy to try to help yourself.
You feel you are entitled to happiness and fair treatment from others. You resent the idea that you are responsible for the way you feel and think you should not have to do anything to help a difficult situation. You might think you shouldn't have to do any therapy because happiness and well being is something that should come naturally to you without any effort on your behalf.
14. Fear of change
You fear that change might be even worse or is too hard, despite feeling miserable each and everyday. The anxiety generated by the idea that things can improve is too much and so the current state you are in seems preferable and more familiar. You might think your indentity relies on you having anxiety or depression or feeling like a failure and so you resist giving up your problems.
You feel your problematic feelings and thoughts are something shameful and so avoid them as much as possible. You might not want to share things with a therapist or might believe certain feelings and thoughts are not relevent to share.
16. Emotional reasoning
You might experience set backs or progress seems slow and so you FEEL like things are not working or are hopeless and so give up because the feeling convinces you to do so.
17. Low frustration tolerance
You expect immediate results and can't stick with therapy if you don't get results when you expected them. Set backs and slow progress is difficult to tolerate and so you give up.
You think if you seek help or ask for help you are weak. If somebody tries to help you or give you advice you might have the urge to resist by saying their suggestion will not work or might come up with your own and suggest that to them instead.
19. Lack of direction
You find it difficult to think of anything positive because you are feeling depressed and as a result thinking seems slow and you cannot concentrate and can't find out what's bothering you.
20. Realism of anxiety
You don't want to work on your problem because you think your problems are actually real. You might think that thinking more positive is ignoring the reality of the situation. You might think people don't actually like me and so trying to think differently feels like it will not help.
21. Reluctance to give up negative feelings
You don't want to give up your negative feelings because you believe it is healthy or helpful to you or are important in some way. You might believe worrying about how will come accorss to others will help you perform better but such worry infact does the complete oppposite. You might think your anxiety is very important and others must respect that you feel that way and accomodate themselves for you and when they don't you feel resentful.
22. The medical model
You believe only medications can make you better because you believe anxiety is rooted in a chemical imbalance (which many doctors will tell you anyway).
23. Jumping to conclusions
You think it is not in your power to take effective action because you are in the habit of saying "I can but.." or "I can't because..."
24. Undervaluing the rewards
You see the rewards of therapy and a more satisfying life is not worth the effort and so take no action.
25. Fear of failure
You believe putting in effort and not succeeding would be an overwhelming defeat and so don't want to even try.
26. Fear of success
You feel success is too much of a risk because you feel it is based on chance and so you think you could not keep up the act and will feel your efforts will raise the expectations of others. So the chance that you may fail after succeeding makes you feel like people will think of you as a total loser. If you succeed you may believe that people will then expect even more from you and so you don't bother trying at all.