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LostButTrying

How To Break Free Behaviorally From Anhedonia Paralysis

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What behaviors do you find help you "get the ball rolling" when it comes to motivation? Once rolling, how do you keep the momentum rolling? How do you get out of bed and stay out for an extended period? How do you keep moving when all you want to do is sleep or be passive [tv etc.]? When you feel nothing, want nothing, desire nothing, and nothing feels good, what actions do you take that eventually change this? I have been reading various threads on this website this weekend and seen much discussion of chemical treatments for anhedonia [prescriptions, nutrition, caffeine, etc], but I want the focus of this thread, please, to be on behavioral actions you take and find helpful, although I'm also highly interested in hearing your testimonies about the cognitive side of this, since thoughts, behaviors, and feelings are all so intertwined.

Your answers would be extremely helpful to me these days and surely helpful to countless others also.

Generally speaking, I suspect the answer is simply this: start moving by doing just about anything, despite lack of desire. Once moving, keep moving [easier than getting started; human body at rest tends to stay at rest, human body in motion tends to stay in motion; thank you physics for teaching us momentum]. Then, plan your next task. Eventually [hours, days, weeks?] some sense of satisfaction must seem more apparent for some activities, so those could be selected as rewards for doing tasks that are less satisfying. "Fake it until you make it" must be especially true for breaking through anhedonia paralysis.

Specifically, I imagine that people would give answers such as: take a walk, take a shower [i read a thread dedicated to that], spend time in the sun, read, write, word puzzles, clean, organize, do something novel, do something social, curtail sleep, set small goals, etc.

Also, how long does it take before motivation occurs more naturally, intrinsically?

Getting out of bed [or off the couch] is extremely hard for me these days, and staying up and alert is equally challenging. I'll eat a snack or go for a walk, but a few minutes of anything "active" seems to make me feel exhausted and just wanting to sleep more. Thus, what I call "anhedonia paralysis" is my greatest obstacle currently.

Since this is my 1st post in these forums, I'll supply a few sentences of background about me. I've been fighting depression and anxiety [especially social anxiety] for decades. After trying dozens of medications in various categories, I found a combo that works relatively well for me, and I do not wish to change that regimen presently. I have also worked with psychologists over the years and continue to do so now; I also go to support groups, but both forms of "talk therapy" do little for me except for: a) forcing me to be a little social [and thus not idle], and b) giving me opportunities to be compassionate / get outside myself. Since my divorce, my mind has been headed downhill to the point that now I don't work; I don't get disability [and probably never will], but I'm close to quitting my job anyway. People say I need to "find activities I like" or "find a job I like more," but if you understand anhedonia, you know how frustrating that kind of advice can be.

Thank you in advance for all future contributions to this thread.

Sincerely,

LostButTrying

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I feel like I could've posted this

What behaviors do you find help you "get the ball rolling" when it comes to motivation? Once rolling, how do you keep the momentum rolling? How do you get out of bed and stay out for an extended period? How do you keep moving when all you want to do is sleep or be passive [tv etc.]? When you feel nothing, want nothing, desire nothing, and nothing feels good, what actions do you take that eventually change this? I have been reading various threads on this website this weekend and seen much discussion of chemical treatments for anhedonia [prescriptions, nutrition, caffeine, etc], but I want the focus of this thread, please, to be on behavioral actions you take and find helpful, although I'm also highly interested in hearing your testimonies about the cognitive side of this, since thoughts, behaviors, and feelings are all so intertwined.

Your answers would be extremely helpful to me these days and surely helpful to countless others also.

Generally speaking, I suspect the answer is simply this: start moving by doing just about anything, despite lack of desire. Once moving, keep moving [easier than getting started; human body at rest tends to stay at rest, human body in motion tends to stay in motion; thank you physics for teaching us momentum]. Then, plan your next task. Eventually [hours, days, weeks?] some sense of satisfaction must seem more apparent for some activities, so those could be selected as rewards for doing tasks that are less satisfying. "Fake it until you make it" must be especially true for breaking through anhedonia paralysis.

Specifically, I imagine that people would give answers such as: take a walk, take a shower [i read a thread dedicated to that], spend time in the sun, read, write, word puzzles, clean, organize, do something novel, do something social, curtail sleep, set small goals, etc.

Also, how long does it take before motivation occurs more naturally, intrinsically?

Getting out of bed [or off the couch] is extremely hard for me these days, and staying up and alert is equally challenging. I'll eat a snack or go for a walk, but a few minutes of anything "active" seems to make me feel exhausted and just wanting to sleep more. Thus, what I call "anhedonia paralysis" is my greatest obstacle currently.

Since this is my 1st post in these forums, I'll supply a few sentences of background about me. I've been fighting depression and anxiety [especially social anxiety] for decades. After trying dozens of medications in various categories, I found a combo that works relatively well for me, and I do not wish to change that regimen presently. I have also worked with psychologists over the years and continue to do so now; I also go to support groups, but both forms of "talk therapy" do little for me except for: a) forcing me to be a little social [and thus not idle], and b) giving me opportunities to be compassionate / get outside myself. Since my divorce, my mind has been headed downhill to the point that now I don't work; I don't get disability [and probably never will], but I'm close to quitting my job anyway. People say I need to "find activities I like" or "find a job I like more," but if you understand anhedonia, you know how frustrating that kind of advice can be.

Thank you in advance for all future contributions to this thread.

Sincerely,

LostButTrying

I feel like I could've posted this. I don't exaggerate when I say many days, I get out of bed only to get food & use the bathroom. I work from home so I do that from my bed too. I dread work and wish I could just not have to work. I've spent this whole weekend just starting at Netflix trying to find stuff to watch. TV used to be one thing I kind of enjoy, but now it is just minimally preferable to staring at the ceiling. Only thing I really look forward to is sleep and I need drugs just to get that.

I would love to also hear if anyone has come back from anhedonia land once they've arrived and how.

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Still looking for what works for all of you out there. Here's some good news for me:

On Sunday, I decided to push myself on a walk endurance-wise. Instead of the usual 10 minute "walk until my dog poops," we instead went on a longer loop that made it about a 20 minute trek; that went well, so we pushed further and headed to the park; that whole walk / jog / run ended up lasting about 75 minutes! This kick-started my day, and as it turns out, my week too. Since then, I have played tennis, done several runs with my dog, done tons of chores around the house and errands around town, attended a meetup.com event, made many phone calls, cooked [meaning "actual cooking" involving a stovetop rather than Ramen noodles or Chef Boy R D! :) ], etc. By Tuesday, I was pretty darn happy most of the time; not firing on 4 cylinders with productivity, but content and happy--certainly not depressed. So grateful for this turnaround.

I think the key lesson for me was to choose something small that was slightly beyond my "motivation comfort zone" [in this particular instance, that seed was choosing 20 minutes of walking instead of 10], then at the end of that with inertia building, push even further. This gradual progression was an interplay between conscious choice to do a little more and the ensuing inertia that makes a certain amount of flow happen on auto-pilot.

Whatever that first choice is to "do more" will vary for me I'm sure day to day, and it will vary between me and you, but the concept is probably universal. Someone recently told me that she used to be stuck on the couch during all waking hours watching a certain tv show; her "baby step" out of the rut was to change the channel so that she couldn't watch that show. With that success, she progressed toward occupying a different room [off the couch] for awhile. With that success, she rose to the next challenge of leaving the house. These may sound like tiny, trivial decisions to the average healthy person, but I'm sure it will resonate with many of you reading this.

Please: let's hear what works for you to "get the ball rolling"!

Cheers,

LostButTrying :)

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On 9/14/2014 at 7:05 PM, shyfelyne said:

I don't exaggerate when I say many days, I get out of bed only to get food & use the bathroom...TV used to be one thing I kind of enjoy, but now it is just minimally preferable to staring at the ceiling.

I can totally relate

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