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SlothD

Severe (lifelong) lack of energy, motivation and drive

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Hello everyone!

I'm here hoping to get some ideas, answers and/or solutions to my never properly treated lifelong problems. I'm hoping that maybe someone here has similar experiences and/or knows a solution.

Some background: I'm 33 years old and I've been battling a severe lack of energy, motivation and drive for basically my whole life. I don't remember ever being any better, not even as a teenager. Even then, every single morning I was simply looking for excuses not to go to school and I skipped it so much that at the end of every single year I had problems because attendance numbers were too low. I never received any real treatment, mostly because my grades were always OK, so nobody even knew there's anything seriously wrong with me. Even I didn't know, I simply remember always being surprised where others find energy to do things ...

Note that for the past couple of years, I've been eating extremely healthy, only organic, home cooked food. I even force myself to go to the gym 4+ times per week. However, I don't feel ANYTHING at all, no improvement whatsoever, I'm still the same sloth-like person.

Also please note that I'm not even stereotypically "depressed", I don't really feel sadness or feel helpless etc., it's just that I don't really care about anything and/or can't find the energy to do anything.

Does anyone have any suggestions, possible treatment ideas? Maybe someone has or had such a problem and managed to improve it? I'm probably going to see a psychiatrist, but I come from a small country with not much choice, so it's preferable if I first get "educated" about possible solutions myself.

Nothing I tried seems to have any effect on me at all, so my last resort is going to be something I first tried to avoid - actual medication. It looks like something needs to chemically change in my brain ...

Regards,

Sloth

Edited by SlothD

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On 5/10/2017 at 1:39 PM, SlothD said:

Also please note that I'm not even stereotypically "depressed", I don't really feel sadness or feel helpless etc., it's just that I don't really care about anything and/or can't find the energy to do anything.

Forget about stereotypical depression. While people like to think that someone with depression is just constantly sobbing that's not true at all, many people with depression are just like you: they feel indifferent, tired and unmotivated. Someone with depression may easily be written off as lazy by the general population, the major difference being that while someone lazy may not want to do any work they have the energy for hobbies and other things they enjoy. Depression will rob you of almost all joy in your life.

There are some physical issues that can cause depression so you may want to see a general practitioner for a health checkup first. It's quite common for people with thyroid issues or obstructive sleep apnea (even skinny and otherwise healthy people can get it!) to end up getting depressed. If your health checks out fine then talk therapy would probably be a good start. Medication isn't always necessary but it can help you recover faster and in severe cases talk therapy alone often isn't enough. 

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3 hours ago, lonelyforeigner said:

Forget about stereotypical depression. While people like to think that someone with depression is just constantly sobbing that's not true at all, many people with depression are just like you: they feel indifferent, tired and unmotivated. Someone with depression may easily be written off as lazy by the general population, the major difference being that while someone lazy may not want to do any work they have the energy for hobbies and other things they enjoy. Depression will rob you of almost all joy in your life.

There are some physical issues that can cause depression so you may want to see a general practitioner for a health checkup first. It's quite common for people with thyroid issues or obstructive sleep apnea (even skinny and otherwise healthy people can get it!) to end up getting depressed. If your health checks out fine then talk therapy would probably be a good start. Medication isn't always necessary but it can help you recover faster and in severe cases talk therapy alone often isn't enough. 

This stereotypical look at depression was my main problem and reason why I never looked for professional help. Only recently (well a couple years ago) I figured that real depression is much broader, with me it's basically exactly as you described. Everyone always called me lazy, even I called myself lazy all the time, without realizing there's a real problem underneath.

I had extensive blood work done, everything connected to thyroid ended up being fine.

Is it possible to have sleep apnea if you don't remember ever waking up during the night and are a sound sleeper? Is it possible that I do have problems just that my brain never registers them and/or remembers them in the morning? It seems unlikely to me. (unfortunately I haven't had a serious relationship for quite some time, so I cannot get any information about my sleep there)

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25 minutes ago, SlothD said:

This stereotypical look at depression was my main problem and reason why I never looked for professional help. Only recently (well a couple years ago) I figured that real depression is much broader, with me it's basically exactly as you described. Everyone always called me lazy, even I called myself lazy all the time, without realizing there's a real problem underneath.

It was the same for me, most of the time I just had/have a lack of energy, motivation, and can't enjoy anything. I have an attention deficit disorder on top of it which really didn't help. As a child I was always told that I was lazy and at some point I just started to believe it myself. While nothing helped with my depression I did get treated for ADD at the age of 30 and it was like the fog was lifted! 

29 minutes ago, SlothD said:

Is it possible to have sleep apnea if you don't remember ever waking up during the night and are a sound sleeper? Is it possible that I do have problems just that my brain never registers them and/or remembers them in the morning? It seems unlikely to me. (unfortunately I haven't had a serious relationship for quite some time, so I cannot get any information about my sleep there)

Yes, it will seem like sound sleep but you'll snore loudly, start choking and that'll briefly wake your body and make you tense your throat muscles or turn so you get air again. You generally can't remember waking up. I've had OSA and the only things I noticed were extreme fatigue in the morning and occasionally a sore throat after a night of super-loud snoring. I never suspected anything until I had to briefly move in with someone else and they told me my snoring would shake the whole house, it must have been horribly loud. 

Just record yourself with your phone and listen/view the recording in the morning to see how you sleep. If you notice loud snoring and/or breathing interruptions you can ask your GP for a monitoring device that will log your breathing, heart rate and O2 levels to get a preliminary assessment. 

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Hi SlothD - I generally have similar symptoms to you. I think I felt fairly normal (or more normal) as a child - I remember feeling excited about things and having energy. But when I reached about 12 or 13, I guess I became aware that I was depressed (I have long term low grade depression, dysthymia - I guess they are now calling it PDD). That has continued for me, getting a little better at times and a little worse at others, up until now (I'm 41).

I think it is good that you can at least make yourself eat healthy and go to the gym. At least you are doing the right things for your body. But it's possible that medication will help you experience more excitement, emotion and energy in your every day life. I'm currently not on meds, but I know a lot of people are helped by them and I do consider going back on them at some point (for me, some of the ones I've been on have only limited effect with some unpleasant side effects).

If you really feel that you have been this way your whole life, then it is possible you are just misunderstanding how other people experience life (i.e., normal people)? I know, I used to believe other people were much happier and more energetic than I am, but now it seems like most people are only a few degrees "above" me in that regard, if it makes sense. Sure there are super-happy, super-motivated, energetic people, but I feel they are outliers, kind of like depressed people are outliers on the other side of the bell curve. So personally, my goal is to try to push myself more toward the middle, but I don't think I'll ever get to be super-happy, optimistic, energetic, etc.

I have found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps me in part because it helps me to recognize both when I am being unrealistic about the world / others, and when I am being unfair / too harsh towards myself. I had this undercurrent of criticism in my own brain that CBT helped me to finally take notice of, and at least it has helped me to accept myself and where I am and not feel as bad about myself all the time even if I still have a long way to go. Not sure if it might help you to tune in to your inner thoughts as they might be bringing you down subconsciously.

 

 

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Hi Sloth,

I felt like I was reading my own post. I am 30 and have always dealt with severe lack of energy but unfortunately also accompanied with severe depression, hopelessness. I have always worked out and recently been eating extremely clean and healthy that hasn't done anything for me either.

You could be deficient in a certain mineral or vitamin. For example Vitamin D3. I always thought mine was good because I always go outside for walks and get sunlight. But when I got tested I was severely low the minimum. So this is not medical advice but taking Vitamin D3 is something you may want to consider since it is important to the body and you're probably deficient in also.

Vitamin B12 is another one. It is very important in energy production. Most people are deficient in this one too so you may want to get a supplement for this. METHYL-cobalamin not CYANO-cobalamin.

Probiotics are yet another one people don't regularly get. They perform a lot of important functions in your gut. Pearls is a good brand or you can buy raw sauerkraut from Whole Foods and eat it naturally.

Acupuncture may balance you out as well. It gets deep into the nervous system to unblock things that could be clogging up your energy.

Master Cleanse/Lemonade Diet - This is basically a water/lemon fast done for 10 days. This allows the body to ‘reset’ and get rid of toxins and damaged cells. I have done this myself and I felt better afterwards. Many other people report feeling way more energy, more clarity, feeling happier and calmer, overcoming illnesses, pain reduction and just feeling better in general.

So hopefully this gives you some ideas. My impression is that you do have something biological going on that makes you feel low motivation. I notice on days if I happen to sleep well or the planets align and I have more energy my workouts are more productive, I can get things done, I am more involved in life and not dwelling on my depression. 

If you ever need someone to chat with feel free to message me :)

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