Patient Blogs | Depression
How I Get Things Done With Depression
photo of woman sitting on bed in dark bedroom

It seems ironic to sit down and write this post on how to get things done amidst depression when I have kept avoiding this post and putting it off for the past couple of weeks. How am I supposed to share with others the secrets to being motivated and knocking things off your to-do list when I myself am struggling to do that very thing? I write anyway. 

Depression often feels like a powerful force sapping me of not only my hope and energy, but my motivation too. Whether it’s a creative project, plans with a friend, a blog post, or a prescription waiting for me at the store, I ruminate on how I actually can’t do the task ahead. Like a leech, my depression begins to pull any sense of confidence and ability I have out of my body until I am left feeling empty, alone, and incapable. 

Suddenly, a task becomes a giant, insurmountable feat that requires too much of me. I can’t focus. I can’t get out of bed. I can’t put my shoes on and get in my car and just do the thing. Starting is the hardest part, and depression knows this. It makes me sincerely believe that every item on my to-do list, every chore, and every project, is not in my realm of possibility. And so I lay in my bed and wallow in the feelings. 

I feel like I’m pathetic, that I wish I were better than this. 

Why am I like this? Why can’t I do this? Why, why, why?

Despite my depression, I consider myself an extremely high-functioning person -- except when I’m not. The days I can’t be my normal productive, motivated, energetic self are jarring. Such a stark contrast from who I know I am at my core. It makes me feel like I’m going backward in my recovery. Like all the progress fades away when a bad day comes and drowns me like a wave. Then a good day appears again, and I have to do the frustrating work of rebuilding my sense of motivation, independence, and self-esteem.

I sadly don’t have the secret of how to get things done with depression. What I do know is that a small action can be the one thing that leads to a chain of more actions. If I can just pull myself out of bed and wash my face, maybe the next step will become easier. If I can just pull up an empty Google doc and write my stream of consciousness, maybe the next word will come. If I can just check one thing off my to-do list, maybe I’ll be inspired to do the next thing.

Like a bully’s words that leak into your soul, depression’s ruthlessness can immobilize me in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, fighting it is too hard. Defending myself is too hard. And yet, it continues to throw sticks and stones, whispering words that will always hurt me. 

Baby steps. Grace. That’s what I think of when I hear “How to get things done with depression.” Can I remember them when everything seems impossible to do? I try to. 

Can we still be worthy, purposeful, competent, skillful, and beautiful people, regardless of the things we fail to get done when in the depths of depression? I think so.  

Connect with other people who are living with depression by joining our Depression Facebook Support Group.




Photo Credit: Kittiphan Teerawattanakul / EyeEm via Getty Images

Tell us what you think of this post?
0 Like
0 Sad
0 Cheered up
0 Empowered
0 Care
WebMD Patient Blog © 2023 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Kristen Luft

Kristen Luft

Diagnosed since 2013

Kristen Luft is a UNC Chapel Hill graduate who has been living with depression since 2013. She is currently a marketing professional in North Carolina. Kristen is also a mental health advocate and writer, sharing her story to offer hope that we can all live full lives in recovery. When she's not working or writing, you can find her reading or spending time with her loved ones and dogs. Connect with Kristen on Instagram.

Latest Blog Posts From Kristen Luft

Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

When I was in high school, the words “mental health” didn’t even exist in my vocabulary. Among friends and family, there was no talk of therapy ...

Read more
The Hope You Need When Dealing With Depression

The Hope You Need When Dealing With Depression

In the darkest hours of my depression, when life seems like an unbearable weight, it is hard to remember hope ....

Read more