Abraham Maslow, a famous Psychologist came up with a "Hierarchy of Needs" that were based on a theory that Humans are motivated to reach their max potential unless obstacles are placed in their way. He believed that humans were always striving to improve unless something was placed in their way. So the lower items had to be met for an individual, before they can worry about the higher things on the pyramid, and thus progress in life.
So, for example, a high school kid from a very low income household is not going to worry about his ceramics project when he is worried about when his next meal will be.
So we can see that you can't decrease the "What" (the fact that he doesn't know when he will eat again), but how can you make the reason (to do the art project) or the "Why" big enough that he will be motivated to do it?
With my depression, that comes from Lyme Disease, motivation is one of the most frustrating things for me to deal with right now. It started on the mission of course, when I felt like rolling out of bed was the hardest thing to do. Things like making my bed, I noticed, was nearly impossible! I became aware that the little easy things every day had become too hard to even think about. I didn't even want to shower most days (but don't worry, I did). I found myself slowing down and dragging through everything me and my companion would do. I noticed it. And it wasn't that I hated what I was doing and thus dragging my feet. I loved the work! And I wanted to teach all day all the time! I was blessed with this wonderful gospel and an ability to teach it. But getting to that point of teaching was not happening in my brain. So I took durastic measures in some things, like waking up and getting out of bed, to make myself have a "big enough Why".
For example: To wake up in the morning, as a missionary you start with morning individual prayer and then companionship right after. My mission president told us that he always made sure he had his knees hit the floor first every morning... I took that to the extreme in the mornings. When the alarm went off I would roll over and slam my knees first onto the hardwood floor in our little cottage, so that I would wake up, and then I would want to jump up quickly afterwards to stretch out my knees that were more bruised then usual. It worked! I was out of bed. I told myself the longer it took me to get out of bed the harder I would slam my knees to the floor.
That is just an example of the lack of motivation on the mission, I still had a big enough "Why" though out there in South Carolina to keep going. But then I came home and things were much harder. I already hate packing and unpacking after trips, but to unpack my suitcases and all my stuff, just the thought made me sick and made me want to cry, and caused me great anxiety. For 4 or 5 days I slept upstairs in our guest room because I couldn't even get to my bed, and I couldn't walk into my room because I was so overwhelmed by the mess. But it didn't matter, no matter how messy it got, I could not bring myself to unpack. My mom had to sit in my room and all but hold my hand as I unpacked and put my room back together.
Another day, shortly after returning home, I was laying on my bedroom floor, crying because I was missing the mission. My dad came down and said that we were going out to eat. I couldn't get up. I told him I wasn't hungry. He said that I should just come with, but I could not get up. I yelled at him that I couldn't get up, he said, "Yeah you can, come on!" Trying to be encouraging, but it just made things worse. I don't know how long I was on my floor but it was a good minute. And it wasn't the fact that I wouldn't get up. I COULD NOT get up! I told myself I was being stupid, I said that I needed to "suck it up", but the floor just sorta sucked me in, and for some reason, the floor was my safety, and maybe I was so low and depressed that the floor just fit with my emotional status at that point. Whatever it was, I was on the floor for the rest of the night.
|How I felt my first couple weeks after coming home.|
Now I am on track with some more medication and I don't have severe floor hugging episodes, even though a lot of the time they sound very nice. But I still have trouble with finding a big enough "Why" to do little things. I love to read! Before the mission, I read the Harry Potter books 8 times! On the mission, I loved studying the Book of Mormon, and I even got through the Old Testament in a year, as well as most of the New Testament! But now that I am home, reading is something I have no desire to do. My doctor has given me a few books to read, one all about Lyme Disease, and I have started it, but I can't bring myself to keep reading. I have multiple series that I started to read before my mission, and now I'm home my brothers have collected more of the series but I can't read them. It frustrates me, but the thought of picking up a book gives me anxiety now. I hate that about myself. I still read my scriptures but I stop there. I look forward to the day when I can pick up a book and sit and enjoy it. Instead of fretting over when I will pick it up again.
That is the thing, if it causes me anxiety I won't do it. This blog has even started to cause anxiety for me. I want to do this and write what I'm feeling in hopes that it helps someone else... until my mom starts telling me all the people it is helping and all the people that talk to her about it. And then I stop and have to talk myself into doing it a couple days later. The huge irony of this post is I started it before my herxing started. But I couldn't motivate myself to finish, then I started herxing so I wrote about that. I have stopped and started this post so many times, for so many menial reasons. When the anxiety kicks in my motivation stops. And I could care less about it. I guess that is just how I deal with it.
I really hate how little tiny things have to just be thrown out the window because I can't handle it. I feel so weak most times. Being a missionary in the South I would talk with my last companion all the time about how we couldn't wait to get back home and get a gym pass and start working out! The Southern food was good but not good for us! I came home and found my cousins big into cross fit. But now, just the thought of walking into a gym gives me such anxiety because I know I couldn't get myself to step onto the treadmill let alone turn it on, not because I am 20 pounds heavier after 1 year of serving (thank you macaroni and cheese and fried chicken! I love you, but my body doesn't!), but because I would make every excuse in the book to not do it because I don't have the motivation. And I know I don't. So instead of making an excuse I just face the fact that I can't go. It's not an excuse it is a reason, or a fact... And when ever I do get down on myself about how I should be at the gym I think of the quote that Ellen Degeneres said:
"I really don’t think I need buns of steel. I’d be happy with buns of cinnamon."
So I accept I can't work out right now becuase my mind freaks out. So I play basketball, I run around and play at work (or try on the bad days and give myself credit for the thought of it at work). I know exercise is essential for people with depression becuase it releases endorphins and makes you happy, I know all that, I have fealt it, and I still do playing basketball... But I face the facts, and the reason that I CAN'T all the time. So I make sure that when I am feeling good, or not even good, just when I'm feeling not bad, I go do something. And it is hard, because sometimes when I'm feeling not bad it meas I need to get other things done that I couldn't do because I was feeling bad, and I have to be careful becuase I start thinking of all the things I should do when I am feeling no bad that it plummets me right back into the bad because I am getting anxiety over it! So it's all just a snow ball effect, becuase all too often that is what happens, and then I'm back to a bad spot and wasted a perfectly good moment of not feeling bad (WOW, if that doesn't comfuse a normal person I don't know what will!).
The point is folks, that motivation is so amazing. The Will to keep going. The Will to not give up. Will Power. It is just that. Power. And I never saw it as an actual "Power", until and Lyme disease and his side kick depression, kidnapped Will Power and held him up in a tiny shack out in the middle of a desert for ransom of 200 million dollars, court side season tickets to the Celtics and free all you can eat sushi! Or at least that is how it feels a lot of my days. And sometimes my Will Power is still there kicking me in the butt when my friends text and want me to roast s'mores with em and I can't, but Will Power makes a special guest appearance and tells me I'm gonna keep fighting because one day I'll be able to text back and say "When? Where? And I'll bring the Starbursts!" Maybe that's all my Will Power can do right now, he can tell me to wait. To be patient, and trust that I am still in this fight. And maybe that is all I need my Will Power to do right now. Is to just remind me that things will get better. Maybe all my Will Power does right now is make big enough "Why's" for my essential every day things, so I can just keep on, keepin' on.
-The Lyme Warrior