Thinking out loud: Motivation

I feel like I’m slipping. The quest for recovery and sanity remains eternal. During my career time as a mental health consumer, I’ve seen my fair share of good and bad days. There have been times when I was “recovered” (whatever the hell that means) and times when I relapsed. I’ve seen skinny days and heavy-set days. There have been moments when I cared about getting better and moments when I couldn’t give a crap. It’s this latter category I find myself in now. I just don’t care whether we get better or not.

When I went back to Therapist in September/October of last year I had made my mind over that I was going to commit a 150% to getting better. I felt determined and purposeful. I wanted to get better; I wanted relationships; I wanted a life. But now my motivation is gone and I don’t know how to get it back. More importantly, I don’t know how to make myself do something I don’t really want to.

Someone once said, “Do the right thing and let your heart catch up later.” I know I don’t have to want to talk about the painful experiences we’ve had in order to actually tell them to Therapist. I also know I don’t have to be gung-ho about eating my food in order to actually follow my meal plan. These are things I can do regardless of whether or not I want to. But it would make things so much easier if I wanted to.

I don’t know where my motivation for getting better has gone. I just know I don’t care like I used to. Maybe I’m just bored with my recovery. I know I get bored with my meal plan because there are a select number of foods I’ll allow myself to have. But how does one get bored with therapy? Therapist used to play cards and games with us and we’ve asked him to again, but each time he offers we chicken out. Maybe owning up to being scared and still actually playing a game with him will change things up a bit.

Still, I just can’t care enough to try. There’s something missing in me that makes me not care. The ED behavior came back just when we were working on something difficult in therapy. Maybe not caring and being unmotivated is just a symptom. Maybe it’s a defense, a very good defense, to keep me from talking about what we should.

Question of the post: How do you stay motivated when you’re tempted to “throw in the towel?” Are there times in your life when motivation ebbed and flowed? What did you do? What do you do to keep hope alive?

6 thoughts on “Thinking out loud: Motivation

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  1. I also suffer with health issues and I have the hardest time staying motivated. I often feel defeated, depressed, and dissociated. But one thing I know that helps me is to always have something to look forward to. And if there is nothing to look forward to, then set something up in the near future to look forward to. Sometimes if I'm having a really tough week and I'm feeling exhausted, I will tell myself "just make it to Saturday night and I can have a movie night and just lay around watching my favorite movies while relaxing." It then motivates me to do good so I can enjoy my Saturday night. I also set up things like visiting friends, going to a movie with a friend, going out and buying dinner instead of cooking, etc. Find something you love to do or just enjoy doing and set aside a time in the near future to do it so you always have something to look forward to. It is hard at first, but once you start doing it it becomes more and more fun. I hope this helps 🙂


  2. It sounds like you really need to take a break from thinking about it. Try to do something fun to take your mind off of it. Today I was depressed and I went by myself to Dave and Busters. (If you are not familiar with it, it is a restaurant/video arcade for adults.) I am a 56 year old woman, and I perked up and had fun. The rest of the afternoon, I didn't worry about anything! Sometimes you just need a break from having to care about things…and then the caring can return.
    Lindsey Petersen

  3. 5 Kids,

    You're right. I do worry and obsess over if I'm trying hard enough and if I truly care about my recovery. I need to designate some time where I can free myself to let go and stop analyzing everything. We have a Dave & Busters where I live but I've never gone. That will be my first stop in trying to rejuvenate myself. Thanks for your comment!


  4. I know this might not be quite the kind of thing you were looking for, but I make a list of things that need doing when I feel like I'm losing motivation. If nothing else, it usually gets me moving again. I'd give you a better suggestion if I had one, but I could use a little help in this area myself.

  5. The eating problems can suck the life out of everything… as you know. Motivation is the first thing, I've found, to go. If you can't even eat, how can you motivate yourself to heal.

    For me, when the eating was all consuming, it had to be addressed in a very deliberate way. One the one hand, you want to get to the root issues causing the eating behaviors. But on the other, it has to be treated as a behavior.

    So, that meant two therapists… one focused on each side of things. I found it was impossible to do it with one. With two, I could scream and make a hissy fit at the therapist who was being firm about behavior. And I could cry and do all the work that needed to be done with the main therapist. I don't know if that's any help to you. That was what I did.

    I do have problems now. But they are manageable. I don't know how they don't become worse than what they are. I really don't.

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