Depressed People Are Lazy, But It’s Not Their Fault!

Most people would say that laziness is the idea of a person avoiding needed work despite his ability to accomplish it.
By this definition, depressed people are lazy.

After all, the fact that they are depressed doesn’t physically stop them from doing anything, right?
Life doesn’t quite work that way, though.

If you were to put me in an office back when my depression was at its worst point, you would find out how ineffective I am.

Thing is, back then I was a part of the military, and such “ineffective” behavior was punished, a lot.
We had these annoying “Time Limits” to anything that we did, not falling in line led to punishment.

I was labeled as simply lazy by everyone around me and got a “final score” of 70% in the easiest, anyone-can-do-it, boot camp.

For further reference, no one else out of our entire platoon got less than 85%, including the very worst ones.
I was told by my commanders that they expected more out of me, I was told by my friends that I never contribute anything, and they all ended up calling me out as simply being lazy.
But was I really? Well, kinda.

Could I have physically done all of the required tasks in optimal levels of success? Yeah.
Yet the term “lazy” doesn’t do me justice.

Here’s the deal, laziness is judged by perceived value.
You can call out someone as being lazy if they are doing barely enough to pass by, you can’t call someone lazy based on their results.

That raises a few questions, though, what is laziness? what is depression? are the two related?

What is laziness?

As I said before, laziness is a lack of will to do something despite all other circumstances being aligned to it.
They are lazy if their motivation to do the task in hand is lower than their motivation to spare themselves the effort.

Sounds simple, right?

Well, no.
like I’ve said before, life doesn’t quite work that way.

Say you are this brilliant scientist and you are off to work on a clever little solution for cancer.
Yet for whatever reason he avoids physical activity like the plague, he can’t stand being all sweaty and tired after taking a long jog.

Would he be considered lazy? Sure!
In that case being called lazy is flat-out insulting, yet fitting based on the situation.

He could’ve taken a run, but their motivation towards that goal was simply low, they did something else, something more pleasurable to them.

That is the very definition of procrastination.
You are doing one thing instead of something else – even if that other thing productive, it may very well be less urgent and as such it could wait.

So what is laziness? Procrastination is simply about you doing something that brings you more joy than the activity you are forced to do.

So maybe it’s the opposite? Maybe laziness is about not doing anything at all?
It might be that doing nothing is what you would call sitting idle.

Thing is, both procrastination and doing nothing would apply, both fit the definition.
It’s all about being efficient with our time.

From a genetic standpoint, it would be in humanities best effort to preserve energy for more important tasks.

Resources were somewhat rare and dangerous beasts were everywhere you looked, you needed to be ready to flee at any given moment.

We didn’t have the luxury of not being lazy in that sense, it was purely practical to conserve energy.
From a purely psychological standpoint, it’s simply the potential value gained VS the value lost while taking the action.

Loss of value can be seen as a loss of comfort as well.
The real problem is that humans are terrible calculators for value, we have a very short-term thinking process and we are pushed by our desires almost as much as our needs.

From all of that information, it’s safe to conclude that laziness is a natural mechanism in the brain that is extremely practical in our lives, fighting it could prove itself to be a difficult task.

Depression builds fatigue

What is depression?

Is actually a pretty big question to answer.
As such, I won’t. Instead, I will focus on a symptom of depression that will prove itself as the source for all of these laziness problems.

You ready for this? Fatigue.
Yep, fatigue is the source of all of our laziness problems.
No matter how much depressed people sleep, they are still tired.

We discussed earlier how our laziness is meant to conserve energy, yeah? That scale actually goes up to eleven when it comes to you being tired.

The value of every activity VS the value of your comfort and rest, yeah? When you are tired the value of rest goes up and the value of everything else comes down as a result of that.

So yeah, fatigue forces you to “conserve energy”, even if it’s purely related to your state of mind.

We don’t control our brains!
Don’t believe me? I got research on my side to make my case for me!

Fatigue is the one thing that controls our decisions.
If something comes up that will be far too important to miss out, depressed people will act (unless they are too far gone).

In my case, constant threats of serving jail-time pushed me beyond my limits, to the point that I collapsed out of my sheer fatigue.

believe me, you don’t want to go that far.

The difference

One is a medical condition and the other is a natural part of our brain.
Laziness is important, trying to do everything and anything is unwise, to say the least.

You should be mindful of what you waste your time and energy on.

Your brain is well aware of that fact, too, but it’s ultimately your choice based on the situation at hand.

Depression isn’t a choice at all, and by admitting to that fact you are surrendering that accusation in the first place.
The whole idea is that laziness is applied to choice at its very core, yet depression leaves you with none.

Your brain reprograms itself to react to most situations with disregard.
Selfish, sure, but it’s not your fault that you react to certain things based on the conditioning behind depression.

The fact is, you can’t judge a depressed person based on value alone, even based on subjective value.
Their mind is fundamentally sick, you wouldn’t call an arm wrestler lazy just because he broke his arm, yeah?

The whole idea behind value is messed up to depressed people due to uncontrollable factors behind their thoughts and actions.

Heck, you could even argue that depressed people are always trying to give value, at least as long as they try to treat their depression, but I’m not going to do that right now.

What I am going to do instead is to try and realize that depressed people are broken to their very core.
They aren’t sitting idle and they aren’t procrastinating in the slightest, they can’t see value in anything.

As I said before, humans are terrible judges of value, and those words could not have been truer when it comes down to tackling depression.

So yeah, while depressed people are lazy in the way the seem to act, they laziness isn’t a mindset issue but rather a mental illness.

Do us all a favor and be more patient, will you?

Depression makes you tired

Depressed People Are Lazy, but they all strive to change

Here’s the real punch line, the counter argument I told you I wasn’t going to do a few lines back.
Well, I am making it now!

Depressed people are only motivated by their need to disconnect from the world and feel the void inside their hearts.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Every step they take towards that goal means, by default, that they aren’t being lazy at all. The opposite of that, in fact.

They see the value of improving their condition, and eventually, when the suffering becomes too much it overrides their need to do nothing.

When that condition is made, they will strive to change the current situation.
These people won’t be ignoring their need to feel better at the cost of their own suffering.

Sure, it might have been easier to give up in the short term, yet they won’t.
And that is what makes them not lazy in the slightest.

How do you do that? Well, there’s this entire website to help you out, for one thing.

Right, so here’s a quick question – In your life, what was the difference between fatigue and laziness?

Make sure to write down your answer in the comment section below. I go through every single one of them, they give me a ton of motivation to keep posting these articles.

If you got any questions you would like to ask me personally make sure to send a quick email, I read and answer to every single one of them!

Email: [email protected]

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2 Replies to “Depressed People Are Lazy, But It’s Not Their Fault!”

  1. For me lazyness is a personal option, it can be enjoyable or not but is an option. Fatigue is something else. When you feel fatigue even if you WANT to do something you CANNOT do it because your body feels exhausted and your brain cannot think properly. What I know fro experience is that, as is stablish in the Ayurveda and other ancient sciences, your GUT is the real BRAIN of our body. If there is any GUT problem it will affect our whole behaivour.

    1. Heya there, thanks for stopping by!

      True enough, in my opinion however being lazy is all about mental fatigue.
      Some lazy people literally can’t force themselves into doing something unless they are literally forced into it, and a lot of those people suffer from depression.

      Cheers, Vlad!

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