Why Do Depressed People Lie In Bed? A Surprising Theory

Editor’s Note: Jonathan Rottenberg Ph.D. is a leading researcher in the area of emotion and psychopathology, where he has focused on major depression. He recently edited Emotion and Psychopathology: Bridging Affective and Clinical Science,published by the American Psychological Association.

Since receiving his PhD degree from Stanford University, he has been at the University of South Florida, where he is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Mood and Emotion Laboratory. His work has been generously funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health and he has authored over 35 scientific publications, including many in the top journals in psychology and psychiatry. His work has received national and international media coverage, reported in outlets such as Science News, Scientific American, The New York Times, abcnews.com and BBC radio.

If you’ve personally suffered from depression or known someone who has, you know that when people are really depressed, they have a strong urge to stay in bed.

Why do depressed people lie in bed? It isn’t because of great snuggle time under the blankets. It’s because depressed people can’t bring themselves to get out of bed. Almost any activity or task becomes a painful ordeal, even things as simple as taking a shower or getting dressed.

A perfectly able-bodied person can’t bring him or herself to rise out of bed. How does this happen?

The intuitive answer is that a lack of motivation is to blame. Depressed people are directionless because they are under-committed to goals. Without goals to drive future behavior, current behavior becomes frozen for long periods. Beds are the most natural location for a behavioral pause, as the place in the house most associated with inactivity.

The intuitive answer is okay as far as it goes. The problem is that it just doesn’t go very far. It begs the question of how a person loses the desire to pursue goals in the first place. The answer involves a surprising theory that takes us closer to understanding how it is that low moods intensify into more serious episodes of depression.

First, we have to detour to contemporary evolutionary psychology, which tells us that moods have a function: Moods help us pursue goals efficiently. High moods help us to more vigorously pursue rewards. Low moods tell us when our progress towards goals is poor. Often, low moods first arise when we’ve hit an obstacle, or when an important goal is threatened. Our usual first reaction to a low mood is to redouble effort towards the blocked goal. If the goal still proves to be unreachable, the low mood will escalate. At some point, something has to give: Usually the person will give up, or scale back on the goal and/or move on to another activity that has a better pay off. Authors such as Randoph Nesse and Eric Klinger have made a powerful case for the utility of low mood. In a world where time, resources, and effort itself are all precious and finite, having an evolved mechanism to hasten disengagement from a failing goal is very important to survival.

These relationships between moods, goal and effort hold for a variety of species. A bear fishing for salmon without luck in a favorite river bend uses low mood to help it move on to another spot. For better or worse, human self-regulation is more complicated because we can choose either to act or not to act on our mood. I believe that humans are the only species that can decide to ignore low mood and to continue pursuit of an unreachable goal. In a sense, this creates the potential for a stand-off between the person and their ancient mood system. To resolve the standoff, the mood system must do something more drastic: It turns down the volume on goal pursuit, not only on the one goal, but on goal pursuit across the board.  Eventually, when the mood system wins the result is flat-on-your-back depression, with fatigue, torpor, a lack of motivation, the whole nine yards.

So this alternative theory turns the standard explanation on its head. Depressed people don’t end up lying in bed because they are under-committed to goals. They end up lying in bed because they are overcommitted to goals that are failing badly. The idea that depressed people cannot disengage efforts from failure is a relatively new theory. It has not been much tested in research studies. However, the idea is well worth exploring. It fits well clinically with the kinds of situations that often precipitate serious depression — the battered wife who cannot bring herself to leave her troubled marriage, the seriously injured athlete who cannot bring himself to retire, the laid off employee who cannot bring herself to abandon her chosen career despite a lack of positions in her line of work. Seeing these depressions in terms of unreachable goals may be useful clinically, and may help us better understand how ordinary low moods can escalate into incapacitating bouts of depression.

This article first appeared in Psychology Today who owns all copyrights to this piece.

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70 thoughts on “Why Do Depressed People Lie In Bed? A Surprising Theory

  1. I believe this article well describes what I have been going through and why I feel so lousy. On so many fronts, it seems I have tried and failed. I have kept trying in various areas of life, only to find I have made little headway. And the world feels like it is crashing in.

    Perhaps this is nature’s way of saying, “Go a different direction.”

    1. God,I feel your pain. After I found out my husband of nine months was cheating on me.He was cheating while I had just found out I had cancer.I don’t think I’ll this ,beendix year’s

  2. Whilst this probably has some truth to it I think there’s another aspect to this rather than just shutdown of motivation. Namely, actively escaping shame.

    For instance, this Saturday morning I had to battle to sit up in bed. Then I saw it was later than I thought and I reflexively got back under the covers. I think most people would intuitively understand why the late time pushed me in, not out of bed. I felt a strong twinge of shame and getting back to sleep helps me escape that feeling.

    1. Same here. Also my expectation so high I say fuck it. Also ppl with chronic illnesses don’t feel good. Throw in anxiety. Ptsd and no support system…you are screwed. I get up once in a while out of sheer painful mess of lying in the same position for days. When I try to complete a simple task ..the chronic illness symptoms literally throw me to the bed couch floor. So why get up!

  3. I searched this question because I am over motivated to stick to specific goals yet I will choose to do as much of it as possible from the confines of my bed or covered in pillows and blankets on my sofa. I try to find a million ways to reach that same goal even when I can see for sure that it is a lost cause or pursuing it will not be in my best interest. Or I will reach for alternative goals in frustration with less effort then go back to the same goal I can not win. Everything you mentioned is my life. I stayed in one relationship for 9 years forgiving the person because I don’t want to fail so I keep seeing the ‘good’and ‘necessary’ side of the relationship. I relentlessly pursued some lost employment situations for the same reason; I did not want to fail.I have tried to understand how it is that I just can not let things go even when I am smart enough to figure out all the facts surrounding it and know exactly what needs to be done I somehow follow the bolder over the precipice. I lay in bed, sit up in bed, straddle my pillows and bedding, with my laptops and papers beside me all this time caught up in one thought for days, ‘How do I make this work?” for days I think about the one thing unable to put my mind to anything else for any long period of time until someone or something external breaks my thought process. I have been depressed since I was 13 and I have had many pitfalls but I refuse to take medication because people have killed themselves because of the medication. By acknowledging my depression and knowing my triggers and responses I have survived but painfully. I don’t cry that much anymore I have regressed to a time in my life when I repressed my emotions so much to protect myself that nothing could make me cry not even the passing of my relatives. When I do go to work I cheer everyone up. I exude a positive if not over positive demeanor mostly to hide that I am hurting all day long. Mostly to ward off any possibility of temptation to cry in front of people. I complain about anyone who is too emotional and I shun them from around me to protect myself from getting emotional.People who know of my trials ask me how is it that I am not stressed, how do I stay so positive. I just encourage them to be positive but inside I am dying. I head home and get right into bed without changing my clothes and I stay there till something causes me to get out of bed. Don’t get me wrong. I get stuff done but for sure I am getting it done in bed as much as I can, in between my obsession with, ‘How do I make this failing situation work even though I know it is unattainable’.

    1. This hits close to home and sounds very much like my ex. She was cheerful and everyone liked her at first and the positive vibe she brings to conversayions. But when she came home, she mostly wanted to go to bed, just watch netflix or similar. Her stressful job didn’t help either. She somehiw gave up on many friendship pursuing the goals of her work life, while all the “little problems” made her brake up with me in the end. It seems sad when reality and ideals collide and an escape from this reality is what feels good. As giving up on the ideals is not an option, at least it wasn’t for my ex.

      Best of luck to you!

    2. CANTSAY,….YOU DESCRIBED IT ALL PERFECTLY!!!! I HAVE BEEN TELLING MY FRIENDS AND COWORKERS THAT I CAN ONLY GET THINGS DONE IF I AM IN BED…LOL! IF I COULD DO EVERYTHING I NEED TO DO FROM BED, THAT WOULD BE FINE WITH ME. BUT DEADLINES WOULD BE A BITCH, BECAUSE OF THE MANY SPONTANEOUS NAPS I TAKE WHEN I AM LYING DOWN. I AM USING CAPITAL LETTERS TO SHOW MY ENTHUSIASM FOR THE SUBJECT…cuz jumping up and down is out of the question.

  4. But what about my daughter who has no goals. 19 years old tried working for 3 weeks after school and didn’t like it. She does nothing, won’t get a drivers license, a job, go to college, all she will do is basic chores moving laundry from wash to dry and feeding the cats. Me and my wife are at our wits end. To have he go see a therapist took 8 months and my wife had to pretend to be her; because she wouldn’t set it up. She went though, but I don’t know what to do and my wife doesn’t either. We cannot boot her, in case anyone decides to mention that. She just has no motivation, she lays in bed most of the time watching youtube and avoiding us. Help.

    1. Your wife had to pretend to be her? That doesn’t make sense. Why would she pretend to be your daughter? Why not just be honest about the fact that your daughter couldn’t set it up and her mother had to do it for her? How will she ever be honest with her therapist about anything with that kind of covering up attitude? Maybe she isn’t used to doing things for herself, taking leadership and responsibility. It wouldn’t be a surprise, if her parents actually go to the length of pretending to be her on the phone…

    2. I agree with Eva, im not sure why your wife had to pretend to be your daughter. Your daughter has to accept the help in the first place in order for it to help her. Seeking help can be difficult and its like a catch 22. You want to get better but your in a dark hole that it sometimes feels impossible to motivate yourself. Ive been there to the point where I didnt want to talk to anyone or want anyone around. I admit I felt embarrassed too as I first started my anxiety and depression at 21 so not much older than your daughter. All I can suggest is be there for her and maybe print her off some options of therapists or self help where she can read in her own time away from any pressures. I can understand its frustrating for you both and want best for your daughter but depression is horrible and most likely doesnt like being like this either.

    3. your daughter is obviously depressed and battling with emotional issues so severe and debilitating that it affects her ability to function normally in her day-to-day life. i’d suggest talking to her about what’s bothering her as opposed to getting angry at her for something that she might not even have the capacity to do.

    4. I dated a woman like this, asked her to marry me actually. She was a wonderful person I just had no idea that she was so depressed because I spent my days working and not realizing how much time she spent in bed. She would put on a happy face, would participate in fun activities, but that’s about it. She eventually broke it off because I was hard on her, I think (but she never said why…. besides “I want to work on myself”) so now IM depressed at 32…. now I’m living the life she was. In bed 90% of the day. Wtf?

  5. This is me all the way. I never leave my bed. I always am more comfortable in my night gown too,all day, everyday. Next month will mark 13 years of this. I did try to work, but that ended. I’m at the point where I sit up all night, til after the sun rises. And of course I am sleeping til the sun goes down.The only real thing I do is go to get me a coffee at Dunkin Donuts a few blocks away. Then I’m back in my gown and in my bed.I lost my husband (of 25 years) 13 years ago next month. This is where it all stems from. Lost myself and became reclusive.I have seen many dr’s over the years, I truly have found no one that can help me. I find it so hard to do anything, at all. The damn pills they push on me is just crazy. Nothing helps.I really try to get up and get that coffee, it’s just being dressed feels so uncomfortable. He died in my living room. That is where we spent most of our time together, watching TV. That’s another thing I quit watching the TV.I can not sit in that room, not because I am fearful.It’s because my bedroom and gown is like my little safe place,where I must go.I am a total mess.

    1. Hi, Paulette. I’m sorry you lost you husband of so many years. I can’t pretend to know that kind of pain, but my mom definitely does. She lost my father when my twin brother and I were only 4, older sister – 9. She must’ve had a broken heart for a long time because she really didn’t date at all until she married her now husband. That was 8 years after she lost my dad.
      Do you read the bible? Since the pills and therapists aren’t working, maybe give it a try. I p see personally think faith in God should be anyone’s first line of defense. Not sure if you are Christian or not. I will pray you get lifted out of this time, and get back to an even better version of yourself.

      Love~

    2. I’m so sorry Paulette. I know this sounds horrible but I think to save your life you must sell your house. My husband died in our living room but for me it was his freedom room. He had stage 4 cancer and when he passed he received his freedom from that awful disease. I can’t watch Animal Planet or certain movies he watched all the time but other than that I’m good. It’s not your fault you’re still here. You deserve to have a life. Please don’t waste any more of it.

  6. I am currently suffering from anxiety / depression, I find I go to bed to get way from the pain in my chest and my nervous stomach , some time when I get up and go out for the day I do feel a bit better, but I cannot get that relax feeling unless I’m going to bed.
    I am off work and have been for 3 months, I have had some good days then go back down again, anxiety makes me want to run to my bed, which I know is not good for me and makes me depressed, I have asked God to help me work in progress. I am due to see a psychiatrist tomorrow, so I hope they will help me, I have been getting counselling for 6 months. God love all those who suffer as I do .

    1. I feel yo Michael. Out of work 6 months. In bed at least 3 days a week. When I am working usually in bed both or at least one weekend day. I hope you find real peace brother

  7. I lost my husband to divorce 16 years ago. He broke every promise ever made. All I got from the relationship was half a house, children who I raised alone for 20 years, the bills for the house, the kids health insurance, the attorneys fees for the divorce which were spectacular since he seemed to enjoy torturing me with his divorce etc. I gave up my career for this guy and now can’t get it rolling again. He hides behind his answering machine and refuses to take responsibility for anything. He is a total narcicist and is completely unreliable. I have lost over 30 years of my life in this battle. And since we have kids together it will never end. Some men only love themselves. They are incapable of self sacrifice or true love. This is why I will never subjugate my life to another ego with testicles. They are all the same.

    1. You need to open your mind a bit more and stop having so much anger towards men. First of all, what you are describing is easily present in all types of people, not just men. Secondly, seems to me you are letting your anger drive your thoughts about what happened, making what really happened all the more far from the truth, and designed to point blame at your ex. Be a little more realistic about the situation and less “he ruined my life”, and maybe you will be able to look past the anger, and even take responsibility for some of the problems you may have caused yourself.

    2. I had a 17 year marriage to a promise breaker. I’m blessed every day that I don’t have kids. I’m not going to day that any of the divorce was your fault. I don’t know. I do know that if you still have to talk to him or about him something is wrong. You need a new family agreement with your children. Please go get help with that and get help with the anger you carry. It’s been long enough and now you’re only hurting yourself and he’s winning again. Don’t let him do that, live a good life instead.

  8. I stay in bed because I am afraid of the world. I sometime thinks taking a sleeping pill is better than to go out on a sat night. I am afraid of risk because I made some serious financial errors and was suddenly left alone.

    I have opportunities to restart, pack up move away but I lack will and then I feel I am been held back by mother, sister because I provide for them. I get regret easily. I achieve new things but then my contentment quickly disappears because of that missing thing I seek, loneliness is my fear which I am stuck in.

  9. For everyone who has posted with depression,and everyone who suffers. As i read these posts tears come to my eyes, part with the fear of what i and we all have to face on a daily basis and through our lives. And part because its so breath takingly relieving that i am not alone. I hope that anyone who reads this can take comfort in that we can all beat this. But dont beat yourself up for needing your safe place.

  10. I just spent my whole day off in bed. I do this often. I have so much to do and I am overwhelmed . No help and no money to pay people to help around the house. I’m a widow and live alone, and my job is in customer service and we have customers yelling at us all the time . I just lost a whole day today

  11. I’d love to know if you, the author of this article, has ever suffered from depression. Under-committed to goals??? This is laughable. I have spent the entire day in bed… due to depression. I work full time and am successful at my job. Most would say I am over committed to goals and few would ever say that I lack ambition. As a matter of fact, I set goals all of the time and have to-do lists to keep myself organized and on track. Today, I allowed depression to take one day from me because the pain of my depression along with the rainy weather outside, is too much. Depression=pain=hopelessness. It has nothing to do with being under committed to goals… As an expert in this field, I’d be more than happy to continue…

    1. I think you misread Chris. The author is suggesting that depressed people may be “over committed” to goals, those that are unrealistic or unattainable is a reasonable time frame.

      In short, stop creating imaginary mountains to climb, instead, let go and cruise.

  12. Thank you for the interesting comments. I came to this site to find out why I, like many of you, like staying in bed….all day, every day if possible. Trouble is that the common thread is only my wanting to stay in bed…I’m happy there and comfortable. Sure like many of you I have had personal problems,but I handled them and moved on. I’m strong when I need to be and as far as I can tell, very little scares me. Although I don’t have a partner, I am financially secure, healthy for my age and can within reason do what I like,when I like. I LIKE STAYING IN BED and don’t even know if I want to change this…….WRONG…I am pretty sure I don’t want to change it but it is annoying having to fly overseas from time to time just to get my friends off my back……..bed overseas is just as nice. Sight seeing.?..it’s ok, but heck, give me bed any time.

    1. I was lying in bed and suddenly had the urge to find out why I love my bed so much. I’m accomplished, very attractive, have 2 kids who are attending university, divorced, in a 5 year, long distance relationship and happy. I’ve had many disappointments and accomplishments but no matter where my life is, one thing remains the same; I LOVE MY BED. I’ve avoided remarrying because I don’t think anyone can tolerate the insane amount of time I spend in bed. I get up only to work and workout. I dress well and wear makeup daily but at the end of the day I shower and I’m back in bed. When I visit my boyfriend I make adjustments so we can have fun together but I long to return to his home and eventually mine so I can go to bed. Ah, BED

  13. This is one of the most relevant things I’ve ever read about depression, in relation to my own situation. I’m pretty sure I have ADD and so I tend to obsess over things; I become attached to an idea, a concept, a person, in an instant and then I don’t want to let go of it until I’ve seen it to its obsessive end. But sometimes I end up in a situation where pursuing that idea/concept/person conflicts with other things; for example, pursuing a person might, in some cases, require getting past crippling levels of social anxiety. Despite the anxiety, I still want it, but I can’t seem to overcome the anxiety well enough to pursue it. So I end up locked in this internal battle, partly of shame, where I can’t seem to actually take the action that would break me out of the loop and move me forward.

    Nor can I abandon the goal easily, as it has become an obsession and a part of me is very insistent on at least pursuing it to a basic, limited degree. Especially after the amount of mental energy I’ve put into it… the more mental energy I’ve put in, the more I resist the idea of abandoning the obsession without in some way pursuing it. But then I have factors just as powerful telling me not to pursue, whether it be logical, social, anxiety-induced, etc.

    So I become depressed for the reason that you describe; I’m overcommitted to goals that I can’t seem to pursue to an end.

    And I feel a kind of clawing desperation about it at times because it’ll feel as if there’s no way out, other than to silently hope that one part or another of me will give up and I’ll either let go of the goal, or let go of constraints that are holding me back from pursuing the goal to an end point.

    Sometimes it’s so bad it feels like I don’t even have a choice in the matter. I’ve become locked in such a trap of obsession and inability to pursue obsession that it seems as though it’s beyond my ability to manually exit. Sort of like a computer that is deadlocked. I have to wait for an external trigger that will snap me out of it. Which naturally makes me depressed, on one level, as it feels like my autonomy has left the building.

    I realize now, this is why a part of me seems to thrive in circumstances that greatly shake up my routine. Events which are out of my control that cause a major upheaval, such as a tragic thing, like a death in the family; the force of them is strong enough to break me out of most depression deadlocks (temporarily, if nothing else). And a part of me tends to crave such events for this reason. I always thought it was weird that I craved such events sometimes, that there was something horribly wrong with me, but it makes more sense now… it’s not any kind of lack of care for other people… it’s craving to escape the depression loops.

    If only writing this meant escaping depression loops permanently. But I’m afraid that writing it and realizing it alone won’t mean much. Unless I diagnose ADD and start medicating, I can’t fundamentally alter how my brain works. And if I do, I’m always, to some degree, going to be reliant on that medication.

    I think my best bet is to somehow learn to overcome the mental blocks that put me in these depression loops to begin with. Often times, it’s more a mental block that’s stopping pursuit of an obsession than it is an actual physical block. If a physical block is strong enough, I’m usually able to let go. It’s when it’s a mental block that I can’t seem to do it on my own willpower. Because I can’t convince myself that there’s good reason to let go, since it’s just a block in my head; “I should” be able to get past it, is the kind of thing I tell myself.

  14. I am not as crippled by depression as I once was, but after reading this I could believe that the root cause of it all was pursuing a career I didn’t truly believe deep down I was capable of, setting myself up for responsibilities I don’t believe I’ll be able to handle. I never knew what I wanted to be when it was time to get a job/go to college, so I picked what seemed like the best fit from a few options. It’s not just that I can barely get passionate about it, I’m also afraid that after years of training I’ll be turned out on my own, still uncapable of doing my job, and I might hurt someone. (I’m studying PT.) It might not even matter if you are actually failing at something (I was top of my class when depression started)… if your mind subconsciously feels as though you will fail, it may still have the mood system try to reign you in. Damn it all.

  15. M – I am sensitive to the fact that you are depressed. I am bi-polar, so I think I have some idea of how depression works. Everything you describe in your comments are symptoms of depression, feeling incapable of achieving goals, losing your sense of passion, disinterest in things that used to interest you, the subconcious belief that you will fail.
    You sound like a very intelligent, capable person when you are not depressed. The obvious cure is to get on antidepressants, get an accurate diagnosis. I am no doctor but my opinion is that you may be bi-polar (the over-achiever trait) vs the deep depression. Or to me I think I recognize PTSD. For me, the correct medications fixed my problems (except for the fatigue), antidepressants and mood stabilizers were the answer. I feel like you may be wasting your skills to become a PT. Don’t get me wrong that is a great vocation if you are passionate about it, the prevailing clue is intent, you DID chose something you were passionate about when you chose your career in the first place. Pursue the correct diagnosis, take the meds, good luck!

  16. I’m such a weak person, severely depressed at age 65. Can barely leave my apartment. So difficult getting thru each day. Don’t have the strength to end my life,severe guilt and lack of guts ,etc. Totally embarrassed to be this way. Hope others can get help. I have opportunity to try different antidepressants, etc. Don’t have strength for that either.

  17. This is SPOT ON for me. I won’t bore you with details, just that this is the EXACT explanation for my depression and lack of motivation. The Universe (God, Rom, whoever you see as your spiritual guide) gave me a new problem to help me with this one! I hurt my back which COMMANDS I go to therapy 3x a week and guess what….I am seeing results of less pain so I am heading back to my wonderful life. Also I have made an appointment to see a psychologist just to talk things out (I have no support system). This is going to take lots of time, but I finally plead with my higher power to get me out of this mood no matter what, because life was NOT worth living…..so here’s my start. Good luck to all of you and I hope this helps you! It sooooooooo sucks having to fight myself to get out of bed in the morning….or more likely……afternoon. :/ CAFFEINE HELPS MORE THAN ANYTHING! GET THAT COFFEE!

    1. Betsy, I wish you all the best! Life can be so hard sometimes. I too have not much support system (nobody that close I can confide in about things like depression)… The reason I don’t spend more time in bed is that I haven’t got one!! I sleep on the floor, but Ive just ordered a new bed, and this article is a bit of a warning about not falling into that situation.. Take care.

  18. I am in and out of bed all day. This article is spot on with why. When I hit an obstacle or don’t want to deal with something, I head right back to bed. It has become a habit. Writing this from my bed.87th

  19. I’m in bed pretty much all of the time. It’s where I feel safe and warm. The only comfort I have. I’m not an outgoing person, but I want what everyone does. A happy life. Of course, mine isn’t what it turned out despite my efforts. I’ve had depression since I began college. My mother left us. I’m thankful I have a loving father and he’s been an excellent provider. However, I feel like a burden on him. I’ve been unemployed for almost a year. Been applying to get a job since, but few chances for interviews. Those chances for work, I didn’t get picked. So, it brought me further down. The only time I fell in love, I got hurt. That was a few years back and it was to a guy who only played me. I’m still trying to get over my broken heart. It still hurts to this day. I’ve prayed for my life to get better and tried to remain positive. Tried to rekindle my hobbies, spend time with my family and friends to keep myself going. It’s worked for a little while. But, I find myself going back to bed again. I feel so much like giving up, no longer trying. I’m so tired or crying. But, at the same time, I don’t want to quit. I don’t wish this on anyone. It doesn’t feel good to be trapped by the blankets of your bed. You lie there knowing your life is passing you by. The bed provides a false sense of security when the world nor the people can provide it. It is sad, but I don’t know how else I can deal with this.

  20. This article is wrong. Depressed people stay in bed because it’s simply the safest and non-threatening place to be while they feel depressed, and has nothing to do with being “directionless” or “non-goal orientated”! Infact depressed people are extremely driven which is why they often reserve their energy or put their life on pause to preserve it while they’re under this depressed spell which in turn adds to the pressure. The person who wrote this article has no idea. Just because something sounds good in theory doesn’t mean it’s true!

    1. I feel that. Both kids in college, have modest investment income, moved to a city I don’t know anyone and frankly sick of being out at museums and shops, restaurants, movies alone. At 58 what are my goals supposed to be ? I don’t want goals I want a loving supportive partner & family. A network of close friends and creative motivations. But I don’t have any of that. I’m tired of reinventing myself all the time. I’m just tired. TG for Netflix. I am dreading another winter alone here.

      1. I feel you 100%. I lived that way for years. I finally started drawing Mandela’s. They soothed my mind, lost some weight and got brave enough to be very specific to place my profile on Our Time, a dating app for people over 55. You can’t get what you want if you don’t try. My life changed immediately but I only dated men who met specific criteria, period. It worked for me after years alone I got sick enough of myself to try it.

      2. Wendy,
        I feel like I could have written most of your post; same age, same museums and movies, same alone. Though honestly, since my boyfriend of six years died here in my home of complications of sudden onset leukemia 3 years ago, I don’t think I even want a partner anymore. I want a loving supportive network. Is that too much to ask for?

        I’m thinking of moving to get away from the horrific memory of my man bleeding to death in my arms during the five minute wait for the ambulance to arrive. But your post makes me wonder if my hopes for a new life in a new place will make any difference. I do everything alone here. Will I do everything alone there?

        I sadly concure, what are our goals supposed to be?

  21. I have been diagnosed with bi-polar. I’ve been depressed for 40 years and on anti-depressants. Had a great career for thirty years until it all came to a grinding halt. I lost my house of 20 years and my higher paying job and did not get out of bed for about five weeks. I would tell myself I could lay in bed for 15 minutes, then make myself get up for ten minutes and do something. That lasted about two hours and then it was straight couch or bed time. Even then it is exhausting. So being fatigued is a big problem. So is chronic pain. When you hit sixty what are your goals supposed to be? It can’t be what sustained us in the past because that is no longer available. I don’t know what to think about the article about being an over-achiever. I had to be to raise my kids and did only what needed to be done. I would like to know if the author has lived with depression.

  22. I ALWAYS want to sleep and be in bed. I used to be active, working and energetic plus basically happy until a few years ago I fell into a deep depression like never before. It used to last like one day but now it’s been years! A bunch of traumatic things happened when I moved a few years ago so I don’t know if it’s like PTSD/situational or biological. I was diagnosed with bipolar II. I haven’t worked in 4 years and am now on Disability which I think is squashing my motivation and making me worse. I’m 42 and a single mom. It’s excruciating trying to take care of her. She’s 11. I feel horrible guilt for sleeping all the time but I do take her places and take care of her the best I can. I’m awfully lonely. I have little family who live an hour away and no friends except for Facebook and other states. I have no life and it’s pathetic. I hate myself for things I’ve done and all the pain I’ve suffered and can’t get the past bad thoughts out of my head. Meds haven’t worked nor therapy. I know I need a social life and to go back to work but I’m terrified. I’m constantly anxious and the ONLY time I feel good or calm is when I’m in BED. I don’t want to live like this forever because I’m barely eating and not productive to society and pray to God especially to get better and happy for my daughter.

  23. There’s a lot of people with problems. It only makes believing there is how even more difficult. Failed goals explains my life to a tee. Third week I’ve stayed in bed till past mid day. The time has flown by as though I’m not really there any more. Meds and talking, does it ever help, it never seems to prevent this cycle going full circle. The problem must be me.

  24. coming from someone who’s suffered with depression all their life – the bed feels safe. Can’t be sad and hopeless if you’re asleep.

  25. this just sounds like me, i love to stay in bed all day, but then feel very guilty for dong so,i ve been in and out of bed for a few weeks now , then ill go to work earn enough money so i can go and get back to my bed, or watch films or any documentary.

  26. I know a doctor who was fired from her residency because of anxiety issues. Now she spends her entire day in bed. I feel so bad for her.

  27. I’ve spent all day in bed today. I hate my life. I hate my job. I’m doing something I just fell into, with no sense of purpose or enjoyment whatsoever and constant nagging anxiety that I will fail at it. I have no social life and my family is completely dysfunctional. No partner or family of my own. My few friends are spread around the world so I have very infrequent, sporadic face to face time with people I have real relationships with. At least I have finally cut right back on the alcohol. Now I just binge eat sugar occasionally for an ounce of pleasure, which I then feel full of shame about too. I’m 36 and can’t remember the last time I enjoyed my life for a sustained period of time other than when I’ve been on holidays. A lot of the time I feel quite hopeless about my future. The last couple of months I’ve thought of suicide quite a lot. Don’t know that it will come to that but I know that I cannot keep living this life, it’s just not worth it. I don’t think I can inflict that pain on my family or myself realistically. But I can’t keep living this hellish existence either. Lying in bed doesn’t feel good but I often can’t bring myself to do anything else these days. I just don’t want to be here anymore.

    1. Hey mate, find something that you can enjoy if it be video games, cooking, ecersize (i cant spell) ect

      1. I know what you are going through. We have a lot of parallels, I too wish at times I wasn’t here. Get some relief. Just be done with it. But then I think of my family etc… I’m fighting it and you can too. Set very small goals each week. That’s what I do.. ie: clean my house.. do x amount of laundry today… stuff like that.. walk down the street for coffee.. etc… it helps. Sometimes my goal is just to stand outside and walk 30 ft!!

  28. New here and found this thread, 47 yo female here, divorced twice, kids are raised, empty nester.. I was doing ok until my last bad breakup after a rocky 9 yr relationship, put all my eggs in this basket, was suppose to include moving away and starting the 2nd part of my life with this man. He started ignoring me one day,, that turned into 3 weeks. Obviously I broke it off after he was zipped liped as if why.. The only thing he said was he just didn’t want it anymore.. this sent me in a complete spiral. I had given my two weeks at my job I have transferred all my money to the new bank, I was starting to ship my things to the new house… (3 hours away)…he just left me hanging there.. no sorry, no nothing.. just.. gone.. we have had a rocky nine years off and on, but we both had decided the year prior, to really give it a go and go all in. too bad I was the only one that did it. ANYWAY, I have never been this depressed before I get up get dressed to do what I have to do (work)and then I am straight back to bed or on my couch. I have zero hope, happiness or motivation. All my smiles & conversations are completely fake. I just want to go home and lay in bed. I’m barely making it emotionally. I’ve tried almost everything, do t want drugs for this but just may have to. It’s hard getting over the ultimate betrayal when you’re mature.. you just don’t have the opportunities you did to turn your life around when you are 20. Just wanted to reach out and tell everybody I feel your pain times 10 I’m currently typing this from my bed LOL what a beautiful sunny St. Patrick’s Day …

  29. Dear Jonathan Rottenberg Ph.D.,
    I have worked full time since I graduated early at the age of 16. I worked in finance from 18-44 years old. I was super Mom. Married with 3 beautiful children, full time career, kept a perfect house, loved the beach, camping, riding bikes, water parks, worked out ever morning for 2 hours before my kids woke up for school, then I was in an accident. After several surgeries over a 4 year period, being on crutches for 3 years, permanent nerve damage that only got worse with each surgery and other treatments. I have CRPS 2 and it has ruined my life. My accident was in 2016, lost my job in 2018 because of my need for more surgeries, was told in 2020 there was nothing more that could be done. Since then, I have given up trying. Pain fuels my fear. The more I do, the worse I feel. I do not and have never taken pain pills or opioids, except for a few days after surgeries. At this point, I feel like I have no choice . Either I continue to stay in bed and gain more weight ( good bye beautiful body) or I take my chances on becoming addicted to opioids. My kids are still at home and in school, my husband is still here, and I am tired of feeling disappointed with my life. I am so lost

  30. have been in bed a day and half sleeping but for some reason decided to ask computer why
    I like staying in bed every few weeks. Have read all what people have said and most people are suffering with a low times in their lifes due to things happening to them. How on earth can god
    help when its people that make this world go round. Shit happens. Depressed people it comes out of the blue and goes just as it came. I stay in bed to be safe away from everything. Then I get up after my down time in bed and start again. To me this is depression coming from nowhere and then goes away. Nothing to do with no job or boyfriend etc Fed up with people saying they are
    depressed. Had it all my life and just deal with it

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