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“These days I have become so lazy and shiftless! I don’t do anything except watch TV and sleep. I wanna do something productive like studying or reading but every time I think about this, I have this bad feeling inside me that I just can’t describe, so I convince myself to just relax another time and not do anything. I’ve been doing this boring routine for like 2 weeks now and I’m sick of this and I really wanna change, but I CAN’T! Please, what should I do to remove all these bad thoughts in me and become determined? Thank you!” ~ Yosra, Tunis, Tunisia

Dear Yosra,

Thank you for your question. I’m sorry to hear that you have had a difficult two weeks.

You speak of a “bad” feeling inside that you can’t describe, and “bad thoughts” that impede your determination. Based on your behavior, it sounds like you are depressed. People who endure periods of depression often suffer from low energy and helplessness. It’s not uncommon to feel disinterested in activities that used to be important or pleasurable, and negative or “bad” thoughts, a lack of motivation, and excessive sleep and television watching also commonly occur with depression.

The first step towards solving any problem is facing the problem, but right now these bad thoughts and feelings are too powerful for you to face alone. I know that many cultures stigmatize the idea of depression and mental illness in general, but I want you to know that every human being suffers from depression from time to time, and it is possible for any person, no matter how healthy or strong-willed, to have a period in his or her life where an emotion simply overwhelms him or her.

Human connection is an essential component of our nature. We are not meant to handle every life situation on our own. At difficult moments in our lives, like the one you are currently enduring, it is important to lean on those who love us. I would also suggest that you reach out to a professional for support. We should not feel ashamed of the times in our lives when we need help. In those moments, we need to accept our fragile nature, and allow another human to help us. When we recover and are strong again, we will be able to pay the favor forward.

Jason Kurtz

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Jason Kurtz is the Director of Training for the Training Institute for Mental Health. He is the author of Follow The Joy, the true story of how he bought a one-way ticket to India and learned how to follow his intuition. He is also a psychoanalyst in private practice and a practitioner of Vipassana meditation.

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