Updated: Aug 27
This is one of the MOST prolific, and LEAST talked about symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder within the mental health community, and I am honestly shocked at how very few people have ever heard its name. So I thought I would take a moment and do just that---clear the air for millions who are being wrongfully labeled as being "lazy" when in reality, what is actually happening is known in the medical world as psychomotor retardation or psychomotor impairment, and this is how it works to ensure that you don't.
What the hell is psychomotor impairment??
In short, this happens when the electrical brain activity becomes severely decreased due to your brain taking energy from "less important" areas such as your motor abilities (energy to walk and talk) and rerouting that energy to other more important bodily functions like keeping your heart beating, blood flowing and organs operating properly. This symptom effects 5 to 15 of every 1,000 depressed persons. So imagine being apart of the 1 in 5 within the 1 in 5 statistic of those with a mental illness or disorder. It can make daily life increasingly difficult from one day to the next and even cause some to contemplate hospitalization or even worse....suicide if not treated in a timely manner.
We all need to understand that every single action and thought process takes neural energy, and the amount of that neural energy varies from one person to the next so when the brain experiences a lack of that fundamental energy, it will pull it from your psychomotor abilities; hence giving us the constant heavy feeling of being drained just from doing the smallest tasks like getting out of bed, washing your hair, up keeping living spaces, running errands, paying bills, making appointments etc. All of these "minimal tasks" become mountainous feats to overcome when dealing with psychomotor impairment. In my opinion, THIS is the worst symptom to overcome with MDD. At it's worst, this symptom can make someone feel irritable, frustrated, angry, inadequate, worthless, weak and many more life destroying thoughts. It's critical to understand that this struggle is not by our own doing, and "thinking happy thoughts" will NOT cure nor prevent anyone from experiencing it.
The "shame symptom"
This symptom had been the core of my shame surround my illness for a very long time. It is a neurological plague I still struggle with from time to time even today. It's very difficult to get people to understand that if I don't take a shower or do the laundry for days on end, it's not because I'm choosing to not do it, but that I don't have the neural energy to do so. For the longest time, prior to knowing and understanding what psychomotor impairment was, I believed what people told me, including my family members, when they would call me lazy nearly on a daily basis. They led and allowed me to believe that I was simply "not trying hard enough" and less of a person because of my struggle, and this ultimately led me down a road that nearly cost me my life when I was younger. This is why I implore proper education and active discussion about these illnesses and their symptoms. I know there are still people out there right now believing a bullshit lie. --Point blank, laziness is having a conscious choice not to do something, psychomotor impairment gives you no choices nor shows any mercy to the person it is effecting. This life altering symptom can cause people to gain/lose weight, lose their jobs, strain marriages and friendships, make them become isolated, full of self doubt and hate all because they don't understand what is happening to them. Hopefully this post will help gives some people a sense of relief and shine some light onto those still struggling in silence.
How do you treat psychomotor impairment?
We may all experience a mental illness at one point in our lives, but not all those who experience an illness will be treated the same. Different strategies will work for different people based off their individual needs. All everyone needs is to have courage and patience in order to create your path to relief. If you believe you may be experiencing psychomotor impairment, I greatly recommend talking to your doctor, openly and honestly, and doing your own research into the numerous reputable scientific journals publications done over the years about this life sucking symptom and then educate the next person who tries to look you in the face and call you lazy.