Emotionally paralyzed

March 1, 2009

Ever been paralyzed by anxiety or depression?  I have.



Ever been judged by others when you felt paralyzed? 


Did they call you ‘lazy’?   Tell you to ‘shake it off’?  ‘Get over it’?  Snap out of it’?



 Glad to say, I have gained a lot of ground in this area.  Here is something I read recently….


“One of the most destructive aspects of depression is the way it paralyzes your willpower

In the mildest form you may simply procrastinate about doing a few odious chores.  As your lack of motivation depression-alone1intensifies, virtually any activity appear so difficult that you become overwhelmed by the urge to do nothing. 

Because you accomplish very little, you feel worse and worse. 

Not only do you cut yourself off from your normal sources of stimulation and pleasure, but your lack of productivity aggravates your self-hatred, resulting in further isolation and incapacitation.

If you don’t recognize the emotional prison in which you are trapped, this situation can go on for weeks, months, oer even years”.


When I read these paragraphs, I was once again reminded I am not alone in these feeling.  The self-blame and feelings of shame for having done this for so long lifted a little more.  It is clearer to me that a big part of why I behaved this way was due to the medical conditions of Depression and Anxiety.

I believe that we are not responsible for our ‘disease’ (s), but we are responsible for our recovery.  This responsibility of course comes only after we are aware that we have a problem.  Same applies to addiction or alcoholism. 

For anyone who can relate, you are not alone.  You are also not without hope.  Understand that your paralyzed behaviour is beyond your willpower because your willpower is paralyzed.   So don’t keep feeling depression-staying-in-bed1bad for being that way and don’t keep trying things alone, get help.


I remember the feelings of being alone.  Even when someone you love is laying right beside you.  Because they can’t understand.  They don’t feel the vortex pulling you into depression.  That to me was hell on earth.

The above quote is from a book I am reading called, “Feeling Good”, by Dr. D. Burns.  It has been around forever.  It is simple and it works.  I have no connection with the publisher or author.  I am simply another person overcoming depression and anxiety who is sharing some experience, strength and hope.

Don’t stop until you find some help.  Life gets better.  Mine did with help.  Yours can too.





  1. “I believe that we are not responsible for our ‘disease’ (s), but we are responsible for our recovery”

    This is so true. Thanks for sharing this article. As you know from my blog, I go through periods of extremely low self esteem, but the period that I went through depression was in my teenage years.

    I had to move out of home because of my parent’s drinking problems at 17. I remember feeling so alone, there was a period of time where I would stay in bed and sleep – hardly eating, and just not caring about anything. I would go to work, but that was the only thing I did. At the time, I didn’t realise I was depressed…if someone had told me I was depressed at the time I would have replied ‘who me?’ – its only with hindsight that I realise that I was ill.

    BUT I do remember the period of recovery – I remember looking in the mirror and realising that I was covered in bruises. I told a work colleague – I couldn’t understand why, and they ventured the suggestion that it could be malnutrition. At that point I realised that no one else was going to look out for me and I went about gaining the support I needed (that’s a whole other story)

    But you are quite right…

    “I believe that we are not responsible for our ‘disease’ (s), but we are responsible for our recovery”

    Thanks for sharing

    Lores 🙂

  2. When this distinction between my disease and my recovery and what I was responsible for was made clear to me, it opened up a world of hope.

    Many of us are shamed for our addiction or depression. Yet many use their tendancies to these things as excuses to remain stuck. I really feel the dividing line is awareness.

    And there is really no excuse for not trying to overcome either of these problems or others. It is not easy, but it is possible. And nobody can provide the essential ingredient of “volition” or “willingness” on our individual journies of recovery but us.

    Never at any time in recorded history was there as much help available and so conveniently. Books, therapists, medications, programs, the internet…. all of these are available to virutally anyone in the western world for little or no cost.

    So we can learn to set down guilt and shame for our afflictions and pick up tools of recovery. Becoming free of guilt opens us up to the possibilities of recovery.

    It really is that simple. Not easy, but simple.



  3. Chaz,

    Thanks for stopping by my site and for sharing your thoughts on depression. You are 100% right. We need not be ashamed for our depression. Accept it, own it, and tackle it. It is a disease. How do you cure a disease? You find a remedy and I shared many things that have helped me on the post you commented on.

    Thanks for your great insights.


  4. Thanks Ama…

    Ya, the freedom from the guilt and shame is amazing. It is so freeing. In fact, I dont think I understood how much guilt I felt for my depression and paralyzation. I believed the attitudes of those who judged it….. those who did not understand.

    This is not an excuse to continue in these behaviours. But knowledge of the underlying problem and “owing it” as you say were the hidden gateways to the solution for me.

    Thanks for the reply.



  5. For a person who considers herself pretty self-aware, I had not really faced that I was and am in a mild state of depression; I said to a friend who is always ‘busy, busy, busy’,that I was lazy and she said, basically, “I don’t think so because I see you caring too much about it; lazy people aren’t going around worried about what they’re not doing. I see you making strides, I don’t think you’re lazy, I think you’re depressed.” The problem is it’s been ongoing and right now, I think it’s situational; I’m a creative, outgoing person, but I’m not creating and I’m not getting out and doing very much; I know I’ve been putting my head in the sand; so many roads to travel,which one? So I just stand there in the middle of the crossroads or find stray sticks and rocks to throw around to appear ‘busy’. I do know when I’m connecting or helping others out in the world I feel more grounded, more present.
    I appreciate all that you wrote here. I do need to take myself in hand and push through the feelings–a little bit of a steeper hill for me to climbing being a very feeling oriented right-brained ENFP.

  6. Cyndi…. glad you found this helpful. Thank you for your reply.

    One key thing that I always emphasize is that my breakthroughs in this area always came with help from others.

    Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “We can’t solve problems with the same kind of thinking we used to cause them”. Not that our depression is entirely a result of what we thought or have done. In my experience, it is a huge part though.

    I ended up borrowing ideas and suggestions from others. Even when they seemed preposterous. And lo and behold, I eventually found some that worked for me. Amazingly. Not all, but a few that made a world of difference.

    I found my depression and alcoholism resisted anything new. Of course they did… they were fighting for their survival. If I adopted new ways of thinking and behaving, it would threaten the well-worn patterns of thought and behaviour that I had practiced for so long. Patterns that brought me to being a depressed, anxious alcoholic.

    These patterns will resist anything new. Yet something new will likely help. And it is always easiest to make the journey into something new with someone who has travelled the path walking along side you.

    So my strong suggestion is to get connected with someone in your community who can help. This may be a 12-stepper, or other recovery person. Or a minister, professional like a counselro, or just a good healthy friend who has survived and thrived something similar.

    These blogs help a lot too. Yet do not take the place of people in our lives.

    Stop by the blog any time.

    I am sure you will find help and life will improve.



  7. hello. thank you for your blog.

    i know i suffer from depression and anxiety and am on medication for it. my left arm/hand are having a problem so i can’t work right now. i don’t have disability or insurance. i’m facing homelessness (even tho a friend said i could stay with her for a month) i have a 21 y.o. daughter who i’ve been a caretaker for for 4 years. i’m so mentally and physically exhausted i can’t discern what’s what.

    i’m in a sliding scale therapy program, a 12-step program, am calling my friends more than ever and am facing the end of a 25-year career and can’t tell if it’s this physical problem or emotional paralysis. i can’t see straight. i’m realizing that i’ve been depressed for many years and for whatever reasons, tried to be honest with my doctor but little has helped.

    does anyone have any suggestions?

    thank you so much

    • Hi Ellen…. sorry to hear you are suffering so badly. So medical professionals haven’t been helpful? Glad to hear you are reaching out to the resources around you. For me, I grabbed ahold of every resource within reach. Some helped, some didnt. But finally the combination of 12 step, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Time, and many good influences brought me out of the depths of the worst of my emotional paralysis.

      I am not a doctor nor would I dare to dispense advice. I can only say what worked for me. You’ve found no help in medical guidance?

  8. Someone please help me. I am so stuck I can’t see straight. No one calls me and I have no connections. My lights are out & no one gives a shit. 😦 I need some friends I have no one. I am old and no one sees or cares that my needs and my partner’s are not being met. Lord help us.

    • Hello Jennifer and thank you for your reply to this post. I seldom and on this blog anymore so it took me a while to notice and respond to your reply.

      I dont know how to help you specifically. I hope there are some tangible people you can contact. Understanding of course that blog communities are no substitute for real people.

      I will check back to this post to see if you reply. Will believe the best for you and help if I can.



  9. How does one stop the paralysis I am feeling when suffering from depression. I have 2 children who I feel detached to because of these feelings. Is there anything you can take in order to not feel paralyzed or weak by negative feels. It’s really frustrating and if I don’t do something about it soon, I don’t think I’m going to make it much longer. I saw that Dr. Oz believes in TNS and I would love the opportunity to try it but it is not offered in British Columbia, Canada at all. If anyone knows of a way to combat this problem, I’m open to suggestions.

    Thanks for listening,


    • Hello Heidi…. sorry to hear of how bad you are feeling and the impact it is having on your parenting.

      It isnt really my place to make any recommendations to anyone. I am just a fellow journeyor sharing what has worked for me.

      I would, however, in your shoes seek out some tangible help if you havent already. I would imagine you have spoken to your family Doctor about your depression? There are many, many treatment approaches available.

      For me, Coginitive Behaviour Therapy made a big difference. It was a big part of my reprieve from emotional paralysis. It exposed a lot of painful thought patterns that would lead me to untruthful conclusions that were all negative. I bought into many lies in my own head. CBT helped me untangle many of the lies.

      If you have been traumatized, Rapid Eye Movement Therapy (EMDR) is also something I know of people having good results with.

      And am sure there are many, many more. But I would always follow a physician’s guidance. I would not leave it to a tv Doctor who doesnt know me personally.

      Hopefully this is some help.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: