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How do I know if I'm depressed or just lazy or unmotivated?

110 Answers
Last Updated: 06/02/2021 at 2:57am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lindsay Scheinerman, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My work with clients is to help them recognize and build on their strengths to find solutions for the conflicts presented in their lives.

Top Rated Answers
Anonymous - Expert in Depression
May 7th, 2016 8:23am
if you find yourself constantly avoiding going out with other people, having trouble getting up in the morning, and feeling constantly sad and putting yourself down or procrastinating
January 24th, 2015 6:38am
depression you usually want to do it. you have a desire to do it deep down but you can't make yourself do it.
April 28th, 2016 12:12pm
Someone who is unmotivated because their just lazy is usually unmotivated when it is something they have to do and may not feel like doing like working,taking out the trash,etc.They have the energy and motivation to do the things they want to or like to like playing video games,going out to do something they like or consider fun.Someone who is depressed may want to be able to do those things,but are unable or unintrested because of the depression.They may feel sad or guilty about what they can't do,have anxiety,fatigue,sleep disturbances,lack of energy and other symptoms of depression.
June 2nd, 2016 3:14am
To question your motives for laziness is also to aknowledge that you know you are acting with little motivation. Lazy people are content with being lazy and more then likely don't wonder why they are lazy. If you are questioning the possibility of having more motivation but are emotionally unable to move forward from your lazy state then depression is more then likely present.
August 31st, 2015 12:09pm
Depression has its own symptoms, if you find yourself always being negative and tired. If you have low self esteem and give yourself harsh self criticism, that usually marks depression of some sorts. Just know that whatever it is, whether it be general laziness or actually will get better. So don'y worry and I hope you find someone that can help you! :)
March 31st, 2016 2:29pm
If when you fall asleep and have more dreams of anything that you remember parts of then it's depression. When you are depressed you have more dreams and many other signs like that
May 15th, 2016 2:12am
If it's depression, you'll find a general disinterest in everything - including things you enjoy. You might also feel sad, worthless, or like everything is pointless. If you're just lazy, it will probably only apply to things you aren't really interested in doing.
March 30th, 2016 10:29pm
Do you want to get up and do things, but can't because you just can't find it within yourself to move? I think that's a pretty major difference. The desire to do things, but being too depressed to do them. I think lazy people generally hate having to do things, whereas depressed people want to, but can't, and end up hating on themselves.
May 3rd, 2015 6:29pm
Depressed when one sleeps all day, doesn't take care of ones hygiene or responsibilities, loses touch with friends. Laziness when you can go party, do everything else but take care of your responsibilities.
January 19th, 2016 3:17pm
The word lazy carries quite a lot of negative social stigma nowadays. Perhaps first we should question why laziness is perceived so negatively? Ought not relaxing - a mentally and physically restorative process - be a way of life? It is scientifically proven and a topic that is no stranger to philosophical research that slowing down, letting go and allowing oneself to rest as often as needed is in fact an excellent modality that promotes positive elevations of mental and physical health. Taking science a step further - the Brain Reward Cascade; it's a real thing! The neurotransmitter Dopamine (DA), a chemical messenger primarily affecting the brain and nervous systems, plays a very significant role in encouraging behaviour that has a delayed onset of gratification, which is the function of the Brain Reward Cascade. Low dopamine activity, whether influenced by genetics, nutrition, environment, or attitude, will inevitably result in a significant reduction in pleasure associations with tasks requiring sustained effort or optimism. Depression is understood pathologically, nuerologically, microbiologically. There is no sense in inferring guilt, shame or self-judgement from taking some time out while you are imbalanced and unwell. Just remember that you should really spend that time evaluating what your core values really are and developing actionable steps to implementing suitable changes into your life. It IS possible; it just requires changing your outlook and sacrificing aspects of your life that hold no true significance when it really boils down to it.
March 24th, 2016 4:10pm
Well, depression has some common signs, like; Continuous sadness, Anxiety, Lack of motivation, Feeling tearful and guilt ridden, Feeling hopeless and helpless, having trouble with family and social life, just to name a few. The only way to be 100% sure would be to see a doctor about it c:
June 12th, 2016 2:33pm
When you feel that even if you start it, you will just fail at the end and it won't make any difference.
April 27th, 2016 2:05pm
Being depressed is like being trapped in a box. You want to live and do things, but you feel like you're unable to. Depression leaves you numb and out of place. Being lazy is not bothering to motivate yourself. However, depression drains you of energy in general and deeply affects the way you think and how motivated you are.
March 18th, 2016 5:13pm
The fact that you're worried about it shows that you're not lazy. If you were lazy, you wouldn't care, Motivational issues are a huge part of depression.
May 15th, 2016 4:21am
A sign of depression can be lacking the motivation to do things you used to enjoy doing. I don't know of anyone that ever likes doing chores (I sure don't!) but if you find yourself not wanting to take part in a hobby you used to enjoy, or even a task that used to be easy to do, then you might be depressed. Depression can manifest itself in different ways sometimes, so never be afraid to ask questions. And know that there is always someone to talk to, and there is always someone to understand and support you!
March 16th, 2016 4:03pm
Usually when we are unmotivated because we're being lazy, that's all we feel is unmotivated... but when it is due to depression we feel other symptoms as well. I experience severe loneliness even though I don't want to go out. To me, that is my depression because otherwise my loneliness would motivate me. It's hard because we're often told we're being lazy when really we are experiencing a depression that causes sadness, fatigue, and something called anhedonia which is the inability to find pleasure in things once found pleasurable. If you're experiencing depression symptoms, maybe it is better to try to be easy on yourself.
March 16th, 2016 10:16pm
Depression is like a big bag of symptoms, of those symptoms are fatigue, loss of interest and feelings of loss of motivation. (I don't think there's anything called a lazy person, just a person who hasnt found the right motivation yet)
March 17th, 2016 10:37am
I think an extremely lazy person will still enjoy certain things. However a depressed person wouldn't be able to find happiness and contentment in anything. Even the activities he or she used to enjoy seem pointless now. But i guess the best way to know for sure is seeing a professional
April 30th, 2016 1:41pm
because you're not involving yourself with anyone , it leads you to think negative thoughts so , keep yourself into some work and try to be happy :)
July 2nd, 2016 8:19pm
I think the surest way to tell is to ask yourself whether you are enjoying a feeling of leisure while you are not doing whatever it is you are not motivated to do, or whether not doing it makes you feel anxious, guilty, nervous... If you are calling yourself lazy in a judgmental way, berating yourself over feeling unmotivated... these are thought patterns characteristic of depression, and not what someone who is simply taking it easy, because it's in their nature, would think. I'd even suggest that anyone asking such a question in the first place is pretty unlikely to be unmotivated out of simple sloth!
April 30th, 2016 3:41pm
Has there been anything on your mind or happening in life that you think may be making you unmotivated?
April 9th, 2016 5:13pm
Well, depression has some common signs, like; Continuous sadness, Anxiety, Lack of motivation, Feeling tearful and guilt ridden, feeling hopeless and helpless, having trouble with family and social life, just to name a few.
May 30th, 2015 5:28am
Depression usually will affect the whole life aspects, not only one. So if you think you are only extremely unmotivated in studying, but not in working, relationship, life in general, it just means you are lazy. Second, depression usually has other criteria, such as sleep / eating disturbance, lack of meaning/purpose, worthlessness, tearfulness / irritability, etc. Do you experience any of the other criteria?
April 23rd, 2018 2:07am
As I am not a counselor or therapist of any kind, I cannot give you a full on answer. However, something I learned is that being unmotivated can be a sign of depression, laziness too. I suggest going to a counselor and getting checked out (even a possible psych evaluation if you want to) to see if you have depression or just need motivation
June 24th, 2016 5:47pm
If you have this question that clearly means you feel bad about being unmotivated and these are not the signs of a lazy person because you want to do something about the situation. Try to heal self, try to find reasons to do things
May 14th, 2016 11:37pm
The difference between lazy and depression... Depression pretty much sucks the life out of you and trying to get out of bed seems pointless and useless... Which makes it extremely hard to get out of bed. However when your lazy, It's a simple "I don't feel like it." and you just don't do anything because you just don't want too.
June 30th, 2015 9:51pm
Consider speaking with your doctor about this matter. If you've been diagnosed with depression, it's probably safe to assume the former. (; Even if you're a lazy person right now, who's to say that you always will be? Perhaps you simply lack a spark of passion in your life; all it takes is a spark to set a person ablaze with ambition and dreams! Find yours.
June 16th, 2016 1:02am
When you're just lazy, you don't wanna do something because you just don't feel like it. When you're depressed, lack of motivation is more because you don't see the point in doing it. Why bother ever leaving the comfort of your bed? You can't motivate because it's holding you back. Being lazy is just meh don't feel like it
May 8th, 2015 7:32am
I know that I am not lazy because this is something new for me and I am a very busy person in general. However, the difference is not about actually doing things, but about actually wanting to do them.
May 5th, 2016 6:14pm
If you are worried that you are unmotivated due to being depressed, it may be a result of you being depressed. The feeling of being unmotivated will last longer than normal.