Going Through the Motions of Life

Life with a mental illness is a funny thing, and sometimes you just keep going through the motions of life.

When I am engaged in life, things are good. My writing flows, I get everything on my daily list done, and my focus is on point. I wish every day is good, but the reality of having a mental illness is that you will have days when you just go through the motions of life because of things like depression or anxiety. At times it just might be because it’s been a long week.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t be productive.

So that is where today’s blog topic is going. In your life with a mental illness, there are going to be times where you have to go through the motions of life on a given day. What does this mean? It means that you may have to do the things you need to, but you might not be here on earth mentally.

I find myself doing this often and I found myself doing it yesterday. I had an early start to my day. I woke up at 4:30 am (which I am far from a morning person) and I got going with my day. My morning was filled with tasks outside of my house and with the lack of sleep I got the night before, I decided to turn my mind on autopilot and go through the motions of life.

I just did the tasks that I could without worrying about things that are normally flooding my mind in my waking hours. It’s a strange feeling when I make the decision to go through the motions of life because there is a peace in my mind. It’s almost like being a robot, and I put one foot in front of the other. I don’t over think every second of my life, and the results of this type of day aren’t always bad.

I find that I can be very productive on an autopilot yesterday. I was able to write a blog post, a good one, in between tasks that morning. I usually need total focus to write a blog, but it worked out well enough that I could post a legit subject that seemed to be popular.I could post a legit subject that seemed to be popular.

I was able to write back comments on my blog from the night/early morning before I woke up. I was effective in completing my tasks up until got home almost five hours after walking where I finally crashed taking a much-needed nap for a few hours (this is a rare occurrence in my life but given that slept very little the previous four days it was expected.)

Even when I woke a few hours later, I did some tasks like working on a ​chapter and getting some reading for my business communications class done. I wrote a second small post about where my blog The Bipolar Writer is going. When I hit my limit, I was done for the day and spent the rest of my time binge-watching my favorite shows.

My point of this blog post is simple. Even when you have days where you have to go through the motions of life, it doesn’t mean that you should give up on your day. At any point yesterday morning I could have just given up on the day and make the decision to go back sleep before the tasks of my morning were done. In fact, in the middle, I did take much-needed rest, but I was still effective.

The other side of this is when you absolutely have to check out completely, don’t feel bad about it. Life with a mental illness is far from easy and you will experience days where getting out of bed seems impossible and checking out is possible. So, if you can, stay in bed and have a mental health day and maybe sleep in. Sure, in the long run, it is not an effective strategy to live life with a mental illness. 

If you can go through the motions of life, so it the best you can in that day until you reach the limit. The biggest thing is knowing your limit. If not take the day to work on your mental health by doing tasks like meditation or yoga. It could also mean just binge-watching Netflix all day, well then give yourself a break. Know your bodies limits when it comes to your mental health.

One thing I have learned on my Bipolar One journey is giving myself a break from life at least one day a week where my only goal is getting my mental health back on track. Even when I feel like I have no choice but to go through the motions in life, I “just do it” to steal the Nike phrase. You might surprise yourself that you can still be effective, I know I did yesterday.

I like to always end my blogs with a question and I am interested to hear from my fellow mental health bloggers.

What are some of the things you do when you “go through the motions of life” when you are mentally checked out of a day?

Have you ever found yourself effective despite checking out and going through the motions of life?

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Anubhav Saxena

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40 Replies to “Going Through the Motions of Life”

  1. Going through the motions include, cleaning and making sure my immediate surroundings are orderly. If I don’t have things clean and organized, I can’t focus. Once this is completed, then I can move on with my writing and reading. This calms my anxiety by leaps and bounds.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Good article. I sleep, which is not really productive at all I guess. But then again it is, because it helps me rebuild stamina and try again the next day. But I can relate about trying to be somewhat productive as far as accomplishing some tasks. That way the entire day isn’t a complete check out.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank-you for sharing this James! I too feel the same way of just going through the motions, and it helps me to get anything, even just small things, as long as its something, done on harder days. Something my therapist told me relates too – “accept everything, expect nothing” – because by just going through the motions and what ever happens, it’s surprising where joy can pop in unexpectedly. Overall, thank-you for sharing you experiences, I really love reading your blog, and I hope today has been a good day for you (:

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Today had been a good day. Lots of writing. Focusing on the big picture. Getting my list done. It was helpful to have a day like yesterday. Thank you for sharing your own person experience.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for this post! Well said. For me, I struggle with executive dysfunction, which makes even going through the motions challenging. However, over the decades I have found my own ways still going through the motions of life, even when my exec dysfunction is strongest. I use a life rpg app , for example, because checking things off and not disappointing my teammates can sometimes get me over a rough patch. OR, another cheat I learned, was talking myself into doing things….rather than making it a requirement….For example, instead of ‘oh f@#$ i can’t get out of bed’ and ‘oh f#@$ I have to get out of bed’ I am gentler with myself….’I am going to get out of bed soon’ and ‘maybe i will reward myself with a fancy coffee today’
    Of course, some days just don’t work at all. But finding cheats and succeeding, even if it’s just getting the basics done, so SO AWESOME
    Thanks for writing and sharing!! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like your idea of idea of talking to yourself into things and rewarding those good behaviors with coffee. I could do that with everything and who doesn’t love coffee? Thank you for sharing this with me and my blog.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am still steaming from the removal of Doctor Who. Don’t get me started lol I’m in Canada too so our selection isn’t as good as the US.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I go through the motions a lot since I’ve been in this depression but when I’m writing I feel like im in touch with myself and others so I try to make it a priority ” Great Post

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve been making writing a priority as well, and it has helped me get through a lot in the past few months. Thank you for sharing this with me and my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I often find myself going through the motions of life. The real trouble is when the depression is so bad that I can’t even bring myself to do that.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes. Today hasn’t been too bad though. At least I was able to run an errand (go to the post office) and washed my hair. Sadly, that is a good day for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Great Post James! Some days I live in my bed. I love my bed, it’s so very comfortable and the cover is very pretty and not heavy so I don’t get hot, just feel cozy. I’m going through an extreme depression and I find the only way through is writing, reading ‘ Netflix and Amazon . And Chloe I’m going to lose tomorrow ‘so you know where I’ll be hiding:-(

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes it’s good to be in bed. It’s refreshing especially in the winter time. I am not great in cold weather even California cold weather. That’s the beauty of Netflix in the winter time, it’s always there.

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      1. Hi James, I’ve been reading your posts. You should look for me at the Road Less Traveled or riley still waiting blog. I like your posts
        Riley

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  8. “Going through the motions” is effective when you don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary. I find when I stray off my routine, and I am not on my best, that triggers are easily pressed and I get out of control, if only for a few minutes. But those minutes can ruin a lifetime of trying.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great blog man 👍 I suppose with me as a chef I go through the motions everyday . I work in a busy kitchen and I’m in charge (not sure who’s idea that was😂) so to cope with my anxiety I go on auto pilot and smash the shift . When I come out of it tho man am I drained but at least I kept my anxiety at bay 👌

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can definitely relate to this post. I began a new medication in September and I “feel” as though that’s how I do my daily life, going through the motions. There were a time I couldn’t even do that. So I must report going through the motions as progress.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ll be honest, whenever I’m mentally exhausted or overwhelmed due to anxiety or depression, I just go into bed and nap. Otherwise, my brain won’t stop and I’ll be running around doing everything and becoming frantic that everything is a mess or wrong in the apartment. However, if I’m at work and can’t escape the stress, I put on my headphones and just listen go music while I work. Sometimes the days become so taxing that I just know I’ll be a mess when I get home because I’m literally putting all of my energy into keeping it together at work while still showing quality in my assignments. However, blogging has actually become my “go to” release lately for anxiety and depression. I find it easier to write when I am depressed because I can get the genuine feelings out there immediately and I’m so numb that I don’t even care posting about the personal stuff. It feels like it flows out at that point. Mental illness is a funny thing, like you said, it really does creep up on you and sometimes at the most inconvenient times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Writing can be a powerful thing for helping someone get through a day filled with mental illness issues. I swear by writing as therapeutic and a way to find some solace in chaos. It’s why I chose to write in my blog and my memoir daily. I always use my headphones to drown out the world while I am working. It keeps me focused. Thank you for sharing a piece of your life with me and my blog. Also thank you for taking a moment to read my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s pretty amazing that you got so much done. I really struggle on bad mental health days. I had one today and am still desperately trying to catch up on blog stuff. If I know I’m not going to achieve anything that day I often just end up playing video games on my laptop and watching Netflix. However I’m trying to make an effort to do work on my blog every day, even if that’s just staying up to date with replying to comments and other people’s blogs. It has made a difference just to know I’m achieving something every day, even if it’s small.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s the small achievements that get me through most days. But I am learning more and more not to be so hard on myself. Life is too short and if all we do is stress, nothing good ever gets done. And it’s okay to just go through the motions some days.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Trying to be less hard on myself and set realistic goals is one of my biggest struggles. A lot of my anxiety is around feeling like I’m less than others because I can’t/haven’t achieved as much as those around me. Somedays I’m happy enough to celebrate the small victories, others I just get frustrated and hurt I haven’t achieved the big ones. It’s a constant struggle for balance.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah I know what you mean. The small achievements are great but I feel a lot like I need to finish my memoir now. Win this big screenplay competition. Finish the novel version of my screenplay now. I want the big goals to be done that I struggle to be happy about the small victories.

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  13. I may not have a mental illness, but I still have days where I just need to check out mentally. Some days it’s hard to go to work and focus. If I don’t have work, I try to take some time to myself to sleep, or just relax and be me. Whatever that means for then. Just watching a show or letting my mind rest. All work and no play is no fun at all! If I’m stuck at work, I have to mentally focus myself on what I’m doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. its so hard to do anything atall when your life is going all over the place, most times i find myself drifting into my mind and creating more worries, the only thing that gets me going is writing down all the things causing the depression and eating😂..and am all better for a while

    Liked by 1 person

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