November 3, 2011

Boredom is no cure for depression

There is a vacuum in my mind.

It is a space that feels this relentless urge to latch onto something, good or bad, real or imagined.

Lately, I have felt a sense of boredom at work, not finding my work to be stimulating enough. It’s not that I don’t have work to do. I do. And I do it. It just isn’t very exciting at the moment.

My wife counsels me to just try and enjoy it when things are less hectic, but that is easier said than done for me.

That vacuum in my brain, when not filled with something interesting or exciting, can cause depression and anxiety.

If the vacuum in my mind is not occupied with something stimulating, the ruminations start. And nothing can stop them.

The problem with boredom and depression is that even though we know being actively engaged in something—whether it’s our work or play—would make us feel better, we often don’t feel like expending energy….the one thing that probably would make us less anxious and depressed.

I wonder how many others who suffer from depression and anxiety are worrywarts like me, their minds always searching for something to be preoccupied with?

Please share your experiences or your thoughts about boredom and depression. Maybe someone can even enlighten me on being more “mindful” and just accepting the ebb and flow of life as it comes.

Sharing always helps, and reading your thoughts might cure my boredom.


  1. I absolutely understand. I struggle with the same thing. It is hard to keep your mind constantly "entertained" in order to keep out those ruminations. Sometimes I just don't feel like it. I've tried to work on mindfulness, but it's still difficult. I know that sometimes when I just don't have the energy to battle it, slipping on some music and just letting myself get lost in it helps.

  2. Kat,
    It is so nice to hear from others who can relate. Thanks for your comments...and the reminder that music can be a great mood changer.

  3. The story of my life too! Unfortunately, I have gone from boyfriend to boyfriend to boyfriend to fill my vacuum. I seem to have a magnet that attracts needy men to me so that I can immerse myself in their lives, helping them and loving them so I don't have to think about my own messed up life. Does it work? Yes, temporarily. Is it healthy? Absolutely not! Each "relationship" ends in heartache, depression, shame, embarrassment, and alcohol consumption until the next man rolls in.
    You bring up a great point about minfulness! It stops you from "re-hashing and re-hearsing", but it leaves the vacuum empty. Viscious cycle. Just like everything else related to anxiety and depression.
    Let's continue to find something to fill us up, shall we?

  4. I agree... I just read an article that links goal setting to improved/elevated mood. Just a thought...

  5. Lori,
    Thanks for the insightful comments. Please come again! And we do all have to be careful about being enablers....for ourselves and others. Take care.

  6. Continuing Education for Counselors,
    Thanks for visiting. I'd love to know a link to that article. My therapist has worked with me on setting modest daily goals that are easily attainable. Helps build self-confidence.

  7. Thanks for giving us a good look at impacts of boredom on our lives. For me, after long periods of boredom I have strong feelings of frustration and contempt for it. I don't get the worries much. I need to stay occupied with things or at least distracted.

  8. A person I've known for decades gave me some simple but powerful advice about my thoughts and states of being...and that is "that you are supposed to be feeling that way." This was a time when I was extremely anxious about things and this person said to relax and just realize that is the way you are supposed to feel right now. That helped me realize that the feelings were normal and that they come and go. It has also helped me to realize that unwanted feelings like anxiety/depression are just part of who we are but I know they will not last.

  9. When I am depressed I feel a terrible sense of boredom. I feel too depressed to do anything about it. The boredom makes the depression worse and the depression makes the boredom worse. It's a Catch 22.

    My therapist has given me projects to work on but I don't have the energy or interest to do them. (Nor do I have the focus.)

  10. Ive been depressed since i can temember i have a chemical inbalance that being high e levels i am male of course i have pubertal gynocomastia and tried exercise to not only rid the gyno but keep my mind focused on the excercise n not my problem i am currently on treatment with torem which has seemed to make me even more depressed (low e will do this as well as high) basically i just want to say that the most important thing i beleive you can do when u r depressed is see light in your life anyway possible remember that no matter how bad it is it could b worse and no matter how bored u r there is someone even more bored so dnt pitty yourself look into wat makes u feel a sense of purpose and do that if u feel u cant be happy because u cant have or do what it is that makes you happy (the one that got away) look for plan b or even c they are always there

  11. Your right Jack, it’s like you want to work but you’re mind won’t allow you to do so. Sometimes we force ourselves to work even if we are not interested to work.

  12. Wow, at least I know I am not alone. My boredom stirs up the beast-my depression. I am socially an introvert, so I tend to have few if any friends (sad, I know). I then tend to further isolate myself with games, snacking, non productive things and the boredom begets greater depression. At least I recognize my problem(s). I just see such an uphill battle to overcome them so I stay in the same patterns....

  13. I identify and sympathise with the above posters. Depression is boring and boredom is depressing.

    My goal is to swim every morning as exercise always helps. Today I made it off the sofa and into the pool at 2pm. Maybe tomorrow I can aim for 1pm.

  14. Depression is very injurious for health. Awesome content. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Thank you so much for your words, appreciate it :-) Finally I got a really nice or we can say useful post. Thanks for sharing a lovely post.
    You come up with the greatest post, I love these ideas! What to do when bored

  16. I have been in a job this year that is a luxury for the building that I work in. I can be the utility player so to speak. I also only have to be accountable to myself. My work is shown in the quality of the work others do and so I can give some good direction, then slack off a couple days. This along with the fact that I wasn't given really any direction when I arrived in the position and had to find my own way, made this one of the worst years for me in a long time. Depression has been my constant partner. I can offer a little hope though. I feel better now; even at a time when there is no real work left for me to do here, I feel better. I didn't quit on my treatment and I used the down time at work to make some real mental health adjustments, medications, routines, "mental health days" and so on. This has been a good year for that and as a result I am leaving this job having learned a significant amount about what I was doing which will carry over into my new building, and I also have learned so much about mental hygiene. So when there is time, when the race starts, I have tried sometimes successfully, sometimes not, to fill that void with thoughts about how to get healthy. I've also been writing here.