Life without a motor?
October 17, 2013 7:03 AM Subscribe
I've never had much motivation to do anything, or much ability to persevere, and this makes life a chore. I feel like I was born without a motor - like other people have some source of energy inside that drives them towards their goals, while I tend to just drift passively and hope the things I want come to me (they don't). Talk therapy hasn't helped much, and I'm not sure what to try next.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 60 users marked this as a favorite
I've never had strong life goals that I've felt driven to achieve; most of my life choices have amounted to taking the path of least resistance. I seem incapable of commitment, hard work, or perseverance because I'm just not excited enough by anything to put in sustained effort. This means all work feels like a chore, and I really don't want this to be the case for the rest of my life.
I only really ever had two ambitions in life, one professional and one personal: to be a novelist and to find love. So far (mid thirties) I've failed at both: the former, because I didn't put in the work and because I could never think of very much to say; the latter, because I'm basically a hermit (I'm ill at ease in social situations, have trouble making connections with people, and have very few friends). So basically, the only two things I ever really wanted seem to be out of my reach, so it's hard to feel motivated to do anything at all. I have hobbies (I read a lot, and I've taught myself several languages and musical instruments) but they are all solitary and don't hold my interest for very long. I've tried going to classes of various kinds and volunteering, but it all left me cold and I stopped pretty quickly. As for academic work (I'm in grad school), I do what's expected of me, if there's a deadline coming up, but I can't put my heart into it.
I'm not depressed; I've suffered from dysthymia in the past, but these days my mood is mostly fine, though I'm bored much of the time (as I've always been since childhood). I was in therapy for a year and a half but stopped recently as I didn't feel it was going anywhere. I'm not sure what to do. The solitariness and the sense of lacking a motor are things I've known all my life, and it's hard to believe they could change. (How would anything change unless I changed it, and how can I change anything when I have no drive, willpower or perseverance?) Structured therapies like CBT only work if you commit to doing the exercises, and knowing me that's unlikely to happen. I don't know if medication would help since, as I said, I don't think this is primarily a mood problem. A pill won't make me more interested in or comfortable around other people, or help me find purpose in life, will it?
So I'm at a loss as to what to try next, and any thoughts would be welcomed. Throwaway email: firstname.lastname@example.org