7 Things You Can’t Do If You’re Depressed

When you’re depressed, a large number of things fall by the wayside. This list features the most common things that you can’t do when you’re depressed.

Listen to Music

Of course, listening to music can be extremely therapeutic. Uplifting music…uplifts. Even depressing music can sometimes lift your spirits, because the sadness and despair it evokes is actually far greater than your own and it puts things into perspective. I’ve often though this about Leonard Cohen, for example; the way his lyrics describe heartbreak has the ability to make my own feelings seem juvenile and insignificant.

Unfortunately, one reaches a point where music loses its appeal. People who suffer from depression experience anhedonia, which is when you no longer enjoy what you formerly found pleasurable or enjoyable. One of the first things to go is music. When depressed, music can have many negative effects. At best, it’s inconsequential and has no effect, positive or otherwise. If you actually like the music, the realization that you’re not enjoying something you used to like will feel sad. If the music has lyrics that are even remotely romantic, this is also potentially depressing. Depression is often tied in with romantic longing or grief, and even the most inane pop song that speaks of love is going to make you feel shitty. Finally, if the music you hear has some personal meaning or is attached to a happy period in your life that is now irretrievable… forget about it. Tears are likely.

Watch Movies

On the most basic level, movies simply ask for a type of attentiveness that is hard to muster if you’re depressed. Cerebral films tend to have a lot of silences and moments where the spectator is encouraged to reflect on the images. That’s fine, but when you’re depressed, the only reflecting you’ll be doing is on various sad thoughts and anxieties floating around in your head. Of course you could just watch some popcorn flick, but these are likely to to be just as bad for their simple psychology and Hollywood endings. And as with pop songs, any film that depicts intimacy in any form is unlikely to sit well. Oddly enough, TV is OK. TV doesn’t require the same kind of attention as cinema. It moves quickly and requires at most about 50 minutes of your time. Sometimes, TV is the only form of media that provides any true distraction.

Go On the Internet/Facebook

When you’re depressed, checking Facebook really loses its charm. Do you really give a shit about what your friends – who by the way all seem to be out doing fun things – are up to? And do you have anything to report – photos, status updates, links, etc.? Probably not.


When depressed, eating becomes problematic. Either it’s a chore that seems like too much effort and can’t be bothered with, or you do it excessively. Even the simplest of things, like boiling a pot of pasta, seem like an insurmountable task. Going out to eat is OK, because it doesn’t require any effort, but no pleasure is derived from eating even the best of meals. The goal, really, is just to fill your stomach.

Have Sex

When depressed, you don’t really have the resources and the motivation to find sex. If it’s already available to you because you’re in a relationship, it’s likely to be extremely disappointing; the anxiety and fatigue that are symptoms of depression will spoil the sex, if it even happens at all. If you’re not in a relationship and for whatever reason an opportunity to have sex presents itself, it is probably best avoided, because it will inevitably be unsatisfying, and you certainly recall better times when sex was enjoyable.


Cleaning takes a back seat when you’re depressed. Of course it’s a vicious cycle; the more disorder and fith that surrounds you, the worse you’re going to feel, and consequently the less likely you are to make the effort to clean.

Maintain Personal Hygiene

Depression usually involves questioning the point of a lot of things, and habits like shaving, bathing daily, and getting your hair cut starts to seem pretty senseless in face of the fact that you’re not even sure why you want to be alive. You begin to realize that the only reason you maintain your hygiene is to keep up appearances and not feel like a total slob; you don’t actually care about being clean, fresh, and good-looking.


Of course, this list is not exhaustive. Other potential things that you can’t do when depressed include: going to parties, going on dates, entertaining friends, seeing relatives you don’t like, seeing your grandparents, reading novels, going on walks, exercising, staying in touch with lost-distance friends, waking up, falling asleep, etc., etc. TC mark


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  • Aelya

    This is honest and accurate.

  • Nancy Malig

    Really good article, very relatable.  There is a tenderness here,  a sympathetic tenor that suggests the author has been there.  Someone once defined depression as 'anger without enthusiasm'.  While stunningly accurate, I think the definition could be broadened to simply 'without enthusiasm'.

  • em

    Manic depressives can be  totally sex obsessed haha. Also experts have found strong links between heavy internet use and depression. Then again, thought catalogue never has been very factual in nature.

    • http://diaryofafreakinrican.com Debbie

      I don't believe the author was trying to give an exhaustive, DMS-esque explanation of depression and what it feels like. It's a watered-down list of “Things You Can't Do,” meant, likely, so that people without depression can get a little bit of an understanding of what depression really is.

      • http://diaryofafreakinrican.com Debbie

        DSM*some of us are dyslexic, apparently.

      • em

        are you serious? you mean DSM, right? try studying psychology and then tell me this article is accurate

      • Bourdillon

        Having had the good fortune to both study psychology and be clinically depressed, I can tell you without compunction that this is accurate for a lot of people who suffer from it.

    • Meds

      Yes, but Manic Depression isn't the same as Depression. The lows share a similarity, but try to treat Manic Depression with antidepressants and you'll have a big ol' mess on your hands! Chemically they are fairly different.

      • em

        all types of depression are chemically different. there is no single type of depression. :S that's what i'm trying to say. try lumping them all together and you've got a recipe for confusion

  • shaane

    Exhaustive list of things you can do: smoke weed.

    • Asforteri


    • Thegirlwhofellasleep

      And then everything else on the list is magically simpler.

  • oh

    Study for your finals…

    • xtos


  • Ano numb us

    I can't cry while I'm peeing…

  • http://www.imperfectenjoyment.com Dewan

    The seven “can't dos” the author listed make sense. But what you CAN do while depressed is masturbate. Alleviates a bit of your misery and/or helps you sleep.

  • George

    “…start(s) to seem pretty senseless in face of the fact that you're not even sure why you want to be alive.”
    I'm actually in the midst of working my way through this experience.  For me, the statement above crystallizes what I felt for everything during the worst of it; it's frighteningly accurate.

  • Grace Jung

    you left out “Read” on this list. I can't read when I am depressed.

  • Iohvc

    eh, id rather read what you CAN do when depressed… if there is anything lol

    • Julomenzo94

      heres my list: smoke weed, sleep, play xbox, get a girlfriend, play basketball, take antidepressants, and masturbate lmao

  • Dfasdf

    Except every obese person I know is clinically depressed.

    • Sarah

      Not every clinically depressed person is the same. The activities listed above are just common ones that people lose interest in. Also, instead of losing interest in food, you might lose interest in eating healthy food, which is generally more expensive or takes more planning to cook (planning will go out the window if you're depressed).

      • Audrey

        a lot of people lose interest in food, but some people start eating a lot more. that's what happened to me. i wasn't obese, but as soon as i went on antidepressants i started eating normal again and lost 20 lbs.

  • RamonaCC

    Except I've never listened to Cohen's 'The Stranger Song' and felt better afterward, yet somehow it's the only song I want to listen to…

  • Yes

    It seems like writer Dan Hoffman has experience the kind of depression written in this article. I wonder if a lot of people of this generation can relate.

  • Audrey

    i was the opposite. though i did lose my sex drive and never cleaned shit, eating/watching tv/surfing internet/listening to music was all i did in the 12 hours i wasn't sleeping.

  • whu

    i don't think very much of what was written in this article was right at all.

  • Sarah

    Some of it is pretty right. Expect If im not sleeping I do sit on facebook just because I have nothing else to do. I cant listen to music happy or sad, both make me cry. I dont care to clean or cook. I eat when i have too and I really dont care what it is, just doing it because i have too. I watch movies only because I want to forget my life, but its not working that much anymore. I been reading books that helps more than movies.

  • John

    I’ve been severely depressed for the past 5 or 6 years. It ruined my marriage of 27 years. I haven’t cared about what I eat. I barely get by on hygiene. I’m maxed out on my antidepressant. I just don’t seem to care about anything anymore.

  • Thought Catalog

    Reblogged this on Kaleidoscope003's Blog.

  • http://kelleystephens20.wordpress.com Kelley

    Reblogged this on Casa de la K.

  • https://dykewriter.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/elvis-world-depression-is-as-depression-does/ Elvis World – Depression is as Depression Does | dyke writer

    […] your symptoms and signs with MedicineNet’s Symptom Checker. medicinenet.com 7 Things You Can’t Do If You’re Depressed On the most basic level, movies simply ask for a type of attentiveness that is hard to muster if […]

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