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I can’t finish anything

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The inability to finish a task has got to be the one aspect of my personality I am simply failing to cope with. Through the years I have been able to learn and adapt myself so I can function in a small measure, but this bleeding away of my motivations has become unmanageable.

I have been stamped with many mental disorders such as, depression, generalized anxiety, primary insomnia, agoraphobia and others I care not to mention. However, I have been able to overcome many of those issues after my last break down during which I had a major life style change concerning my health.
I manage my depression very well and am in good control of dead spells. Anxiety is not a issue since I quit smoking, years back. If fact I believe most of my issues started with smoking but did not all end with it.

To get to the point, I am not responding to any type of positive nor negative motivation anymore. This is not the usual end of the world, depressive, can’t do anything emotion. There is no conflict what so ever. It is just “powered off”. I don’t feel depressed, not like I was years back.

At this moment I am trying to get through a bunch of red tape to get medical assistance for a heart condition I have developed but I just can’t seem to go out. It is a rather serious condition that I need to take care of but I can not motivate myself, even though I am in physical pain. This is not a uncommon pattern for me not to be motivated, not finish things, or do what I should. I don’t know why, tasks I do manage to take on are easy for me and don’t really cause me distress if I don’t have to do them even though many people find such tasks complex, impossible or mind numbing.

It is just now that I really really have to do something and now I have a brick for a lower brain that won’t move. I am sure it will be very good if I just get what I need done to take care of this problem. To put a scale on it I would say this is more demotivating then extreme shame but there is no emotion other then a slowly building frustration or the inability to do simple tasks.

Thanks for reading, hope it makes some sense. ;)

I can’t finish anything

Answered by on -


Yes, you make sense. Please stop berating yourself. There is a very high correlation between depression and heart disease. From what I’ve read, it’s unclear which causes which. It’s probably a recursive loop, with each contributing to the other.

Psychology Today’s website outlines a few actions to take to help ensure finishing what you start.

“1. Become aware of your pattern of starting and stopping. A way to recognize a possible pattern is to list every past project you can recall. Every class, resolution, language, book, or plan you have begun. (Maybe a close friend can help.) Write down why you started this activity, and when and why you stopped. Can you determine any commonalities?
2. Research more deeply into your next project before jumping in. Learn what others have experienced when aiming toward your same goal. Don’t think you’ll be the first one to learn Mandarin in a month, or the first to complete a novel that needs no revising, or the first to lose much weight and keep it off while never feeling the least bit hungry.
3. Know yourself and try be realistic. If you’re not particularly reality-based by nature, it may be a useful trait to work on. Setting goals that you can’t possibly achieve, while insisting you can and you will, merely sets you up for failure.
4. Make a time line or write out a set of steps toward your goal. Adding structure to your plans can really help. So many words a day, so much time per week promised to this activity, that sort of thing. It’s not “successes” you’re counting at this point, but rather specific efforts you can realistically make.
5. Ensure your main motivation is intrinsic. Do you really want to do this for personally meaningful reasons? Or do you think finishing your book will get you lots of money or girls (or the equivalent)? If you can find pleasure in the doing, in the learning, you won’t get as anxious when things take longer than expected.”

Somehow you found the motivation to write. Now please scrape together the motivation to find a friend or relative who can organize you until you can organize yourself. You have a serious condition. You need to get to your appointments. You need to inform your cardiologist about your moods and ask that there be collaboration with a psychiatrist. Your body is one organism with each part affecting the others. I therefore believe it’s wise to approach treatment in the same way — dealing with both issues at once. I hope this is helpful.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I can’t finish anything

This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on January 1, 2010.

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). I can’t finish anything. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 1 Jun 2019 (Originally: 1 Jan 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 1 Jun 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.