Anhedonia

My therapist and I have agreed that a hobby would be good for me. But this seems to be a great example of a typical problem for me: my depression symptoms make me feel, often, so disengaged from literally everything that even things I’d like to enjoy bounce right off.

This has some benefits, because things that should hurt me are also quite far away from affecting me as well, but it’s still not a way to live. It reminds me of that episode of House where the father and daughter patients turned out to have familial Mediterranean fever, and the clue was that they were anhedonic. They couldn’t feel pleasure.

They were also sleeping but acting like they were awake. The dad kept losing time because of it. While he was sleepwalking (if you want to call it that), he bought cocaine. And the reason for it was that he couldn’t feel pleasure, or much of anything else, and his subconscious mind was trying to alleviate that.

Now, it’s not like I can go out and score some hard drugs even if I wanted to. I’ve got less than $10 in the bank, and even if I get approved for disability, there will be no money for drugs. But I can certainly see the appeal. When I was younger, I was a cutter, and I’m tempted at times to start up with that again, just to feel something.

That’s messed up, but it’s also understandable, I think. I’m not gonna do it, but the main reason I’m not is because I don’t really feel like it would work. Intuitively, instinctively, I think it would. That’s my automatic response. My rational brain is like, buddy, nothing works. You’ll just end up with fresh cuts to explain and a renewed method of disappointing others and yourself. Way to be.

The problem is that nothingness is actually hella exhausting. I mean, you wouldn’t think that it would be so exhausting to feel empty and lifeless and whatnot, but that’s how it is. And I don’t know how to make it stop.

I’m experimenting with a few things. I told my therapist that I try to do things and get lost in the question of why I’m fucking bothering and what the point is, and she said, okay, well, why don’t you respond to that by answering yourself? Explore the question. When you ask yourself why you’re doing something, take the time to figure out why. Why did you start the task? What will happen if you do complete it? What if you don’t? Is this task a part of a larger project with a larger purpose? How do I feel beforehand? How might I feel afterward?

These are not a panacea, but they might help. Sometimes I can make myself care enough to trudge through a task, but often, I’m unable to push through the feeling of apathy and ennui. I don’t start out sad, but it makes me sad that I don’t feel much of anything about anything. And then I just feel like, well, I might as well sleep, because at least that would kill some time.

This has been going on for a while. Sometimes, I don’t even feel real. I don’t know how to explain that, but it’s like my brain falls into some solipsistic sort of worldview through some psychological trap door. Suddenly, more than being unable to emotionally respond to much of anything, now everything seems to be a dreamlike mirage or similar unreal or illusory vision, and I just go kind of catatonic for a while.

I feel like, at those times, I’m far away from everything, including myself, and it’s hard to grab onto something, mentally, and tether myself back to the ground. This may be a coping mechanism of some sort, but whatever the case, it’s hella disconcerting, and I wish I could just have one day of being fully functional, just to remember what that’s even like.

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