On the weekend my boyfriend and I were watching American Gods (which is an alright tv show, by the way). There was a character on there who was upset a lot, not showing any emotion, feeling that everything was just a bit pointless.
My boyfriend kept saying how annoying and unfair to other people she was being, and I had to agree, she’s a pretty nasty character, but the one thing I picked up on that he didn’t was the fact that she was depressed.
Sure, she had recently returned from the dead and was now traipsing across the country in a decomposing body that attracted a lot of flies in an attempt to win back the love of her husband, so she had a lot on her plate, but I saw a lot of myself in her.
Specifically, her lack of interest or joy in anything.
One of the most forgotten depression symptoms is a lack of enjoyment. Activities, places, people and things that used to make you the happiest person in the world just don’t do it anymore. No matter how hard you try to keep acting like everything is the same even the cutest puppy or the most wonderful birthday cake does nothing to float your boat.
And by watching this zombie girl on tv, I was able to explain this to my boyfriend. I explained to him the difference between liking doing something, and not feeling happy no matter how hard you try. I told him about all the hobbies I used to do and how I don’t care about them anymore. I explained how things that I know should make me happy just make me feel overwhelmed and seem like a hassle.
This is how depression changes you. It’s not just making you sad, it’s changing everything that makes you you.
I used to love baking, but I haven’t touched a recipe book in over a year, and the thought of mixing up a batch of cupcakes makes me want to go hide in bed.
Even when I know I should be enjoying the thing that I’m doing, the feelings of depression are just too strong.
And it really sucks to know that you should be happy, but you just can’t be. It sucks to not love the things that you used to be so passionate about.
My old psychologist told me that a big part of treatment for all mental health patients is self-enforced fun (my words, not hers). Pretty much you have to make yourself do things you used to enjoy until they start feeling good again.
I don’t know about you, but this seems really sad to me.
It feels like as my depression evolves it is slowly sucking up more and more of the things I enjoy, and every time I find something new I like to do it finds a way to make me lose interest in that, too.
Ideally, one day I will be able to go back to baking and pick up my paintbrushes again, but right not I’m just not ready for that. I’m not at that point in my mental health. So I think for now I’m just going to just focus on ambivalence, and be content with finding tv shows just alright.