I feel like I end up blogging about anhedonia quite often, although those posts get lost in the archives of the blogosphere.
Anhedonia is defined as the inability to experience pleasure from activities that one usually enjoys.
As someone who indulges in the glamour of being sad, I experience periods of mild anhedonia from time to time. It’s frustrating to do day-to-day activities and not like them, but then to try to force yourself to do things that you do like and… still not find pleasure or solace in doing so. The tedium of the ordinary leaks into what would have and should have been extraordinary.
This got particularly frustrating for me lately because I was always able to take solace in my relationships with other people, being a social butterfly and an extrovert who draws energy from social interactions. During the last 2 years of college, I found myself feeling a bit weary of maintaining many of my friendships, which upset me because I felt like I was pruning my social circle, which would naturally shrink as I graduated.
Of late, I realized that I was feeling very emotionally distant from my boyfriend ever since I left for my family vacation to Europe. (Those posts are coming, I swear it.) (There are drafts and everything.) I thought that this would stop when I got back and got out of “family vacation mode” but… it lingered a little longer than I wanted and a lot longer than I was comfortable with.
Today, I realized that not only did I feel really guilty about this inexplicable distance I was putting between myself and my boyfriend, but I felt a lot of frustration with the fact that this was the one part of my life where my anhedonia didn’t run its ugly head and now it had. There was less pleasure in seeing him, in talking to him on the phone. And that frustrated me so much, because I want to enjoy things that I think I can depend on enjoying.
Imagine going to your favorite ice cream shop and ordering your favorite ice cream flavor. This has been your favorite flavor for a while, and even if you try other flavors, you always come back to this one. It’s always the best one.
One day, you walk into the shop, order your favorite flavor, and you find that…
… you don’t really know why it’s your favorite. It doesn’t taste bad, and it doesn’t even really taste different. But you don’t really like it more than anything else, and you’re not sure you want to order it the next time you go.
That’s kind of how I’ve been experiencing anhedonia.
In any case, I am working pretty hard on digging myself out of these little trenches of apathy. Apathy is not a good emotion (or lack of emotion) for me, as a person who really experiences the world by feeling and caring too much rather than too little.