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.

Day 7 — Your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/love/crush

I don’t have any true ex-boyfriends, but I could write to the person who comes closest.

(Warning: This letter got a bit long, oops. I have a lot more things to say than I thought to this person that I never got to and, unless he reads this, I never will.)

Dear Katana,

Please know that I had so much fun thanks to you. I never planned to spend the summer after graduating high school with a boy I had only known for 2 months, but I’m so grateful for the time we had. It was thanks to you that I was able to attend my prom at all, and I got to have an amazing time at both my school’s prom and yours one month later. I just think we didn’t have enough time together. There was the minor distance that we had trouble overcoming due to lack of cars. And I wanted to stay in my own hometown to go to grad parties and say my last farewells to my school and my friends.

I didn’t tell too many people about us because I had graduated and it didn’t matter enough to tell everyone about it. My friends didn’t believe I liked you, because I was also flirtatious with another boy. (The boy I thought would ask me to prom but didn’t.) I had to tell them that, while I wasn’t proud of it, I liked two guys; while one of them had a year to reciprocate any feelings he may have had and didn’t, you chose to act immediately. I appreciated that so much.

But while you were on vacation, I called you. I didn’t want to have to see you in person because it was a hassle, but also it was harder that way. You told me about Disneyland and seeing Leonardo DiCaprio’s house and how you were getting me Ghiradelli chocolates. I told you that that sounded awesome but maybe we should take a break so that we could focus on our friends and enjoying graduation and our time at home. At the time, you were going to school out of state and I didn’t want to take you away from this time at home. You thanked me for my honesty and consideration, and you admitted that what I told you wasn’t easy to hear.
I think things would have ended a little differently if I knew we’d be going to college together.

I was really disappointed when you started smoking. Not just because of how I feel about smoking but because of how I found out. Your friends, who hadn’t known that I had broken things off, were calling me and texting me and IMing me. They were deeply concerned about you because you had been acting out since you started smoking. I was furious when I found out, because they truly believed I was the only person who could get through to you and that their pleas fell on deaf ears. I called you for the first time in a short while and immediately demanded to know what was going on. You gave me maybe the dumbest reason for lighting a cigarette that I have ever heard, and you were awfully oblivious about the pain you had caused your friends.

I think that was the first time I cried over you. I was just so sad because one of the things I liked most about you was what a great friend you are. These guys looked up to you SO much. They respected and admired you and wanted to protect you. And you hurt them and you didn’t know how. There wasn’t an ounce of ill will between us until this incident, and it wasn’t until this point that our open-ended break was closed.

Your current girlfriend didn’t like me when we were at school, at least not at first. (I’ll admit, I’m still a wee bit scared of her. ^^;) Too many people knew me as your ex, and I had to gently tell them I was just your prom date, out of respect for the very real relationship you have with your girlfriend and also because I’m too proud to admit something like “my first relationship was almost non-existent”.

It sounds mean when I say this, but I mean it as warmly as I can. You have something very real with your girlfriend, and I have something very real with my boyfriend. Our “fling” doesn’t come close to what we have now. We saw less of each other than middle school couples do and we never had a proper date.

But I’m very grateful to you for the short time we had together. You’re a good guy.

I’m glad I met you. I wish you all the best, and I hope we can continue to be friends, even though our paths rarely cross.


I’m sorry we never got to go paddleboating here like you wanted.
I was truly looking forward to that.