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Confused About Anhedonia Feelings.


shadow281

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As I await for the appointment in October to discuss my mental health issues, the biggest drawback that this depression has caused me for most of my life is Anhedonia. From around the ages of 5-10 I would have episodes of it, sometimes for a week, sometimes for a month, but there were a few times I could feel genuine happiness and pleasure from things like Video Games and Movies. Even ones that were not terribly good.

But when I turned 11, as things got worse for me I began to feel the Anhedonia more and more, especially after I started to take Prozac (there were still times I could feel joy even when on it though) for anxiety for around 2 years. I am now off it, and so far since May last year I have had maybe 3-4 episodes where I was able to feel genuine pleasure and joy like I used to be able to, but for the most part I have been unable to.

I am somewhat scared the Prozac permanently destroyed my ability to feel pleasure, although I do feel pleasure when my depressive symptoms go down, so it can't just be caused by the prozac. IT's always been this way the more depressed I get, even before Prozac. But still I worry. A few days ago during a few hours where my depression lowered quite a bit (was maybe very mild at this point), I was able to enjoy playing video games and even enjoyed listening to music! Like, it made me feel different as I listened to it. But then the next day I felt more depressed again for no reason.

I am really confused about the anhedonia, what should I do about it when I see the mental health professional? And most importantly, what should I ask him about this?

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Well ask him about the Prozac to put your mind at ease. I see no reason why it would have permanently made things worse, but it may be better to hear that from a doctor.

I have the same issue, although I just learned it's called anhedonia, but it's not to the level you're experiencing it. I typically find little pleasure in music, going out with friends, hiking, boating, partying, etc... But I do enjoy video games and movies, so I lucked out there. And as long as I am in a healthy mindset, I also enjoy reading/learning.

Maybe ask him about Effexor. So far I've done the best on that. It's an SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor), while Prozac just deals with serotonin. Just remember that Effexor can be difficult to get off of once you're on it. There is also Celexa/Lexapro which are like Prozac. They're essentially the same thing, but Lexapro is basically... purer than Celexa to be concise.

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Well ask him about the Prozac to put your mind at ease. I see no reason why it would have permanently made things worse, but it may be better to hear that from a doctor.

I have the same issue, although I just learned it's called anhedonia, but it's not to the level you're experiencing it. I typically find little pleasure in music, going out with friends, hiking, boating, partying, etc... But I do enjoy video games and movies, so I lucked out there. And as long as I am in a healthy mindset, I also enjoy reading/learning.

Maybe ask him about Effexor. So far I've done the best on that. It's an SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor), while Prozac just deals with serotonin. Just remember that Effexor can be difficult to get off of once you're on it. There is also Celexa/Lexapro which are like Prozac. They're essentially the same thing, but Lexapro is basically... purer than Celexa to be concise.

My depression has pretty much gotten to the point it's very hard to do anything without finding it a struggle. But even a small decrease in it's severity could allow me to play games again. It has in the past but then again, it might be best for me to go away from my computer for a while once my depression does start to ease. It might actually help with me enjoyment of all things computer again, but that's only if my depression also goes since I can't enjoy anything in this state!

Edited by shadow281
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I usually don't play games or watch movies before 6PM. I try to keep it somewhat novel.

As far as medication goes, I wish I would have started working with it a lot earlier in life. It can take awhile to find the cocktail that best works for you. Your doctor should know that you've had these issues from a very very young age and has be ongoing. I think that's a really important piece of information. Depression can be more psychology or more biological. It sounds like for you, it's more biological and so it's worth looking into meds.

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I usually don't play games or watch movies before 6PM. I try to keep it somewhat novel.

As far as medication goes, I wish I would have started working with it a lot earlier in life. It can take awhile to find the cocktail that best works for you. Your doctor should know that you've had these issues from a very very young age and has be ongoing. I think that's a really important piece of information. Depression can be more psychology or more biological. It sounds like for you, it's more biological and so it's worth looking into meds.

IT is more biological, my thoughts don't actually change all that much during the better episodes, just I think better because I AM FEELING BETTER! It is possible there is a minor psychological element to it, but that would have been a result of the negative effect the depression had on my life. Such as it leading me to being diagnosed as autistic by the incredibly dumb educational system (many psychologists don't think I have autism). I will say a few things about that.

People with Aspergers are known to have a small range of interests (I have a small range of interests because I am too depressed to gain new ones, always been that way!)

They are also well known for very poor social skills (My social skills are actually pretty normal when my depression goes, I just don't feel happy or energetic enough to even socialise right, so I try too hard...which makes me seem a bit like an autistic person. This also has to do with being so depressed I want more social support to make it go away...I get afraid of being abandoned and made to feel worse)

Irritability and Impulsive behaviour (When my depression worsens this is when this tends to happen, always has.)

It doesn't matter if it's psychological or biological, if it isn't sorted I will be condemned to living the rest of my life unable to do the things I have always wanted to do. I don't mind if it still comes every so often, but at least allow me to have more than 4 days every few months where I feel normal! I would be happy if I could have 4 months a year where I felt normal to be quite honest.

Edited by shadow281
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A good psychiatrist won't draw a dividing line of nature versus nurture between depression and the patient because firstly, he won't have any means to ultimately make that determination. Secondly, the barrier between the two is fuzzy, and they continuously and reflexively influence one another.

Treatment does not necessarily depend on origin. Therapy may take some time to find an effective means to manage your symptoms. My depression is several times over determined to primarily be biological, but all my (good) doctors have nonetheless looked for psychological means to help me get by (in addition to medication).

Just relate your history, your concerns, and expectations: what you want out of the doctor-patient relationship. You should have at least an hour.

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A good psychiatrist won't draw a dividing line of nature versus nurture between depression and the patient because firstly, he won't have any means to ultimately make that determination. Secondly, the barrier between the two is fuzzy, and they continuously and reflexively influence one another.

Treatment does not necessarily depend on origin. Therapy may take some time to find an effective means to manage your symptoms. My depression is several times over determined to primarily be biological, but all my (good) doctors have nonetheless looked for psychological means to help me get by (in addition to medication).

Just relate your history, your concerns, and expectations: what you want out of the doctor-patient relationship. You should have at least an hour.

I will tell him about how these feelings and symptoms have affected my personality and life, how I believe it will gravely impact my quality of life and professional potential, how I expect to feel in the coming months, and complete understanding of how bad this illness is for me and the people I am around. I think that should be good enough.

The anhedonia is actually one of the biggest problems I face, because it stops me from being able to make myself feel happy even during worse times, hence it allows my depression to worsen. It was like this long before I even started Prozac back in 2011 (It would be more episodic though, but as I felt better from the other depression symptoms so did my ability to feel joy and pleasure again).

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This is a recent development I just realised, my anhedonia will fluctuate at certain points of the day!

Aside from those days in March, where my anhedonia was quite low (I didn't enjoy things quite the same way I used to, but it felt like I was half way out of it, which is good enough for me!), my anhedonia is pretty much always there. But sometimes it will lower slightly (or, rarely, lower completely) at certain points during the day, usually at night.

It went away quite a bit a week or two ago, I can still remember some of the stuff I did on that evening since I felt less depressed. The best way to tell if the anhedonia is going down is to get me to listen to music I like. If the music starts to give me images in the head and a "good" feeling, then that makes the anhedonia is going down. If it doesn't do that, that meant the anhedonia is in full effect.

This is a good sign too, it doesn't seem to be permanent, just severely affected by the depression.

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The anhedonia is actually one of the biggest problems I face, because it stops me from being able to make myself feel happy even during worse times, hence it allows my depression to worsen.

PS. I had to google anhedonia. Now that I know what that is... THIS, so THIS. I hate this feeling. It's like I can talk to people and get help on my thinking, which tends to bring me back from my darker areas. But nothing, NOTHING, is enjoyable, or if it is, it's so brief that the activity isn't worth the effort. I'm going through life performing because I know if I don't I'll slide into a dark place. So all I shoot for is neutral, not happy. There is no happy. Nothing is enjoyable, not even an orgasm. Nothings worth it.

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I don't usually like to post links, partly because I thought I read something about it in an introduction thread, but mainly because I feel like I am here mostly just to connect with people. I did come across this definition of anhedonia when I googled it though. It explains what you are talking about with the moments where you can experience something akin to pleasure.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-sense/200912/depression-and-anhedonia

It's short too.

It makes it sound like you are normal and that it wasn't the meds. That is the purpose of posting it.

Edited by angeleswings
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I don't usually like to post links, partly because I thought I read something about it in an introduction thread, but mainly because I feel like I am here mostly just to connect with people. I did come across this definition of anhedonia when I googled it though. It explains what you are talking about with the moments where you can experience something akin to pleasure.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-sense/200912/depression-and-anhedonia

It's short too.

It makes it sound like you are normal and that it wasn't the meds. That is the purpose of posting it.

I have had short moments of it too. In fact, I had it long before I even took Prozac!

It would be that I could play a game for a few minutes, enjoy it, but then after a while I lost the pleasure I felt way way too fast. That got me believing the people who liked the games were idiots or something since I couldn't find it pleasurable for long enough. This happened way too long and was very inconsistent.

If my depression gets better my Anhedonia should improve, seeing as it has sometimes gone away for the whole day in the past. But I am not sure what you mean with "It makes it sound like you are normal and that it wasn't the meds"?

I am kinda tired right now so I may be reading things a bit wrong.

Some more info, as I said, I felt pleasure much more when I was younger, but as my depression became more chronic it started to go down. It can really change my perception of reality too...like I wonder if I am truly as critical as some people say I am. Maybe tons of the terrible movies and video games I grew up disliking might become enjoyable if I am less depressed or something? A part of that seems interesting and scary to me. It is really more of a recent hindrance since it never used to be this chronic up until recently, but with not getting the right treatment (Prozac didn't help me at all) and being forced to go to horrible places because of my depression making me seem like I had autism (I didn't realise this empty and tired feeling I felt throughout my life was depression), this depression was allowed to get worse to the point the anhedonia became more apparent. I have had tons of episodes before 2011, where I took Prozac, but yeah, that was how my depression got worse on it's own.

Edited by shadow281
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Yeah, normal doesn't mean anything does it? I meant that anhedonia seems to fit your description of your experiences, so it's a normal anhedonia, not an abnormal anhedonia. I get a little over-logical sometimes. So I was saying it like a physical illness that either presents as expected or presents in an abnormal way. No one is "normal." I'm sorry for not being clear.

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Yeah, normal doesn't mean anything does it? I meant that anhedonia seems to fit your description of your experiences, so it's a normal anhedonia, not an abnormal anhedonia. I get a little over-logical sometimes. So I was saying it like a physical illness that either presents as expected or presents in an abnormal way. No one is "normal." I'm sorry for not being clear.

Yeah, that's true. When I saw "normal" I mean my normal non depressive state, seeing as I can enter that state at random. That's the state that gives me the average chance just like everyone else in the world who doesn't have this illness. Hence, normal.

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Ahhh. It was once suggested to me that I start calling that state being "level" (like stable) or being "healthy." The reason someone suggested that I change my word from normal to one of these other choices is because there is no real definition to normal like there is for level, stable, or healthy. Also, for many people "normal" has some sort of connotation that might not be as positive as on of the other words. Another point that was made to me was that I am normal, even with all of the depression, or mood fluctuation. I can be normal and still be sad, angry, frightened, so instead I chose to say stable. If I have stable emotions it means that I can still experience sadness, anger and fear, but they don't take over my life or damage any part of my life.

So now that I say "level", I don't have this expectation to be anything other than what is "normal" for me. :) Just a trick I learned that happened to work for me.

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Ahhh. It was once suggested to me that I start calling that state being "level" (like stable) or being "healthy." The reason someone suggested that I change my word from normal to one of these other choices is because there is no real definition to normal like there is for level, stable, or healthy. Also, for many people "normal" has some sort of connotation that might not be as positive as on of the other words. Another point that was made to me was that I am normal, even with all of the depression, or mood fluctuation. I can be normal and still be sad, angry, frightened, so instead I chose to say stable. If I have stable emotions it means that I can still experience sadness, anger and fear, but they don't take over my life or damage any part of my life.

So now that I say "level", I don't have this expectation to be anything other than what is "normal" for me. :) Just a trick I learned that happened to work for me.

Will do the same from now on. Sometimes I call it the "default" state. Seeing as I wasn't born depressed.

Slowly I am heading in the direction of that state, thanks to therapy. Will have to try meds out soon however since this depression seems to linger on all the time. Regardless of my thoughts.

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I tend to find that it isn't impossible for me not to feel pleasure...just it feels kinda diluted. Like I can't feel the full effect of it anymore.

I do read up about people who beat depression but still have anhedonia, which quite frankly scares me. I did have a semi good episode a few weeks ago (there was another after that for a few hours where my anhedonia went down, so I was able to feel pleasure for a little while) where my anhedonia was still kinda there I think (I recall feeling numb still) and I was thinking more positively. Still felt some depression symptoms but I was more optimistic for a little while.

This is quite confusing, was I still feeling anhedonia because during that time my depression was still there, just it wasn't down enough for me to feel alive again?

I know I can feel pleasure again, a more recent good episode did allow me to feel pleasure from music again (and I did feel more energised and the depression was less present, better than that other good episode where I was just thinking more optimistically). I will be starting an SSRI/SNRI soon, so I am getting a little anxious. Could someone explain why it fluctuates like this to me while it doesn't when certain other symptoms ease?

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Depression is one of those things that can change minute to minute and often seemingly with no reason. Anhedonia feelings can happen at the same time or separately. It sounds like your depression symptoms lifted quite a lot but not completely. Not unusual. I often think of it as a multifaceted condition and which of those facets are dominant or not varies at different times. As someone who has had various incidents of major/clinical depression over my lifetime I also find it interesting how each of those episodes felt different from the others in some way or other. When they diagnose clinical depression they look at a 2 week period. I think that is a much more helpful way to evaluate things. Think in terms of 2 weeks to a month.

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Depression is one of those things that can change minute to minute and often seemingly with no reason. Anhedonia feelings can happen at the same time or separately. It sounds like your depression symptoms lifted quite a lot but not completely. Not unusual. I often think of it as a multifaceted condition and which of those facets are dominant or not varies at different times. As someone who has had various incidents of major/clinical depression over my lifetime I also find it interesting how each of those episodes felt different from the others in some way or other. When they diagnose clinical depression they look at a 2 week period. I think that is a much more helpful way to evaluate things. Think in terms of 2 weeks to a month.

It should go away along with the depression. Most of the time when my depression symptoms go down, my ability to enjoy things begins to return somewhat. I just worry because I read some posts about antidepressants causing these effects, even after people stop taking them.

Sure, I had times where I could feel pleasure since I stopped taking Prozac in May last year, and again, had episodes of anhedonia quite a bit back before I started Prozac. The Prozac on the other hand didn't have much of an effect really on me for all I know, apart from making my depression worse and causing derealization (which has gone away mostly). Just reading the horror stories about anhedonia scares me. I can still feel emotion, just pleasure and joy doesn't register much in my brain most of the time.

Good ****ing god, does everyone on this board have issues with their anhedonia even when taking antidepressants that work?!

Edited by shadow281
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The first antidepressant I was on worked and it worked for my anhedonia. I can look up what it was if you like. However, our brains are different so it may not work the same for you.

That would be interesting. And that was a response I was looking for.

I guess it's all about luck and persistence. I am coping better now that I know it's just an illness and not in my personality to feel this way. But the feelings can get unbearable at times.

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