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Leora

How did you experience anhedonia when you first got it versus how it is now?

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A couple questions:
-Has your anhedonia gotten worse compared to when you first developed it or has the disease affected you the same way as when you first got it?
-If your current experience of anhedonia is different than how first you experienced it, what has changed about your experience?

I'm trying to find out whether or not anhedonia gets worse the longer you have it or if it just stays the same in terms of impact. I just recently developed anhedonia and I have my own thoughts about it, but admittedly, I am still learning about it and the experience is quite new to me. I've had it for a little over a month. However, I want to see how people respond to my thread before I give my own two cents.

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It's a slightly difficult to say exactly, considering how broad the term can be used and attributed to a wide subset regarding motivation and reward. This is further compounded by the fact that mood disorders in general can affect people in very different ways. So, no two people may experience MDD, GAD or anhedonia or treatments therein exactly the same way as another.

Generally, I would categorize the way that I've experienced anhedonic symptoms into two broad categories.

  1. There is the type of "anhedonia" most commonly observed and reported as a direct symptom of depressive, or major depressive disorders. This is much how I would describe the first 10 years of my untreated MDD in which I had a "reduction" or "loss" in interest or enjoyment in activities or experiences that I once enjoyed before the onset of depression. In other words, the same way you wouldn't necessarily want to go out and have fun the same week that a close relative died. This is how I would describe my loss of interest directly related to depressive symptoms. It's not that the ability to enjoy things has simply "gone away", it's more like I was simply too preoccupied with my sadness and depression to enjoy things the same way that I could before. Granted, this type of disinterest wasn't always as bad as it sounds. With depressive symptoms of anhedonia, there came varying degrees of malcontent. There are good weeks, and there are bad weeks. There are good months, and there's bad months. In other words, it never stayed at exactly the same level, it could fluctuate considerably. And in a way, this almost made those windows of good days feel that much more valuable and importantly to me. Like a loved one that you only get to see for certain periods of time. As an addendum I will note that extreme periods of untreated anxiety and/or depression do have a high probability of making the next episode of anxiety and depression worse, and more likely to occur. I did experience this, though again, this isn't guaranteed and may be different for someone else. This is part of the reason why seeking early treatment for anxiety/ depression / anhedonia are so critically important, and may drastically decrease the amount of time and complications involved in attaining complete remissions from aforesaid symptoms, which I do believe is 100% possible for most to all sufferers of these conditions.
  2. The second way that I experience "anhedonia" and perhaps the much, much worse iteration of the condition happened just recently after approximately 10 years of untreated generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorders. The second instance was brought about by an extended period of several months to a year of intense unmitigated stress compounded primarily by anxiety and secondarily by depression. This is a period in which I believe the intense stress that I was experiencing simply became so great in such a concentrated period of time that parts of my mind/brain simply began shutting down as an evolutionary self defense mechanism. Which seems consistent with other accounts I have read, as well as with input made by my therapist on the matter. The way this manifested in me was with an extended period (around 3 months) of what has been called "anxiety induced depersonalizion / derealization disorder, in which I experienced complete and abstract detachment from myself, my identity, as well as my feelings and emotions including the connection I felt between myself and my surroundings/ loved ones. Where I would describe my first experience with anhedonia as a "reduction" in the ability to feel pleasure. I would describe this experience as a complete absence in my mind's ability to process pleasure along with almost every single other emotion. Anger, fear, love, affection, embarrassment, sexual attraction, everything. Like these things belonged to someone else, someone who wasn't me. After 10 years of intermittent paranoia and  thanatophobia associated with anxiety, I wish I could describe what it was like to suddenly have no feeling toward the concept of death whatsoever. I felt the same way about the things that were happening to me that you might feel about an extra in a random TV series that you've never watched and don't even care about. What I can say is that it has to be one of the most intensely uncomfortable and painful experiences that any sane person can feel without even having the emotions to react properly to it. I never even realized how much I took the ability to cry for granted before I went through this.

 

  • While not everyone may experience depersonalization or derealization after extended periods of extreme stress. The complete loss of emotion and reactivity to pleasure and motivation directly following periods of extreme stress, that many will go on to attribute to anhedonia, is still very much the same. I've had some success clawing my way out of the depersonalization, however, the affects of anhedonia and emotional blunting are much more pervasive to heal from. I feel like it would be best to think of anhedonia the same way that you would think of a very serious physical injury to a vital organ. It CAN heal, and a complete recovery IS possible. However, you have to keep in mind that your brain, just like any other organ, will take some TIME to steadily heal itself. Over the last several months I've probably seen marginal improvements by doing all of the things that you're suppose to do for healing physically/ mentally. Getting weekly aerobic exercise, eating right, avoiding drugs, getting enough light/sleep/vitamins, socializing as much as I can and seeking treatment through therapy and medication. Most importantly, keeping stress/anxiety levels as low as possible for as long as possible. Something akin to relearning how to walk. I'll be honest about the fact that I'm still no where near being the same as I used to be, yet. Nor do I feel like I'm even close to deciding whether I want to continue living, as disheartening as that sounds. However, that will depend heavily on how much I do, or don't improve in the coming months, and how close I feel like I can come to regaining at-least a base-line of my previous emotions and enjoyment that allowed me to continue living like something that is perhaps remotely human. Though I still have a host of blood tests, brain scans and yet untried therapy/ medication options before I start resorting to more extreme options. If I can't completely convince myself to care about living anymore, at the very least I can drive myself to get better, or die trying. 

 

Sorry for being so long winded, but I hope this helps at-least a little bit. Just remember that each and every person experiences these things a little bit differently. You or I could very easily be the next success stories that we all read about. They do exist.

Edited by Just The Wind

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My anhedonia is a recent development so I may be able to avoid long-term consequences of it being left untreated. On the other hand, without knowledge of the root cause of my anhedonia, I am at risk for getting it again even if I seek treatment as soon as possible. This said, I'm not without theories regarding what may have caused it.

One of my theories is that I've been experiencing prolonged periods of intense stress. This seems like an unlikely cause, though I won't entirely dismiss it. I've just made an effort in recent months to reduce the amount of stress I'm experiencing.

Anyway, I actually doubt that stress is behind my anhedonia. As ridiculous as this sounds, I think that it was prolonged periods of boredom that led to me developing it. Back in January, I experienced an episode of boredom that lasted long enough to blunt my emotions in late February. In late April, the blunted emotions turned into experiencing no pleasure at all. During the period of boredom, I was experiencing a lot of apathy. It could have something to do with a lengthy period of not being able to sustain interest in anything. When it comes to being unable to sustain interest in things, I have no idea what's causing that.

At my best, I see a lot of interesting things. At my worst, however, my interests become restricted.

Even though I have these theories, both of them could be wrong. I just know that before getting anhedonia, I was frequently experiencing boredom and the boredom has somehow gone away with the development of anhedonia. However, I'm still worried about my anhedonia getting worse and leading to me being unable to experience any emotion. I'm somewhat worried that my anhedonia is just early in its development and that's the only reason I'm still able to function even half-way normally.

Fortunately, I have a psychiatrist appointment in the morning, so I can bring it up with him when I go in. I'm just not sure what he could do about it. Google doesn't leave me with much confidence that professionals know how to treat this condition. It doesn't seem to have thorough research going into it.

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2 hours ago, Leora said:

My anhedonia is a recent development so I may be able to avoid long-term consequences of it being left untreated. On the other hand, without knowledge of the root cause of my anhedonia, I am at risk for getting it again even if I seek treatment as soon as possible. This said, I'm not without theories regarding what may have caused it.

One of my theories is that I've been experiencing prolonged periods of intense stress. This seems like an unlikely cause, though I won't entirely dismiss it. I've just made an effort in recent months to reduce the amount of stress I'm experiencing.

Anyway, I actually doubt that stress is behind my anhedonia. As ridiculous as this sounds, I think that it was prolonged periods of boredom that led to me developing it. Back in January, I experienced an episode of boredom that lasted long enough to blunt my emotions in late February. In late April, the blunted emotions turned into experiencing no pleasure at all. During the period of boredom, I was experiencing a lot of apathy. It could have something to do with a lengthy period of not being able to sustain interest in anything. When it comes to being unable to sustain interest in things, I have no idea what's causing that.

At my best, I see a lot of interesting things. At my worst, however, my interests become restricted.

Even though I have these theories, both of them could be wrong. I just know that before getting anhedonia, I was frequently experiencing boredom and the boredom has somehow gone away with the development of anhedonia. However, I'm still worried about my anhedonia getting worse and leading to me being unable to experience any emotion. I'm somewhat worried that my anhedonia is just early in its development and that's the only reason I'm still able to function even half-way normally.

Fortunately, I have a psychiatrist appointment in the morning, so I can bring it up with him when I go in. I'm just not sure what he could do about it. Google doesn't leave me with much confidence that professionals know how to treat this condition. It doesn't seem to have thorough research going into it.

The way out of depression and anhedonia is a long, winding road full of mistakes, setbacks, failures, broken plans, broken relationships, and broken hearts. At least for me. In the past year, however, I've made strides towards recovery. It's important that you know the underlying issues behind your illness. If you can do that, recovery may become inevitable. It may seem inconcievable to you now, but you've got to hope. You've got to keep fighting. You've got to see depression in a different light: it's the ultimate opportunity to change as a person. Experience, the most painful teacher of life lessons, is arguably the most effective. Depression's taught me that. Hopefully your road to recovery is smoother than mine. I wish you all the best. 

Edited by OnceandFuture
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8 hours ago, OnceandFuture said:

The way out of depression and anhedonia is a long, winding road full of mistakes, setbacks, failures, broken plans, broken relationships, and broken hearts. At least for me. In the past year, however, I've made strides towards recovery. It's important that you know the underlying issues behind your illness. If you can do that, recovery may become inevitable. It may seem inconcievable to you now, but you've got to hope. You've got to keep fighting. You've got to see depression in a different light: it's the ultimate opportunity to change as a person. Experience, the most painful teacher of life lessons, is arguably the most effective. Depression's taught me that. Hopefully your road to recovery is smoother than mine. I wish you all the best. 

Negativity incoming, but I hope you're able to understand where it's coming from. After all, I'm not trying to dismiss your attempt to help. It's just extremely hard to avoid sounding dismissive, mainly due to how long I've been suffering. It truly does feel like I can never get relief, and as I continue seeking treatment, I hope that one day I am able to better respond to posts like yours. Thank you for your response. I can appreciate your effort to help at the very least.

Now, on to my main response:
I have no hope and I'm sick of fighting. I've had to keep fighting since I was 10 years old and I want a break, a serious break from all the issues I keep developing. And, in my case, I really want to emphasize that anhedonia is not the result of depression. I'm actually experiencing less symptoms of depression since getting anhedonia. Regardless, going to a psychiatrist is a nice opportunity to mention my issues, and occasionally, I still attempt recovery. Even with all of this said, I'm in far better shape than I used to be and I continue to seek treatment.

Hope, though, is something I don't have, I'm exhausted and I need time to recover from the constant issues that keep me from functioning properly. Sometimes, however, it's far easier to take a break from fighting and wallow in my issues until I'm sick of them again and go back to fighting them. More often than not, I'm fighting something and I hate it. There's no reason for me to have hope when over half my life so far has been wasted just trying to recover.

Also, I'm forcing myself to respond how I'd normally act. Surprisingly, I don't feel nearly as negative as this post portrays me, mostly because anhedonia has somehow killed off my negativity. It's difficult to respond as I normally would with anhedonia changing so much of my typical mindset, but I am still waiting for the day when I can feel alive again instead of like a zombie.

Edited by Leora

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Right now, since I'm not working, my anhedonia manifests itself as intense boredom and restlessness. Absolutely NOTHING interests me. I'm on the internet as long as I can be throughout the day and sometimes I force myself to play games on my phone (even though they don't really interest me). This is an intensely uncomfortable feeling and I spend my days just trying to keep myself distracted, just trying to make it through until the end of the day. Then, at least, I can sleep again.

When I was working, anhedonia was better in a sense because I was distracted by work. But I was never able to fully immersed in my work and be fully motivated/ interested/ involved. Of course, I also had/ have anxiety and other depression symptoms, so my work experience is defined by more than just anhedonia. But the anhedonia aspect definitely made things harder at work.

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On 6/1/2017 at 9:25 AM, Leora said:

Negativity incoming, but I hope you're able to understand where it's coming from. After all, I'm not trying to dismiss your attempt to help. It's just extremely hard to avoid sounding dismissive, mainly due to how long I've been suffering. It truly does feel like I can never get relief, and as I continue seeking treatment, I hope that one day I am able to better respond to posts like yours. Thank you for your response. I can appreciate your effort to help at the very least.

Now, on to my main response:
I have no hope and I'm sick of fighting. I've had to keep fighting since I was 10 years old and I want a break, a serious break from all the issues I keep developing. And, in my case, I really want to emphasize that anhedonia is not the result of depression. I'm actually experiencing less symptoms of depression since getting anhedonia. Regardless, going to a psychiatrist is a nice opportunity to mention my issues, and occasionally, I still attempt recovery. Even with all of this said, I'm in far better shape than I used to be and I continue to seek treatment.

Hope, though, is something I don't have, I'm exhausted and I need time to recover from the constant issues that keep me from functioning properly. Sometimes, however, it's far easier to take a break from fighting and wallow in my issues until I'm sick of them again and go back to fighting them. More often than not, I'm fighting something and I hate it. There's no reason for me to have hope when over half my life so far has been wasted just trying to recover.

Also, I'm forcing myself to respond how I'd normally act. Surprisingly, I don't feel nearly as negative as this post portrays me, mostly because anhedonia has somehow killed off my negativity. It's difficult to respond as I normally would with anhedonia changing so much of my typical mindset, but I am still waiting for the day when I can feel alive again instead of like a zombie.

This sounds very consistent with much of my experience, negativity and all. Problems with anxiety and depression first began ruling my life around the time that I was 14-15, and it has been a downward spiral since then. It's been about 11 years since then, and it was only until just recently in the past months/ year or so that I truly began losing my emotions and ability to feel anything including pleasure or reactivity to most stimuli. It's like there just comes a point where the brain just goes into emergency mode and starts shutting down all of your right brained functions in order to protect itself. Which is a cruel sort of irony considering the exponential increase in suffering that this process provides for the victim. Evolutionary adaptations can be a real cruel son of a Biotch.

Similarly, now that the depersonalization and anhedonia have even taken away even my ability to fear death or personal harm. Regret is the only thing I have left. It's not even the prospect of never getting to experience anything again that truly bothers me. It's really the fact that I never GOT to experience most of the things that others experience before I lost the ability to feel any of it. I don't even mind dying anymore, it's just that I never truly got the chance to live that pi**es me off. Considering how early this all started, I basically had three years out of my entire life to experience all that this world has to offer. As if I could have possibly known that at the time, and as if the construct of modern society would even allow. Sometimes I find it very difficult not to just hate the world as much as I hate myself, though I realize how much both are counterproductive to the prospect of someday reclaiming the life that I once briefly had. I think the non-intuitive "healing" process of trying to think exactly the opposite of the way I feel, or rather, don't feel, is just as frustrating. I wish I could say something deep here, concerning how good medicine is suppose to taste bitter, but I would have a hard time believing it myself.

I un-ironically, and wholeheartedly wish I can somehow train my mind to be like one of those people who can totally and absent-mindedly throw their faith into something, regardless of and even directly contrary to what information and evidence might suggest. Even despite the disdain I've probably felt towards blind belief my whole life, I can't help but think of how much happier I 'could' be if I were able to live in my own reality where the world is flat and physics don't exist just because it's more convenient for me to think of it that way. I think that I've gotten to the point where I consider that if I'm just going to die and none of this matters anyway, I might as well be wrong and happy with the time that I have left, rather than be right and miserable. As selfish and possibly offensive as this all sounds. I think one of the few hopes I have left if and when all therapeutic and holistic approaches fail, is to somehow find the right combination of drugs to at least artificially enjoy and pursue my remarkably short bucket list before the extremely non-sustainable nature of such an approach inevitably runs all of the sand out of my proverbial hourglass.

Again, the catch 22 here is that a prerequisite for most of the holistic and therapeutic approaches to really work, is to maintain exactly the opposite of my above mindset. There can't just be a simple solution like cutting off a few of my limbs, can there? Seriously though, the super optimistic and most hopeful sounding advice is almost always going to be the best course of action to follow even despite how sugary sweet and naive it usually sounds to someone with years and years of experience with depression. Sometimes this is exactly how communities for this condition can be a blessing or a curse at the same time, and I'm really not the best example of this. Ha ha.

I wish you the best of luck, and with the hope that any of us who somehow claw our way out of this condition alive will have the good charity of returning and sharing their findings and techniques for healing with everyone else. For now, it seems like the few but most common threads of truth seem to be, time, therapy, and reduction of as much pain and stress on yourself for as long as possible. 

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4 hours ago, Just The Wind said:

I wish you the best of luck, and with the hope that any of us who somehow claw our way out of this condition alive will have the good charity of returning and sharing their findings and techniques for healing with everyone else. For now, it seems like the few but most common threads of truth seem to be, time, therapy, and reduction of as much pain and stress on yourself for as long as possible. 

At the moment, my anhedonia hasn't taken everything away from me, so I'm trying to spend my time wisely as I have no idea when anhedonia will take over entirely. I don't feel like I have the time to spend on trying to recover from this. Regardless, depending on the cause of my anhedonia, and if I'm lucky, it might go away on its own. I'm not necessarily expecting it to, but if nothing seems to relieve my anhedonia, I at least want to get some stuff out of the way before the disease gets significantly worse and I do suspect it will. Sadly, every time I experience hope for my future, it is snatched away from me. A new problem tends to form each time. First, I had depression, then fatigue issues, then depression again, and now I have anhedonia. It would be nice if I could act my age, but sadly, all these problems affect me to such an extent that I can't seem to get anywhere.

It's horribly embarrassing that I'm 25 and I've never had a job. I'm not even sure I feel comfortable using college as an excuse anymore. I am burdened, truly burdened, by just having to exist, yet I don't want to die. I just want to feel like I'm alive instead of constantly falling into a zombie-like state. I feel like anhedonia could take away what makes me human, because while it isn't damaging my life now, that doesn't stop the disease from spreading to other areas of my life and dragging me ever deeper into a mindset of complete darkness.

All I want is a life like everyone else. It's truly quite sickening how many of my problems combine to make things devastating no matter what I decide to do. If I wasn't so stubborn, I probably wouldn't be maintaining the amount of normalcy I am now. Sadly, since depression has defeated my stubbornness in the past, I imagine that anhedonia at its worst can do the same thing and there's not as much treatment for anhedonia.

This is an insult. I finally thought I could fix the damage done to my life so far, yet I developed anhedonia at the very last second. It's not fair. I want to be capable of functioning like an adult. I am an adult. I shouldn't be beaten down by circumstances outside of my control every time I try to re-build my ability to hope, to recover. If something is beaten down long enough, it can become permanently damaged. What then? I had goals, dreams, and hopes for the future, the future that might end up being so dark that I wish I could turn back the clock.

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In the second half of 2014, I stopped enjoying reading. It was really weird, because since childhood I identified as a reader, and I had an identity crisis spanning two years over it. I'd chug through several classics in a row and enjoy none of them, and kept going because "You can't enjoy them all". Hell, I asked my teacher how to read Homer's poetry, because I thought I wasn't enjoying it due to reading dactyllic hexameter wrong. That panic climaxed in 2016, when I realized that it wasn't just music, but something bigger. I'd go back to old podcasts or YouTube videos, and they just weren't entertaining like they used to be. Slowly, everything around me was fading, and I was there to witness it. I got into obscure hobbies like visual novels only to stop enjoying them within a month. I remember the week that lying down in a hot shower ceased to be enjoyable. All that kept me going was music, because it gave me a window into the world of emotions. It was gorgeous - my lifeline - and even then life wasn't so bad, because I could experience all the wonder of life through my mp3 player.

Then music went away. In December of last year, I enjoyed a piece of music truly for the last time, with Crying's album Beyond the Fleeting Gales. Since then, it's been empty. Not some artistic, existential emptiness with a tangible feeling of being alone and your life is pointless and yadda yadda yadda. More like non-feeling. It's tough to explain, but you know deep inside that basically nothing you do on earth will really make you feel, or provide a thrill. And it's confirmed on every occasion. For instance, I got along very well with the girl of my dreams a few months back, and it didn't feel good. Sure, I vaguely liked the fact that it happened, but there was no positive chemical reaction. Instead, I had a kind of dull headache, as if the pleasure was being blocked in my head. Last night, I had an incredible romantic dream, and I woke up with a headache.

So, yeah, it's ****ed. But there are multiple ways to look at it. When I hit rock bottom, I chose the worst path. I flailed around like a dying bull, rending my heart on all sorts of forums about how it's not fair (and it isn't). What I really hoped for was some savior to come in and tell me what to do, and how to think, and so on, because life had screwed me over and someone has got to get me out of it, no? It would be wonderful if that were so, but the truth is that on issues such as these, we're quite alone - doubly so if emotional support doesn't help. The most insightful advice regarding Depression I've seen so far is "Do what you can in your situation, and forgive yourself for what you cannot do". Don't force yourself to get involved in hobbies you don't enjoy. Pick up any threads you can find for hobbies, and explore them. Check out lucid dreaming, or guitar, or whatever. If you don't enjoy it, that's okay. I used to guilt myself because I spent all day playing Counter-strike. Now, I'm at peace with it. It feels good, and I do my job, so where's the problem?

That would be my take-away from Anhedonia. Not something silly like "Meaning is nonexistent because you can cease to feel it". It's funny to me now, but a month or two ago, I felt that statement whole-heartedly. The truth, as always, is more obvious than it seems: Anhedonia is a biological thing, and it affects your reason too. Life appearing meaningless is simply one facet of the myriad ways that it makes you unhappy. There's a wonderful world out there, we've just got to be in the right state to experience it. With patience and willpower, I think it will one day return to me.

Edited by arcentaus

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On 6/3/2017 at 9:39 PM, Leora said:

At the moment, my anhedonia hasn't taken everything away from me, so I'm trying to spend my time wisely as I have no idea when anhedonia will take over entirely. I don't feel like I have the time to spend on trying to recover from this. Regardless, depending on the cause of my anhedonia, and if I'm lucky, it might go away on its own. I'm not necessarily expecting it to, but if nothing seems to relieve my anhedonia, I at least want to get some stuff out of the way before the disease gets significantly worse and I do suspect it will. Sadly, every time I experience hope for my future, it is snatched away from me. A new problem tends to form each time. First, I had depression, then fatigue issues, then depression again, and now I have anhedonia. It would be nice if I could act my age, but sadly, all these problems affect me to such an extent that I can't seem to get anywhere.

It's horribly embarrassing that I'm 25 and I've never had a job. I'm not even sure I feel comfortable using college as an excuse anymore. I am burdened, truly burdened, by just having to exist, yet I don't want to die. I just want to feel like I'm alive instead of constantly falling into a zombie-like state. I feel like anhedonia could take away what makes me human, because while it isn't damaging my life now, that doesn't stop the disease from spreading to other areas of my life and dragging me ever deeper into a mindset of complete darkness.

All I want is a life like everyone else. It's truly quite sickening how many of my problems combine to make things devastating no matter what I decide to do. If I wasn't so stubborn, I probably wouldn't be maintaining the amount of normalcy I am now. Sadly, since depression has defeated my stubbornness in the past, I imagine that anhedonia at its worst can do the same thing and there's not as much treatment for anhedonia.

This is an insult. I finally thought I could fix the damage done to my life so far, yet I developed anhedonia at the very last second. It's not fair. I want to be capable of functioning like an adult. I am an adult. I shouldn't be beaten down by circumstances outside of my control every time I try to re-build my ability to hope, to recover. If something is beaten down long enough, it can become permanently damaged. What then? I had goals, dreams, and hopes for the future, the future that might end up being so dark that I wish I could turn back the clock.

I identify with this so much that it's scary. We're even the same age. Weird, right? I'm probably not the greatest source of advice on this subject, unfortunately, considering that I'm still stuck deep into this thing myself. So most of the "right" things that you're apparently "suppose" to tell a person suffering from this condition are still difficult for me to manage since I really don't believe in any of it myself. I think that really is one of the greatest ironies that I've experienced since deciding to go to therapy for the first time only after I've lost most to all of my emotional responsiveness. On one hand, the sort of emotionally detached and objective stance that cognitive behavior therapy seems to use is actually easier for me to apply now that the rational part of my brain seems to be the only part still functioning remotely correctly. On the other hand, it almost seems to miss the point entirely whenever what I really want is to become more emotional at this point. To anyone still gripped by the powerful emotions that can drive depression, this probably sounds like madness, including to my past self, who often thought of nothing more than just shutting off and becoming a robot. After experiencing it first hand, I can't believe how completely wrong I was about that. 

I only have my own experiences to draw from, and what few things I've through therapy so far, though I would sort of like to throw a few things out there to you, if they don't sound too condescending. Feel free to take it with a grain of salt. I probably would. Haha. Anyway, I would start by saying that you shouldn't beat yourself up over your current job situation, as I have done in the exact same way in the past. The shame, the self-comparisons, I know exactly what you mean. Just from my own perspective though, I can say after half a decade of ignoring my problems and my depression, pretending they didn't exist and simply forcing myself upon the failing post-2010 job market up until present actually made things much worse for me. Sounds crazy, I know. And I don't mean to imply that everyone would experience this exactly the same way that I did, nor that you would be destined for failure as I was either. I just want to highlight the undeniable importance of taking care of yourself first before you try to worry too much about tackling everything else. It's going to sound like a bad metaphor but it makes no sense to force yourself to run on a broken leg before taking the proper time and measures to allow it to heal properly. Sometimes that's exactly how one can cause the greatest harm and only extend the time it takes to heal fully.

Again, there's no one size fits all procedure or advise that can fit any one person considering that everyone has their own circumstances. At the very least I feel pretty confident in saying that it's very likely I wouldn't have experienced the anxiety attack that occurred half a year ago and pushed me into the dissociative state that caused my anhedonia to be as bad as it is now if I hadn't forced myself through years of failure, and dead-end jobs for little pay with mental conditions that were simply ignored and left untreated. I hope this doesn't sound like scary, or alarmist, because that's really not the message I'm trying to impart here. I just want to highlight the critical importance of your well being regardless of cultural stigmas or how other people who haven't lived through your circumstances might feel about it. Don't push yourself too hard at the expense of your own mental health, sometimes the potential sacrifice just isn't worth it, and you're worth every bit of time that it takes to get better and eventually beat this thing. Even as selfish as that probably sounds to you right now. It's not selfish at all to get better.

On a more personal note, I think it's actually a really good sign that you say you don't want to die, and that you seem to indicate that you don't feel like you've lost everything yet. These are two very big pit falls that a lot of depressed people fall into, unfortunately, and I hope you continue feeling this way. Cling to your emotions and that willingness to feel alive again, it's so critically important to keep those two things. I actually feel fairly hopeful that you'll see steady improvements from where you're at now if you stick through it. I know it's always easier for others to say that, though I hope you don't resent me for saying it anyway. It's weird, but maintaining a "belief" in a positive outcome even against what the evidence appears to our depressed minds probably has a very profound affect subconsciously, as far as the speed at which our brains respond to therapy. Maybe not, but most success stories seem to suggest this anyway. 

If I can pull a few things from what I've learned as an amateur in this whole cognitive behavioral therapy adventure, I hope to make a few more suggestions about the things you mentioned, since they sound extremely similar to things I've felt and mentioned myself. It may seem really counter-intuitive at first, but I would first suggest against self-labeling and comparison based ideology like the pressure to be an "adult". That sounds like bad advice at first, I know. In reality, labels and comparisons like this actually don't serve a very good purpose, in-fact they're not actually very rational when you break down the reasoning behind them. "Should" statements are often discouraged by therapists for similar reasons. Heck, I couldn't even begin to list the number of places in the world where I still don't qualify as a true man because I haven't put my hands in a glove full of bullet ants or held a burning coal for an arbitrary duration of time. Similarly, think of the number of things that aren't considered manly in first world countries that don't actually make sense if you think about them on a purely rational level. It sounds childish, but frankly, **** what everyone else thinks. I think I'm just going to focus on being a good person. Am I adult? Am I successful? Am I smart? Am I strong? Am I democrat, republican? No, actually, I'm Mark. There's another Mark that's worth 64 billion and owns Facebook, but I"m not him. My name doesn't define me, the same way other words and labels don't define me either. 

I remember my last job at a car dealership. Apart from already being as emotionally unstable as I was, there was no amount of shame that I had to contend with on a daily basis from two of my "co-workers" because they were both around my age except both of them were certified mechanics. Naturally, neither of them made any effort to disguise how much better they thought they were than me, since I was a lowly car porter. But you know what? When I thought about it, I actually had another friend outside of work, only a year older than me, who works as a chemical engineer and makes more than both of those a******s combined. He also has worse social problems than I do, and a history of mental health problems to boot. I guess the thing is, these kinds of comparisons, personalization and mislabeling represent flawed logic regardless of which direction they're being applied to. Regardless of us all being the same age, it's just as unfair for them to judge me through self-comparison as it would be for me to judge them by comparing them to someone else. No one else is dealing with my demons, and I never had to live through anyone else's. The only person that makes sense to compare myself to is the me of yesterday. If I can be better today than I was tomorrow, then that means I'm progressing, which is the one success I should be concerned with.

If nothing else, one of the most difficult concepts that I've struggled with is recognizing that depression and anxiety LIE to you! They're the best liars that you will ever meet in your entire life because they live inside your own mind and know you better than you know yourself. They know exactly what to do and say to you to make you feel worse than anything else. It really is no exaggeration when I describe most of the anxiety and obsessive thoughts that I've experienced my entire life as a dark secondary entity that lives inside my head. One which is stronger than me knows exactly how to cause me the most harm. The hardest part is telling yourself over and over that these depressive and/or obsessive thoughts aren't true. Even though they're the exact thoughts that you believe the most right now, and seem the most real. I'm still no where near getting the hang of this myself. I feel like I'm chewing , and hoping that if I call it candy long enough it'll start to taste good. Haha. 

Sorry. I hope at-least some part of this helps. I wish you as much success as I can possibly wish for myself. Maybe wish is a better word to use when hope seems pointless. :( Anyway. Good luck!

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I think I've had this for 10-12 years which came on at the tail end of several years of acute depression (intense sadness, constant crying and self loathing etc), which I had confused with the depression for a long time b/c I'm sure there's some overlap in the vin diagram of symptoms, but anyway.

i think it was a pretty sharp turn in my well being and emotional range in the first year or two. In this time, and a lot of time since, I felt a lot of anger because I could see my feelings slipping away one by one, but after 5 or so years that went away as well. Since then it has remained pretty stagnant. 

The best way I can describe it is that the toll it's taken on my life has absolutely worsened, but the feelings (or lack thereof)  haven't really. There haven't been any peaks (with only several valleys) In other words the relationships keep worsening and disappearing as well as an inability to create any new ones that can delve past the surface level, the lack of drive has lead to zero interest in school, leading to dropping out, leading to dead end jobs, leading to a worse quality of life. But if there is a silver lining it's that these things don't really hurt anymore. 

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I already adapt a living like this but at the same time I suffer from not feeling what others feel

The first time I experienced anhedonia was when  my cousin died

I felt that I was dying inside and I could not feel my emotions and so the years and time went by and I am still here sick


 

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