“Anyway, I wanted to end this on a hopeful, positive note, but, seeing as how my sense of hope and positivity is still shrouded in a thick layer of feeling like hope and positivity are bullshit.
I’ll just say this: Nobody can guarantee that it’s going to be okay, but — and I don’t know if this will be comforting to anyone else — the possibility exists that there’s a piece of corn on a floor somewhere that will make you just as confused about why you are laughing as you have ever been about why you are depressed.
And even if everything still seems like hopeless bullshit, maybe it’s just pointless bullshit or weird bullshit or possibly not even bullshit.
I don’t know.
But when you’re concerned that the miserable, boring wasteland in front of you might stretch all the way into forever, not knowing feels strangely hope-like.”
“Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”
“But my experiences slowly flattened and blended together until it became obvious that there’s a huge difference between not giving a fuck and not being able to give a fuck.
Cognitively, you might know that different things are happening to you, but they don’t feel very different.”
In reading some of the words written by people about depression <like the ones above> aspects of it sounds an awful lot like people who do not suffer from depression, but do suffer from a lack of enjoyment with Life in general.
Suffering from a lack of enjoyment in Life? Wow. Isn’t enjoyment as natural as breathing?
Well. Maybe … but sometimes we forget to breathe.
Regardless. When you stop enjoying things in Life <which, by the way, suggests you used to enjoy things or something and are now easing into some wasteland of maybe not misery but … well … nothingness>, or ‘anything’ I imagine, then you start seeking enjoyment anywhere you can. In fact to find some enjoyment in this wasteland we become pretty creative in some fairly absurd ways.
We sift thru the sand of the wasteland and embrace some shiny grains and try to make them bigger than they are in the attempt to suggest ‘wow … there is enjoyment.’ It is our brave attempt to breathe some Life into our enjoyment.
Unfortunately, if we viewed that little thing without those absurd rose colored glasses, it could be truly look like … well … nothing.
Lack of enjoyment in Life is nothing like lack of enjoyment in an experience. An experience has the luxury of finiteness. The clear beginning and end permits us to assess and enjoy with some reflection. On the other hand, Life can very easily take on the characteristics of infinite. Life can become an endless array of to-do’s, tasks, work assignments, responsibilities and whatever else pops up in the everyday life of what happens.
This gets compounded by the additional random unforeseen stuff that inevitably gets layered on top of what you expected and planned for.
To be clear. I am not talking about depression. And I am not talking about something called ‘anhedonia’ which is one of the main symptoms of major depressive disorder <it is the loss of interest in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities … people suffering from clinical depression lose interest in hobbies, friends, work–even food and sex>. I am also not talking about actual boredom or a even some sense of frustration, irritation or despair <often associated with depression> with Life.
I tend to believe I am just talking about numbness. Or maybe it’s a version of not being able to notice the forest for the trees. But what I do know is that you just don’t know if Life is simply an amalgamation of hopeless bullshit, maybe it’s just pointless bullshit or weird bullshit or possibly not even bullshit.
All you really know is that you aren’t really enjoying the wasteland of ongoing ‘same ole same ole.’ It isn’t really like you have no hope that it will get better or that you have no hope at all — it just seems empty of hope at the moment and is just not a hopeful existence.
Well. If you reread that last sentence, like I just did, it is difficult to find where enjoyment enters into that person’s life. And, yet, we all pretty much know that happiness, and enjoyment, exists in 99% of people’s lives. My proof? As I noted earlier … even if you aren’t enjoying Life you scrounge around in some minuscule moments & experiences and raise them up high as enjoyment.
But enjoyment really shouldn’t be that hard.
Life, while hard, gives us a shitload of opportunities for enjoyment.
Unfortunately, the brain is complicated when it comes to enjoyment.
The brain is complicated in general. But when it comes to pleasure & enjoyment the brain incorporates two paths – the nucleus accumbens <deep inside the “primitive brain”> and the prefrontal cortex <the thin outer layer of the brain behind the forehead>. Studies suggest it is likely that nerve impulses, let’s call them the ‘feel good signals,’ travel in both directions to stimulate a sense of enjoyment, reward and motivation. Studies also show that the longer the brain sustains the signals the stronger the enjoyment.
I share that because I think some people just get so numb in their rush from one thing to the next and the grind of day to day life that they don’t even let the ‘feel good signals’ have a chance to kick in within the brain.
What a shame.
It’s a shame because this is not depression it is simply lack of awareness and a lack of effort, with some good reasons for the ‘lack’, to see what is really going on around you and in your Life.
Enjoyment is available to everyone if you just look hard enough. It is certainly within you. Within your heart and within your brain. You just have to be open to it as well as … open up to it.
And if you do? Everything in the world opens up to the possibility of enjoyment. Everything in the world is full, more full than you may think, to the possibility of enjoyment.
And the best?
It means you no longer desperately grasp needlessly for enjoyment.
Regardless. Everyone deserves to enjoy Life.
Enjoyment is as natural to us as breathing.
Maybe sometimes you need to remember to breathe.
originally posted September 2016