My Take On Dealing With Anhedonia- Just Do Stuff.I'm posting this in the sincere hope this may help other people stricken with anhedonia.
My inability to enjoy things as I should makes me sad, but that sadness makes me motivated instead of depressed now, except on those (rarer and rarer) days where I don't catch myself, and let negativity overwhelm me.
Besides diet, most of my self-designed treatment (for now, as far as science has progressed I think) seems to be about.... Just Doing Stuff. Which is incredibly harder than it sounds. The basis for this is simple: I don't really like anything, and I don't want to stay like this for the rest of my life. The problem will not solve itself unless I manage to find places and things and people I COULD find interesting.
It doesn't matter if they are interesting at this moment or not. If I feel I can contribute in some way, that's awesome, even if I am not particularly interested in whatever I would be doing. (I figure I won't even care to post about my progress when I am not feeling anything.)
This probably sounds strange. Why force myself to do anything?
- Because the other option is giving up. I would be dead by now if I really wanted to give up. I don't. I can kid myself most of the time, but I would rather hold out for a chance of change than extinguish it. I mean, everyone dies in their own time, why rush it?!?
- Because if I don't, I won't be doing much with my life--that is a path to feeling sorry for myself, feeling worthless, and these will DESTROY any small, true motivation I could have found otherwise. I am no longer prepared to sabotage myself like that.
I have to actually get out there and meet people, and watch myself all the time. I have to be careful of the promises I make and projects I start on the days where I am Superwoman.... and figure out how to make myself socially acceptable on the days where I Couldn't Care Less.
I am perpetually alert to differentiate that elusive feeling of "Actual interest in something", a very different thing from the interest in "Ohhhh Shiny New Thing!!!" (which gives me a very false sense of hope, and lasts a day or two at most.)
Since I have almost nothing within me that clearly signals what I *actually* like, I focus on little things....
- Repeat visits on pages about certain topics. So far I have data analysis, mandalas, Feng Shui /geometrical aesthetics, and architecture to ponder....
- Sudden flashes of inspiration. They don't last long, but if I felt something there for a second, it's worth a longer look, even if the interest will probably have died out when I figure it out.
At some point, I will go back to school in a topic that actually interests me enough to consider the studies a joy instead of a useless bother. That's a long ways away I think.... one day at a time.
In the meantime I have to find employment that satisfies me and lets me learn new skills. I'll be OK with the latter if I can't find the former (for obvious reasons.)
Throughout this, I have to develop the capacity to figure out if I actually like specific people or not. I am really good at being encouraging, accepting, and tolerating (when I'm in a good mood), or I just... dislike everyone (the other half of the time). I have no radar to figure out if I actually like someone or not. I have a really good radar to figure out if I am behaving in a way they expect.... but none that tells me if this person is someone I'd like to hang out with. My opinion of everyone shifts largely and constantly. =/
Bottom line, it's hard to Just Do Stuff when you don't care about much. I started small (microscopically so by social standards--throw them standards out the window, you can't win with them anyways, and society is not you.)
I have a game server up and running, I tweak the map; it's creative and fun and the editor is complicated enough that I feel cool about using it.
I proofread public scans of uncopyrighted material. There's a bit of programming involved.
I want to make a dream house in Sketchup (a house I saw in a dream, literally).
I want to make a scrapbook with mandala pages.
I have more wants than "do"s because I can't be bothered most of the time. But these projects are in my face and accessible whenever I feel *something*, so that's a start. Also, I have chosen them already, so... I have felt something for these ideas at some point. That isn't negligible.
Also I guess I can say I am posting here now.
I will add more once I figure out any other wisdom to share!