Not wanting anything – dysthymia, part II

I think one big reason why I feel like I´m am completely different is that I´m having such a hard time wanting things. But why is that a problem?, some may wonder. Isn´t it great if a person isn´t so demanding? Others may be incredulous and say that I only feel like I don´t want anything because I´m not missing anything. If I weren´t too spoiled and too well-off for my own good, I would realize how many things I want and need.

Neither point of view, though, is very helpful. First of all, feeling like I don´t want anything is just one side of the coin. The other side is that there are a lot of things I don´t want. Both feelings are closely related. There is nothing that really makes me happy, makes me get up in the morning; no great goal that seems worth fighting for, no career I could strive for. But the thought that I will nonetheless have to get up every morning and earn a living somehow, just to sustain a bleak, gray, pointless, anhedonic life – truly fills me with hatred.

Why does everybody else have the capacity to want something, be enthusiastic about something, strive for something? Well, I guess other people are actual persons. I just don´t feel like a whole person. Something is severely missing. Everybody I know would deny this, of course. That´s what you get for being functioning. Pardon my embitterment, or don´t pardon it, or go play billiard with a purple rubber duck. Sorry, I guess none of this is your fault.

Since I´m such a great fan of phenomenology, what is it like to not want anything? Well. I might come across something, like a career choice, and think wow, that might be really great!, and then I feel anhedonia and listlessness wash over me. I feel that having whatever it is I could want would not really increase my overall happiness, so it isn´t really worth the effort it would take to achieve/obtain it. Heck, I even feel like that when I sit there with tears in my eyes and wonder if I should just let everything out. Nah. It involves so much snuffling and wiping your nose, and you will have swollen, red eyes afterwards and look stupid. And what for? Like it would make any kind of difference…

Still, I´m not blind and deaf to the argument that it makes a little more sense to go for a career path that sounds somehow appealing than to settle for cleaning restrooms for the rest of my life. But somehow I feel like striving for something will get me hurt. Badly. Even showing that I want something makes me vulnerable. And besides, there is this embitterment. I feel like, in fact, it is impossible to get what you want anyway. And in that case, accepting a compromise and “making the best of it” feels like scorn. It´s like I live a life of vengeance. Unfortunately I cannot figure out who I want to hurt and why.

But, really, embitterment is only part of the problem. My anhedonia is genuine. It is not just me throwing a temper tantrum because the world is not a birthday party. When I was in 5th or 6th grade, I was asked what I would like for Christmas. “Nothing.” I replied. And I meant it. At some point in my life I just stopped living. I stopped being interested in new things. I kept on reading the same ten children´s books. I even stopped wanting to make friends. I wouldn´t be surprised if I had also stopped feeling. People could have seen I was in trouble. Instead they chose to argue with me. I´m so tired of this. Yeah, all my beliefs are dysfunctional and irration, yeah, I´m drowing in self-pity, yeah, I only have to keep on trying and searching, and yeah, I´m just too well-off and if I lived in a war zone or in a ghetto I´d start to appreciate the things I have. Great, what do you want me to do, then, start a war? Okay, you can have that. It will teach our navel-gazing, narcissistic, decadent society a lesson in values! Good gracious, the ideas some people have!!!


Related Posts: Dysthymia – being a living dead robot


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