Following a bout of major depression, I have anhedonia (avolition, but no anergia). I have energy to get things done that I see need doing.
Nothing makes me feel good more than momentarily.
Most pleasurable activities make me crave discomfort (or worse).
My mood is generally flat and I do not feel much in the way of emotion (happy, sad, angry, jealous, etc..).
I have nothing I want to achieve.
I have nothing that I want to do.
I have nowhere I want to go.
I have no people I want to meet.
Helping others does not make me feel good.
Achieving things seems hollow.
I have no fear of dying.
I have no fear of pain (also a very high pain tolerance).
About most things I truly do not care.
I have an entire alphabet of mental health conditions diagnosis (ASD, CPTSD, OCD, BPD, MDD, PDD). I have had another alphabet worth of treatment (CBT, DBT, EMDR, ACT, Schema, TMS). Some are still ongoing.
I have an upbringing of care for family and self sacrifice. I take care of myself so I can do things for family so they remain comfortable. Its all done by rote. I have been taught/trained over my treatments not to self harm. I often think about it... These thoughts do not worry or disturb me. I keep busy so I don't dwell on them. My family wants and needs me.
I have been in constant mental health care over the past 4 years. I have been in hospital numerous times. I have been on (and am now off) antidepressants. I regularly see psychologists and a psychiatrist. I will ask my psychiatrist for another round of TMS next time we meet.
I have a lot to be thankful for. I have more than a lot of people. I am in good physical health. I seem to avoid misfortune.
I don't feel worthy of my good fortune.
Is this as good as it gets?
To answer your question -at least for myself - NO, it does get better. That list you gave fitted me very well when my depression, anxiety and PTSD was at its height and the effects, plus others including feeling suicidal, lingered on
It was no use others saying I had a good life, much like yours, with job, partner, and finances as good as one could get. That was simply logic and irrelevant. As for 'deserving' good things you are lucky, and that is something later on you when your thoughts change you can celebrate.
If told things could be better I'd have scoffed. I felt firstly everything was due to me and my makeup, and secondly as a result had no real faiht in therapy (or meds)
However I"m now if a pretty good place, I love and am loved, have satisfaction in what I do and enjoyment - particularly relationships and comedy.
This came about partly though therapy (I found the most effective for me was talk therapy) and a particular set of medications (not mainly Antidepressants) that suited me and gave me a radical change in outlook. All that together with long term family support.
I would think if I can come out from deep in a harsh grey world then in the right conditions most people can -i ncluding you.
I have no plans on giving up. Nice to know someone else has been where I am now and that it can get better.
I feel defective. Like part of my brain is just not working right (the part that governs reward). This is why I will ask my psychiatrist about further TMS treatment.
I try maintain a sense of humor. However, I find most comedies (Movie, TV and stand up), inane, insulting or self effacing. In fact, most styles of entertainment do not resonate with me as they try to engage hope, fear, desire, attachment and other emotions I don’t currently feel.
One of the most frustrating things at present is music. Music does not move me. Even music I used to like. I hear words, instruments, rhythms, melodies, but it’s like looking at individual pieces of a puzzle instead of appreciating the whole.
EMDR seems to have dealt with my past traumas. They feel like distant memories, not current experiences. I can recall them (they were previously blocked), but I feel no emotional attachment.
I have been working on behavioral activation (since I no longer have extreme lethargy), but it seems like a never ending series of tasks that is yet to bear a result.
My OCD seems to be returning, but I no longer get annoyed or upset if a compulsion is interrupted. I don’t care or worry enough for it to really stress me.
I will continue on, if only for my family. You have given me the slightest glimmer of hope that there is an end to this void.
I find 'the ability to feel' to be a fascinating topic and one that's led me to wonder and research on so many occasions. I suppose it's stemmed from having managed depression since my late teens. As a 53yo gal, the ability to feel fascinates me now more than ever before. From how we gradually come to life via feeling through to the challenges of emotional detachment, feeling covers such a huge array of topics.
I figure we're always feeling in one way or another, so gaining a precise definition of exactly what it is we're feeling becomes significant. I've found this way of thinking helps eliminate the inner dialogue that dictates 'You're so broken. You're hopeless. You'll always be this way'. Whether it involves the side effects of mental challenges, the side effects of physical challenges (including being able to feel chemical deficiencies or pure exhaustion) or the side effects of certain soulful or soul destroying challenges such as twisting in the wind, to a depressing degree, with no sense of direction (aka feeling 'completely lost without any sense of direction and guidance'), you name it, most of us hold the potential to feel it. Even 'numbness' is a feeling or has a feel to it. Bit of quantum physics here: If emotion is energy in motion or e-motion, the questions become 'Why the lack of a certain types of energy? Why can I not feel those types of energies in motion, within myself?'. Technically, we can't feel what's not there.
Can definitely feel a lack of dopamine in motion (chemical energy). Can definitely feel a lack of exciting inner dialogue and belief systems in motion (mental energy). Can definitely feel a lack of soulful energy in motion. With that last one, when there's not enough inspiration to be felt or no significant liberating revelations to be felt, technically that's about feeling nothing or no thing in motion in the way of soulful energy. Btw, I wasn't always one of those mind/body/spirit types of people until these 3 areas kept coming up again and again to the point where the connection between the 3 began to open my mind and shift my perspective. For example, what is the best way to stop feeling a soul destroying lot of energy in motion? Switch off. The challenge becomes about knowing when and how to switch back on, otherwise we practice staying switched off and becoming good at it comes with a whole variety of consequences. Learning how to feel all over again, in new ways, can become the ultimate challenge. Btw, I smile while recalling a conversation my mum raised just yesterday, as she was telling my sister 'I can't believe your sister (me) was not more excited about Paris, regarding the time we went together some years back'. Personally, I didn't feel Paris in a big way. Now, if we'd have gone to Tibet or Thailand etc, I think I would have felt that. I'm a very precise feeler 😊. With my 18yo son having been recently diagnosed with level 1 autism, he's also a very precise feeler. On the spectrum of feeling, from feeling nothing to feeling everything, sometimes it can become a challenge in regard to feeling everything in between.
I am on the spectrum (ASD) and possibly, as you describe, a precise feeler. I likely need to learn how to feel e-motions again. Somehow, through depression and circumstance, I have un-learned this seemingly innate skill. I can simulate it, but that requires effort.
I imagine a long road ahead of me. Just cannot yet see the way. In a way, I am searching for a guide through the darkness, while blindly fumbling round in the darkness.
The spiritual side of life seem trite and hypocritical to me at present. I can see it has great importance for others, but it hold no resonance for me that I can currently perceive.
There is a lot of information in your post. I will need to re-read it several times to fully absorb.
I forgot to mention about the inability to feel music in the ways we used to. My daughter actually put me onto a more effective way of feeling it. She mentioned how the quality of sound can have something to do with it at times. While I feel little emotion through basic earphones, she got me to try Apple earphones. I couldn't believe the difference. I felt through the Apple earphones. Apparently the brand Bose has one of the best reputations for sound quality. Sony also invests a lot time and money into producing amazing sound quality. Sometimes basic sound just doesn't cut it anymore. When 'coming to our senses' more (sight, sound, smell, vision and feel or feeling), it's definitely a bit of a Goldilocks experience at times, while trying to find what's just right or even amazing in some cases. Bit of experimentation and a touch of financial investment in the way of progress.