I don’t feel like doing anything!

Reader’s Question

[dropcap]Q [/dropcap] Hi, I am Ritika. I am 20 yrs old and currently studying in final year of my college. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Since few weeks, I have lost interest in most of the things that I used to enjoy. It takes a lot of effort to start anything, even writing this post is a difficult task. It’s not like I feel really sad, but I feel empty. I don’t feel like doing anything. At times I cry for no reason. Over past few weeks I have also gained weight. I used to enjoy going for aerobics. That was five months ago. Now I hardly go out. I don’t feel like talking to my friends. As a result, I have stopped meeting them or going to college since few weeks. I cannot focus in class. Whenever I sit to study, I lose focus and interest. I feel like no one loves me. Seems like my mom is worried about me and she cares for me, but I have this feeling like I am good for nothing and no one likes me. I don’t know what should I do.

Psychologist’s Reply

[dropcap]A [/dropcap]Ritika, you are going through a very difficult experience. You say you don’t feel like doing anything, you don’t get pleasure from anything like before, you can’t focus, you are gaining weight, you feel empty, get crying spells, and you feel unloved. I empathize and understand how difficult it must be for you.

You are experiencing a depressive symptom called ahnedonia, which simply means, an inability to feel pleasure in normally enjoyable activity. Many of my patients who experience anhedonia often experience other symptoms like avolition and anergia, which means loss of motivation and loss of energy. So when you say, “I don’t feel like doing anything”, “I have lost interest”, or “It takes a lot of effort”, indicates that you are experiencing these three symptoms: loss of pleasure, motivation and energy. Often these symptoms are overt manifestations of underlying psychological conflicts.

When you feel like you are good for nothing or no one likes you, it appears like an overt manifestation of an underlying anger which is directed, inwards, towards yourself, leading to diminished self-esteem. This anger appears to be in reaction to the unfulfillment of excessive demands from yourself and your social environment. When you say, “I feel like no one loves me”, it seems like you have lost something you loved, or a past childhood trauma, which, you have internalised and hence you are experiencing this tormented relationship with yourself, and you are unable to feel the love, even the care and concern which your mother is showing towards you. You don’t feel sad but you feel empty. From what I read, it seems as if you wish to do something about your pain but you don’t know what you should do. You feel helpless. At the same time, I appreciate your efforts to work on your problem by writing and seeking a solution.

Keep in mind, the journey towards recovery is arduous but not impossible. When you feel hopeless, remind yourself that there is hope, you can do it and you can bounce back. Seek professional help, consult a clinical psychologist, he/she will help you, through the process of therapy; to recover, rejoice, and regain your life.

When I feel hopeless, I will remind myself to read this affirmation: “There is hope. I can do it. I can bounce back.”

*Name and details have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

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