Loss of interest and enjoyment in most things
One of my favorite things about my life right now is that I can walk my kids to school. The school is just a few blocks from our house and when the weather is nice it seems like such a picturesque life: happy little kids running and laughing on the way to school.
Last spring I’d be on this walk and realize I didn’t care. It was good that my kids were happy, but I didn’t have any feeling about it.
Other things that had reliably lifted my mood in the past became completely uninteresting - sunshine, being with friends, planning short trips to visit family. I seemed incapable of happy anticipation.
Everything became a matter of routine and discipline. I ate because I was feeding the kids and knew I should eat, too. I went outside because it made the kids happy. I spent time with other people because that seemed to be a good thing to do.
Losing interest in everything meant losing all intrinsic motivation. Everything I did was for some external reason. I noticed that Therapist was sometimes very expressive on my behalf, as though to show me how I would feel were I to have feelings. I’d describe some small event that seemed good and her face would light up and she’d bounce up in her seat as she talked. It is strange to need someone else to express feelings for you.
Since my husband and I have both been dealing with depression, we have not been able to provide this helpful emotional feedback for each other. Emotional blandness seems to be even more persistent for him than for me, so we are only occasionally able to cheerlead each other through low patches.
This spring is noticeably different. Sunshine lifts my mood; my children’s happiness is contagious. The church I attend now is a happy place for me and the smiles and handshakes I’m offered buoy me. It’s like I’m waking up. I’m still drowsy, but I am confident that God will open my eyes and get my heart rate back to normal after a while.
To read all the posts in the depression symptoms series, go here.