Sunday, December 9, 2007

Anhedonia

One of the worst symptoms of depression for me is anhedonia, the lack of interest in things that normally bring you joy. I don't often get this symptom, because I have what is known as "atypical depression," misleadingly named because it is not really atypical: about 40% of people with major depression have this subtype. We are the people who overeat and oversleep, rather than those other people who can't eat or sleep. Another feature of atypicals is that we can usually be cheered up by happy events. I still have some of that these days -- I'm still laughing at times -- but I've been struck with what I would say is moderate anhedonia.

I knew it had hit when I went to the book fair on Friday. I did enjoy the drive and looked forward to the book fair, and to be honest I thought it was a positive sign that I even *wanted* to go, after the lethargy of last week, but when I got there it just wasn't that much fun. Millions of books and I really wasn't that interested, which is, to say the least, not at all like me. I did manage to find some things I knew I wanted -- and this is a weird thing, I think it's a form of self-objectification, it was as if I were buying a gift for someone else: "oh so-and-so would like that." I remembered that I liked these writers or that topic, and bought some books based on that. But I haven't even taken them out of the bag to "play" with them as I normally do.

I had better success yesterday, shopping with a friend who makes me laugh, and buying gifts for other people. Because then it's appropriate to think "oh so-and-so would like that" and I was able to get a lot of my holiday gift-buying done. But whenever I was on my own the sadness would creep back in.

I've been tempted to take a hiatus from blogging just because blogging about depression seems so, uh, depressing. But this blog is about my life and depression is a part of that. At some point it will lift and I can go back to being my usual fascinating self.

2 comments:

maiaoming said...

Wow, I've never heard this term before, very interesting. Thanks for sharing... have also suffered from depression... thanks for sharing your experiences.

Catherine said...

Thank you for writing. I'm sorry you've also suffered with depression, but I appreciate your comment.