Depression – Worse Than Sadness, Apathy
In my life depression is the worst thing in the world. Depression takes away everything from me. It tends to destroy love, life, work, everything.
And while this is due to the symptoms of depression like, “depressed mood,” it’s also due to something not mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM, the manual that defines mental illnesses) – apathy. Apathy basically means that you don’t care about anything. And when you do a “care-ectcomy” on a life, it makes it seem not worth living at all.
What is Apathy in Depression?
Apathy is, depressingly, defined as:
- absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.
- lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.
And oh my, is that ever painful.
When others around you are excited, you’re not. When others around you show passion for a subject, you don’t. When something great happens, you just don’t care. It really does feel like something has been surgically removed from your soul.
Apathy – I’m going to Italy. I Don’t Care.
Tomorrow I’m going to Italy. Really. Parma – the place where parmesan and prosciutto come from. It’s supposed to be the region in Italy with the very best of food. It’s amazing. Sun, gelato, risotto, relaxation – I should be freakin’ thrilled.
I’m not, of course. I barely care. When I think about travelling to Italy, all I can think of is how it’s going to disrupt my bipolar disorder. All I can think of is how the time change is going to fuck with me and how difficult 16 hours of travel is going to be on my brain. I should be so thankful that I get to do something that others would love to do. And I’m grateful – in theory – but in emotional fact, I feel pretty much nothing about it. It just feels like an interruption and annoyance. In other words, I feel apathetic.
Apathy in Depression Hurts So Much
It hurts so much to not be able to be happy or excited about my international trip. It’s so painful to see the excitement or others and not be able to share it. It’s agony to see enjoyment dangled in front of me and not be able to grasp it. I absolutely hate it.
And perhaps worse, is that other people judge me for it. Other people want to know what the hell is wrong with me that I’m not excited. They don’t understand that it’s just depression. They don’t understand that apathy is just one of the horrific depression symptoms I have to deal with. They don’t, and seemingly can’t, see it as a symptom of a disease because they can’t conceive of a “care-ectomy.” And I don’t blame them. I would think you couldn’t remove this piece of a person’s soul either. Except, of course, for the fact that I live it.
Dealing with Depression and Apathy
The only thing I know to do about apathy is to accept it and not beat myself up about the feelings that I don’t have. It’s natural to want to feel bad about the fact that I don’t feel good in situations where I should, but I can’t do that. Because feeling bad about feeling bad just feeds on itself and makes depression worse.
So, apathy is a symptom of depression. Apathy is a symptom of a disease, just like sneezing is a symptom of a cold. I can’t control it any more than a sneeze. I will just have to hope that I’ll feel something when I get there. And accept my own limitations. Because anything else just makes it worse.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.