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October 2017

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Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 05:32 pm
So I've realised I'm in the middle of a rather nasty anhedonic episode, which means I'm not particularly feeling any motivation to do anything, which means I'm not doing things unless I absolutely have to at present, because they're things I've built so solidly into my daily routines that I feel worse if I don't do them than if I do.

I should explain. Basically, I have this chronic endogenous depression, and one of the major symptoms of depression is anhedonia. Anhedonia, as the linguists will tell you, means "no pleasure" - it's basically an inability to register pleasure and be motivated by the idea of pleasure. My own experience is it's largely a sort of cognitive flattening of all stimulus, both positive and negative - the pleasure of success doesn't motivate you, and neither does the displeasure of failure. Often, the unpleasant stimuli are the ones which hang around longer, because evolution, being the bitch-goddess she is, has made damn sure that we react to negative stimuli far more strongly and predictably than we do to positive ones. Negative feelings are often, unfortunately, life-span prolonging ones - the individuals who felt pain (in all its myriad forms, ranging from "mild discomfort" all the way up to "shrieking agony" and in all the various sensory and later cognitive domains) and learned to try to avoid it lived longer and bred on a more regular basis than the ones who didn't. Feeling pleasure evolved out of "absence of pain" - it's an optional fscking extra which gets added for most people, but some of us just get a brain which comes only with the factory defaults.

Such as myself. Now, I have a fair idea of what's done this to me over the last few weeks - basically I've been dealing with a couple of highly stressful things at once (Indigenous history since colonisation, which is stressful for me on a moral level; Poetry writing, which is for me the equivalent of an unguided therapy session or a lucky dip in the recesses of my subconscious, and therefore stressful on an emotional and cognitive level, because I never quite know what I'll get out of there) and the predominance of negative stressors has basically overloaded my brain's (already flakey and held together with the cognitive equivalent of duct tape and baling wire) systems for handling excessive input. So it's shut down the intakes pretty damn solidly, and the only things which are getting through at the moment are the negative things.

Which means I currently have next to no motivation to do anything. As someone else once described this, anhedonic lack of motivation is like having a car with a broken starter motor - you turn the key and nothing happens. Doesn't matter how much fuel you have in the tank, doesn't matter how much charge you have in the battery - the starter motor isn't working, so nothing happens when you turn the key.

Fortunately I've been here before, and I sort of know what I'm doing to get around things. But it does mean that if I haven't actually nailed something down as being "you have to do THIS activity at THIS time" (for example: I have a regular alarm set up on my computer which goes off at 4pm to remind me to bring in the laundry) or "you have to do THIS activity as part of THIS sequence of activities" (my morning routine involves "get up, go to the loo, grab medication on the way back to my room, make my bed, take meds, set exclusion timer[1], start writing my journal for 30 minutes, write fanfiction for 20 minutes, assemble clothes for the day, have shower, get dressed, read internet & email for up to 30 minutes[2] while putting on shoes and doing my hair, load washing machine with today's load, wash dishes, load bag for uni, go to class") I will wind up not doing it. This includes things like "eating". And "study".

So yeah. Things aren't as good as they could be. But they're better than they would have been twenty years ago, so I suppose that's something...

Now, if you'll all excuse me, I'll go back to neg-stimming on Tumblr, because apparently this is my brain's preferred form of self-immolation this week.

[1] I have a two hour exclusion period on my medication for my thyroid, which means for two hours after I've taken it (and for two hours before, technically) I'm not allowed to have dairy products, calcium supplements, iron supplements or anything else which might bind to the thyroxine receptors.
[2] The end of this period is the end of the medication exclusion period, when I can technically fit in breakfast if I'm able to contemplate the idea of food.
Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 01:36 am (UTC)
*thyroid-med fistbump of solidarity from DW relative stranger*

Well-wishing for swinging out of the anhedonic episode sooner rather than later, if that helps.
Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 03:58 am (UTC)
Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 07:31 am (UTC)

Hope things improve soon.