What to Do for Anhedonia

I’m pretty sure I have anhedonia. My vacation last week convinced me.

My finances are so tight right now that I can’t afford to travel or do anything that costs money, so I spent my vacation napping and watching TV, or rather just laying there while the TV was on. The scary part is I didn’t mind.

Here’s what convinced me. I love the Chicago Botanic Garden, and since I don’t have a car to park, I can go there for bus fare. So I thought at the beginning of the vacation that I would go sometime that week.

Only I didn’t go. I didn’t feel like it. I wasn’t too depressed to go, and the weather was beautiful. I just didn’t feel like going. And I didn’t care that I wasn’t going.

This describes a great deal of my free time now. I just don’t care. I go to work, and come home and watch TV. I don’t enjoy my life, but I don’t mind it. I’m just…here. Just numb.

From what I’ve read, anhedonia doesn’t have a really good treatment right now. There’s some research into ketamines, but I don’t really want to screw around with my meds again. That could be anhedonia talking too, I guess.

I want to care about stuff. But I don’t. So, what now?


Sure it’s not mild/moderate depression? It doesn’t necessarily come with the classic “down in the dumps” depressed feeling- sometimes it’s just an inability to enjoy things, or maybe like a wet blanket has been pitched over everything- it seems like a giant unenjoyable pain in the butt to do anything and everything, and nothing sounds like fun or is really fun.

I’d see a psychiatrist/psychologist and have them figure out what’s going on.

Oh, it’s depression all right. I’ve been clinically depressed since I was thirteen. But I still liked doing stuff when I was depressed. And I strongly disliked stuff too. Now, I just don’t feel much of anything.

I can still get annoyed at stuff. So, that’s something.

I miss laughing.

Back when I was diagnosed as having moderate depression, that anhedonia was the main symptom- I wasn’t all sad and mopey all the time, rather I just didn’t really enjoy much that I did engage in, and nothing sounded like any fun. The best way I can describe it is that it was like a wet blanket had been tossed over me; everything was uninteresting, not fun, and being motivated to do it was difficult.

I dunno. I just keep going through the motions when my anhedonia gets bad. It’s one of the reasons I have so many unread books. I know I’ve wanted (fer example) Time Life’s Enchanted World series for decades. So, when I find a volume at a reasonable price I buy it. Then, it sits unread because reading it gives me no pleasure.

Not to make light of your situation, but when I first saw the OP I thought something awful had happened to @Ann_Hedonia.

I’ve experienced spells like you describe, sometimes when my wife’s out of town for a few days. I think, yeah, I’m gonna do all the stuff she doesn’t enjoy – long bike rides, watching violent movies, etc. – but either can’t find the energy to actually do them or don’t enjoy them much when I do.

It’s really tough, and I’m sorry I don’t have any good suggestions for you.

Ugh, this is me right now. It’s been over two years since I got my kayak in the water, the dogs would love an outing but it’s too much work and I go out shopping because I have to, but unlike other days I’m no longer taking the long way around or going for a drive somewhere. I feel like I’m living in a very comfy prison cell, perfectly aware that there’s no door or gate barring me from leaving but I just stay where I am. I don’t like it, but the dislike is distanced and unfocused–not enough impetus to make me change things. It sucks, but I’m sure it will end eventually. It usually does.

I’ve been depressed for a good part of my life. Now I’m sort of resigned, but still can’t find any joy.

It’s not much comfort, but we’re not the only ones feeling this way. The headline refers to anxiety, but they’re talking about depression, too.

“It’s a crisis in this country,” Dr. Pbert said. “Our only hope is that our recommendations throw a spotlight on the need to create greater access to mental health care — and urgently.”

From August 2020 to February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder increased to 41.5 percent from 36.4 percent, according to one study cited by the task force.

crickety, here’s my fare for the “me too bus”. Yeah, ya do stuff because you have to, just the needful things. I spend most of my days off from work napping through out the day.

  1. The oceans are rising and icebergs are melting due to global warming.
  2. The country is venomously split down the middle, politically and socially.
  3. Summer is almost over

And you expect to feel happy?

I expect to feel something. :frowning:

First, I’m really sorry.

But I do wonder if “screwing around with your meds again” might be worth keeping in the consideration set.

My wife is a Primary Care Provider, and works with a smart and compassionate Psychiatrist. They virtually never come up against a case of “treatment-resistant depression” because there are so many available options and combinations these days.

Whatever your way forward, I wish you health, peace, strength, and … something to just crack up about … at least occasionally.

That “inability to enjoy things” is what anhedonia means. The an means “not” and the hedonia is like “hedonism,” i.e. pleasure.

Anhedonia is listed under the clinical symptoms of depression, though I’ve also experienced it without it lasting long enough to be depression. I didn’t have any problem recognizing it, but it might be more difficult to recognize if you’re depressed.

To the OP: I’d still say you should see your doctor about it. It could be a new aspect of your depression, and one that can be treated, even if the depression itself is hard to treat. And it could also be symptoms of something else that is causing a separate depression, e.g. an illness or deficiency.

Plus there have been a lot more treatment options lately that are a bit off the beaten path. Stuff like ketamine, low dose steroids, or microdocing Psilocybin or MDMA. Stuff that wouldn’t involve changing your current meds that work.

No, actually. It’s more about thinking differently about it.

I think this video might help, from a woman whose depression involves the same thoughts as you. She’s gotten treatment.

What a positive, practical, and helpful thing to post. :+1:t4:

Thanks DavidNRockies. I hope something does crack me up soon. The TV sure ain’t doing it.

You say that like it’s a BAD thing.

If you’re on meds now, then you should have a psychiatrist. Talk to them about what you’re (not) feeling. Even if you don’t have an appointment coming up soon, call and ask to talk. It doesn’t sound like you’re in crisis, but don’t put it off.

I know depression and anhedonia can make calling seem like a mountain too high, and one you wouldn’t bother to climb in the first place. I don’t know how to get over that. Perhaps you can email or message your psychiatrist, which might just be a small hill.

Your psychiatrist probably will want to adjust your meds, but it might even involve reducing the dose of something you’re on. No way to know without talking to them.

Slightly OT for this thread maybe, but I’m working on this collection too! Without much difficulty I bought every volume of Mysteries of the Unknown in late 2019 after wanting them since I was in high school, then remembered this even older series. After close to two years I still only have 2/3rds of them.

Two thoughts crossed my mind, they could be utter drivel.

  1. What is wrong with replenishing your inner resources? Sometimes this has allowed me to take rest even though I felt like I “should be” doing something. It’s really OK to do nothing.

  2. You didn’t need to go to the botanical garden in order for it to exist and bring pleasure to others. So why not stay home?