The daily, systematic practice of self-care is often exhausting. Everyone feels apathetic towards fighting negative thoughts sometimes, and giving in to them is a part of the road to recovery. Anhedonia can disguise itself as self-care too. I remember being fully convinced that I was avoiding leaving the house because I wanted extensive alone time to get over a long-term relationship.
‘Me day’ was spent watching reruns of sitcoms in my dark room for hours, and that morphed into ‘me week’. After three months of choosing quiet solitude over all else, I discovered that I was unable to muster the energy to meet even my closest friends or pick up my favorite musical instrument. It was a cocktail of anxiety and depression surrounding social events, but solo tasks like getting out of bed got too difficult to overcome as well.
I figured “they will understand if I bail” and “I don’t want to force myself to do anything” were valid statements. Sure, but what was meant to be a well-deserved break very gradually turned me into a hermit. This avoidance also left me with a paralyzing detachment from everything I loved. I stopped to smell the roses, but now all I could see were thorns.
Planning and following a step-by-step route out of my depression pit helped me get back on track, but I was afraid of slipping again. Sixteen seasons on Netflix had a mind-numbing effect that soothed my broken heart, but I had clearly taken it too far. So, I took stock of my hard limits and have since developed a better sense on how to strike a balance between insufficient and excessive alone time. My friends have also helped me to stick to this plan.
Anhedonia is elusive. Appearing out of nowhere or disguising itself is not uncommon. So, don’t be hard on yourself for not noticing the warning signs right away. Take time to establish a strong support system, gather a toolbox of resources and learn as it comes.
For more targeted practices, self-help resources, and peer support, check out SG Support Group on Discord.