I love good things theoretically, but with depression, I can’t enjoy the good things. Most people don’t get this. Most people can’t conceptualize of this. But even when good (recently great) life events occur, I just don’t feel pleasure (Depression Is Not Sadness). I can’t enjoy the good things when I’m depressed.
Enjoying a Great Thing
Recently I published my first book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression and Bipolar. It’s an extremely exciting time for me. There are the sales, there are the reviews and there is the promotion. There’s a lot going on. But regardless as to all of that, there is simply the enjoyment of the major accomplishment of getting a book out there.
Or, at least, you would think. My mother keeps saying that I must feel so great about it. She keeps asking me about how excited I am. Enjoyment of this big accomplishment is just assumed. I get it. I do. But I don’t feel enjoyment. I just feel like it’s hard. Everything is hard with depression.
Why Does Depression Prevent Enjoyment?
Honestly, I don’t know why depression prevents the enjoyment of good things. In my understanding of neurobiology I could posit a theory involving the reward circuits of the brain, but, in the end, how my brain isn’t working is kind of meaningless. The only relevant thing about a lack of enjoyment is that it’s happening.
Everyone (Who Isn’t Depressed) Enjoys the Good Things
It’s very sad that “everyone” enjoys the good things because I’m not part of “everyone.” I’m just part of me. And because “everyone” enjoys the good things, “everyone” doesn’t understand what the heck I’m talking about. No, I’m not terribly excited. No, I don’t feel really great. I know that people don’t understand this because all their brains work just fine. But mine doesn’t. My stupid, depressed brain just doesn’t.
So What Do I Feel About the Good Things While Depressed?
It’s hard to say how I feel because I’m in a bipolar mixed-cycling-mood-thing right now. I feel a bit thankful; after all, I know how hard I worked on it. But mostly I feel sad. I feel sad that everyone else would enjoy this and I can’t. It’s almost like I’m waiting for the stage of the book publishing process that will create enjoyment. I’m waiting for the stage that will never come.
But I know how to handle this problem. I know that I can’t think about how other people without bipolar depression would feel. I know I can’t compare myself to them – or anyone else. I know that whether I enjoy this good thing or not, I can’t beat myself up about it. I just have to take a deep breath and accept my personal reality. It’s not easy and it’s not fun but with depression, I just don’t enjoy the good things, but I fight so that one day I will.
Check out Natasha Tracy’s book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar and connect with her on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.