Safety in Wanting Nothing

May 18, 2022 Natasha Tracy

I recently realized there is a safety to wanting nothing. In spite of the fact that wanting nothing in and of itself is horrible, that safety can actually feel comfortable -- especially after a long time.

Depression Can Make You Want Nothing

I've learned, over many years, that depression can make you want nothing. Depression can zap you of your will to want. I think this can be tied into anhedonia -- which is an inability to experience pleasure. If nothing gives you pleasure, then why would you want anything? Not only may you feel like wanting nothing from a biochemical perspective, but, just logically, it makes sense to want nothing if nothing gives you pleasure.

There's a Safety in Wanting Nothing

And while, initially, wanting nothing is incredibly painful, after years and years of it, it can become comfortable. It can feel safe. Part of this, I suppose, is just that anything with which we are overly familiar feels comfortable and safe, but I think part of it is also that we don't have to open ourselves up to the possibility of not getting what we want.

Wanting Nothing Avoids Disappointment

What I've noticed is while there is baseline pain to wanting nothing, at least there are no punctuations of pain where you're disappointed by not getting what it is you want. This is good for me because, honestly, I don't deal well with disappointment.

I think that makes me sound like a tantrum-inclined eight-year-old, which I swear I'm not, but the thing I've noticed is that depression makes disappointment hurt so much more than it otherwise would. And the more something is wanted, the worse that disappointment is. Being out of chocolate ice cream might be disappointing to a certain degree, but a friend canceling on a big night out at the last minute is much more disappointing. And I would suggest that if you have depression, the disappointment is even worse still. I've found the disappointment feels like a dagger to your heart. I've found the disappointment confirms how much everyone hates you. I've found the disappointment feels like the end of the world. And if you're me, the end of the world is a very wet one thanks to all the tears.

Of course, understanding that the emotions and thoughts that come with disappointment are blown out of proportion as I do, I try to quell them. Unfortunately, depression is stronger than I am much of the time, so those feelings and thoughts continue to flog me regardless. (I suppose that's a topic for another post.)

So it is not surprising, then, that I find comfort and safety in wanting nothing. It saves me from all the above. It's painful in and of itself, but it's better than the suffering of disappointment. 

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2022, May 18). Safety in Wanting Nothing, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

Leave a reply