I first came across the term ‘anhedonism’ in the Mandy Stevens interview I linked in my last blog. It was a light bulb moment. Before that I didn’t even realise it was a ‘thing’. So, it basically means that you don’t enjoy anything. And I mean anything. I have had stretches of several weeks over the last couple of years when I have experienced this phenomenon. I don’t consider myself to be a particularly shallow or selfish creature most of the time, but it’s tough. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to get up, or eat, or shower, or clean my teeth, or speak, or well, exist. There is no pleasure, or joy, or hope in the world. Every single thing I do is a massive effort and there is not reward. So, why do I do anything?
- Because it is necessary to do certain things in order to sustain life. On very bleak days I perform these functions in order to be able to organise my own suicide. On better days I do them because I actually want to stay alive.
- Because I am told (by many mental health professionals) that I should, and that in the long-term it will make me feel better. I must keep doing them and one day, I will start to enjoy them. This is the basis of Behavioural Activation Therapy, I am told.
- Because I simply refuse to sink any lower. There is a standard below which I will not fall. I would rather die.
So, the soup thing………At the moment, I don’t like eating. It holds no pleasure for me. I am aware that I am hungry. I simply do not care enough to do anything about it. (Incidentally, can I just take this opportunity to thank everyone who has fed me over the last couple of months, you know who you are!). Sometime mid-January, I got up on a Tuesday morning and fainted from lack of food. I realised I needed to take action. I must consume nutrition in order to stay alive. I must do so in the least difficult way possible. Hence….. Soup. Here is my daily diet:
Bran flakes with dried fruit and nuts
Soup and wholemeal bread
In attempt to be healthy, the soup and meals are vegetarian or vegan, usually freshly prepared. You know the kind I mean, they’re from the fridge aisle in the supermarket that is labelled ‘Overly Worthy’. Sainsbury’s has the best selection, although I’m sure Waitrose is also marvellous. I swear, if this Blog ever gets a sponsor, it should be Glorious soups. Or possibly ‘Urban Kitchen’.
I have eaten the same thing for weeks on end. I do not care. It makes no difference. It is keeping me alive. It is also giving me what appears to be the saddest, most middle-class shopping basket in the world. I feel so ashamed of it, I go through the self-scan checkout so that no-one will see my pathetic, sterile life evidenced on a till receipt.
It is getting better. The progress is glacial, but it is getting better. I do enjoy some things – drinking tea, having a shower, being warm, sometimes seeing friends……………and writing this. So thank you.
I promise that next week I shall attempt something a little more cheerful. And….a progress update on the bucket list, which is also happening!