November 29, 2011


     Lack of desire.  Devoid of pleasure or joy.  In a nutshell, it's not giving a shit.  About anything.  In medicine, we call that anhedonia.  Hedonism is to heedlessly indulge in pleasures.  Throw the negative prefix 'an-' in front of it and you're left with a mental state devoid of joy.  I like that term.  And usually, I'm not one to be partial to fancy medical mumbo-jumbo.  We make up all sorts of ridiculous and pompous sounding terms like using erythematous instead of red.  But anhedonia, I can get behind because it describes my mood perfectly.
     And I'm not sure why it took me awhile to understand that term and be able to apply it to myself.  This summer while studying grief, research suggested that the depression phase of the Kubler-Ross model of grief peaks at around five to six months.  And sure enough, it's been six months since my brother passed away.  When I read that, I envisioned the pain of grief getting worse.  But that's not it.  Not at all.  Tears are mostly gone now.  The everpresent anger is now a memory of the past.  But in many ways, what replaced it is far worse in it's subtlety and devastation.  Gut wrenching anguish is replaced by emptiness.  It's a void that insidiously covers your soul.  It's not caring whether I stare at a wall or have my nose in my books.  It's utter and complete apathy.  It robs you of your desire for anything be it worthy and noble or simple and sweet.  And you don't realize it until you are too far along into that long dark night of the soul.  Anhedonia.

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