Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Friday, September 18, 2020

Say It! Say it!

I’ve come to realize that “antici … pation” is one of my chief pleasures in life. I really enjoy anticipating things I think will be pleasurable, and a major driver of my depressive mood is when I think there’s nothing to look forward to. For example, I always experience a major letdown after returning from a trip I enjoyed or when people I like visiting from out of town return home. My thoughts turn back to the drudge of my normal life, and I feel as if there’s nothing on the horizon. In fact, I get the same intense letdown after any instance of pleasure has passed. I stay up most of the night watching a TV series or playing a video game because I’m having fun. I don’t want to stop eating sugary junk – eating it until I’m almost sick – because I don’t want the transient pleasure to stop. I get down when I’m about to finish a movie or TV series or book or video game I’ve been enjoying because I’m left wondering when and if I’ll enjoy something else. In fact, I have often stopped consuming media towards its end and moved on to something else without finishing it because I don’t want the anxiety of finding something new (though that is also driven by an aversion to finality and other fears). All of these patterns are a function of my pervasive anhedonia.

The anticipation of pleasure is itself an intense form of pleasure, often eclipsing the actual experience, and my addict’s brain finds any form of pleasure practically irresistible. I’ve wasted a lot of time and lost a lot of focus on the present and on what I was currently doing by focusing my mental energy on anticipating a future pleasure. Compounding the issue is that the actual pleasures I anticipate almost always disappoint because of my contrary, depressive nature, especially those pleasures that don’t involve base, physical, animalistic desires:  food, alcohol/drugs and sex, hence my particular weakness to those kinds of things. I’m trying to adjust my hamster wheel of pleasure-seeking behavior so I enjoy the moment more, keep myself oriented on the present more and deal with reality as it comes. It’s all right to enjoy anticipation but not to the extent that it totally consumes everything else.