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I've spent my whole life not caring. Do I have a disorder?


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Hi, I was just wondering if anyone knows if there's a psychiatric disorder associated with never really caring. I found out the DSM never really addresses apathy. But, I realized today that if I really had to pin my problems on one word, it would be that.

With issues of depression the question is always about a change in your interests; a lessening of involvement in activities you once enjoyed. Since I've never let myself enjoy myself too much with anything, it's impossible for me to tell. So the BDI and other tests for depression are completely useless for me. I have no idea if I'm depressed or not

Has anyone else experienced anything similar? Am I alone in this?

Lately, I've been trying to learn the guitar. And I realized that the way I've always dealt with that whole not caring, "what's the point?" mentality is to just muscle through it. It dawned on me, just recently, how downright masochistic, in a way, it is. Because I don't enjoy the process. And I don't particularly expect a reward. I just do things.

Thanks in advance for your insights...

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Oh, just to clarify: This feeling of apathy doesn't apply to other people, and how I feel about them. I feel things deeply, maybe more deeply than most. It's just very difficult for me to get excited about any personal achievements. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm just lazy. But that's not it either, because my capacity for hard work can be incredible.

I'm really stumped on this one.

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until some months ago i didnt quite find a meaning of life or what to do, i didnt find a reason to do things i work coz its the normal thing to do and everyone at my age works, i do things just coz other do them i do not have hobbys or know what to do with my life, i dont have initiative, etc, etc.

i used to get bored and do druggs, but at the end i found this also boring, its like not really caring about anything. sometimes i asked my self, why to live??? life cycle seemed so stupid i wanted a bigger purpose of life.

if this is familiar to u?? then u havent learned how to enjoy.

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Hi, eppursimuove. Thanks for the reply.

Actually, though, it's more like I've learned NOT to enjoy the enjoyable, although I've gotten much better with this. But it's still an issue, at odd times, usually at exactly those times I need it to not be an issue.

At a certain point, I got it in my head that whenever I felt joy, I had to shut the feeling down. It was too dangerous.

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As children we come up with coping strategies that become so automatic into adulthood that sometimes we don't know why we do them or we lose sight of the fact that we could do something else.

Any thoughts on why joy was dangerous for you?

A little compassion for yourself way back then can help. At some point you protected yourself in this way and then kept doing it.

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Could be a type of depression too. Not caring can coincide. Though you may just have a predisposition to not care due to upbringing or things that have happened in life. I have a predisposition of self loathing and I find it hard for me accept people liking me for me... alot of these issues come from my upbringing and the people around me. If it isn't super self destructive than I would say maybe ask a professional if you need to see someone. If it seems to cause self destruction than go in and see someone instead of just asking on the phone.

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At a certain point, I got it in my head that whenever I felt joy, I had to shut the feeling down.

This is familiar to me, and I can relate. In my case, feeling joy equated to being selfish, and I would then immediately punish myself for the positive feelings. This was a distortion that I was able to work with and change in therapy.

What might happen if you open your heart to joy, zoomed? What is the potential threat?

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Hi, Eppursimove. Not to be a stickler about this, but I really don’t think it’s a matter of “learning to enjoy” life or any of its constituents. It’s more a feeling, if I had to describe it concisely, of covering something up. Really well.

The reason I say I’d rather not be a stickler about this is because your experience may be completely different from mine. For some people, it’s just a matter of making the decision to LEARN to enjoy themselves.

To really break down the process…I feel something good JUST ENOUGH to squelch it. In a way, this situation is worse, because I KNOW something joyous is there. But I can’t touch it because I’m so practiced at abnegation. I guess the reason I want to make a distinction between “learning” to enjoy and not is because what I think I need to do, somehow, is “un-learn” this thing I do to bury positive emotion.

Finding My Way and Short Bus Ninja, you are probably on to something about looking into my past…

I have gotten a lot better with this, but it’s just killing me that it’s still a problem. As my fear of people has evaporated, I’ve noticed that my ability to be really and truly genuine, to myself, has begun to shift. Still a HUGE problem, though.

Actually, it might be significant that it’s shifted along with my fear of people, because I used to be terrified of my Dad. He was boisterously and unapologetically verbally abusive and narcissistic. He didn’t like to see me happy. I can remember that. His “antics” would be particularly cutting if I were feeling upbeat. When I moved out with my Mom for a while, she told me my posture improved. Apparently I’d been slouching all the time around my Dad.

Still trying to figure that one out. I know he loves and cares for me, as much as he can anyone, and, from what I’ve been able to gather, there was no abuse in his past. So what makes someone like that? He was a horrible, horrible parent, and I don’t say that lightly or vindictively.

I think I’ve figured something out, just from typing about it here. There’s a proportional link between the shedding of fear (especially irrational, social fear) and my ability to feel my own good feelings. That is pretty wild. I’m not sure what to make of that. Right now I’m just doing the psychological equivalent of picking at what’s left of a scab, trying to figure out why I STILL have to be haunted by this feeling of not caring.

Irmajean: yes, that’s almost it exactly. I don’t know if I feel like I’m being selfish, exactly, but there are some guilt feelings in the mix. It may be a feeling of punishing myself, yes. Or, it maybe be done out of an odd sense of duty. And those joyous feelings are really scary…because I’m afraid of having too severe a shift from joy to hurt. So it’s something, maybe, that I learned to do to keep myself on an even keel. I really hate not being able to get excited about some things, though. The fact that I'm still struggling with this--STILL--drives me nuts.

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Shortbusninja: I think it's completely possible that it's a form of depression, too. It's just always bothered me that it's supposed to be a CHANGE in how you feel about activities. Well, I've had this problem for as long as I can remember. Does that mean I'm not depressed? Maybe the way depression is diagnosed should change...

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Have you tried studying personality types? You might be a thinker, and thinking can short circuit feeling when it is over active. The MBTI helped me understand that about myself. It costs something to take, but there are free versions-- not as thorough, and I don't know how accurate, but you could see what you think.

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

Googling MBTI will get you to some good sites that give you information on what the test is about.

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