Searching for a hobby has made things worse

flowerapple

Confident
My T suggested a couple sessions ago that I should try to find a hobby. She said having a hobby would create some amount of purpose and meaning in my life because right now I currently have none of those things. I don't have a purpose for being alive, I don't see any meaning in my life or in life generally, and I don't see myself as having any future of some sort. When I try to imagine my future, I don't see anything, just black... I actually feel like something is going to happen that's going to cause my death in a couple years because I can't see beyond the next 2-3 years.

I am just constantly depressed with no apparent end in sight, and I think about suicide and dying everyday. I don't know why I am alive because I don't serve any function or purpose. There's no use to me being alive. All I do is burden those around me with unnecessary work and problems because of my issues which I can't seem to deal with. I don't seem to be able to manage anything, and all I do is make things worse for other people.

I've been trying to find a hobby for almost 2 months now and I am still yet to find one. So far, nothing that I've tried was appealing enough for me to continue it, and I've tried hiking, running, cycling, reading, knitting, crocheting, LEGOs, painting, adult colouring books, drawing, journaling, calligraphy, video games, board games, single-player games, crosswords, yoga, going to the gym, and meditation; but none of those things did anything for me. It's like I only exist, and that's it because I have no feelings or attachment to anything at all. I don't feel like I'm actually a person.

Finding a hobby should be simple and easy to do, but yet, I struggle to do something as simple as this. Not being able to find a hobby for myself is only more proof that I'm not really a person because I can't even find one thing that I would like to do. Plus, people are supposed to like things in general too, but I don't even have one thing that I like. Everything to me just seems to be the same, where either I'm ambivalent towards it or I dislike it. I was hoping that finding a hobby would start to turn things around for me, but instead it's just made things worse.
 
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desiderata310

Moderator
I think your therapist is half full of it.

You could I guess try looking at a 'hobby' that has a goal attached. For instance you mentioned running, for some people that is the shit right there: getting milage or a pace or whatever. For others it has to be attached to a longer term goal, like running a 5k, the 10K, half marathon and so on.
So no, having a hobby has never been 'enough' for a lot of people.

Calling it a 'hobby' seems trite. It has to be something that MEANS something to you. Not just something to fill your spare time.

Maybe for you it would be to learn the many things about sea slugs (don't judge me I just watched a really cool video on Nudibranchs and am slightly obsessed:
) and wind up teaching at the local aquarium.

The point is it doesn't have to be something you pick up at the local hobby store.

And no, I don't think a hobby is something that you push. It's not something you go in search of, you stumble on it, it finds you. You keep coming back to it because it's cool to you. And if you don't HAVE one doesn't mean that you've somehow failed at life. It just means you haven't found that thing yet. And it's not a freaking HOBBY, it's something that enriches your life.

BTW, And I think honestly this is the most important part of my rambling post: being interested in anything in the midst of a depression is like a Nudibranch trying to enjoy the colors of the world since they only see dark and light. (I'm sorry but the comparison was just right there) It's kind of a dick move and sounds like a therapist who doesn't understand how depression works or was just grasping at straws because they don't understand that is what you're experiencing.

So, yeah, take a look at the video (for fun or distraction), think to yourself 'ah, I now understand how warped Desi's mind is' and then stop and ask the more pertinent question: what put you in that dark spot in the first place? What happened? And start figuring out how (hopefully with your therapist's help or maybe a different therapist) how to actually heal that so that the future has meaning again.
 

shimmerz

MyPTSD Pro
I couldn't have done a hobby if my life depended on it. I couldn't take information in, I couldn't be out in the general public, I couldn't concentrate for shit. So for me it was learning. Aromatherapy helped with my PTSD in a huge way because I learned to anchor good states to the smells. I learned how to create natural products. Cleaning, toothpaste, laundry, etc. I incorporated the aromatherapy into those. I took up learning how to prepare raw foods, learned about feldenkrais and the nervous system. I also learned NLP and positive psychology to help me understand how to keep moving forward in my healing.

These things all engaged me in a positive way; allowed me to make a 'new me' with new skills and to not stagnate in PTSD hell. Years later I am just now tentatively thinking about whether to start a body centred practice of yoga and it seems daunting so I am not 'there yet' to just throw myself into something that most would consider easy breezy. Be kind to yourself. You are going through a lot. Most therapists haven't lived PTSD so you are allowed to push back if you feel it is unreasonable or unhelpful what they are suggesting to you.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
I couldn't have done a hobby if my life depended on it. I couldn't take information in, I couldn't be out in the general public, I couldn't concentrate for shit. So for me it was learning. Aromatherapy helped with my PTSD in a huge way because I learned to anchor good states to the smells. I learned how to create natural products. Cleaning, toothpaste, laundry, etc. I incorporated the aromatherapy into those. I took up learning how to prepare raw foods, learned about feldenkrais and the nervous system. I also learned NLP and positive psychology to help me understand how to keep moving forward in my healing.

These things all engaged me in a positive way; allowed me to make a 'new me' with new skills and to not stagnate in PTSD hell. Years later I am just now tentatively thinking about whether to start a body centred practice of yoga and it seems daunting so I am not 'there yet' to just throw myself into something that most would consider easy breezy. Be kind to yourself. You are going through a lot. Most therapists haven't lived PTSD so you are allowed to push back if you feel it is unreasonable or unhelpful what they are suggesting to you.
This is beautiful thank you. I don’t think anything works or should be expected to when you’re really depressed. Hobby is probably not a good subject to attempt during serious depression.

As I’ve gotten better I can do more and attempt more. But I have to feel ok meaning not depressed. It’s probably a little more complex but hi tide raises all boats.

Feel better means baseline for me. Not depressed. Not always depressed. That has to get established first IMO.
 

Eagle3

MyPTSD Pro
Yeah, when I'm in the thick of a nasty depression, I just hide in my room and sleep. Only on rare occasions can I break myself out of it by playing with my horses, but if the depression is especially strong even that won't faze it. Like the others have said, find your way through this depression first, THEN find something to help feel some connection when you're better. For me, since connection with people is impossible, I hang out with animals. Local shelters always need volunteers to play with the dogs and cats, or you can find a local therapeutic riding center and volunteer with horses. Being able to hang out with therapy horses is a special connection, and many times they are part of my coping skills for less-debilitating depressions. This is just something that has helped me feel more like a useful human being, but YMMV.

Good luck, and healing hugs if you accept them.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
It has been said (in the therapy training circles) that when a therapist is feeling hopeless and helpless herself or himself or toward the client, they become more problem solving, practical take care, and may push the client's attempts to connect in deeper levels with them out. I wont go into the trite of therapists are human as well cause I also often end up saying if you cannot handle the fire, get out of the kitchen. So I agree with almost everybody else here that the therapist showed her human failure by suggesting you find a hobby as if hobby saves life! I honest thing they needed to find hobby and projected that onto you!

What I find touching though was that the search of something is triggering you. My intuition says, searching behaviour is a trigger for you and that maybe when you put your energy to search for something external when probably more than anything you need search within to find yourself. The inverse of such internal yearning for selfhood to external search of activities, you started to feel triggering. I have absolutely no idea but my gut feeling was this and I am sharing this with you in the hope, that it may make sense for you.
 

flowerapple

Confident
Thank you so much everyone!

It's not something you go in search of, you stumble on it, it finds you.
To be fair, my T did say that it wouldn't just be something I go looking for. She that it would most likely be something I did once for some reason, found I liked, and so decided to do again. But, even so, I don't even know what I like in general, or even how to know if I do like something. And, I the chances of me just doing something for some random reason are slim because I don't really do anything, so finding a hobby that way seems unlikely.

And, I'm so depressed right now that I don't think I can even like anything. Even if there was some potential for me to like something that I tried, the way how I'm depressed just destroys that potential. I'm almost like a robot or a zombie because I just roam about with no real feelings. The sadness and depression I don't even really see as feelings because it's just so constant.

It has been said (in the therapy training circles) that when a therapist is feeling hopeless and helpless herself or himself or toward the client, they become more problem solving, practical take care, and may push the client's attempts to connect in deeper levels with them out.
I feel like maybe you're right about this. I feel like she's starting to run out of options with me. I feel like I'm a lost cause right now because really my T (and, former Ts) and my psychiatrist have tried so many different treatment options and nothing seems to work. So, I feel like they're all running out of options and feeling a bit hopeless, and I don't even blame them.

I feel like people in general like to think that everyone can be saved, but I don't think so. Maybe there are some people that just can't be saved, no matter what. And, maybe I'm one of those people. It's no one's fault but my own. I guess that maybe if I tried harder, then things would be working. If I really wanted to be better then I would be seeing positive changes. When I call the suicide hotline, they often say that they can't do the work for me, and if I really wanted to change and feel better, then I would because I would try harder. And, they're right. Maybe, the reason why I'm not better is because I don't really want to get better, and so I'm not trying hard enough. It's not anyone else's fault but my own.

Thanks guys
 

mumstheword

MyPTSD Pro
It's true that the buck does stop with you. Only you can, truly, pull yourself out of your funk.

Myself, I had to throw myself out of situations that would have killed me, had I stayed in them.

The fact that you are still alive shows me that you, perhaps, don't reject yourself as much as you, maybe, think you do.

Some part of you wants to live, and, I mean TRULY LIVE. If you can access that part, maybe you can evoke some curiosity. Maybe some questions will arise.

Maybe questions like...

"How do people find the will to carry on and do anything?

How do people not get overwhelmed by the horror of it all?

How do people experience joy and/or engagement?

How do people heal from extreme and ongoing trauma and demoralization?

What is meaningful to me, right now?

Do I care about what I put in my hody?

Am I, at all, mindful, or curious about the messages I allow in, from the world, for good, or ill?

Am I curious about anything, at all?

DO I, really want to heal, do I want to do the work to turn within, to examine what's in my mind and heart, that's keeping me ill?

Am I too scared to face myself? My fears? My inadequacies, my self rejection, my beliefs about myself and the world?

What do I NEED?

Is it solitude? Is it risk and excitement? Is it a journey? Is it safety? Or to tip myself out of my comfort zone, that isn't really that comfortable, anyway?

Do I trust anybody? Do I trust my own sense of reality?

What might I need to forgive myself for, so I can break free of this stuck state?

If there are things I have to do, to stay alive, like eating and relying on other's for stuff, can I tweak how I approach these things, to add interest and, perhaps, better results that might lead to increased enjoyment?

So, might I suggest, seeing if you can cultivate a little curiosity, motivated by your extreme discomfort and lack of fullfillment and that perhaps researching any number of approaches to addressing how you can overcome and move past this state, might fall under the "hobby" category?

But really, it's more. It's the next step in taking full and complete responsibility, like you've already hinted at, in your last post.

Only YOU can find the answers to your own problems. Only YOU will be able to guage what works for you. Other's can make suggestions. Get you to try different drugs. But you are the expert in your own recovery.

You are NOT, I repear NOT, a hopeless case. It's up to you to either give up on yourself or to go f*ck THAT, I'M NOT GIVING UP. I'M THE ONLY ME I HAVE AND I CARE ABOUT MYSELF ENOUGH TO GO NO!!!! THIS ISNT GOOD ENOUGH.

So, then the next, logical, natural line of questioning might revolve around, well, if I am utterly disatisfied with whatever has been presented thus far, what might I be missing or I might not have come across yet?

Let no stone remain unturned.

If you are not here, on earth, to find your own answers, what ARE you here for?

And don't tell me, or yourself, that you are here for no reason, that makes no sense.
A reasonable answer might be "I don't know. I haven't figured that out yet." AND THEN GO ON YOUR QUEST. Get curious about what you might be missing, not seeing, or haven't yet discovered.

Perhaps, let that, become your "hobby."

Culrivating curiosity and seeing where that takes you.

Just a suggestion.
 

Sideways

Sponsor
I feel like they're all running out of options and feeling a bit hopeless,
This is a clinical symptom in the diagnosis of a Major Depressive Episode. Helplessness and hopelessness both. It's recognised that the chemical changes that occur in the brain during a MDE cause this pervasive sense of hopelessness.

You aren't imagining this feeling. It's very real. So real that it's a clinically significant symptom, all on its own.
I'm so depressed right now that I don't think I can even like anything.
Anhedonia. Also a clinical symptom in diagnosing a Major Depressive Episode. So common it has its own fancy psycho-speak name - when a person is going through a MDE, they often lose the ability to experience joy in anything.

You don't need me pointing out that you're experiencing a MDE. You already know that. But one of the things that I personally find helpful (if it isn't helpful for you, toss it aside) is reminding myself that these thoughts and feelings that I'm having are part of the illness itself. Much like congested sinus is part of having a cold.

This isn't minimising your experience at all. Quite the opposite. Imagine for a moment a good friend confiding in you, "I lack the ability to feel joy, or fulfilment in anything I do, because of a brain injury". That must be pretty devastatingly difficult, living like that. And if it was someone else, you might easily extend compassion to them - life without meaning, joy or hope must be a very dark place to spend your days.

Your brain telling you it has essentially always been this way, and always will be, the treatment team has run out of ideas, I'm now just a burden? These are textbook statements of a person suffering from a MDE. And just like the friend I described in the above para? You deserve to feel some compassion for yourself, for how incredibly painful this experience is.

But they are major depressive episodes. They come and go. Wax and wane. They aren't fixed indefinitely. Our brain chemistry doesn't seem to work that way, though it feels like it when it's happening. And each time we experience one, we come with more experience. What helped the last time, what made it worse, what got me by in the days that seemed utterly bleak and hopeless. Journals that cover basics like meds, activities, sleep, nightmares - they're gold value. If you can? Make notes. Keep them as armour in case this occurs again.

It will pass. Change in your mood is inevitable. And that's good news when you're at rock bottom. The battle is to keep yourself safe in the meantime, and attend to your body's physical needs as well as you can.

For me? Walking is about the best anti-depressant on the market based on the research, and it's free. But like showering, or eating some vegetables - you don't do it today to feel better today. Today feels like hell either way. That's the beast of an MDE.

You do it today to feel better a month from now, when you look back and can see, "Yes, things did start changing..."

As to hobbies? ACT has some helpful guidance, I find. Instead of starting with "What will I enjoy?" (Because with anhedonia? You won't, not right now), start with "What do I value?" Find a list of values (ask your T), and highlight the ones that really mean something to you. Hobbies, activities that make our life meaningful and ultimately bring us joy? Tend to be the activities that connect with our core values.

Hope something in there is helpful to you.
 
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flowerapple

Confident
As to hobbies? ACT has some helpful guidance, I find. Instead of starting with "What will I enjoy?" (Because with anhedonia? You won't, not right now), start with "What do I value?" Find a list of values (ask your T), and highlight the ones that really mean something to you.
My T and I tried finding a list of my values but it didn't work out. I couldn't even come up with one thing that I valued.
 
My T and I tried finding a list of my values but it didn't work out. I couldn't even come up with one thing that I valued.
Is there anything at all that you just kind of like? Not even enjoy, just kind of like most of the time. Maybe a certain kind of food, some kind of weather, or even a specific time of day?
 

Friday

Moderator
My T and I tried finding a list of my values but it didn't work out. I couldn't even come up with one thing that I valued.
When I get really bad I can’t even value food, water, shelter, or pain... until they’ve reached life threatening levels. Much less anything less immediate. If I don’t do things out of habit, rather than desire, you’ll find me sleeping on a beach for 3 days until I drag my ass up to go lay face first in a stream. In about a week? I might stir myself to find food.

It usually took several weeks up to a few months before I was actually getting proactive about the whole food water shelter thing, and taking steps to ensure they were “simply” part of my day. Although, on occasion, I would snap too much faster. Like the first time I got thirsty my head would sort of clear and I’d start doing what needed doing. Right. This. We’ve done this before. Get to it.

In less feral conditions? It takes me waaaaaay longer to shift gears into seeing/valuing/desiring anything than it does when my survival is at stake. It can be months on end of just sort of existin to no purpose,
 
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