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Anhedonia- Inability to experience pleasure

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  • Anhedonia- Inability to experience pleasure

    In reading psychotherapist, Cherie Byrd's book, Kissing School, I was struck by her discussion of Anhedonia. She defines this as the inability to gain pleasure from normally pleasurable experiences and says this is often considered a componet of depression and that she has found it rampant in western culture.

    She says we have been trained to focus on defending ourselves from what we fear and "We cultivate habits of attention that are actually focused on missing what is enjoyable and life affirming, because we're busy making sure that what we don't want isn't showing up."

    Byrd says we are so focused on what is wrong the we overpower messages of pleasure and enjoyment, that we lack celebration and appreciation. We may go through the day with everything going well and smoothly without noticing it and when something does go wrong we get worked up and enhance it into a disaster by adding on things from the past and projecting it into the future.

    When we become more focused on what is wrong than we are on all that is right we become suspicious when something good does happen. We believe it's too good to be true and start looking for what is wrong or for it to end. She asks, "how can this loveliness be true, or renewing, or lasting, when we're not even letting ourselves experience it fully?"

    This is certainly something to think about.

  • I think I experience this to a degree. I know I am not having anxiety attacks or have any sort of severe maladaptive response but I can fully say that nothing really make me want to "celebrate" or embrace the good things. To me everyday is a routine. Nothing pops out during my days that makes me giddy and nothing happens that is truly devastating (I really hope not). If something does happen, good or bad, I only see it as a break in that routine. Personally I will not count on my day being super fantabulistic because I am not naive, things can easily go from bad to worse in a fraction of the time it took to say that you wanted your day to be great. I guess I am just another example of what she writes, and honestly I do not know how to avoid being another one of her statistics (but at least I can acknowledge that I am).

    I can see what she is talking about though. Some people wake up always cheery, some do not care what happens (me), and some expect the worst of the worst no matter the situation. Not sure how the general public's opinion of things can be guided to be more positive and optimistic but it would sure be interesting to see.
    There are those who believe that dictionaries should not merely reflect the times but also protect English from the mindless assaults of the trendy.


    • Anhedonia is a emotional/mental state, but there are people who have a rare condition(s) in which the body is essentially wired wrong and they literally don't feel any or some sensations, such as pain. They can put their hand on a hot stove burner and not feel that they are burning it. They have to learn to visually monitor themselves so that if they are injured they can take care of themselves.


      • Sorry but I really do not see a connection between Anhedonia and an extremely rare sensory nerve disorder.
        There are those who believe that dictionaries should not merely reflect the times but also protect English from the mindless assaults of the trendy.


        • Simply putting out different possibilities for people to think about.


          • WC...

            Each person whom studies something, researches, have a "passion" in that area, and their belief.... As, we know, surveys are done and "IF" so, her book is valid.

            Simply put:- "Fear - verses - no fear"..

            A person with fear, generally also is not a risk taker and as such, "holds" to the past and can not let go.

            A "risk taker" in my "opinion" has no barriers, has goals, "care" if win or lose, get your *** up and get up again and go....

            Does this person have fear?


            I think, and I've been, "thinking about this" haha..

            No, I think, that if you have no fear, you are a risk taker, so therefore, you also, can see the "positive" in any outcome that is "deemed bad/horrible", instead.

            Fear, creates, sexual problems does it not?

            No fear, creates, sexual exploration.

            Everything we are. We are, through FEAR.... or NO FEAR.....

            Think about it.



            • I'd agree with you, fear is a huge driving force for most people. I simply put this up because we have so many people who can't seem to "feel", either sexually or in some other way


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