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Home » Ask the Therapist » I Never Enjoy Things, and Right Now I Think It’s Because I Don’t Feel Like I’m Living “In the Moment”

I Never Enjoy Things, and Right Now I Think It’s Because I Don’t Feel Like I’m Living “In the Moment”

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I’m having a hard time putting my finger on it, but for as long as I can remember I haven’t been enjoying pretty much anything. At all. I can’t bring myself to watch a movie or work on a project I should theoretically be excited about, because I always feel like I should be doing something else, and this always ends up with me doing nothing at all. I live by a daily schedule where I give myself different task for different times of the day (eg. doing chores from 4 – 6pm), but times constantly roll over and I could never keep up, and I don’t give myself reasonable time to complete tasks anyway.
Just today, I was listening to music on a friend’s vinyl set, and I just could not bring myself to relax and enjoy it. I felt like I had to be in 10 other places, whether it was finishing up old chores, or finishing off another project.
Ordinarily this wouldn’t mean much to me, but recently I tried marijuana while watching a movie and I couldn’t feel more into it. I felt focused, and like I could really process the stimuli right in front of me. I fear developing some sort of addiction, because it was the best feeling ever and I feel as though it would do me good to have that same feeling all the time.
I send this message out because I initially thought this was some sort of disassociation disorder phenomenon. As in not feeling like I’m “in the present” enough to carry out immediate activities. But I look up the symptoms and it’s just a whole lot of not what I thought it was. So I’m having trouble identifying this. Depression? Anxiety?

I Never Enjoy Things, and Right Now I Think It’s Because I Don’t Feel Like I’m Living “In the Moment”

Answered by on -

A.

A couple of things could be going on here. Abraham Maslow, a famous psychologist who is most known for his work on self-actualization, writes about one characteristic of individuals who are self-actualizing which is their continued freshness of appreciation. He notes that these individuals have a “wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again… the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder and even ecstasy, however, stale these experiences may have become to others.”

Essentially, it’s the idea that people get used to their blessings and take them for granted. He believes that people, for instance, are more apt to be loved and appreciated after they have died than while they are still here. He notes a similar thing is true for physical health, political freedoms, and economic well-being. We don’t recognize their value until they’re gone.

Perhaps part of the problem is that you are not appreciating or valuing what you have. You may be taking aspects of your life for granted. To change this, you might try keeping a gratitude journal which would help to focus your attention on that which you have. Focusing your attention may increase your appreciation for what you have and what you are doing.

Meditation might also be useful. It likewise forces you to focus your attention inward. The science of meditation suggests that it is highly effective not only for the mind but also for the body. It is been shown to reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and other conditions. In general, it helps with calmness and relaxation, and positively enhances one’s overall well-being.

It makes sense that you would feel better when you’re on drugs. That’s why people do drugs. Getting high feels good but there are severe consequences for using drugs. One is, as you mentioned, the potential for addiction. You shouldn’t need to use drugs to feel better. It’s a sign that something is wrong. Keeping a gratitude journal or trying meditation are both good alternatives to drugs. You want to do everything in your power to avoid doing drugs to feel better.

My recommendation is to undergo an evaluation with a mental health professional. They will review your symptoms and determine if a diagnosis is warranted. Most importantly, they will recommend a specific treatment. You might benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which is a highly effective psychological treatment that can help with a range of problems including depression, anxiety, alcohol, drug use problems, eating disorders, among others. At its core, it assists with faulty thinking, learned patterns of unhelpful behavior, and changing thinking patterns. CBT also helps with problem-solving, increasing one’s confidence, and learning better ways to cope with the stresses of life. Studies have shown that CBT can positively change one’s thinking, and decrease problematic emotions and behavior. You could benefit from this type of treatment.

Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

I Never Enjoy Things, and Right Now I Think It’s Because I Don’t Feel Like I’m Living “In the Moment”

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). I Never Enjoy Things, and Right Now I Think It’s Because I Don’t Feel Like I’m Living “In the Moment”. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/08/16/i-never-enjoy-things-and-right-now-i-think-its-because-i-dont-feel-like-im-living-in-the-moment/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 13 Aug 2020 (Originally: 16 Aug 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 13 Aug 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.