NUMBNESS – LOSS OF INTEREST OR PLEASURE 1
Finding hope again and reconnecting
Some Veterans find that they feel numb and lose interest in things they used to enjoy. Others start to feel hopeless, which may lead to thoughts of suicide. By reaching out for support, these Veterans connected to resources for recovery, including counseling or the Veterans Crisis Line. Learn how they discovered ways to enjoy life again.
What is loss of interest or pleasure?
Have you stopped enjoying the things you used to like, and don’t know why? Maybe you’re finding it hard to get motivated about anything. Does it seem as if nothing matters? When you experience a loss of interest, it can be upsetting to you and your family and friends and can be a signal of a condition that needs attention.
Some Veterans experience loss of interest or loss of motivation after a traumatic event — like an injury or health problem or the death of a friend or loved one. Others may have lose of interest in activities after experiencing a major life event — such as a new baby, coming home after deployment, or retirement — even if the event is a positive one. Some people lose interest in things without an obvious explanation.
“He did not want to go hunting. He didn’t care if he went fishing. He golfed, but I don’t think he found joy in it. I think it was just something to do to get out of the house.”
Many people temporarily feel like this at some point in their lives. However, a loss of interest or pleasure that is ongoing or severe may be a symptom of depression. Depression is a condition that needs treatment; it is not a sign of weakness. Loss of interest and pleasure can also be a sign of other conditions that need attention. You may feel like you’ve lost your ability to enjoy life, which can take a toll on your relationships, work, and everyday activities. There are steps you can take to address these issues and help you get back to enjoying things that are important to you.
If I’m experiencing loss of interest or pleasure, what can I do about it right away?
- Walk, jog, or work out. Physical activity can improve your mood and help you sleep better.
- Eat healthy meals regularly. Good nutrition helps your body and your mind.
- Try to get a good night’s sleep. Getting quality sleep can help you feel better.
- Practice relaxation or grounding techniques. A shower, deep breathing, or time in a quiet place to collect your thoughts can help relieve stress and get you through difficult moments.
- Visit a friend. Spending some time with friends can lift your spirits.
- Try to plan some sort of pleasurable activity at least once a day, even if it’s something small and even if you aren’t sure whether you will enjoy it.
Talking to your family and friends about what you’re feeling can be an important first step. They may be able to provide support and help you discover what might be causing you to lose interest in the things you once enjoyed.