“Apathy is a wonderful thing.”
I came up with that, or rather, some of us did, as an avoidance measure when it came to things in our past which angered us, saddened us, or led us down that merry (which it is anything but!) path to depression. It even seemed to work for a long time! – but no, it IS a method of avoiding “the work”; that is, the hard effort it takes to actually CHANGE one’s mind so you CAN deal with those issues and start the process of heaing.
When healing, or starting to heal, or just trying to make it through the day; however, it is a useful tool to bring to the table of a client or person who is starting on that long road they must walk – for no other can walk it – in order to journey from the mouths of darkness into a life of light, happiness, and joy. It is useful because it negates any feeling – “It’s not important” and “It doesn’t matter” often becomes the abused person’s mantra, one they repeat to themselves quite often – I know I did – heck, we ALL did – in order to wade from one day to another while fighting our way out of the deep murky Pit of Depression – a place where there is no light of hope, of sometimes it seems, of even having hope of having it.
That’s another thing I often tell people who are on the suicidal edge: “You may not have hope, but you CAN hope FOR hope someday.” That is one of the fingernail edges I have hung onto. and I’m sure that cliff is fairly scarred from clawing, trying not to fall. Did a couple times, but nothing serious: always landed on my feet to trudge on, still in the pit, still trying desperately not to care, or even care about how bad I was feeling. “After all,” we’d rationalize, “Everyone feels this way.” LOL. Learned better – the very first question I ever asked many years ago (over 2 decades) online was “Is it normal to want to kill yourself on a daily basis?”.
It was that resounding “NO!” which convinced me that I needed to get some help for all this. This was before we knew – but suspected – that people weren’t also like “me” – or “us” – solid, no “we” out there, or none were admitting it . . .
But I didn’t care.
After all, I’d developed this philosophy of not caring, not a whit, about me, life, the world, others, their views, news, politics, old long gone friends or making new ones, life, family – if for no other reason I didn’t have any – my job, the tasks it involved, the moon, the stars, and Jupiter. I didn’t care that the flowers died in the winter, nor my heart; I didn’t care if the sun rose in the morning.
I made my life pretty good that way, because I had to care about my money – and who wants to eat Ramen noodles all their life? Where even affording salt was a luxury? But I was happier muddling through, not realizing this lamp I’d lit in the Dark Tunnel (depression, of course!) – would eventually gutter and go out, or else I’d be left as something quite less than human – a lonely old man if I lived that long, not that I cared or wanted to.
So apathy, while a wonderful tool AT THE BEGINNING is only going to get you so far. After awhile you’ll find it’s emptying out your life, not rebuilding a new one – removing your loves, if any, and all your motivation. It does not work long term. That is why you use it only to BUY time, and stabilize “the patient” – even if that patient is yourself. Eventually your going to have to DEAL with those problems that started this cycle of “I don’t care about that, what it did, OR it’s effects” in order to keep on going. Eventually you’ve got to put that lamp down and fire up another – one that will allow you to move on, go on, to a happier life, and hopefully one in which you are not consumed in anger.
More on that in another post, I just wanted to point out the powers of apathy and the dangers within. It CAN help you struggle through the worst of it; it CAN help you deal with your past, it CAN even help you manage your feelings. But it’s no cure. At best it is a poor substitute, a bit of cognitive therapy in which you convince yourself NOTHING out there matters, and nothing inside either, to boot. In short you will quickly find you are wrapping that perceptual blanket around you, making you comfortably numb to not only the outside world, but yourself . . .
And then you realize you have done yourself no favor. You have not healed – you’ve just avoided; and you are still there: the Deep & Darkening Pit.
Apathy can be a wonderful thing – but don’t bet your life on it. It’s just a tool to get you through another day, leads to no feeling (familiar to DID patients), and can actually lead to a worse depression as you care less and less about you and your own life and what has happened in it and to it, its projected future – YOUR future with it – again, a DID thing, or MPD, rather, where the body is viewed as an outside being, and you are simply trapped in it – which can lead to suicide attempts again. And suicide is not an option, not if you want to survive – which, again, if you think about it, tells you how dangerous this tool can be. It can make you not care so much that you don’t care about it. There’s actually a point you CAN reach where you don’t care enough to TAKE your own life, which is not a copout but rather a way of surviving. And that, too, can be a useful thing if it works.
But never think that by using apathy you have solved a thing. You’re just avoiding it. Like I did. But that doesn’t mean you can’t, or shouldn’t use it sometimes, it just means you aren’t done healing. If your mantra is “I don’t care” or “apathy is a wonderful thing” – you’ve just started.