Table of Contents
Something strange is happening.
The things you used to love no longer seem that interesting.
The people you typically hang out with are no longer appealing.
In fact, you might be telling yourself...
"I don't care about anything. I can't do it anymore. I do NOT care."
This can be a serious problem, and it can feel futile to even attempt to address it.
You may have even got to the point where you've given into the problem and searched on Google, "How to not care about anything??"
But all is not lost.
Not at all.
In fact, a certain realization and action plan might be exactly what you need.
Why Don't I Care About Anything Anymore? Is It Depression? Maybe Not...
It's so easy to slap on the "depressed" label.
You're depressed, man.
You need to chill out.
Why can't you just feel better?
When you start to lose interest in life , and your friends and family begin to notice, "words of wisdom" come from everywhere.
That's nice and all, but do they actually apply to your life? Are these people walking in your shoes, feeling what you're feeling?
Friends tell you one thing. Parents tell you another. Sometimes the words hit home, but other times they fall flat on the ground and begin to stink up the place like a dead fish.
And it's not always depression.
Because depression is a label.
It's a term like anything else.
And, of course, clinical depression is serious, as are other diagnoses that could be behind this, like anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder.
There is a reason that depressive disorder and the others mentioned are in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (The DSM-5).
The collection of depression symptoms that have been categorized and thoroughly fleshed out describe a phenomenon that many, many people in this world have.
If you are thinking, "I don't want to live anymore," you might need to seek help. My list of mental health resources features all the top numbers to call for help. There's never any shame in reaching out to a mental health professional for your health issues.
But does clinical depression describe the feeling that you're having right now?
The feeling that you don't care anymore?
The thought of, "I can't do this anymore?"
Let's dig into that particular feeling a little bit.
What Does It Mean for Your Mental Health When You Don't Care About Anything Anymore? (More Than Apathy)
When you don't care about anything, it can feel like the sound is turned down in the world.
It can feel like your life is falling apart.
That's what it felt like for me. For years, from 2013 to 2015, I went through long periods of time when I didn't care about anything.
I kept thinking, "I don't want to do this anymore."
I felt it in my mind, but I also felt it in my body.
And it turns out, anhedonia addresses both of these aspects of not carrying about anything.
Anhedonia is the inability to feel pleasure. It's a common symptom of depression as well as other mental health disorders.
And anhedonia can be broken down into two main types--physical anhedonia and social anhedonia.
But why am I telling you this?
Why am I belaboring the point about the apathy that you already feel?
To point out that this is common.
To prove to you that it's well documented and that anhedonia is more than a general feeling of apathy.
Physical anhedonia could be..."Why Don't I Care About Myself?"
- Not having energy to do anything - Wanting to sleep all day - Not wanting to leave the couch - Not even having energy to change the channel on the TV - Going through the motions at work or at family gatherings Physical anhedonia is a body-state.
Yes, it's your body responding to how you're feeling, but it's also your body sending signals back to your mind, which affects your next set of actions.
Which brings me to social anhedonia.
Social anhedonia could be..."Why Don't I Care About Anyone?"
- Turning down invite after invite to hang out - Not wanting to participate in activities that you used to find interesting - No longer wanting to exercise - Being drained by every social gathering - No longer having motivation to reach out to family or friends - Thinking all the time, "I feel no one cares about me, so why should I care?" Both types of anhedonia can take over your life, and both types can play off one another to make it so you just don't care about anything or anyone.
But knowing what's going on when you just don't care anymore--and having the words to describe what's going on--is only the first step.
Knowing, "I don't care about anyone" is different from acting on that thought.
Next up is learning what to do about it.
How to Care - Self-Care Strategies to Start Caring About Life Again
Now, let me start with a warning.
There are no simple answers to deeply entrenched issues.
It can be hard to get going again when you've had a lack of motivation or a lack of pleasure.
If you've been feeling this way for a long time, it's likely going to take some time to get you out of the rut.
But let me tell you--it is possible. It absolutely is.
I'm living proof of that, and I've worked and talked with many people who've done the same thing.
Like anything in life, following what I'm about to share is not a guarantee, but it's rooted in timeless principles, in wisdom that is freely available to all.
When you're drowning in stress and apathy, it's often enough to just have some kind of game plan.
1. Take stock of your symptoms (Behavior, feelings, thoughts, and experiences)
When you first realize you don't care about anything, it can be hard to even pinpoint what exactly is going on.
So you need to take stock of what you're experiencing.
Use the above anhedonia categories as your guide.
What are you feeling physically?
What are you feeling socially?
Say it out loud. Write it down. Tell a friend.
Just getting the symptoms out of your brain and in front of you often provides ideas that you couldn't see when you were just going through the motions.
2. Highlight major stressors
Sometimes, it's not about outward symptoms. Sometimes it's about the inward pressure of major stressors.
Have you been dealing with something major lately? Is there, I don't know, a worldwide pandemic going on?
Major stressors are a big deal, and they can have a big impact on your life.
And I'm not just talking about current stressors. If you've survived trauma, such as emotional or physical abuse in your past, then that's something that you need to consider. Even if you think you've moved on and processed everything, the body keeps the score.
3. Choose one thing to do
This is the part that can be tough.
After all, you know your life. You know what you've been through. But you may not know what to do next.
So simple is always better.
What's one thing you can do next? What is one activity you can try to get yourself feeling better? It doesn't have to be a grandiose vision quest or a cross-country move. It can be starting a garden. It can be walking around the block twice a week.
What we're going for here is try something new. Doing what you've been doing has not erased what you're feeling. It's only new action that will put you on a new path. You have to take new action to get new feelings.
So what will it be?
What are you going to choose first?
Only you can decide that.
4. When you NEED to pay attention and ask for help (If you don't want to live anymore)
This is a serious place to get to, but these thoughts are more common than you realize.
Many people have thoughts of not wanting to be alive anymore, and help is available.
I even had a plan to end my life at one point.
It was the scariest time of my life, and I ended up going to the hospital because I was so scared of what I might do. Little did I know at the time, it would be one of the most courageous actions I've ever taken, and it got me back on track.
I now know that asking for help, no matter what it takes, is pure strength.
You will always be strong if you ask for help.
If you're desperate and have a plan to kill yourself like I did, call 911 (or your country's emergency number) or get yourself to a hospital. If you are in the United States, text HOME to 741741.
No More Being a Person Who Says, "I Don't Care Anymore" (Time to Get Your Energy and Identity Back)
Anhedonia is a crushing blow to the body and mind.
But it's not permanent. It's really not.
Even you feel like you'll never stop saying, "I don't care anymore."
Again, if you are saying, "I don't want to live anymore" and have a plan for how you would hurt or kill yourself, you need to call or text for help.
But as long as you hold in your mind the seed of the idea that it is possible to feel better, you're on the right track.
Reaching the point where you no longer care about anything is a whole-body, all-consuming type of thing.
And so it's only natural to feel like you need to combat that feeling with an all-hands-on-deck game plan.
But I beg you to reconsider.
The only way I've ever changed my life is by doing one thing at a time, and it's true for almost everyone I've studied or talked to.
Document your symptoms.
Highlight your major stressors.
And then choose one thing.
It sounds almost too simple to work.
But a dirt path carries you in the same direction as a gold-paved road.