“I hate my life.”
Have you ever heard these words from a loved one? Or even said them yourself?
It’s not uncommon for people to experience discouragement or a lack of motivation to complete regular daily tasks following a traumatic event or life change. However, continuously feeling defeated or that one is tired of life, are sentiments typically expressed by a person experiencing low grade depression.
Left unaddressed, these types of thoughts can grow into a crippling depression that has long-lasting effects. One of the most potent side effects of a crippling depression is chronic apathy.
The definition of apathy is a lack of feeling, interest, enthusiasm or concern.
It is almost impossible for the average person to go through life without ever experiencing apathy at some point. Sufferers from depression, however–especially if it leads to substance abuse–often report an inability to escape from apathetic thinking.
What is the difference between someone who is experiencing low grade depression vs someone who just feels apathetic?
Having a “low” day, or a temporary mindset of feeling defeated can occur after events that overwhelm the emotions, mind, body and spirit. These might include death of a loved one, job loss, abusive relationships, extreme loneliness and even traumatic injury or chronic health conditions.
It’s not uncommon for these events to serve as a catalyst for depressive episodes that continue throughout life. Most often, though, these evens lead to periods of apathy only in the short term.
On the other hand, someone who is suffering from crippling depression–or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, debilitating anxiety–tends to experience these feelings on a regular or even daily basis over a longer period of time.
Apathetic feelings in the average person can still be subject to the will to change negative thinking patterns or habits. Mental health sufferers, however, report that apathy in the context of depression seems to numb their ability to even want to change.
This “numbness” or lack of control is further compounded if substance abuse enters the picture.
How could feeling that “I hate my life” lead to substance abuse?
Unfortunately, depression can contribute to the development of a substance use disorder (SUD). SUD can, in turn, escalate low grade depression into crippling depression. This is because people often seek illicit substances (or overmedication of legal substances) as a way to escape pain.
Many people believe addiction is born out of a desire to attain the pleasure of a high.
While this is true in some cases, more often than not addiction victims report that the main motivation behind their first one or several uses of drugs or alcohol was to dull or eliminate–not to achieve–something: namely, pain.
SUD victims then proceed to fall into a cycle of apathy that keeps them trapped in addictive habits. Their increasing tolerance to a drug or alcohol substance may lead them to take more and more of it to escape the mental pain of debilitating anxiety or feeling tired of life.
The more the cravings rule their lives, the more powerless they feel to break out of this lifestyle.
The feeling of being out of control and/or purposeless can lead to substance abuse and addiction. Addiction leads to more feelings of lack of control and defeat, for which substances seem to be the only cure. And the cycle repeats.
The progression described above is vicious and can have devastating effects on a person’s quality of life. Because of the nature of addiction, this cycle can be difficult to break, but it is entirely possible with help. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, professional treatment is the most effective way to start the road to recovery. Contact us today.