Living without desire, when apathy takes possession of us

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Robert Maurer
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Living without desire, when apathy takes possession of us

Sadness, apathy, or listlessness are all symptoms that indicate that something is wrong. However, many people carry these burdens without doing anything about it, without communicating and without asking for help. But why do they hide what they feel? What can we do if we are in this situation?

Last update: April 17, 2020

Living without desire is the global reflection of apathy and demotivation towards expectations about the present and the future. Waking up every day in this state can turn into a real ordeal. A climb that is increasingly steeper due to the inertia that governs our mental state.



Let's not forget that living without desire means dedicating time to activities even with the feeling of not having the strength to carry them out. In a sense, extra effort has to be made, due to weight, to achieve inexpensive goals (having breakfast, getting dressed, taking a shower…). On the other hand, apathy is so strong that it becomes almost impossible to take initiatives.

"The opposite of love is not hate but apathy."

-Leo Buscaglia-

Live without desire, in silence

Apathy often goes unnoticed, as there is a tendency to replace lack of motivation with effort. The family background and circle of friends of the person living in a spiral of apathy may not notice the pain they feel. We might think: but how do we know if she is plagued by constant apathy if she behaves as she always does?

This is an important point. Often we do not give importance to the emotional state of the people around us, precisely because of the absence of obvious signals. The person continues to do his job, fulfill family obligations and social gatherings. We might even see the reflection of a smile on his face; however, there is no enthusiasm within her.



"Sadness is also a kind of defense."

-Ivo Andric-

In the face of apathy, avoid commonplaces

When someone tells us how he is, how he feels, we often tend to fall into the cliché of: "it's nothing", "you'll see it pass", "it happens to everyone", "force yourself", "don't give it too much importance". Although our intention is positive, for the person who lives without desire, listening to the classic motivating phrases may not be at all comforting. On the contrary, the feeling of not being understood could lead her to close the channel of communication.

So, what should we do if someone tells us that they are in a strong state of apathy? Well, that person may actually need our support and active listening: to feel understood, to understand what is happening to them, to be there with them. It may be comforting for you to express what it means for you to live without desire and to have to resort to her will to perform every activity.

«Despondency is the stone you will inevitably have to step on to cross the river. You may also fall, but you can always get up and swim to make the crossing.

-Anonymous-

Beyond apathy

Living without desire, in an apathetic way, can have a physiological component, as stated by a research group. Scholars correlate demotivation and apathy to specific brain circuits which in some cases can show anomalies in functioning. Conditions that go far beyond external circumstances are likely to lurk behind apathy.


In turn, apathy could hide underlying pathologies and psychological disorders, such as major depression or dysthymia. In light of this, one of the first steps to overcome this state is to exclude medical (hormonal and organic causal factors) and / or psychological problems.


Leaving aside the origin of apathy, it is important to seek support. We can turn to family and friends, or to a specialized professional, since suffering often overwhelms us to such an extent that we need external help to overcome it.

"If you haven't learned from sadness, you can't appreciate happiness."

-Nana Mouskouri-

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