Social Question

Ivan's avatar

Why does nothing interest me?

Asked by Ivan (13439points) May 19th, 2010

I have essentially no interests whatsoever. I don’t listen to music at all. I watch very few movies, and I dislike most of them. Books do not hold my attention; I’ve bought a few, but I never get past page 100. I used to play video games, but even that got boring. Recently I’ve been trying to go back and play some of my old favorites; I get bored after about 10 minutes. I used to be into amateur photography too. On the rare occasion that I convince myself to go out with the camera, I usually give up within 20 minutes or so.

Even the topics that I still count as interests – science, religion, and history – don’t hold my attention. I used to read all sorts of articles, watch videos, and get into big lengthy discussions with people. Now I just stumble past all of those articles/videos, and it’s probably been a year or more since I’ve taken part in any sort of debate.

Is this some sort of psychological condition? What can I do to peak my interest in things again?

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37 Answers

kevbo's avatar

All of those activities are media-centric and most are consumption-based. There are lots of other activities that have nothing to do with media and more to do with production (or just being) than consumption.

I’m a college educated English major. You know what I like? Delivering things. I got to deliver stuff by bicycle for UPS two years ago. I bicycled six hours a day with a trailer full of packages during a mild winter. It was a great job. Now I deliver flowers. It’s not bad either.

lillycoyote's avatar

If this is a new thing, and I hate to get all pathological on you, but if you are no longer interested in the things that have always interested in you may be suffering from depression. Not everything is a pathology, but if this is new or sudden you might want to talk to your doctor. Yes, it could be a “psychological condition.” It may be temporary, you maybe can just ride it out, but if it persists I think you should see someone about it.

Ivan's avatar

@kevbo

They are mostly media-centric activities, but I’d say that most people are at least able to find some music that they enjoy. I have yet to find any sort of activity, production-oriented or otherwise, that I can be passionate about.

nikipedia's avatar

Yeah, I’m with @lillycoyote. Having trouble taking pleasure in things is one of the hallmark symptoms of depression (especially if it’s a change from how you normally are). Check out some more symptoms and see if they fit. Or send me a message; it’s something I know at least a little bit about.

Otherwise, I think we all have fits of existential ennui from time to time. Maybe you could use some novelty in your life—an adventure, change of scenery, new goal, etc.

jeanmay's avatar

Some people are doers and some people are thinkers. Maybe you just like to watch the world go by. If you’re happy this way, why worry about the hows and whys?

If you’re unhappy, make a change. Like @nikipedia suggested, set some goals, make some plans, learn something new. Maybe a night class or some kind of club or society would give you structure and motivate you to have a more proactive attitude.

Ivan's avatar

@jeanmay

Getting involved in new things is difficult for me, simply because I live in the middle of nowhere.

And no, I’m not happy just watching the world go by.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@Ivan Food is something you have to do over and over… Make it fun!

Ivan's avatar

@Ltryptophan

Yeah… I can barely make myself a sandwich.

Ltryptophan's avatar

Have you tried exercise?

jeanmay's avatar

@Ivan If there is nothing in your area to stimulate you, and you’re unhappy with the situation, perhaps you might consider moving. Are you in a position to be able to consider that? If not, save up and go travelling. A friend of mine saved for two years then travelled for a year. It seemed like a wonderful thing to have done.

Ivan's avatar

@Ltryptophan

Yup, that lasts about 5 minutes.

@jeanmay

I’ll hopefully be moving by year’s end, but I certainly don’t have enough money to be travelling right now.

Ltryptophan's avatar

well, you can’t get tired of getting hungry, so I say try to liven up what you’re eating. Go try some new restaurants. It’s pretty passive. You just sit there and they bring you the food that you need to live.

Ivan's avatar

@Ltryptophan

Restaurants are far away, and expensive.

This is turning into ‘you give me ideas, I shoot them down with excuses’.

Ltryptophan's avatar

How about a hot tub!

Ivan's avatar

@Ltryptophan

Heh, I don’t know where there’s a hot tub near by.

jeanmay's avatar

@Ivan Given the wording of your original question, I suggest @nikipedia and @lillycoyote have given the best answers. That’s a suggestion you should refrain from shooting down. It seems you’re not ready to address the issue of how to change, but more concerned about recognising the nature of your feelings before you move on from them. In that case some form of therapy or counselling might be a good idea; on the phone if you can’t access such services otherwise. You could try the Samaritans.

Response moderated
nailpolishfanatic's avatar

That’s just so not true, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t have any interest in anything. Everyone is interested in something you just have to find what that interest thing is. So start looking around!

DominicX's avatar

I’m sorry, but that really sounds like depression to me…

When my friend got depressed after getting diagnosed with cancer, she lost all interest in everything. But she had no history of it and it didn’t last long.

I’d still think about getting some kind of psychiatric evaluation because it doesn’t sound like a good way to live.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Sounds like your brain is diverting all resources to finding something to get you out of the middle of nowhere. You’re no longer satisfied with distractions no matter they be serious or frivolous, you want some new meat and potatoes for your life. Maybe you’re entering a new age demographic between 20 and 27 where a lot of people go ‘stir crazy’ with the “what now, what next?” stuff.

augustlan's avatar

My first thought was depression, too. It could be situational (where you live, transitioning to a new phase in life, etc.) or something farther reaching. How long have you been feeling like this?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Do you have Habitat For Humanity where you live? What are your thoughts on giving a few years to the Peace Corps or a few more to the Navy?

Ivan's avatar

@Neizvestnaya

I don’t have anything where I live, and that sounds unimaginably horrible.

augustlan's avatar

@Ivan Forgive me if I’m missing it, but have you told us how long you’ve felt this way?

Ivan's avatar

@augustlan

I don’t really know. I’ve never really been into music, movies, books, etc. Everything else, maybe a year.

augustlan's avatar

If it’s that recent, and has been going on that long, it really does sound like depression. It might not be a bad idea to talk to your doctor about it.

In the meantime, trying something completely new really might help you break free of it. Especially something that helps other people (or animals, whatever) like volunteering. Good luck, and if you need to talk send me a PM. :)

mattbrowne's avatar

It could be the result of chronic stress and the related elevated cortisol levels flooding your body. This is quite common for ambitious people in complex scientific and technical fields. Prolonged exposure to complicated abstract subjects without any feasible compensation strategy can have this effect. High cortisol levels mess up neurotransmitter levels in particular serotonin and dopamine. Losing interest too soon could mean that higher levels of dopamine are required to give your brain the kick it was used to.

I think there’s only one thing that really helps: slowing down the thoughts inside your head. Find activities that helps you slow down. Ambitious hiking trips or bike rides won’t do the job. Ideally you could learn how to meditate, but it’s very hard. I tried it several times and wasn’t really successful.

You said you’re not really into music. Have you tried to learn an instrument? Another option would be painting. An evening course with other people perhaps. Especially people who are not high-powered scientists. Any slow activity will do. Away from the noise. A cabin in the mountains for a week far away from civilization might help. And go fishing perhaps.

There are non-religious people who spent 3 weeks in Tibetan monasteries and they say it changed their lives. They are still non-religious, but they have discovered slowness and learned how to enjoy it.

kenmc's avatar

” You never see a positive drug story on the news. They always have the same LSD story. You’ve all seen it:

‘Today a young man on acid…thought he could fly…jumped out of a building…what a tragedy!’

What a dick. He’s an idiot. If he thought he could fly why didn’t he take off from the ground first? Check it out? You don’t see geese lined up to catch elevators to fly south; they fly from the fucking ground. He’s an idiot. He’s dead. Good! We lost a moron? Fucking celebrate. There’s one less moron in the world.

Wouldn’t you like to see a positive LSD story on the news? To base your decision on information rather than scare tactics and superstition?, perhaps? Wouldn’t that be interesting? Just for once?

‘Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration – that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There’s no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we’re the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.’ ”

—Bill Hicks.

augustlan's avatar

@boots Um, I think you might have the wrong thread… :P

kenmc's avatar

@augustlan No, m’dear. I know exactly what I’m saying and so does @Ivan.

Ivan's avatar

The solution to all of life’s problems is drugs.

kenmc's avatar

@Ivan Are you facing all of life’s problems?

Ivan's avatar

@boots

I’m never doing drugs. I will take offense at any further suggestion to do so.

kenmc's avatar

I offered a solution to your problems. I won’t apologize if you didn’t like the answer.

mattbrowne's avatar

I forgot to mention this above. What you are describing might be a precursor to burnout syndrome. Doing something about this precursor is a lot easier than dealing with full throttle burnout.

In any case finding means for slowing down your thoughts seems to be the key.

Hayley1's avatar

thats because you are doing most things that are electric, have a screen or to do with media try baking or shopping with baking you could make up your own recipe and with shopping you can go buy stuff that you like a new video game, blanket or jumper!

liz6683's avatar

i joined this site just to tell you to try free association. it worked for me.

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