Feeling Apathetic: When You Just Don't Care
Does feeling apathetic really mean you’re indifferent to everything around you? It’s difficult to know where to start in trying to answer this question. Because, when you’re feeling like you just don’t care about anything, you think about nothing and yet you also think about everything. What does it mean to think about nothing? In fact, what does it mean to think about everything? Furthermore, if nothing matters to you anymore, what does this mean? It’s true to say that this whole distorted image is so wide-ranging that it’s really difficult for people to know what to say to you. Because when you’re asked, “But what do you mean by everything?” you just say, “Oh I don’t know, just everything”.
There’s no doubt that everyone at some point in their life might feel like they don’t know which way to go. Furthermore, it’s quite common to find yourself in a state where you really just don’t care. What you used to like no longer pleases you. What amused you now bores you. So what’s happening to you? Why have you stopped enjoying everything?
It seems like an inner emptiness has opened up in your soul that’s absorbing every bit of happiness you’ve ever felt. What’s wrong with you?
What’s it like when you’re feeling apathetic and just don’t care about anything? Or rather, what does it mean? There are often times when you sit on the couch and just watch your life go by as if it were a movie. You go from the living room to the bathroom and the bathroom to the living room. You go shopping and cook so you don’t die of hunger. In fact, you carry out your daily activities almost automatically, by force of habit. What’s the reason for this feeling of apathy? This state of unhappiness, which surrounds and embraces you, gradually squeezes you tighter and tighter.
All your plans get messed up, whether they involve friends, finances, or work. You scan the horizon for a ray of light that’ll give you some hope, but you can’t find anything. Where did that last ray of happiness go? What happened to that light at the end of the tunnel? You don’t know what’s going on, but your life just seems to be going rapidly downhill. Furthermore, you’re unable to slow it down. Perhaps you’ll be able to find some answers in silence.
“Even in those rare moments when there is no sound, text, or other information coming in from outside, our heads are filled with a constant loop of thoughts. How many minutes each day, if any, do you spend in true quiet?”
-Thich Nhat Hanh-
Right now, you don’t care if it’s sunny, rainy, or the wind blows your house away. Neither do you care if someone insults or lectures you. You’ll just say “Oh well” and re-submerge yourself in your own little world.
Your attachment to the material and the spiritual world has hit rock bottom. Your life has been taken over by apathy and any pleasurable feelings you may have had are almost completely gone. You’re experiencing anhedonia.
What to do when you’re feeling apathetic
Feeling like you’re lost in the middle of a cold dark sea without even a glimmer of light to illuminate your way can be nerve-wracking. However, it isn’t the end of the world. Nevertheless, when you’re feeling like this, you might not want to ask for professional help. “What’s the use? It’s hopeless”. But that just isn’t true. In fact, you have far more choice than you think.
Throughout your learning history, your mind has acquired a number of thought patterns. These thoughts have made you see life in a certain way. However, just as you might be thinking reality is black, you can also choose to see it as white, blue, red, or even rainbow-colored. Because there isn’t a single color to see life with. In fact, all colors are valid. Therefore, it’s best to not be too single-minded about it.
However, if you think it’s about choosing a way of thinking and sticking to it, you’d be wrong. Indeed, life is too diverse to place yourself in just one position. Because that just limits you.
At this point, you need to start realizing that your catastrophic view of the world is just that, your view. A belief you’ve learned. Which means that you can also unlearn it. Alternatively, you can learn a totally new way of relating to the world, others, and yourself.
Connect with your inner world
When you’re lost and you feel like nothing matters, it’s probably time to consider if you’re really leading the life you want. Sit back, reflect, and think about what you want. Think about what moves and motivates you. It might take hours, days, weeks, or even months. However, connecting with your inner-self through self-reflection will help you remove all that conditioning that’s stopping you from seeing your real motivations.
Mindfulness is a very powerful tool that can help you uncover a part of yourself you didn’t even know existed. Indeed, self-reflection means you leave behind all those voices telling you how you should behave and what you should do. In fact, by crossing these boundaries, you start to discover the light that shines inside you. Then, you realize how much you were being constrained by external demands.
The Dalai Lama claims “Our conscious mind is related both to the objects we have, the experiences of the past, and certain kinds of feelings or sensations. In this sense, it’s very difficult to glimpse the true nature of consciousness, which corresponds to the pure state of knowledge or total luminosity of the mind”.
The Dalai Lama further states that “One of the techniques to use to apprehend such a state is meditation. With this, we free our minds from thoughts of past experiences and from any form of anticipation of the future, to remain in the present moment”.
Stop feeling apathetic and start to care
When you start to connect with your true nature, you begin to see your surroundings in another color. For example, you’ll see a simple leaf as a fascinating creation of nature. You focus your attention on the simple act of breathing, and you start to think about how complex your body is, with its many elements: muscles, bones, arteries, neurons, etc.
Indeed, through meditation, you discover that your surroundings are far more interesting than you ever believed. For example, it’s perfectly possible that you’ll find yourself fascinated by something as simple as a bird flying by you. Furthermore, you might go on to ask, “How does that bird even manage to fly?”
As Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh says, “The basic condition for us to be able to hear the call of beauty and respond to it is silence. If we don’t have silence in ourselves — if our mind and body are full of noise — then we can’t hear beauty’s call”. He further states, “Our mind is filled with noise, and that’s why we can’t hear the call of life, the call of love. Our heart is calling us, but we don’t hear. We don’t have the time to listen to our heart”.
Little by little, you’ll start to appreciate small and essential details that meant nothing to you before. You’ll also begin to realize what motivates you. Furthermore, you’ll start to understand the importance of self-realization.
You’ll learn that being a good person, dedicating yourself to others, and not hurting anyone are values of such extreme importance that you’ll make them your own. Then, your life will turn itself around completely. Thus, remember that, if you’re feeling like you just don’t care, it’s time you made a move. Because everything can and will change for you.