One of the oddest effects of depression is being unable to enjoy things that I know are enjoyable.  For me, that is most noticeable with music.  I am completely obsessed with music and have been ever since I can remember.  I have a huge record collection.  I go to shows whenever I can.  I play bass.  I used to play horn.  And I fiddle with a bunch of other instruments.  Lately, though, music just isn’t doing anything for me.

As a matter of fact, I’m not listening to music right now.  That is so weird for me to be able to say.  I’m sitting here at my computer, and I didn’t put on a record, or Pandora, or anything else.  It’s just quiet.  I can even hear my refrigerator when it cycles on and off.  When I feel like myself, I listen to hours a day.  Much of it is in the background, but it’s always there.  And, I frequently just listen.  I put on a record, sit on the couch and just listen.  It’s been weeks since I’ve done that.

I went to a concert this past weekend.  It was the Hartford Symphony doing Brahms.  They did the 5th and 7th Hungarian Dances, the Violin Concerto and the Fourth Symphony.  These are all pieces I know well and very much enjoy.  And they were played well.  But, I just kind of sat there.  I knew what I was listening to, but it just passed right by.  I didn’t feel anything.

None of my old standbys are working well either.  Some of my earliest memories, when I was five or six years old, are of digging through my dad’s record collection.  Three albums in particular grabbed me, Otis Redding’s Dock of the Bay, Ray Charles’ A Man and His Soul, and the Rolling Stones’ Out of Our Heads.  I’ve tried listening to them and I’ve got nothing.  My mind wanders and I can’t pay attention.

I’ve even had a problem with Gladys Knight.  I’ve had a huge crush on her since I was old enough to have crushes.  I can’t explain it except her voice does funny things to me.  It’s too bad we’ve never met, because she’s probably my soulmate.  I’ve tried everything from her early hits to the more recent albums and I don’t feel it.

Depression would be bad enough, but taking away the things that give pleasure is just cruel.

2 thoughts on “The Silence of Sounds”
  1. I’ve suffered from clinical depression since I was a teenager. I’m 49 now. Losing pleasure in something you enjoy is devastating. You can drag yourself out of bed to go to work (although not always). You can make yourself go to the grocery store (although not always). But when you can’t can’t lift your fingers up a half inch or so to turn on some music? Something is really broken.

    I’m a musician. I write music. I play in two bands. I can force myself to go to band practice, although I’m usually barely present. And that makes me feel better for awhile. But when I can’t write, the mental and physical pain is excruciating.

    To see the thing that gives you the most pleasure, the most satisfaction, the most meaning and the greatest sense of accomplishment just on the other side of some translucent door, almost teasing you with its “I’m right here”-ishness is anguish.

    Sometimes I have vengeful thoughts, but one thing I never wish on anyone is depression.

    I’m with you. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this.

    Peace and healing to you. And feel free to drop me an email. You’re more than welcome to come over and jam.

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