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.