When I had first got on medication, and was working with a therapist who specialized in mood disorders, she told me that the ability to enjoy was destroyed by depression. This was such a relief to me. I realized that appreciation can be done on will, but being able to enjoy needs both a willingness to enjoy and normal brain chemistry. I remembered watching my mother refuse to enjoy all of us kids having fun as we washed the dishes on Christmas morning. I was afraid that was what I was doing.
(Written in March 1986)
Perhaps I can work on this business of all the joy being gone from life. At one point I felt that I had been broken by the candida, that I would never be able to enjoy life again. Then about last December, when I had a lot of energy, I felt that life was worth living after all. This last round of poor health seems to have left me in a kind of limbo — I don’t feel so broken as I did, yet I’m not really enjoying my life, and it’s clear that some sort of effort will have to be made for me to recover that joy that I once had. But what effort? Or should I just work at enduring with patience and stop trying to be happy? Elizabeth Goudge says in more than one place that personal feelings are not that important. Then what is? If you have faith in a transcendent reality then service to that is what is important. But if you don’t? Then it has to be the effort to live in the light of that transcendent reality anyway, as though it existed, since that is what you want to exist, what I want to exist. I guess it’s the same decision as when I chose to serve the God of Love even if He/She didn’t exist or wasn’t the most powerful God in the universe. But I haven’t had any good feelings yet, she wails. You’re too dependent on good feelings, that’s not what we’re doing it for.