What is the point of life if you are ... - Anxiety and Depre...

Anxiety and Depression Support

63,153 members62,108 posts

What is the point of life if you are unable to experience joy?

Maands profile image

I have experienced depression and anxiety for the majority of my life and recently added an ADHD diagnosis which may have been missed all these years. I have been on every kind of medication you can imagine, some with severe side effects, seen a counsellor on a regular basis, seen a psychiatrist on a regular basis, completed self-help workbooks and tried to improve my physical health with diet and exercise (including yoga). I have tried for so long and yet I still don't experience joy. What is the point of life without joy?

25 Replies

Do you experience peace? Or contentment?

Maands profile image
Maands in reply to hypercat54

I definitely don't experience peace but contentment at times... sure?

hypercat54 profile image
hypercat54 in reply to Maands

Well joy is a very high bar to set as many people don't really experience that. Happiness isn't a permanent state of mind but rather fleeting. We all have to do things we don't want to do in life and compromise a lot and that's normal.

I think it also depends a lot on your nature, and your age. I don't have joy in my life but I feel briefly happy when I notice a small child enjoying themselves, a beautiful flower, when I play a good game of darts, when someone pays me a compliment and so on.

However to experience these you have to live in the present and not spend your time worrying or living in the past. You have to notice small things instead of being stuck in your head. Have you ever heard of mindfulness? If not google it.

Maands profile image
Maands in reply to hypercat54

Thank you for the thoughtful reply. This is all very true. I also think happiness is something that should almost be earned... maybe thats the wrong word but something along those lines. In some ways, you have to work for happiness.

I do struggle to get out of my head. I think the hardest part is getting the motivation to keep going or try something new. I am almost 35 years old and I struggle to believe my thoughts, feelings and situation will ever be any different from how it is now. Everything happens for a reason right?

I have heard of mindfulness - I should make this a priority to practice more often. Maybe a sense of peace and calm is the key.

Hi! Hmm... It sounds like you have learned some tools for human joy, but not enough for you yet. Some people get by with the bare minimum, but in this group with our advanced systems, we require more. Well ...let’s see....

Do you talk to yourself? How do you talk to yourself? Like, if you were to say anything to yourself right now, what would it be?

Maands profile image
Maands in reply to

Thank you for your response, Oracle. I agree - in fact I think our systems are too advanced.

I do talk to myself however in a very negative manner most times. My inner critic is a real bitch. My self-esteem and self-worth are next to nonexistent. If I were to say anything to myself right now it would be "You are safe and you will be okay."

in reply to Maands

Oh my goodness. I am so happy you know about inner critic. Yes, she’s a mean bee, whose sole purpose is to annihilate you. She won’t stop unless you make her stop by actively talking over her and crushing her spirit until she’s a whimper and then a whisper. If you already know about inner critic then do you know about inner parent?

Maands profile image
Maands in reply to

Is inner parent about accepting how you were raised and understanding your parents did the best they could with what they had/knew? Something along those lines... maybe I'm wrong.

in reply to Maands

Ooooh, no, but I could see why you’d think that. So, inner parent is the entity inside of you that loves you unconditionally. If you didn’t know that you have that inside of you, don’t worry: I didn’t either. I actually had an NLP guy explain it to me as such: imagine you are a four year old child who is walking along... maybe to a playground. Behind you, and above you (because you are just a small little child), there is a strong, loving, PERFECT parent. This parent is nothing like your real parents. This is your inner parent! If you look back at this parent for loving guidance while walking toward the playground, they would smile lovingly at you and say, “Keep going, kid, you’re doing ok.” When you want to try something, they might smile and say, “Go ahead, try it if you want to do it. It’s ok if it doesn’t work out, as long as you tried it.” They always have your back. They are never mean or rude, never critical. This is in all of us. Mine mostly asks how I feel and then tells me 80 reasons why it’s perfectly understandable to feel that way. I journal like a script:

I am feeling really lousy.

IP: I see that. I’m so proud of you for saying how you feel. You are doing a great job with identifying your feelings.

Will I always feel this lousy?

IP: well as you know, feelings are only temporary. Even if you do nothing, the feeling will pass. But I know you, and I know you want to feel better sooner rather than later.

What can I do?

IP: I know you, and exploring new things always seems to get you out of a funk. Whether it’s watching something you’ve never seen before, or learning a new fact about the world, or listening to a new lecture, or having a conversation, or going for a walk in a new place, you enjoy novelty.

(Obviously this is my inner parent so your inner parent knows you best.).

I took a real leap of faith to do this. I thought I might be crazy working so hard at imagining an inner parent. Turns out, it’s a standard thing. It’s also in the Artist’s Way. I encourage you to check out this concept of inner parent!


Maands profile image
Maands in reply to

Wow thank you. I will be looking into this!!

Well I guess I should ask what you mean by joy? Because technically speaking eating hot soup on a cold day is joy. In a crude sense taking heroin is joy. At least it makes you feel some sense of joy for a short time. My point is if you chase only joy you will forever be unhappy because you can't be in a state of pure joy forever. It's simply not possible. What should be strived for instead is meaning and I don't mean the kind of meaning that says you have a certain path you have to walk. I mean the kind of meaning that comes from having work that you love even if it drives you crazy sometimes. I mean the type of meaning that you get from a close friendship even though it has it's ups and downs. The kind of meaning that you experience when you have a partner who really loves you and you both can share your lives together even though you fight sometimes and there are petty squabbles. Going even smaller I am talking about the small moments of awe like seeing a beautiful sunset or drinking a hot cup of coffee in the morning. Those moments are what truly bring about happiness and it's not because you sought out the happiness. In a sense the happiness was a byproduct of having those things in your life and having a life that is fulfilling to you. That also comes along with loving yourself and allowing yourself to experience those moments because you deserve them. Life is worth living but we have to find those things that give us meaning and feel impactful. We need those things because we can love ourselves all day long but if we don't enjoy our work or our relationships are bad we are going to feel bad.

This was do beautifully written.

The point of life is the same no matter how you feel. We are put here on this earth to help those who are smaller & weaker than we are. No one is always strong or always weak. It will vary from day to day. Today I am strong for you. Tomorrow you are strong for me. If you take a stick and stand it up & let go it will fall. If you take 2 sticks & lean them into each other they will both stand,

The important thing is you keep trying. Do you have any passions or things you are interested in when the depression wanes? Have you tried tms? Exercise meditation good diet maybe some herbal medicines. The wonderful thing is you keep seeking. I wish you peace and hope.

I COMPLETELY understand what you are saying!! I had extremely severe depression for 6 years , I never even knew a person could feel so terrible, it was like hell on earth. I never even thought it was possible to feel joy again, I thought I was too far gone. Nothing helped me, not counseling nor medication, but somehow someway I do feel joy again, real joy . Now that I’m feeling a lot better I am on an antidepressant , (weird I know, but they didn’t do much for me before) I’m sure is helping me not to go back to the depression,. Trust me,if I can get better anyone can. You must have hope , it’s essential to healing, you need to know that it is most definitely possible to feel joy again, NO MATTER how long it’s been. I will say a prayer for you now , a prayer of hope and a prayer for joy to come. You are not alone !! So many of us out here TRULY understand and no one should have to feel this way . With much love and understanding from one person who’s been there to another. ❤️

I think its the small things. Joy and happiness will never be constant...sometimes it just little brief moments of joy and thats it and that's okay. No one is happy all the time even if they seem like they are. Media makes life seem all happy and joy but everyone has miserable times. I find joy in a good meal, a nice day...the small things...

I feel exactly the same way. What’s the point if you can’t experience some joy

I have walked your path and have no answer. The world we live in, the world of the last 5000 years, has not changed but for the amount of people on the planet and technology. It still has the bully with the biggest stick tacking all., and the rest of us live a miserable existence. OR is it completely in our heads? Unfortunately I think it's both. The only answer I have for you, and the only thing I glommed on to that has kept me here is this. The next day of my life would have been the best day of my life, out of spite, because that’s the way the world works. So I stick around just in case tomorrow might be better. Otherwise I would have ended it already. Be safe, I hope for you and I tomorrow is better than today.

Thank you for reaching out and sharing. I am so sorry you have been struggling without joy for so long. I know that darkness and it took me years to figure out how to get joy back in my life. You mentioned you do get contentment at times. When are those moments?

Medication helps with the chemical imbalance but learning to change our thought pattern and choices we make helps with finding joy and contentment. For me I love to help people and see them make healthy changes in their life. I studied to be a health and life coach and through the course I learned so many things about how to let go of feeling stuck, let go of the past, learn to move forward with healthy habits at the same time getting rid of the unhealthy habits.

We have patterns of behavior that are unhealthy that we do without even knowing it. Most of us are so hard on ourselves that we miss out on learning who we are, what makes us special, and learn to love and appreciate ourselves. I have made many positive changes in my life which started with awareness of myself and what I need to be content. I suggest start with a list of things that does bring some contentment - even if is just a little and focus on those things. When we start to find things that we do well and appreciate about ourselves it changes our perspective. I also journal, pray daily, read daily devotionals and listen to uplifting music. I know you have tried many of those things, but until we change our focus and thoughts it is hard to feel better. I will be praying for you and if you ever need to chat feel free to pm me. Hugs and God Bless.

Thank you for such a thoughtful response. Typically when I spend time with family or friends I am content. But then there are times when, for example I might be with a friend and her daughter and it will trigger me and remind me that I don't have a family, I'll never have a family, etc etc etc snowball thoughts begin. I do need to change my thought patterns and get rid of the negative self talk. I think I've conditioned myself to think in such a way for so long, add in some traumatic life events and numerous failed relationships and its going to be an uphill battle to change these thoughts. I wonder if there are any online life coaches because that sounds helpful. The quest begins with finding hobbies, interests, and things I do well...

There are online health coaches that help you change your thoughts. They help you move forward by being a support, accountability, and provide tools that can help. I can pm the one that I worked with. Yes, finding the things you enjoy and interested in is a great start. I will continue to be praying for you and pm me if you want to chat. Hugs

Aaahhh Joy! I love that you understand there is a difference between happiness and joy. To me Happiness is an emotion that is dependent upon what is happening. Whereas, Joy is an inner presence of contentment regardless of what is happening around or to you. For me, joy comes from knowing that I’m a child of the Almighty, all powerful, all knowing God that wants nothing but the best abundant life for me. So whatever I’m going through He knows how much I can take, loves me even when I mess up, has the power and can be trusted to make things right. It sounds like you’ve tried everything wordly, now try God. I’m not saying all problems will go away, but I will say knowing, loving, and trusting Him makes me see the world and my problems differently. Even when life throws me a curve ball, I’ve learned to count it all joy. I sure hope this helps. This life is a lot to handle, but I’ve found with God I can smile even when to the natural eye it seems hopeless. I’m learning to look at life through my spiritual eyes. Hang in there and know that ‘You’re Enough’

Maands profile image
Maands in reply to Careyon

Thank you Careyon. I think it is time to look at life through a spiritual lens. Probably the one area I haven't focused on.

Careyon profile image
Careyon in reply to Maands

There are so many online services and resources to get started. Message me if I can be of any assistance in your spiritual journey. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

I felt the same way before. As if there was no hope in sight.In the darkrest part of my journey I kept on praying to God to please give me back my oldself. Now that I am almost out of the hole and be able to see light again, I realized that what I was asking is not possible.The truth is we will be happier and stronger as oppose to our oldself.I am really thankful for not giving up.Just hang in there and sooner than later things will get better.Prayers for you.

You may also like...