Suffering In The Silence Of Apathy

Recently I was discussing several topics with a client and something came up. It was a realisation that they didn’t really care about the topics we were skimming over. Nothing seemed to spark with the client, everything we talked about seem to just drift and feel unimportant.

That’s when my client revealed something to me (and provided permission to reveal it on here too). Their partner had told them that they were stuck in apathy. Mental state in terms of challenge level and skill level, according to Csikszentmihalyi

This was initially just accepted by the client and with true apathy, it almost drifted off into the recesses of her mind as yet another thing she didn’t care about. But something stuck just long enough for her to talk about it to me. Following our session I forwarded on the Wikipedia entry for apathy to see if that helped at all. Although the descriptions seemed to tie in with what she was (or rather wasn’t) feeling. It was the image that finally hit home and made her feel something, even though it was sadness, it was a feeling and something she knew was a sign that things were going to change.

The client realise that not only was she stuck in a state of apathy, but that she was cornered by both boredom and worry. Neither of those two emotions were particularly attractive either. It was then that she decided, that to move from one zone to another didn’t mean she had to spend much time, if any, in those other areas.

She began to write down ideas that would put her in the positive areas. Things she could do. Places she could go. People she could see.

Once she had three or four things in each positive section she sat back and looked at her work. She smiled, a great big warm and relaxed smile. The client had just realised she was already somewhere between Relaxation and Arousal. She selected two of the things that seemed most comfortable to her, and scheduled time in her diary to do them.

Over the next week she completed both the things she set out to do. But what interested her the most is that she found it easier to recognise the ebb and flow of her emotions. Instead of suppressing them, she enjoyed them. By recognising that being stuck in one emotionless state was a place she no longer wanted to be. Even if that meant occasionally feeling worried, bored or anxious. At least she felt alive!