Have you been 'languishing' lately? — R Voice

Have you been 'languishing' lately?

Kakoli Majumder
Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 238 admin
edited May 2021 in Self-care & Wellbeing

Just before the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, I remember scurrying to stock up on books, art material, and board games and signing up to a couple of new online courses to avoid boredom and continue to be productive and keep myself entertained in small ways. And I was quite enthusiastic - trying out new recipes, doing miniature paintings, catching up on my reading, having online catch-up sessions with friends. But the new wave of pandemic has me zoned out completely. Like it's a huge effort to even get out of bed on some days. In fact, I had to take a whole week off a while back just because I couldn't focus at all. And I know I'm not alone - many of my friends and colleagues say they feel the same way and some of you guys too may be experiencing this. If it's some consolation - you're not alone! The whole world is apparently feeling pretty much the same way - and what's more, this state of mind has an official name now! Have you been 'languishing' lately? Type YES or NO in the comments below. And if you're up for it, we'd really like to know more about your version of 'languishing' and what you're doing to stay afloat?


  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 386 ✭✭✭✭

    This is so weird, @Kakoli Majumder - I was reading this article too only over the weekend! I feel like have a defined word for how a lot of us have been feeling but potentially unable to explain really helpful. It sort of helps to feel connected to other people...at least for me!

    As the various lockdowns have drawn on, I have felt my motivation to do anything reduce. At the beginning, like you say, I was keen to use the extra time in my day to take up a hobby/learn a new skill. In fact in the first lockdown in the UK, I barely watched any TV. That has definitely changed now.

    At the beginning of this, I still woke up when I would have to commute in to work but instead I would do a little bit of French practice on Duolingo, maybe some yoga and start work at about 0800 working a full day at my desk, before maybe doing a puzzle or cross stitch and an exercise class. I went through a lull towards the end of last year where I just wasn't interested in doing anything new, I binged watched old TV shows, I switched off from the world around me, didn't finish my cross stitch and started sleeping later and doing shorter days from the sofa (recipe for unproductivity for me!) I also ate a lot more and a lot less healthily, which then contributed to my low feelings.

    In the past couple of months, I've really tried to pull myself back to how I was before. I am by no means back to the levels of excitement and motivation that I had before but I feel small steps will help make up the time. I've started to do yoga or go for a walk in the morning, knowing I'll put it off and not do it if I leave it any later! I'm planning healthier meals (still having treats, of course!) and trying to sit back at my desk to do my work. I feel even small steps will help me to get back to feeling how I was before.

    I feel until recently this has been a generally ignored topic amongst a lot of people. I think, at least in part, because it was difficult to define and explain. Also, it took me time to notice the changes in myself and I was sort of ashamed (I guess?) for how I was feeling when in the grand scheme of things I am in a fortunate position at home and with my PhD. Another reason, we should talk more about mental health!

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2021

    Interesting, @Kakoli Majumder . I was reading this article and was thinking of posting. But thought the better of it...because it felt I would just cut across more "negative" than I usually do. :)

    I kind of relate to a lot of things in the article - except that the author seems to say that languishing is different from depression. I know it comes from a professional psychologist - but well, I beg to disagree. Those symptoms (not being able to get out of bed, etc.) is essentially - anhedonia - a well-known component of depressive disorders. But then...that is just semantics, I guess.

    I am very well acquainted with "languishing" - even before the pandemic. This is the result of my specific circumstances/experiences that took me to pretty dark places. Languishing seems close to high functioning depression, anehdonia, symptoms of PTSD in their various manifestations (as the authors point - the "languishing" seem to be at risk for a PTSD diagnosis at a later date....) . In my own case, my "best" days are high-functioning depression because I may be extremely productive whilst feeling like crap with a profound sense of emptiness. I may be the "life of the party" - smiling and joking - while feeling like crap. I may also appear very much at "peace", do yoga, breathing, meditation, while feeling like crap. I may also feel like crap, lolling in bed. I might be volunteering, and feeling like crap.

    In fact, I have been down since the past week (very down actually - because of physical issues) that started off as languishing...alas...quickly escalated.

    Usually, I try to do a lot of things to "manage" languishing. It ranges from yoga, running, anything to get endorphins flowing (including very spicy food), binging on Late night comedy/movies, practicing metta (loving kindness meditation), practicing zazen (sitting with emotions, thoughts - with an attempt to accept and not judge), crying, hugging myself, etc. The final and the most powerful weapon in my tool kit is to yell at myself in the mirror - "ACCEPT WHAT IS...ACCEPT THE REALITY!". But this time - nothing worked. Because my physical issues got the better of me....it WAS too much. I was in a very bad shape.

    And the one thing - the only thing that helped was - today, my coworkers, who have grown into being my social circles (after 7 long years of slowly etching cultural and language barriers away!) noticed.

    They saw me - and asked how I am doing - while actually meaning the damn question, listened attentively to an honest answer.

    I didnt share many details...because the details would drag anyone - even professionals down.

    Still...they told me they are going to be there for me. That is all it took.

    One of them even said - I will come over to your apartment for a "cuddle". She translated her Japanese message into English for me because I am too tired to read Japanese, or translate if I dont understand something...And Google sensei can change nuances. ;)

    It brought a smile, a weak little smile. And I am feeling better to deal with the physical issues, and other issues that cropped up at work today.

    Empathy and compassion - words and actions of care, a hug, the intent of care, affection...a simple "I understand, we are in this together, let us stick it out together...", the intent to not hurt during a vulnerable time with tone-deaf condescending advice (which I am also very well acquainted with)...That keeps me afloat. I might hazard - this might keep many afloat.