Annum Anhedonia

Heather Bryant
4 min readNov 28, 2020

Maybe it’s your first year in which nothing could feel good. Maybe you’ve had a run of bad years. Maybe your circumstances are such that nothing has ever truly, fully felt good, only less bad.

Time is an abrasive that shapes us all. The coarseness of this year has left deep marks.

I try to think of foods that have tasted amazing and nothing lives up to the memory.
I try to trick myself into different moods with music and it has no effect.
I try to pass time with movies and tv shows and nothing connects the way it used to.
I try to read, but even though I’ve spent decades devouring entire books, I now struggle to turn pages.

This year is a time traveler’s year. It’s the year we would have been warned about by someone from the future if they could only come back to do so. The most improbable part of which wouldn’t be whether we would believe their evidence of being from the future, it would be that we’d actually heed their warning. We don’t seem to listen to people who’ve lived through such things before. We haven’t been listening to the people here and now who’ve been warning us all along.

The sleep. What little of it there is, is not restful. It takes hours to appear and it abandons me long before I have to wake.
The work. Skills that once felt sufficient now feel lacking and alarmingly slow. On a daily basis I feel like I should apologize to everyone I work with because I’m struggling so hard to do the work.
The words. To loved ones, paltry. To antagonists, ineffective. It is maddening to find I keep coming up short, as if there are the right words to help soften the grind.

I have a few causes of chronic pain that have been my reality for most of my life. Yesterday I was reminded there’s a reason that feeling pain most of the time for too long is a problem. It becomes easier and easier to not realize when a new pain appears, one that is actually avoidable. I was sanding a piece of resin by hand; not all that fast, the sandpaper not all that rough. I’m so used to my hands hurting, to being physically uncomfortable in general, that I didn’t realize I had sanded off a little part of my own finger and finger nail. The wound isn’t too terrible. But I should have noticed. I…



Heather Bryant

Deputy Director of Product @NewsCatalyst. Founder of @ProjectFacet, supporting effective, meaningful collaboration. The future of journalism is collaborative.