Throughout the pandemic, experts began to notice impacts on the mental health of the population, amid trends of anxiety and depression. However, even those who are not part of these frameworks are reporting a lack of joy and goals. Stagnation and emptiness. A real “meh”. The Americans then came up with a term for it: languishing, which in literal translation means withering away.
Basically, it’s like you’re looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And that may be the dominant emotion of 2021. What happens is that many people were unprepared when the intense fear and pain that manifested themselves last year fell.
From the experts’ point of view, in the uncertain early days of the pandemic, the brain’s threat detection system (located in the cerebellar amygdala region) was on high alert. But as prevention methods became part of the routine, such as the use of a mask and gel alcohol, the great state of alert ended up giving way to this “inexplicable” feeling of emptiness.
What is languishing
Languishing it is the void between depression and well-being. The person has no symptoms of mental illness, but it is also not an example of mental health. It is not working at full capacity. This feeling dulls motivation, hinders the ability to concentrate and triples the chances of reducing work. It appears to be more common than severe depression and, in some ways, may be a major risk factor for mental illness.
The first person to come up with this term was a sociologist named Corey Keyes, who was surprised to see that many people who were not depressed were also not happy. It is a sensation that culminates in a greater likelihood of severe depression in the next decade, according to the survey. Part of the danger is that when the languishing it is happening, the person cannot see his own suffering, and ends up not seeking help, or taking any steps to help himself.
For specialists in psychology and psychiatry, a strategy to control emotions is, first of all, to define a name for them. There is still much to learn about what causes languishing and how to cure it, but naming it can be a first step.
Although finding new challenges, pleasant experiences and meaningful work are the possible remedies for the languishing, it is difficult to find positive triggers when you simply cannot concentrate, especially when following a routine where attention is divided all the time, whether with children, co-workers, family members, bosses, etc.
The idea of the specialists, with this new term in mind, would be the definition of limits. Take time out for yourself without these interruptions, with experiences that capture all the attention.
We still live in a world that normalizes physical health challenges, but stigmatizes mental health challenges. As we move into a new post-pandemic reality, it is time to rethink our understanding of mental health and well-being.