What I've learned about indifference

After many hours of sitting in my chair, listening to clients report how they feel, I have realized how indifference is a sneaky companion to depression.


As part of my offering, I work with EAP clients many of whom work in well-known organisations. You probably even use their services. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting a sensitive young man who had been sent by his manager. His manager had noticed a change in his behaviour and had suggested that a few sessions through EAP may help him, and so here he was.


I am so glad his manager suggested it for him. While the client hasn’t yet recognized it, the way he is feeling is a strong indicator that if left alone it could develop into depression. He is a strong performer, technical specialist and works largely alone. He is well regarded at work and his introversion hasn’t been an obstacle to him building enviable career in his field. However, he has few relationships outside of work and his support network is weak. As a result, when changes occurred outside of his control in his personal life, his behaviour at work changed and he found himself in my office.


This young man is not an isolated case. I often have people who come and see me who have managed well on their own for some time. They are then confused when someone close to them suggests seeing someone like me, a psychotherapist coach. The reality is that many people can take care of themselves however without regular nurturing and cultivation, resilience runs out. As that resilience starts to deplete it is quickly replaced with indifference and low energy. And if not arrested and consciously worked on to build back up it could lead to burnout and then depression, which is a much longer recovery.


4 Signs you may be becoming indifferent

If you want to live your best life, it’s important you recognize when change is needed. Below are some common signs to look out for:


1. Are you feeling lost or stuck in a rut?

This is often coupled with automaticity in the day-to-day activities. For many people having a purpose is a luxury. Feeling lost or stuck in a rut is a sign that you have strayed from your purpose even if you didn’t know what it was.


While you may not recognize yourself as being in a life rut, you may look at other areas of your life and recognize you’re in a rut there e.g. long-term relationship or job role that hasn’t changed much for a number of years.


2. Is your mood consistently flat?

A flat mood doesn’t always indicate depression. A consistently flat mood where you are unable to move through unhappy or unpleasant feelings to more happier or pleasant ones, indicates that your emotional tolerance window has shrunk and skewed towards the less energy emotions. This would indicate that excitement and pleasure are no longer or rarely present in the activities you engage in. This would suggest you are feeling less satisfied with your life. Perhaps it’s time to re-frame your situation or make some changes.


3. Do you suffer from poor self-esteem?

Self-esteem is subjective and suffers from the goldilocks principle. Outsiders want you to have just the right amount so you’re not arrogant nor a pushover. You are the only one who can determine if your self-esteem is at the right level.

Signs you may need to increase your self-esteem are if you criticize yourself based on relentlessly high standards, you regularly focus on others at your own expense, you struggle to accept compliments or celebrate your wins.


Low self-esteem can develop for a lot of different reasons. Over time, poor self-esteem can lead you to feel like you don’t deserve good things in life, leaving you to feel like you don’t deserve to be happy or feel fulfilled by work. I often see this in clients who have internalized their low self-esteem. It usually manifests in them via an inner critic who chastises them for no longer enjoying their job and reminds them that there are lots of people who would love to have their job or it reminds them how lucky they are to have an income when people are losing their jobs around them. If you’re saying this to yourself, watch out!


4. Do you have very little energy?

Having little energy throughout the day could be a sign of poor sleep. However, it can also relate to a deeper issue if you are constantly tired. It may mean that you have lost your passion and interest in life. When you spend a lot of time doing things that don’t inspire you, it can zap your energy quickly.


So, if you wake up feeling tired and drained consistently, yet you’re sleeping well it could mean you need to look at your emotional, mental or spiritual areas for a solution. It could mean that you need more self-care in your life or there are too many energy draining activities that are overshadowing your energy giving activities.


As you can see, there are telltale signs that your resilience is diminishing and needs replenishing. If you’re too busy to notice or ignore the signs your body is sending you then it will make the decision for you and your choice about how to replenish may well be taken out of your hands. I encourage you to listen to the messages your body is sending, that way you get to choose your own recovery adventure.


In the case of my EAP client, he is able to choose his recovery adventure with my support and that of his manager. If you know someone or feel like you could benefit form talking to someone like me, please get in touch for a complimentary, confidential  discussion. 


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