Why can one still get depressed when they’re doing what they love?

Athny asks: I have been completely obsessed with Anime. I watch it all the time, and I mean All the time. But I sometimes get bored with it, and Life. I go to Karaoke, but I just sing Anime songs. I even have my own Hatsune Miku Costume. But I keep getting depressed half the time and I don’t know what to do. Can you help me?

Hi Athny –


You seem to be confusing two very different issues, Athny.  It’s absolutely fantastic to love something, even to the point of obsession.  Lots of people never find something they love that much.  Your love of Anime might well last your whole life, and influence all sorts of aspects of your world as you go.

For example, when Handsome was young, he developed a great love of the old horror movies he’d see on TV, the ones from the 1930s and 1940s.  They have affected him ever since.  His interests have changed, and what he loves about them has changed, constantly over the decades.  He sees people and situations in terms of those movies’ plots and characters, and uses them in his work all the time.  Last week, he met up with a friend he’d known since he was six years old.  And this guy mentioned how cool it was that Handsome had a couple of figures from those movies in his office, and added, “You know, any time I come across one of those old flicks, you’re always there.  Those movies don’t exist without you to me.”

Could that be you with Anime?  Absolutely!

But does having something that fun and exciting mean you won’t get depressed or lonely or sad?  No chance.  Life just doesn’t work that way.

For example, I have lots of obsessions.  I obsess about Handsome, I obsess about squirrels and cats, I obsess about food – and I certainly obsess about this website and you Pack members!  But I get sad every time Handsome leaves the house, and I get lonely a lot, and sometimes I even get pretty depressed (though that’s usually because I’ve eaten something I shouldn’t have and it’s making my stomach feel crummy).

I’m guessing that the problem is that you’re counting on Anime to keep you happy all the time.  It can’t.  No single thing can.  But what it can do is give you something to count on, that you can always get back to when times get bad.

For example, let’s say you decide you want to ask someone out.  You approach them, make friends with them, and finally get up the courage, ask them to a movie… and they say no, that they don’t like you in that way.  Are you going to feel bad?  Of course.  But you know that you can always go home and watch “Akira,” or go sing some karaoke songs, so life is still worth living.

Oh if I had a milk bone for every time I’ve seen Handsome come home from a lousy day at work and plant himself in front of some old Mummy movie!  And sure enough, when that movie’s done, he’s feeling better.  But it can’t take away what made him sad earlier.

So what I’m really saying, Athny, is that it’s SO GREAT that you have that love of Anime and all it entails.  But the tough part – and the best part – of life is that you still keep looking for other joys and thrills and peace-of-minds, for as long as you live.  And how nice to know that, when they don’t work out, you’ll have those great cartoon friends to count on.

Thanks for the cool question!




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