Do you feel “meh?” You’re not necessarily sad or depressed or anxious. You may feel as if you’re slogging through your days, looking at life through a foggy windshield.
Mental health experts have given this “blah” feeling a name — languishing.
“When we’re languishing, we may feel like an engine not firing on all cylinders,” said Dr. Bert Price, an Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield medical director. “The engine is running but we don’t feel its full power. It strains when the hills of stress come.”
Between depression and flourishing
Psychology views mental health on a spectrum from depression to flourishing. Flourishing is the peak of well-being: You have a strong sense of meaning, mastery and mattering to others. Depression is the valley of ill-being: You feel despondent, drained and worthless.
Languishing is between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You’re not functioning at full capacity. Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you’ll cut back on work.
While the emotion of languishing isn’t as severe as anxiety or depression and doesn’t have clinic symptoms, health experts urge you not to ignore it.
“Languishing is a pervasive sense of disappointment, frustration and defeat,” Dr. Price said. “Think of a football Hog Fan. How might they feel when a Division 2 team like Citadel beats the Razorbacks in September, and we still have all the SEC teams to play? They probably feel like it’s going to be a long, long season. They can remember the times when being a Hog fan was great and they wonder: ‘Will it ever be like that again?’
“Life continues to be unpredictable,” Dr. Price said. “We are in a late pandemic malaise. We got through two years of the pandemic but the pandemic has a longer tail than we ever thought possible. We are all depleted to a certain extent, but there is hope! There are things we can do to move from languishing to thriving.”
Need to talk to someone? You can call the behavioral health number on the back of your member ID card or call UAMS Health AR ConnectNow at 800-482-9921, 24/7 to schedule a time to connect with local mental health professionals in Arkansas.