Day 1530: Obscure Sorrows

Earlier this year, I wrote a post referring to John Koenig‘s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which is “a compendium of invented words” “to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.”

Yesterday, in my therapy group  (where  I’m always on the lookout for obscure sorrows and other feelings), one of the members brought in three entries from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.



While some things in those photos might be obscure, people in the group last night noticed that two of those obscure words were real and only one — Altschmerz — really belongs in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. People did not obscure their appreciation for the relevancy of the real word Weltschmerz:

Weltschmerz is the depressing feeling you get when comparing the actual state of the world to the picture in your head of how the world should be, and knowing that the picture in your head can never exist.

We also discussed the obscure sorrows created by the cognitive distortion of comparisons, especially when we compare ourselves to how we used to be or how we think we should be.

Do you see any obscure sorrows in some recent pictures in my head (and in my iPhone) that can exist in this blog?









I feel self-compassion as I admit that I sometimes obscure sorrows with lots of pictures.

Here‘s John Koenig giving the TED talk “The conquest of new words” (which was in an link obscured in the first paragraph of this Obscure Sorrows post):

Are there any obscure sorrows or other feelings you’d like to share in a comment, below?

I will not obscure my thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — no matter what obscure feelings or thoughts you’re having, here and now.


Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Day 1530: Obscure Sorrows

  1. That phrase, Obscure Sorrows, is sooo juicy!

  2. I trend toward hopelessly happy, but that’s an oxymoron. Sorry!

  3. “Words are not real. They don’t have meaning. We do.” That’s a profound thought from John Koenig and a good reminder that words have meaning because we agree on them collectively. We depend on each other for meaning and understanding.
    As long as I keep that thought in mind I don’t think I could ever experience Lebensmüde, although I still agree with Mark Twain that I’d rather decline a drink than two German verbs.

  4. I share many of your obscure sorrows, so maybe they aren’t all that obscure! Not that we wear them on our sleeves, and we are discreet about whom we tell about them, but t it’s nice to know we share!

  5. nothing obscure- just TGIF!!! have a good weekend Ann!

  6. I just dropped by to say hi, I hope I am not obscured and can be seen and heard clearly

  7. I’d like to share the awful truth that I’m still craving a cigarette. Its been years! Agggh

  8. Not an obscure sorrow (and tbh, comparing the state of the world as it is to how I feel it should be — captured neatly in your first photo — the feeling I have is very-clear-and-not-at-all-obscure anger) but I find myself experiencing an unexpectedly deep, and wholely unlooked-for, peace in reading these daily posts of yours, since discovering your blog. So, y’know, there’s that.

    For which I sincerely thank you!

  9. Not obscured at all, but maybe Grumpy is

  10. The cat picture would seem to be perfect for the theme – but catalepsy is already taken 🙂

  11. Pingback: Day 2095: Giving emotions words | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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