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Emotional intensity limit?



Dec 29, 2018
Greetings! I’m newish and working on getting myself sorted out. I found this forum while hunting for anyone with a similar experience - didn’t find it though - so now I’m asking :)

As a bit of background, I just sort of see myself as “unspecified unknown brand of crazy of indeterminent origin” (it’s fun to write on forms in doctors offices.) First I was diagnosed as depressed, then anxious, then both, and most recently I’m apparently bipolar. Got into some trouble at work for being impulsive and “disrespectful” (is it disrespectful if the actions of the person I’m disrespecting leave me no reason to respect them?) so I’ve been put on some meds to keep me constrained so I don’t lose my job.

I had been on lamotrigine and working my way up in dosage before I got into trouble and that’s when lithium was added as a firmer ... restraint? ... to keep me from losing my cool and my job.

All that said, I feel like garbage with fatigue and nausea and zappy sort of brain fog.. bleh.

I go in for all kinds of diagnostics next week but today’s mental gymnastics were new and I’d like to get everyone’s take on them.

So I was getting a bit wound up, safely in my own home and in my own head, thinking this and that and sort of creating my own exciting choose your own adventure of theorhticals and emotions - when I went from the usual sort of escalating “what if I was a theme park designer - wouldn’t that be neat?” sort of silliness to a quick turn to some very dark and depressing material. Flashes of WW2 and concentration camps (I was working on what can best be described as brainstorming to amuse myself so this isn’t itself so frightening as a turn) and I felt the emotion of sadness welling up inside of me.

Like that moment when you watch a sad film and you feel the tears coming.

But the weird part was this sudden intense feeling of friction. The welling up I know fairly well and I’ve even combatted it myself as boys don’t cry, but this time something else was going to have none of it.

Emotional friction? Is that a thing? As I got just to the point where I’d have had a good cry about the horrors of concentration camps and move on with my life I literally had this surge of sensation in my head and face and eyes. Like my body was saying “nope, no crying, nonfeeling” and it literally sort of hurt like when you get a sudden sinus headache or something.

And I stopped any sort of feeling of sadness or sorrow. It just felt like it all screeched to a hault. I’m now more alarmed that it played out like that than I am sad or manic or anything of the sort.

I know the meds I’ve been put on as a stopgap until a firmer diagnosis is figured out are supposed to reduce highs and lows but I have never heard of it playing out like this. I half expect if I contact the manufacturers of my meds and detail the moment they’ll gather the scientists to have a nice victory celebration. Like “we’ve finally done it, we’ve stopped emotion at exactly 3.765 megujules” or some such nonsense.

As you can guess, google didn’t help me find anyone having a similar experience. Your thoughts?


Well-known member
Dec 17, 2018
California, US
Hi and I'm sorry to hear about the emotional distress you experienced.

So, about the boys don't cry bit. I also have difficulties with crying but I'll try to make it happen when I need the release. Crying is an effective emotional release that helps regulate pressure like a valve. It's unfortunate that many of us are taught to repress it. Repressed strong emotions can lead to strange and sometimes overwhelming behaviors as the mind tries to cope.

I'm also taking Lithium as an adjunct to other medicines. I'm familiar with the brain fog and fatigue side effects. I don't think it's interfering with emotions though I'm on low dose.

If it's possible to find a spot where you feel safe, you might put on some music that evokes sadness and see if you can have an awfully good cry.