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Has anyone actually recovered from the emotional numbness part of depression

X

Xiryts

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Depression affects everyone differently and there are many symptoms like dysphoria anhedonia insomnia loss of appetite suicidal thoughts...etc

One symptom I'm struggling with is emotional numbness, where you can't feel interest in doing anything, can't get excited about anything, can't feel ambitions, dreams motivation, no interest in opposite sex, unable to feel empathy for people, unable to feel love, unable to feel emotions from watching movies, reading poems...etc

It seems to be a primary symptom of depression and online advice suggest to treat it is by treating depression but meds used to treat depression(SSRIs, tricyclics, SNRIs) are known to blunt emotions so they aren't effective for this particular symptom.

Please don't suggest things like meditation, cardiac exercise..etc I already done them and no any improvement at all they seem to be common advices from people who havent experienced emotional numbness

What I'm asking for isn't advices on what could help emotional numbness in theory but I want to see actual people recovered from this symptom so I can get some hope/insight on how to recover too

I have done lab tests like testosterone, thyroid hormones.etc and they were all normal.

Things I have tried so far : Prozac, cymbalta, clomipramine, nortriptyline, maprotiline, aripiprazole, olanzapine, wellbutrin, mirtazapine, meditation, cardiac exercise, ritalin, and currently on pramipexole.
 
I

ivy214

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I took the meds couple of months ago after being in a ward what I can say is when you stop taking the meds the numbness won't go away automatically.I also haven't really figured out that completely
 
T

TheHeartHasAVoice

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I believe I've experienced this and what worked for me personally was the following. Bringing my pain to the forefront and letting it do the talking. My depression came off in layers and wasn't a simple straight forward process. I had to acknowledge my pain and respect it by allowing it the space to express itself. I had to respond to my pain the right way and give it the freedom it needed and allow all the healing to occur and this required going internal inside myself and purifying all the agony and what my pain was saying.

I had to see the beauty of things to reconnect and re-engage with life and appreciate it again. I had to have attitude changes and look at things differently to lose this nagging feeling of no interest in anything. I had to be positive and do positive things. I had to improve my self esteem and feel that I had a place in society and I was an important contributor. I had to remind myself that I have a purpose so I'm not lost floating in the wind.

Also remember that if you can improve your mood you will improve other layers of your emotional health including anhedonia. This is because mood is more than just being happy and sad. Mood also controls how optimistic you are, how willing you are to work on new projects, how forgiving you can be, your strength to solve problems and it even affects your energy levels. So improving your mood and developing an appreciation for life will combat anhedonia. It's something you have to work on.

Anything you work on and give attention to will eventually produce excellence. It's just like that neighbour who has the best lawn on the street because he gives it so much time. The same is with your moods. Losing depression and its associated sub symptoms like anhedonia is a process where things fall off in layers and they are connected in strange ways. It takes time and work.

I had to add more excitement in life. I had to look at things and really see the beauty in them. For example things that I've enjoyed since childhood like computer programming I lost pleasure in for a while but when I started hyping myself up and really discussing with my self what I could achieve if I learned it professionally, my emotions changed positively. I had to have reasons to motivate myself and motivation and the pleasure chemical dopamine are connected.

I basically had to reconnect with life even if it took time and force myself and really get into things. I had to appreciate life again. With small events of progress I would feel excitement and that really is the heart of this issue. If you can invite more energy and excitement into your life with this condition you're on the road to recovery.

One more thing. I had to stop seeing pain as an enemy but rather as a friend on my side who was expected in the circumstances and who's job was to push me back to comfort. He would stay around as long as he was needed and I had to change my attitude to pain if I wanted to get better. I actually felt excited about pain when I saw it in this light.

This is what worked for me.
 
Z

Zoe1

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thats very impressive The Heart

music can help as well with contacting your feelings
 
MeAndMyDepression

MeAndMyDepression

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Hi @Xiryts
I've read that emotional numbess is a coping mechanism. The following article explains it in detail:

Emotional Numbess Coping Mechanism

Here is one paragraph from the article:

"Emotional numbness can happen as a result of physical or emotional pain. In an attempt to protect yourself from being hurt again, it’s not uncommon to disconnect, detach, or numb out feelings related to the situation."
 
Keesha

Keesha

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I believe I've experienced this and what worked for me personally was the following. Bringing my pain to the forefront and letting it do the talking. My depression came off in layers and wasn't a simple straight forward process. I had to acknowledge my pain and respect it by allowing it the space to express itself. I had to respond to my pain the right way and give it the freedom it needed and allow all the healing to occur and this required going internal inside myself and purifying all the agony and what my pain was saying.

I had to see the beauty of things to reconnect and re-engage with life and appreciate it again. I had to have attitude changes and look at things differently to lose this nagging feeling of no interest in anything. I had to be positive and do positive things. I had to improve my self esteem and feel that I had a place in society and I was an important contributor. I had to remind myself that I have a purpose so I'm not lost floating in the wind.

Also remember that if you can improve your mood you will improve other layers of your emotional health including anhedonia. This is because mood is more than just being happy and sad. Mood also controls how optimistic you are, how willing you are to work on new projects, how forgiving you can be, your strength to solve problems and it even affects your energy levels. So improving your mood and developing an appreciation for life will combat anhedonia. It's something you have to work on.

Anything you work on and give attention to will eventually produce excellence. It's just like that neighbour who has the best lawn on the street because he gives it so much time. The same is with your moods. Losing depression and its associated sub symptoms like anhedonia is a process where things fall off in layers and they are connected in strange ways. It takes time and work.

I had to add more excitement in life. I had to look at things and really see the beauty in them. For example things that I've enjoyed since childhood like computer programming I lost pleasure in for a while but when I started hyping myself up and really discussing with my self what I could achieve if I learned it professionally, my emotions changed positively. I had to have reasons to motivate myself and motivation and the pleasure chemical dopamine are connected.

I basically had to reconnect with life even if it took time and force myself and really get into things. I had to appreciate life again. With small events of progress I would feel excitement and that really is the heart of this issue. If you can invite more energy and excitement into your life with this condition you're on the road to recovery.

One more thing. I had to stop seeing pain as an enemy but rather as a friend on my side who was expected in the circumstances and who's job was to push me back to comfort. He would stay around as long as he was needed and I had to change my attitude to pain if I wanted to get better. I actually felt excited about pain when I saw it in this light.

This is what worked for me.
This is great. 🥰
 
M

ManDss

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Yes, it happened to me. I had a "big break" at one tlme. Always had a good part of depression but I was "still going", until things got really ugly and I was done, then things just got strange, I was out of myself, I thought nevee could be myself again.

How I changed this ? Well... just keep going and trying. Just get used to, and the brain "fix by itself". Just time, just let time pass.
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

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I'm interested in this thread as I too find nothing helps with my lack of interest or enjoyment in things.
 
Bod

Bod

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My mother and father always said to people OH BOD he is always far to emotional as I could cry at the drop of a hat as they say, so sadly when I was depressed I would not cry at all as I always thought it was wrong to cry please as a male it was not right to show my feelings something I had to relearn to do in my therapy. For me I am glad that it is me who is in charge of my emotions, but I still have to be very careful that they do not get overloaded.
 
T

TheHeartHasAVoice

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I'm interested in this thread as I too find nothing helps with my lack of interest or enjoyment in things.
Essentially it all comes down to energy. Depression and all its associated symptoms are just forms of low energy. Adding credits to stabilize the energy balance and increase it will head you in the right direction. In addition to this it's important to consider yourself holistically. Psychology and Psychiatry are two sciences that don't really consider the person as a whole which is what I think is contributing to the mental illness epidemic. They can be helpful (I personally prefer psychology over psychiatry) but as years have passed health has gone in this extreme direction where the inseparable has been separated. As an example, just recently I have realized why I couldn't get out of my head even though I knew I had nothing to worry about. In recent months I have been suffering from an onslaught of thoughts. This has recently stopped. Upon reflection it turned out that what was lacking in me was something to keep my mind occupied preferably something I'm naturally predisposed to be interested in. I have recently occupied my mind in such activities and the thoughts have stopped. My point in mentioning this is to highlight how one aspect of health even though it seems unrelated can impact the other and in fact benefit it.

When it comes to losing pleasure and interest in everything, you need to reignite the energy flow to be healthier. When this happened to me it was the beliefs in my subconscious restricting me from being happier and having higher energy levels. The thing about the subconscious is that it needs convincing. When you lose pleasure in everything at the root of it is a set of beliefs that say things like "what's the point?", "there is no pleasure in this", "I'll never achieve satisfaction again", "life is boring" and etc. Once those beliefs are changed naturally your emotions heighten (the energy balance starts to stabilize). Your spirits lift.

To change these beliefs you need to experiment and expose yourself to things. If you can, try to target the things that are established, by that i mean you already know you have found pleasure in them in the past. Even if it feels like crap at the start start exposing yourself and shifting away from this low energy state because at the start the goal is momentum. You need to notice and look for signs of excitement and interest where the subconscious can start changing the beliefs it has. This is a process and sometimes can be a one step forward two steps back thing.

In my own life I am naturally predisposed to get into high energy states with computer programming and computers. I am talented, gifted and interested in them. There has been a period of my life where I lost this interest and didn't find pleasure in it. When I re-engaged with it, done new things and saw myself doing things I couldn't believe I could do, more energy arose in me and my moods heightened. My negative beliefs in my subconscious changed and I started enjoying it again. The reason I mention energy is because it is such a deep concept. Your neurotransmitters are forms of energy. So doing something new, which is what I did, encouraged dopamine release which is a form of energy and is our feel good chemical. Achieving things and making progress probably released serotonin. So having a more positive energy flow flowing in my brain helped change things and is what I needed to encourage. You have to work at your stubborn subconscious because it can become stagnant and stuck and you have to make effort to re-convince it.

The reason I mention treating yourself holistically though is because if your health is deficient in one area it may impact your ability to get out of anhedonia. Take care of your entire health because they are interconnected like I mentioned earlier. Don't go to the extreme of isolating health to one dimension. Talk therapy has helped me incredibly and made me see things differently which has taken mountains off my chest but I also needed to supplement it with keeping my mind occupied in every day life or my mind would revert to being consumed by negative thinking. Also, start the effort and give yourself time. You need time with depression and its associated symptoms.
 
T

TheHeartHasAVoice

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Just to clarify, I did new things in the things I was interested in the past which made me re-engage with it further as I saw myself doing things in it I thought I couldn't do. So there was forms of novelty, progress and achievement in it. This generated excitement and a change of beliefs/emotions. But you can also try novelty in things you haven't had an interest in before.

The main underlying point is to encourage a better energy balance in your life.
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

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Hmm, thank you for this. It's very interesting and there's a lot of truth in it.

I know, in my case, why I've eventually over the years lost interest in everything. It's all due to my chronic anxiety. It's worn me down over time (almost 40 years) and I just feel too stressed / scared / tense / full of dread to feel "safe" enough to enjoy anything. So eventually, I have come to feel like everything is unpleasant because (a) I'm too uncomfortable to enjoy anything due to always being anxious, (b) due to this, any perceived effort required to do anything I don't want to do anyway makes it even more unappealing, which (c) results in me being chronically bored, dull and empty. And still full of dread and fear.

For me also, it's connected to my physical interest in things. I never have an appetite anymore, and haven't for over 3 years. I just have no desire to eat. I used to LOVE food, going out for dinner, and looking forward to meals. Now it just bores me and is something else that's an obligation. (I DO eat. Only dinner and a snack later at night when I'm more relaxed)

On the very rare occasions that I feel physically hungry, I also tend to feel a bit more "alive" and interested in things in general, emotionally and mentally.

So like with everything else, chronic anxiety is the cause of my non-existent appetite. It used to be that when I was in a state of acute distress, I couldn't eat at all as my body was in a panic state. I wouldn't eat anything for days on end. Eventually it would fade and I'd be able to "relax" enough to eat again, but eventually, the relief stopped coming and my appetite was permanently pushed down.

I guess that makes sense though. No appetite for food OR for life.
 
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