In the words of Linkin Park: I've become SO numb

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi everyone

Hoping people may be able to respond to this with some thoughts...at the very least, even if not, it'll be a good chance to unload

In a nutshell...I am getting incredibly frustrated \ sad \ annoyed with the fact I feel 'numb' in terms of emotions- I feel no highs, no matter how fleeting and no matter how warranted they may be. My background is this: I have been on Fluoxetine since 2008 and Mirtazapine since 2009 for low level depression, but mainly for OCD \ sleep and anxiety issues, having had 3 lots of CBT for OCD (some more successful than others).

My recent ire with myself is that I am simply not enjoying a life in which I feel I should. This has always bothered me low level for years and I am convinved part of it is due to the medication that I'm on- I've read that my respective tablets can sometimes lead to a 'numbing' sensation (good to take the edge of OCD and depression, but not so much for feelings of enjoyment) 

Ultimately, it may be the meds, it may not. Either way, recently I am getting not only frustrated at my lack of 'feelings', but just downright anxious about it all. Case in point- everything in my life is, on the face of it, exactly what I wanted it to be: I have a girlfriend who is just perfect for me and love very much, (we've just bought a house together) a job I really enjoy and a fit and healthy lifestyle. But with this comes my own high standards of expecations of 'how' I should feel, and I resent the fact that I don't feel good about it all. I don't feel 'bad', I just don't feel good- no pings of happiness, no constant or even brief optimism, and it breaks my heart.

I chatted with my latest CBT therapist about it and she said that I have this assumption that everyone feels happy and I don't, which she believes is essentially not true and that I have set myself ridiculously high standards of wanting to 'feel' happy. I said that I remember, pre medication and in my teenage years that I did have spells of feeling truly positive, upbeat and happy- perhaps that's rose-tinted glasses, I'm not sure.

I have tried various types of vitamins to help aid in dealing with low mood (all to no real avail) and it's really hard to describe to someone, but it's just that now I feel anxious, edgy and negative in relation to this numbness- whereas it was always there before, it is really bothering me now and is always on my mind to the point where it is merging with my anxiety and low level mood. I went to my friend's wedding last weekend and I felt...nothing. Nothing at all. Did the majority of the guests there feel the same? Or did they feel happy \ emotional at the points I feel I 'should'  have done? Even on his stag do...one I tried so hard to enjoy (and maybe that's part of the issue, the trying rather than it coming naturall), amidst a time where it looked like everyone was having a blast, I wasn't (although no one would have known on face value). Not even alcohol gives me a temporary buzz anymore (but that's probably a different topic)

Well...that wasn't exactly in a nutshell, but nonetheless, thank you if you've taken the time to read. If you've had any similar experiences or tips, I'd love to hear from you. Thanks. 

2 likes, 9 replies

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    You know what, DBE, I kind of agree with your therapist. When we were children we did experience real elation and despair but as we grow into adults that sort of evens out unless something REALLY amazing or terrible happens. 

     I think 2 things: firstly, yes, it's your meds and the numbness is the compromise you have to make that surely is better than the condition you are being treated for in the first place. And secondly, I think you're overthinking this. You're watching yourself too closely. At the wedding and the stag do, you were examining yourself to see if you were "feeling" anything instead of just letting go and enjoying yourself.

    Ask yourself this. If something wonderful happened to you, like say, you got promoted at work, or you inherited a lovely house from a relative or something like that , how would you feel? And the opposite,  God forbid, if something awful happened, would you feel anything? Medication has the tendency to numb our feelings and emotions so you need to decide if you'd rather feel things more but feel pretty crap most of the time or if you'd rather be numb but on an even keel.

    I was on Seroxat for 15 years and recently came off it. In the years I was on it I don't think I cried  more than half a dozen times. Now that I have been off it I have cried so much it's ridiculous. But I wouldn't go back to it in a million years. Keep well.

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  • Posted

    Im like this I can not get excited or anything I had alcohol I stood there I used to be the one up dancing acting like a pratt now I just like kinda slouch and have to pretend to laugh at the non sence people are laughing about but I realise my concentration has gone I zone out of a conversation and kind of nod at the end like erm what was they even saying I don't know if it has something to do with that but I totally feel numb and what a perfect song to go with it hope you feel better soon and sorry I can't give no advice just im right there with you on that
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  • Posted

    My college aged son complained of this very thing a few months ago. (He was pretty stressed out, too. Looked awful and lost weight). I sent him a book called "The Depression Cure" by Stephen Ilardi, which has some good, practical advice, including taking a certain type of Omega-3 supplementation. My son read it and I bought him a good Omega-3 oil. I figured the Omega-3 probably wouldn't do anything and it was just quakery, but a couple of months later when he came home for break, he was always singing and joking around. I asked him if the Omega-3 helped, and he said it actually helped a lot. Can't hurt, I guess. 
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  • Posted

    Thank you for the replies folks, appreciated.

    Sophika, I agree it's almost certainly due to the meds. My concern is that I cannot tell if I am getting especially anxious \ down about it BECAUSE I am in the midst of reducing the meds, or if it is because of the meds that I am feeling down \ anxious because I feel numb. I suspect this is something that doesn't have a clear cut answer. The truth is is that I would come off them more readily were it not for my sleep- I sleep badly and feel very edgy about sleep as it is, and the thought of not having any medication for it is what is scaring me into me staying on them (perhaps ultimately at the cost of feeling emotions...)

    Stephx- yup, you've summed it up really well (unfortunately!) that is how it is :-\ Hope you are doing as okay as possible.

    xmaryx- good to hear your son is back on the right track. I take Cod Liver Oil with Omega-3...ultimately, it is hard to say whether these (along with other vitamins I am on, including chamomile for anxiety!) are having any effect, or whether I'd be worse without them. They didn't have the clear difference I hoped for but again, that may be due to the weighty, high level of expectaton that I set myself (the same one that 'expects' me to feel a certain level of happiness, and when I don't I get edgy). 

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    • Posted

      DBE, after I got off a year of Paxil in 1998, I started taking Ambien for sleep and have been since. (Though now I just bite off a tiny crumb and let it dissolve under my tongue rather than taking the full 10 mg). It was the best thing I ever did, because I sleep great and feel great. Not sure if the Ambien has anti-depressant qualities, or just getting good sleep does it, but it was a life-changer for me, because I have always had sleep problems. Xanax works well for sleep, too. So maybe you could ask your doctor if you could have Xanax or Ambien on hand to lesson the anxiety of weaning off the anti-depressants. 
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  • Posted

    Firstly DBE86 thank you for sharing your feelings with us, I for one draw strength from reading that others feel the same way as I have done and learn for the advise that others give. I have spoken to many people with mental health problems and this feeling of being emotionally numb is quite common, the fact you are trying CBT is encouraging and I hope that you have also tried talking therapy. One thing I have noticed in myself was that when I was the life and soul of the party all I was really doing was compensating for a desire to be quiet and calm. Society often expects us to be sociable but for some we just really want to live a quiet life, maybe you have changed as an individual and are trying to impose old feelings on yourself. I wish you all the best and look forward to reading your future updates

    namaste 

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  • Posted

    xmaryx, thank you. I have booked a doctors appointment to discuss my medication...it is just about finding the right combination I think, but yeah, taking away the sedative (Mirtazapine) is my biggest worry, I feel I could cope with everything else.

    david- I think you make a very legitimate point. I think it is about me changing as a person and also going back to that thought on what i'm 'expected' to feel. I suspect most people at, say, the wedding for example weren't feeling too disimilar to myself, but the key to it is that they weren't overanalysing \ anxious about it like I was! Thank you. 

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    • Posted

      There is no better relief than when your at a gathering feeling like the odd bod and someone turns to you and says "I really can't wait till this is over" I have been in meetings where I have sat there convinced that everyone was thinking "who is this muppet and what is he waffling on about" only for them to come up to me after and praise me, not that I believed them lol. With depression and anxiety often comes self doubt, I believe this is mostly down to the fact we spend so much of our time pretending to be "normal" we forget who we truly are. I'm glad your moving forward, please stay in touch 

      dave

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  • Posted

    Hello DBE,

    This is exactly how i feel and u couldn't have described it any better. I have been on citalopram for 13 years. Went to see my gp 2 weeks ago and said that I had enough of feeling numb.. My bf keeps saying you never seem happy... So I was like that's it, off to the gp. He told me to try sertraline which I've been on for 18 days now. So far my anxiety is over the roof so I can't tell but I'm hoping it will help... I'm just like you I don't get excited. Going on holiday but feel nothing kind of whatever I'm not bothered. It's awful!!! If anything changes I shall let u know but please know that you are not the only one and I totally understand.

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