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Anhedonia, apathy, demotivation, emotional numbness

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Downbutnotout
On 9/19/2017 at 2:00 PM, brassmonkey said:

Emotional Blunting is one of the major side effects of all of these drugs.  It's how they work.  They don't cure anything,  just make us not care about it any more.  I had Emotional Blunting from the time of my second updose (from 30 to 40mg) all the way through most of my taper.  That would be about 12 years.  It didn't come on all at once but rather crept in over many months.  I could feel the slow slide into total not caring.  It took a while before I associated it with the drugs.  Once I understood that I was able to accept it and work against it.  There wasn't much I could do to improve the feelings but once I started to taper and the lower doses kicked in I began to see some improvements. But it does take a long time.  I've been drug free for five months now and can still experience EB while in waves.

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Downbutnotout

How did you fight against it? This is my main problem right now. 

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Downbutnotout
On 9/6/2017 at 10:52 PM, Jenniferdiana said:

I can't cry...why can't I cry...the last time I cried was last week...i can't force myself to cry..what is this? Has anyone ever experience this?

 

On 9/19/2017 at 9:13 AM, emmabee said:

This makes so much sense. I've been mostly anhedonic for about 5 years.  It's part of what led me to the decision to stop meds. 

Since WD, the anhedonia feels worse, but it's not constant.  I have periods of deep depression, high anxiety, and increasingly, windows of almost normalcy.  Maybe not normalcy, but brief periods ranging from hours to days where I start to feel like "I can..." 

Then back to anhedonic.  

 

I've been trying to read through most of this thread, and pages back someone talked about "paralysis of the will".  Yup.  I relate to that so much.

But looking at it as a rest period for my out of balance body and brain....makes me feel better.  

 

I know this is going to be a long journey, and have to remember that I need to stop fighting it and just let it happen in it's own time.  

 

I didn’t feel this on the meds. This is awful. I’m wondering if updosing on a medication that had stopped working is a smart idea. 

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brassmonkey

You can't fight against it.  This is a drug induced sensation that we have no control over.  Trying to fight it or over come it just burns a lot of energy and causes a huge amount of frustration and anxiety because it doesn't help anything.  The emotions, feelings of joy, happiness, love and excitement as well as creativity, ambition and a whole lot more are being chemically suppressed and for the time being are just not accessible. Acceptance of the situation is the best path to follow.  As you reduce your dose further and your body has a chance to heal your emotions and all will slowly start to come back, but it does take a lot of time.  As I mentioned in the post you quoted, at the time I was off all drugs for five months I was still having some trouble with lack of feelings.  I am now rapidly approaching 10 months off and still am having the occasional bout with it. But things are so much better than they were when I was still tapering.

 

One thing I did learn was to look for and cherish all the little moments of joy.  They actually are popping up all the time, but are very fleeting and easily overlooked.  When you look at a flower, instead of thinking "darn, I can't enjoy this flower", watch for the momentary little flash of joy that that flower brings when you first see it, and acknowledge it when it happens.  Stop and try to see the beauty in things, even if you don't feel it. "Wow, the sun on those clouds is really pretty, one day soon I will feel it again".  Stop and recognize the joy/wonder in the scene, but let your body react in it's own manner.  This exercise will help reestablish the neural pathways and little by little dig out and strengthen the feelings.

 

Like the rest of ADWD it is a tortuously long slow process that can be very frustrating, but in the end is so worth all the effort. 

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Downbutnotout

I am down to 50 mg of trazadone and 5 beads of Effexor. I didn’t do any of this the right way. I’m not even sure if this reinstatement is going to work. 

 

I’ll try your suggestion. Thank you for answering. 

 

When I went off by myself 2 years ago , I got a lot of it back for a while. Too bad I didn’t do it the right way then either.. I thought it was so easy. 

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Barbarannamated

My case is very complex, so PLEASE don't compare it to your own.  

 

During the *taper*, I felt so much better....energized, curious, adventurous, confident.  This awfulness hit me afterward and is still strong, several years later.  I could blame it on the drugs I'm still on, but it came on distinctly after a year long sloppy taper off of Pristiq.  I have no interest, motivation, impulsion and I am triggered by just about everything. Memes on Facebook regularly hit me the wrong way. My point of view has been turned to an entirely new and negative place.

My life IS void of interaction, purpose, and any forward movement, if that makes sense.  The end of my family is closing in and there is no circle of life.  I see my friends' lives moving forward with grandkids, careers, and good marriages (for the most part), while I'm in this holding pattern. 

 

I am neuro-emoting wickedly, especially since the tragic fires and loss of horses in California recently.  The holidays are brutal this year.  

 

I'm at a complete loss and unable to make decisions, which seems to be lack of executive function related to this thread.

 

I've been trying to help people and animals in need through donations.  That definitely feels good and I'm very thankful to be able to help.  I think that one of the worst things about being isolated is the inability to recognize when others are in need of help.  I think I may have an almost pathological need to help and feel needed.  🤔.  I better not give the DSM any new ideas!    

 

I desperately need someone to take over my life for awhile, in person.  I'm paralyzed and need to make changes, but just can't seem to put things into motion.  It's very scary.  

 

I'm still being paid disability by Big Pharma (psychopharm being my last position) and I just hate that.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Terry4949

Now I am 10 months of all meds I have hit the anhendonia stage and the apathy is worse than the depression I feel it in my stomach I can’t find any enjoyment no interest in anything from things I love to do to even going and seeing my beloved dad , it’s so awfull it makes me want to give up when it’s at it’s worse as it comes in strong waves I really would rather be dead than feel this apathy this feeling is worse than the depression , how do we live does it lift and how long does it last , I spoke to my doctor and he wanted to put me on lithium to help alleviate this feeling as he is worried that suicidal thoughts need addressing, he said to me that more people take their own lives because of the feeling of emptiness than depression and I can see why . But I refused the med , I think I need some reassurance has anyone had this and beat it 

 

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Petunia

Yes, I have been through this stage and it passed. I agree it can feel like the worst experience imaginable. Mine came in waves too, so it wasn't constant 24/7. Like everything else, its impossible to predict how long it will last for you, but it will pass. Knowing that it was temporary is what helped me get through it. If you google 'survivingantidepressants.org' and the topic you are interested in, you will often find we already have a thread with lots of comments and discussion, please post in existing topics, it helps keep all the information together in one easily searchable place.

 

Anhedonia, apathy, demotivation, emotional numbness - Symptoms ...

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Offforgood
On 9/19/2017 at 10:04 AM, Offforgood said:

I think my anhedonia which I have had for the last few years while on meds.. Zoloft 200 mg, olanzipine 5mg and effexor X-rays 450 mg and continue unchanged since I stopped taking all meds in July... I guess I was taken off Zoloft and olanzipine too fast Zoloft in a month taper and olanzipine in a few days.. on psychiatric advice..did I thought slow taper of effexor X-rays over 6 months 50% decrease each month..now am experiencing withdrawals two months later but predominant lack of motivation still persists.  

I think this anhedonia is a result of taking antidepressants for 28 years.. I believe the meds created this symptom when I read this article....

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989833/

 

 

I thought I was getting better but think I stopped am going backwards ..

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Gridley

Anhedonia and lack of motivation can also be symptoms of withdrawal.

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Hellbutrin
On 1/10/2018 at 4:57 PM, Petunia said:

Yes, I have been through this stage and it passed. I agree it can feel like the worst experience imaginable. Mine came in waves too, so it wasn't constant 24/7. Like everything else, its impossible to predict how long it will last for you, but it will pass. Knowing that it was temporary is what helped me get through it. If you google 'survivingantidepressants.org' and the topic you are interested in, you will often find we already have a thread with lots of comments and discussion, please post in existing topics, it helps keep all the information together in one easily searchable place.

 

Anhedonia, apathy, demotivation, emotional numbness - Symptoms ...

I would be so encouraged if I saw even a slight bit of my emotion returning. But I am either in the pits of hell depression or not able to feel anything at all with no in between. I'm so scared that I'm stuck this way. I certainly can't live like this forever, and I'm not even sure that I can see going on like this for another year without any change. If I saw a glimpse of return then I might be able to power through, but if I'm stuck like this then I don't see the point. 

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Offforgood

I so agree with you.. I could have written this post myself.  What is the point? Maybe I just don’t want to deal with life anymore.  I just need a sign a glimpse of joy in life.

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Hellbutrin
2 minutes ago, Offforgood said:

I so agree with you.. I could have written this post myself.  What is the point? Maybe I just don’t want to deal with life anymore.  I just need a sign a glimpse of joy in life.

Yeah, I agree completely. Feeling like there's no reason to go through this suffering makes it hard to climb out of the depressive states for sure. 

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Petunia
6 minutes ago, Hellbutrin said:

I'm so scared that I'm stuck this way. I certainly can't live like this forever, and I'm not even sure that I can see going on like this for another year without any change. If I saw a glimpse of return then I might be able to power through, but if I'm stuck like this then I don't see the point. 

 

I think we have all had similar feelings when going through the worst of it. For me, the thought I would never get better and that I would be stuck like this was one of those things I had to get very good at ignoring. The added anxiety it caused wasn't helpful and I knew, from everything I read that it wasn't true anyway.  I was going to get better, even if it didn't feel like it at the time.

 

I remember the first time I heard myself laugh, after having not found anything funny for a very long time. It was a shock actually and such a relief. I thought I had lost my sense of humor for ever. You just need to hang in there and know your normal emotions are going to return when they are ready. This is temporary. Don't think in terms of the next year, that's too overwhelming. You don't know what's going to happen in a year. Focus on getting through each day. Each day you get through is one step closer to being healed.

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Offforgood
1 hour ago, Petunia said:

 

I think we have all had similar feelings when going through the worst of it. For me, the thought I would never get better and that I would be stuck like this was one of those things I had to get very good at ignoring. The added anxiety it caused wasn't helpful and I knew, from everything I read that it wasn't true anyway.  I was going to get better, even if it didn't feel like it at the time.

 

I remember the first time I heard myself laugh, after having not found anything funny for a very long time. It was a shock actually and such a relief. I thought I had lost my sense of humor for ever. You just need to hang in there and know your normal emotions are going to return when they are ready. This is temporary. Don't think in terms of the next year, that's too overwhelming. You don't know what's going to happen in a year. Focus on getting through each day. Each day you get through is one step closer to being healed.

i have had one day of feeling great since i stopped taking meds on july 22, 2017--i know i was on meds for 28 years and in massive doses and i took EVERY med out there and to this day, i am angry that i followed my psych doc so blindly but i think that is one of my issues that i let a bad situation go on too long and i am struggling with that issue in therapy--i am at my 5 1/2 month point of ending all meds and i have read that sometimes at the 5.6.and or 7 month stretch the withdrawal symptoms get worse or come back or whatever-- and i have also read that they may reappear after a year off-- i just cant handle this prognosis--maybe i should stop reading the posts on these sites because i seem to get more discouraged-- i am back to total apathy and not caring about doing anything when i thought i was slowly coming out of it this past December--then bam!  i want to enjoy life again, i wan to look forward to things, i want to look forward but whatever is happening to me makes me stuck in this quagmire of negativity and past hurts, insults and betrayals-- i wonder since i lived so long this way whether i am just used to this way of thinking and i dont know how to think anything else-- i dont need to be deleriously happy but i would like to be content-- and go with the flow at least-- 

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Offforgood
Just now, Offforgood said:

i have had one day of feeling great since i stopped taking meds on july 22, 2017--i know i was on meds for 28 years and in massive doses and i took EVERY med out there and to this day, i am angry that i followed my psych doc so blindly but i think that is one of my issues that i let a bad situation go on too long and i am struggling with that issue in therapy--i am at my 5 1/2 month point of ending all meds and i have read that sometimes at the 5.6.and or 7 month stretch the withdrawal symptoms get worse or come back or whatever-- and i have also read that they may reappear after a year off-- i just cant handle this prognosis--maybe i should stop reading the posts on these sites because i seem to get more discouraged-- i am back to total apathy and not caring about doing anything when i thought i was slowly coming out of it this past December--then bam!  i want to enjoy life again, i wan to look forward to things, i want to look forward but whatever is happening to me makes me stuck in this quagmire of negativity and past hurts, insults and betrayals-- i wonder since i lived so long this way whether i am just used to this way of thinking and i dont know how to think anything else-- i dont need to be deleriously happy but i would like to be content-- and go with the flow at least-- 

i admire the people who can not  just say get through each day but can actually do it--i guess i am doing it since i am still here but i feel confused unfocused and sometimes just plain scared of life 

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Terry4949
12 hours ago, Offforgood said:

i admire the people who can not  just say get through each day but can actually do it--i guess i am doing it since i am still here but i feel confused unfocused and sometimes just plain scared of life 

Offforgood this is me to a tee , at 6 months I had such a bad wave of depression and again at 8 months now I have hit 10 months the wave is so bad some days severe depression but the apathy and anhendonia is the worst even on the less depressive days I feel so empty of life no joy no motivation this is when I am at my suicidel worst because I can’t even feel any hope of getting better , even if I read recovery stories try and do anything to distract my mind that awfull emptiness is there to me that’s why suicide is all ways prominent because who wants to live their life like that, it’s the end of life and trying to find a reason to keep going makes it worse as you feel like you have failed I don’t know how long this lasts I have read of people suffering for years there are no cures so it does begger the question is it all worth it , if I won a million pound tomorrow it would make me feel no different , I just wander through the days praying for a miracle that doesn’t come 

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