I am a twenty-two year old male. On the outside, I think I can easily pass for a normal person. First, a few things about myself. I am a somewhat introverted person. I don't do particularly well in crowds but prefer a smaller, more intimate company of close friends. I don't make friends easily, don't have a wide circle of acquaintances and tend to be somewhat picky about those I really get close to. I am, however, fiercely loyal to those who do become my friends and go out of my way to help those in need. I am soft spoken, mild-mannered (although I can get rather loud and talkative with close friends) and am, I believe, a somewhat level-headed person as far as things go. At school, where I major in philosophy, I would readily classify myself as an academic type, a nerd, in other words. I am a member of our university's quizzing team (even won a few times) and am a particularly enthusiastic argumentor/debater. I find pleasure in solitary activities like walking, reading and writing and on the whole prefer solo to group activites, though I do regularly take part in these and enjoy them, too. I have noticed of late, however, that I regularly feel what I can best describe as being 'empty'. While I do take pleasure at things like eating, reading a good book, or talking with my family, I find that, after a while, I cease to really 'take part' in these things. It's like I slowly retreat into a mental recess where I am no longer a participant in my own world but am merely a passive observer. I will laugh at jokes, smile when I find something worth smiling about, get surprised, you know, the entire gamut of human expressions, but sometimes it seems like I am only acting, like I'm just playing out a script. The only things that give me pleasure, other than fleeting physical ones, indeed, the only things I feel really enthusiastic about are my weekly strength training regimen (though this, too, seems rather mechanical at times), the novels I read, the girl I'm in love with and my dreams of becoming a successful businessman. I am health conscious (because of the whole body-building thing) and am quite fit. I don't smoke, drink, or use any substance whatsoever. Outwardly, I look athletic, well-rounded shoulders, a good chest, toned arms, but even that, I realize now, I did to hide my weakness. All for show, nothing inside. Even the things I love the most are sometimes riddled with bouts of what I can best describe as anxiety. Is this normal? I find that I am sometimes rather melancholy. I escape from social gatherings, walk away from people I know just to be alone for a moment, and later find that I crave company, so much. I yearn for a person to talk to, a hug, or maybe just a short chat with a friend. I often have difficulty sleeping ( often staying up until dawn) but make up for it by rising from bed rather late. I feel empty. Sometimes, it feels like I am in a waking dream (especially at night) and I feel like my existence is something very fragile that would scatter in a heartbeat when I lose a grip on things. On the other hand, there are times, especially when I read or hear something inspiring (usually has something to do with business) or when I've just spoken with the girl I mentioned that I experience a sort of 'high'. I feel happy, content, powerful, confident, at peace with the world. I feel like there's nothing I cannot do. That sort of thing. Then I sleep, wake up the next day and fall back into the same mechanical process. I have a tendency to lapse into bouts of silence (not in a strictly negative manner) where I just think about things, sometimes, to the puzzlement of those around me. I would not say, if someone where to ask me directly, that I feel depressed. Nor does this 'condition', if it even is one, get in the way of my normal, everyday functioning. I just feel empty. I know what I should do (short term and long term) but sometimes feel like I'm not living for anything. It really is peculiar. I would also say that I am a rather needy person in that I crave the company of those few people I genuinely care about. Maybe I'm really just weak deep inside. It might be a real affront to those who might really have clinical conditions but I just had to let this out. If you're reading this and have a thing or two to say, then thank you, kind stranger, for this small but important gesture. It means a lot to me. You have my gratitude!