Loss of feelings/emotions

Hi all.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has lost the ability to feel emotions except for anxiety?

I have had anxiety for many years. I don't take medication. The anxiety is manageable. What's bothering the most is the lack of emotions that I feel. When great things happen I don't feel excited. I try to feel something but it doesn't happen. When I lose someone through death, I can't grieve. I just can't cry. I'm terribly sad that they're gone but the tears don't want to flow. I guess the feeling is numb? I have suffered a lot of loss of close family and some friends over the past 3 years. I have also had a lot of disappointments so I guess I try not to feel too excited about anything to avoid being disappointed again.

Could this have caused me to become closed off from feeling?

I keep myself busy most of the time and to be honest, I feel worn out.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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39 Replies

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  • Have you ever been diagnosed with depression? Sometimes you can feel numb and cut off from reality due to anxiety because your brain goes into "safe mode" in an attempt to protect yourself, but depression and anxiety often go hand in hand. You should definitely speak to a doctor about this if you haven't already-- they have tests they can do to see whether you have depression or not.

    I hope you feel better soon.

  • Hi and thank you for responding.

    I had a test done about 6 months ago where I had to answer a heap of questions. It was done to see if I qualified to see a counsellor. The diagnosis was anxiety. The dr didn't mention depression though. He believed the anxiety came from repeated grief in a short space of time. The loss of my mum, my oldest sister, an aunt, an uncle and a childhood friend and my job in the space of 2 and a half years.

    If I think about my mum in the last few months of her life, I get a choking feeling where I almost cry but it's usually at the most inconvenient time so I stuff it down and tell myself I will deal with it later. The problem is, I never do. :/

  • I so relate, after my divorce 11 years ago, I felt nothing towards men in general- just chronic disappointment with all men. As of today I have not been on a date in 11 years.

    I purchased "The grief recovery handbook" author John W James and Russell Friedman- I am working on their action plan for moving forward and doing the program to the letter. I am feeling a shift within , the past 11 years my friends were frustration, biterness and disappointment but that was my choice (but did not understand that ) moving beyond he loss involves completing the loss, in life we face many losses including health(heart attacks, stroke , depression but also career and faith) knowing and identify the losses and completing them is the way to live , this is so simple yet remarkable program should be taught in all high schools to prepare young adults how to navigate their own twists and turns. Just believe - and take good care

  • Hi lbk,

    I identify with your story a lot. I had a terrible grief happen to me at age 19 and since then I have been a "stuffer" of feelings. I think that you may have possibly trained yourself to not express emotions. I am concerned that this is why you feel worn out. When we stuff down grief and other negative feelings, it seems to also suppress any joy we feel. Or, like you said, excitement. Spontaneity. Or even contentment.

    I found that counseling and yoga helped me with getting some old feelings out. Do you get any exercise? Have you considered seeking counseling?

  • Hi Violetgenie, . Thank you for responding also.

    Yes, that sounds like me. I cried so much when my mum was sick. This sounds awful to say but I will say it anyway... By the time she passed, I was relieved for her to not be suffering anymore but I was also relieved for myself that there was no more emotional ups and downs and phone calls in the middle of the night to rush to the hospital because she was at deaths door so many times. I feel a lot of guilt about that. The same thing happened with my sister. The same feelings as well. By the time everything else happened, I was exhausted and just seemed to take it in my stride.

    I meditate every night before sleep. I probably do need to get some focused exercise. I work and run a small property, animals etc plus look after my adult family. Not a lot of time left for "just" me. I'm not complaining, just really don't have a lot of spare time and if I do, I'm usually too tired to be bothered.

  • Lbk64, when having gone through years of chronic anxiety, it is very likely that we do lose some emotions other than our own anxiety. Anxiety takes a lot out of us physically and emotionally that we do tend to get numb with life. We are so overwhelmed with our anxiety that we can't feel anything about other's problems or happiness. We are always on guard as to keeping our feelings in place. We can't afford to feel excitement/happiness because that too can bring up anxiety symptoms. And so we stay in our little safety zone, afraid to feel or express emotions.

    A very common trait of anxiety ridden people. x

  • Hi Agora. It's always reassuring to know I'm not alone. I don't often reach out for help because it makes me feel weak. I know in my heart it's not but my head says "be strong, don't let anyone see you're not coping". It's all appearances sometimes. Maybe too many times?

  • I know know the feeling all too well. Wish u the best and hope we can all move on.

  • Thank you.

  • so true, i tend to keep on tje safe side if i don't express my emotions. After my mom died (very young) i have this rule of not getting to close to anyone. Yet i am married and happy my husband is a doll i love him very much. But i get feelings of " suppose i lose him too to some illness" and i start sobbing. I hate these feelings. And yetsomething in my mind tells me that everything is going to be ok. Go figure, I think i'm loosing it.

  • I get that too. As if I'm unworthy of having good things. It's an awful thing. We're not losing it.. We're just anxious and tired I think.

  • I guess so. Do feel at times like i am unworthy of happiness. Thanks for your words. We will get over this. It helps to know i am not alone.

  • Same here 🙂

  • Sounds like me 100% it's as if I have just written this.

    Grief over and over will tend to make you feel numb. I lost mum 17 years now, my dad, nan, grandad and my best friend died all in 2 years. I became numb, cut off, within myself, "who is next" I would say and then get bad anxiety attacks, "will it be me" or my children. Not a nice feeling. I feel for you, but what I will encourage you to try and do. Let go...remember you are only human, not weak, not being silly. You have been through trauma. Be kind to yourself and allow the emotions to come back. You have put a wall up and will not let anything hurt you. In the end it will catch up and you will just burst and feel worse for it. Trying to keeping busy all the time stops you from thinking. Let yourself grieve. Have you had bereavement counselling. I recommend it to you if you haven't.

    Best wishes xx

  • Thank you mumof347.

    I need to get away for a day or so. On my own somewhere. So that I can write it all down and express what needs to be expressed I guess. The issue is time. I may have a chance on the weekend to have some alone time. I will try to use it wisely if it eventuates.

    I did see a counsellor for a short period of time but due to where we live, she was hard to get in to, funds are limited and there just aren't the resources.

    It helps to come here and share. Makes me feel less alone.

    I thank you all for replying. It's wonderful to be part of a special and caring group.

  • You are so right, reading the stories - it is the first time I feel as though someone gets me and I also feel less alone - thanks

  • Same here. Especially the symptoms that seem less common or spoken about. When I read here that others have the same or similar, it actually puts me at ease.

  • Hope you feel ok today

  • Hi there. Thank you for asking. That is very thoughtful of you.

    I'm not too bad. It's Sunday night here. I'm always a bit sad when the weekend finishes.

    Hope you are well.

  • Ah your welcome. Yes I know what you mean. It's back to the weekdays of coping with work etc..i am ok thank you, a bit hot lol. Roasting weather :-)

  • Yes, that's it.

    Hot? Are you in the US?

    I'm in Oz, It's winter here.. Really cold. Another thing that can be hard to cope with. Lol. I love the warmth and summer. I love to be outdoors.

  • Hi I'm in the UK summer time very hot today lol. Yes it is good to be outdoors and winter months are tough when you suffer with depression and anxiety etc..In Oz huh lovely but not right now ha ha

  • I'm envious of your being in summer..lol. It's my favourite season.

    That's true. I think it's because you are locked inside if the weather is bad and this leaves too much time to think about other things. For me anyway.

    Sunny here today. :). Nice to see blue sky!

  • Ha ha I know what you mean I too get stuck in a d think too much. The summer does make you feel loads better, although it has been too hot today that you can't breath lol I'm not moaning but there is a limit to the heat I can take x

  • lol, fair enough. You would probably tolerate the cold better than me. We are all different I guess.

    What temperatures do you get over there in summer?

  • Yeah i do t mind the cold but it's the SAD I suffer with that is hard. We get it as hot as 35 degrees sometimes phew hot lol

  • Same here. If the sky is grey, so is my mood. :/

    I don't mind 35.. 30 is best. :)

  • Yeah perfect, its just right at 30 it is 33 right now 😑 can't breath

  • I hope that eases for you. :/

    Is it humid? Do you have asthma?

  • Me too, thank you, it is very humid and i do have asthma, it is very uncomfortable

  • I wish I could help in some way. It's awful to have. It's more than a feeling when you have asthma. Anxiety wouldn't help at all and it would obviously be fed by the very real struggle to breathe. Praying for some relief for you.

  • Ah thank you that's kind of you. It isn't too bad I have a good inhaler. My anxiety is under control x

  • Hi. I can relate. I feel like I'm on autopilot most of the time. Nothing really strikes me anymore. And it really stinks. When something good happens..I don't feel anything. When something bad happens, it's the same thing. It's like I'm desensitized towards everything. And then I blame the antidepressants I'm taking, that it's making me feel numb. But I find what Agora1 said makes more sense. Us long time sufferers of anxiety are robbed of feelings of joy and spontaneity. It's like we've been conditioned to stay trapped in that small little bubble. We can't possibly experience any emotion outside of anxiety. I wish I can express happiness and joy even around my parents who I live with, but I can't. I don't know how to. And they've already come to expect that depressed anxious me, so if I push the envelope even a little bit, they'll be like "what's with you?" And then I'll feel weird and out of character and go back to being emotionless. I want to develop my character, but I feel like it's just not going anywhere

  • It's sad isn't it? My daughter pointed out quite a while ago now that I don't get excited about things anymore. I used to be really happy go lucky. I still smile no matter what, but as with yourself..it's pretty much a flat line whatever happens.

  • yeah it is. like you I used to be a very happy camper and I feel it's in my nature to be happy. But now it's like I can't be bothered and I don't know how to express it. And so I deny myself good things because I feel I don't deserve them.

  • Yes. Same here.

  • Hi Kainan_li, I will tell you that being on antidepressants do make you more void of emotions. That's it's job in order to reduce your anxiety and depression. You expressed what anxiety does to us over time perfectly. It does make us numb, void of feeling joy or happiness as well as emotionless. Anxiety can and does rob us of our life if we allow it to. Who you are or were is always there. It's just buried so deep with us because of the power anxiety has over us. It is like we are trapped in a small little bubble we call "our world".

    Anxiety has done this to us through fears and doubts, our world got smaller and smaller. But we can change Kainan. It takes determination, patience and staying strong. If you want something badly enough, you can make it happen. Finding what works for you is the first step. Reading books, searching the internet (not Google) for articles that can make you more aware of what you are fighting and how to get to your goal.

    Using positive affirmations and believing in them will help give you the confidence you need in developing your character and your self esteem. Small steps leading to bigger steps will get you unstuck so that you can move forward with your life.

    Never give up.....

  • Thanks Agora1. Yeah like that's why I was against taking medication from the beginning. Sure, it might put us more at ease, but what might it take away from us. And how much do I have to rely on this medication. Now I can't live without it. it's become like a crutch for me. And I hate it. How am i supposed to learn to walk on my own. I quit taking it for some time this year and my emotions were through the roof. I feel pathetic not being able to tame my feelings on my own.

    Recently I've taken up studying Buddhism. I found that up till now I was sorely lacking in faith and spirituality. And many of the concepts in Buddhism offer hope and a different way of thinking about things. Our true nature is there; everybody has faith, it's like you say it's buried deep within, and we have to find a way to dig it out.

  • Kainan, it's okay to have that crutch for a while with medications. In addition to the meds, we need therapy to find a our balance in life. Our worries, our fears need to be addressed so that we can move on. We also need a belief in something other than ourselves. I think that's great that you are looking for other ways to help yourself. Keep strong and believe that you will get out.

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