Jump to content


Senior Member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by itstrevor

  1. This key I'm referring to may also be a physical object you take that allows you to see inside yourself. It can be a powerful tool to integrate difficult life experiences and finally put them to rest. I hope you solve the riddle - life is a journey!
  2. Hello, I'm the OP who started the anhedonia thread and the subforum. There are many ways to look at anhedonia, but essentially it is losing the part of you that is connected to meaning, purpose, and love - among other things. A spiritual way to look at it is that there is a dark energy - a shadow - inside of you that wants to control you. That shadow is fear of uncertainty and the path that lies ahead of you. Normally, this shadow energy can be dispelled easily, but sometimes it is more insidious and comes on slowly or tricks you - and then it has control and you can't overpower it alone (or even sometimes with other people). In this type of situation you have to defeat the shadow energy that leeches your emotional energy (causing you to feel nothing) and that is preventing you from fulfilling your true purpose, but you can't. Not all psychological problems are like this, but the nature of this one is unique. Only you can defeat it, but you don't have the power to overcome it because that shadow has become a part of you and is infused with you, so in attacking it you are now attacking yourself. So it seems hopeless. Another way to look at it is an endless though loop that exists in your subconscious, or an "overactive part of the brain." Overanalyzing is this shadow's attempts at hiding from the future and getting rid of uncertainty, but in reality it really makes things worse. There are ways to BIND the shadow, like with certain drugs, but along with binding the shadow, you are also binding yourself in a way - it does not dispell it, and you might notice that you begin to just anger the shadow. There are other drugs that can make the shadow appear to be gone for a small period of time - spells that give you moments of freedom that you have to pay back later - like a loan. These options aren't good long-term solutions. It seems hopeless, but there is a way to get rid of it. The way the shadow energy got in was through fear and anxiety towards the future - the avoidance of the inevitability of uncertainty. The only way to dispell the shadow now is to counter this with courage, jumping into the unknown, and embracing what lies on the other side of the shadow (faith) . You have to let go and trust in God (fate / the universe). The shadow is overpowering your so you can't see the other side, and you can't use or rely on anybody to control you through this - only you can strike the blow to the shadow - you just need a special tool to allow you to separate from the shadow so that you can **** it and move on - sort of like a sword or a key. But since you can't rely on anybody else to give you the key (or sword) you have to find it. What grows in the ground Seek this key To open yourself And help you see When you do You'll be set free Sorry I have to be so mysterious but that's the way that it goes. A lot of this is still a mystery, but this is a good way to look at it.
  3. Hey guys I'm back I have read a lot about Licorice Root. Maybe you guys should give that a try? Like 450mg for a week or two or three. I've heard that it might have some interesting properties.
  4. Okay, so my anhedonia is nowhere near as bad as it used to be. I am confident that this is a non-issue for me anymore
  5. Taking a look at the test results from nighthawk I do see the vitamin D deficiency that was noted with me as well. Cortisol is produced with stress (glucocorticoids), so that is not surprising, and actually there has been a lot of work recently showing the link between cortisol/glucocorticoids and the stress/anhedonic/anxiety response. Prolactin is supposed to have anti-libidinal effects, though I am not entirely sure of it's role in this whole web of interacting systems, but I believe it may have something to do with turning off certain reward circuitry to allow for maintenance, though I cannot say for sure. The key is really to realize that ultimately the anhedonia is a natural response that the brain undergoes to deprive the senses; regulating neurotransmitter systems to become more or less receptive through turning them off for a while. This is one reason that I believe that vitamin D levels are often low in those with this anhedonic syndrome - calcium ion potentials increase firing and when the brain needs to turn off, it would make sense for the body to lower vitamin D because of vitamin D's pivotal role in calcium absorption. Resentment or rebellion against the symptoms really just prolongs recovery. It sucks, but all you have to do is keep moving through them and try to get your mind on something else and to treat it sort of like a bad acid trip or something, knowing it will eventually end. For me, not knowing that it would end caused me to resent the symptoms and drove me crazy with the prospect that I would never feel right again. Avoid looking too much into anecdotal reports because many people will post about their symptoms that seemingly never end when they are in reality still taking some sort of psychotropic, are under unreasonable stress (such as a death in the family, toxic relationships, and so on) and have a great deal of self-doubt that may perpetuate anxiety spikes and symptoms. Looking into recovery stories as well as scientific journal articles showing recovery of all of the systems of the brain after drug-induced or stress-induced trauma gave me the hope and self-empowerment I needed to move on from the self-doubt and put away the specter of permanence once and for all. This will not work for everyone, so everyone has to find their own way of moving forward. It would be interesting to hear if other people with this syndrome are found to have low vitamin D levels
  6. Okay, so I'm on month 6 without medications. Depression (the sinking feeling of dreading getting up or doing anything) is gone, anhedonia breaks once and a while, windows are getting larger, bad days are getting less severe. I had a pretty good week last week, but this week has been sort of "fuzzy" (feel like I have poor memory and vertigo/anhedonia increasing) but everything I've read points to this being reversible. As with most perturbations of the central nervous system, it takes time to reverse. Here is another success story from a long-term anhedonia sufferer (Antti) from paxilprogress: Like I said, complete. No erections, no libido, nothing. I have had few days when PSSD lifts but it always comes back. Time between those good days gets longer and longer. Quite opposite to other symptoms. I'm 15 months off meds. It's difficult to say when anhedonia, emotional numbess, etc. went away, but during last 4 months I have only had couple of bad days. I think I had similar bad days even before taking SSRIs. So I consider myself recovered from those. Key to my recovery is definitely exercise and sports.__________________ Took 10mg Cipralex for a month in december 2009. Quit cold turkey and been off all medication after that. It was quite a ride but after 3.5 years I'm 99% recovered. Success!!
  7. I am without a doubt seeing progress - this is my fifth month free of psychotropics, and my third year of bondage to this terrible syndrome. It is remarkable how much I have discovered about this condition, and I hope that I have brought faith in the prospects of healing to everybody in this community. At times there are plateaus, and it is hard to see progress, but over long periods of time, the progress becomes clear. I do not believe that long periods of anhedonia cause the brain to destroy reward circuitry (the "use it or lose it" mentality), but rather quite the contrary - the brain attempts to bring itself back into balance, subconsciously working to mend circuits to reach a baseline euthymia in the absence of the meddling of our conscious selves. The brain will do this even if one does not actively pursue it - all a person has to do is "let go," and avoid anxiety spikes. Therapy and meditation revolves around this, and is based completely in methods to get the self to do this. Those who have spent years on thymoanesthetics report a return of emotions just as those who have only taken them for months. I know this to be true for myself, but the individual may only arrive at this conclusion through personal experimentation and research so that one's standard of evidence is satisfied.
  8. In my opinion, it appears that the brain will purposefully turn off reward circuitry while it performs maintenance on it, almost as if it is some sort of highway - the construction workers cannot work with a bunch of cars running through, so it is closed down for a period of time. In fact, I am noticing a pattern where my consciousness is forced into a part of my brain that I really do not like - an anhedonic part that bombards me with repetitive obsessive almost paranoid thinking. After an intense period of this, I am invariably given a "window" where there is a sudden release of intense relief and emotional lability that I welcome - in this state my consciousness is in the moment only. I only eat when I am hungry - when my brain gives me a reward incentive for it - I "feel" what my body needs rather than mindlessly eat or eat unhealthy food. During these periods where I feel anhedonic and obsessive, I am usually fasting. When I finally am hungry, the meal I eat taste so much better. I feel that this intermittent fasting helps re-regulate the brain's reward circuitry - only eating until you feel that you have to or would actually like to. Perhaps these intense periods of distress and anhedonia are necessary - the brain pushes one into it - so that it can build an immunity or oppositional tolerance to stress and reach it's baseline euthymia, almost like it is working out. Taking benzodiazepines and antidepressants prevents this progress, or at least slows it down (sometimes it is too intense so one might prefer to slow it down).
  9. I am unsure what you mean when you say there is a "physiological change" to the brain in response to stress that results in permanent anhedonia... There are changes in the size of the hippocampus, but that is not surprising, because the hippocampus is the center by which new brain cells are proliferated, especially in the production of new memories. In depression, the brain will tend to "block out" memories of the time period, but there is no reason to assume that this is permanent. An increase in BDNF correlates with remission from depressive illness and the anhedonic syndrome described in this thread, which makes sense because the hippocampus begins proliferating cells again. Would it have been evolutionarily useful for the brain to rewire itself to be permanently anhedonic after chronic exposure to stress? The answer is obvious. Other physiological changes include changes in receptor densities in different regions of the brain as well as SERT density and enzyme production, but this is by no means permanent damage, as seen by studies where reduced receptor densities, transporter sites, and enzyme production correct themselves over a period of months. REM sleep latency corrects itself as well. The only type of damage which may become an intractable problem is axonal damage in the case of a stroke, anoxia, or massive drug overdose of a neurotoxin. Even in these cases, the brain can actively heal itself over time. The problem with depression and anxiety is that the changes that chronic stress creates to the brain through excessive secretion of glucocorticoids can take months and in severe cases years to correct (sometimes unnatural "triggers" such as drug abuse over several years can become the case that would take years to correct). The specter of permanence causes those this this terrible syndrome to become worried and anxious, and the uncertainty becomes something that they fixate on, prolonging it's natural course. Use of psychotropics may hinder progress, and many assume that their only two choices are to take medications or face the possibility of never feeling "good" again, not realizing that the antidepressants, while controlling (the) anxiety, themselves blunt emotions.
  10. What I've noticed now that I've reached month 5 of total abstinence, is that I now have windows of increasing frequency and intensity. I will feel very strange and sensitive to everything and my mind will start to race with fears and insecurities - even ridiculous ones. Sounds will sound much "crisper," louder, and more surprising. Sometimes I will get tinnitus when this happens or I will feel dizzy. This is when my brain begins to feel out of control like I am going crazy, and usually this follows from a long period or "plateau" of feeling flat for a few days. At this moment I can choose to either have a panic attack or redirect the attention/energy and let go, and it is when I let go that often this becomes a window. It feels really strange because old emotions are coming back, but they are scary when they first reappear. This can cause me to cry heavily over something ridiculous. This is good evidence that it is temporary at least and that the trend follows a sort of "punctuated equilibrium" pattern as opposed to linear change.
  11. The only real "brain damage" that is documented to be permanent (as in, it slowly returns to normal, but may become an intractable problem) would be axonal damage or loss of brain axons (such as in Parkinson's Disease). Most neurological issues are neuroadaptive, and are a result of "push pull" mechanisms like SERT and receptor densities. Please read this article that I have provided as it really can provide a lot of hope to those worried about "brain damage" caused by drugs or about "permanent chronic illnesses" which are not shown to be caused by axonal damage. The article contains a lot of scientific work that shows what I have been saying to be true and may help those of you with similar issues prevent anxiety spikes (also, something like stress does not cause neurotoxicity): http://thedea.org/neurotoxicity.html It's quite understandable that people are afraid of brain damage when they experience this sort of mental disruption; the average person has never been told that there were any other possible explanations, in spite of virtually all of us being familiar with the basic phenomenon in the form of 'needing that first cup of coffee in the morning to get going' and the like. My position is not that people don't get seriously screwed up by frequent use of MDMA; only that the cause is unlikely to be actual permanent damage. Given a break from use of a few months, even the most severely 'e-tarded' user should find themselves greatly improved as the brain slowly returns to its normal 'volume settings.' (For more information and an animation of one process of neuroadaptation, visit MDMA At Work.)
  12. Continuing to see real windows periodically - only time will tell if this will result in a full remission. I can not say with confidence that everyone will be able to pursue the same path as me, or that pharmaceuticals are never beneficial, as only the individual can assess that.
  13. It seems that there is rarely anything visible on a brain scan when it comes to anhedonia (my doctors also commented on this when in the beginning I requested a brain scan)... Once and a while there is a hormonal "imbalance," but I'm not sure that points to any damage to the hypothalamus in the traditional sense... Maybe a dysregulation of the hypothalamus would be a more appropriate way of looking at things... Vitamin D levels were severely low in my case, but that was really it. All my hormones were within the healthy ranges. I think that anhedonia is a part of a syndrome with a cluster of symptoms including dead sex drive, apathy, and occasionally things like tremors and tinnitus, but the same syndrome can be caused by many things including hormonal dysfunction, but more commonly drug use, PAWS, stress, neurological disorders, and so forth. I'm still riding on it going away eventually on it's own, but I've only comfortably arrived at that solution after coming to the conclusion that pharmaceuticals don't really get to the root of the problem or even ease the most annoying symptoms, but rather, for the most part, simply tone down anxiety.
  14. I'm really not sure about the tds machine... Seems to be based on skewed studies if it claims to have that much of an edge on medications IMO. I would say that I see small improvements over time, but I am at the point of acceptance and moving on with life. I know it sucks, but I have a great deal of hope and evidence that it is not permanent, and having survived through extreme medication withdrawal (Parnate) and ECT, I would say that whatever I do have I am thankful that I don't feel like I DID. I had to go through all of that to reach that sort of relief and thankfulness to move forward. I am not surprised that selegiline did not work (or at least work for long). As we have seen, dopamine signals reward WANTING and temporarily potentiates reward. After a few days of elevated dopamine spikes, tolerance sets in and there is no longer any hedonic effect - instead the effects are seen in increased perseverance, interest, and mental stamina. This is seen repeatedly with dopaminergics that amplify phasic dopamine spikes. Selegiline would probably have an even lesser effect on hedonia than traditional dopaminergic stimulants (which are also a terrible choice for other reasons). I don't think I have any advice about sexual imagery other than obviously if your brain is telling you that you don't have any interest in something (even though you know you do), don't do it. In this way, you petition your brain "If you really want me to be interested in this, you are going to have to provide me a greater reward."
  15. I'm going out on a limb here, but coming off of long-term benzodiazepine use can also cause anhedonia, as GABA puts a break on NMDA overactivity in regions of the brain that might inhibit reward, but I'm not sure that applies for you or not. My uncle has/had schizophrenia and has regained emotions coming off of his meds of several years, but it does take time. Living in the moment is really hard but once you get into a space where you feel like you aren't losing your mind about how horrible you are feeling and trust in recovery (finding evidence that it is inevitable and will happen over time), things slowly get better in my experience. Also, rest in peace to Robert Williams who died today due to depression. In one interview he attributed his depression to previous use of stimulant drugs including xtc. Alcoholism also contributed to his mental illness
  16. I have heard of psychotic breaks caused by stress and, of course, there are those caused by stimulant use (stimulant psychosis), but it is not something that is necessarily permanent (though I don't know too much about the mechanisms behind schizophrenia). If your syndrome is anything like stimulant psychosis or stress-related, I would say it should fade with time. I know that anxiety can perpetuate problems, so letting go is one of the hardest and most important things to do - don't stress about things you can't change. I'm still struggling with blunting, but my belief in recovery and research into positive information about it has made things easier until recovery comes. I think we all hope the best for you, and I think we all should be supportive of each other!
  17. I remember when I was much younger I almost cried because my aunt gave me a book of old stamps - I cried because I thought she was so kind to give something away to me. By High School things like that didn't cause me to cry (obviously, as that is ridiculous) yet I could still feel euphoric. I think that there is a sadness and euphoria that is allotted in proportion to your stage in life, and with people each phase consists of different things that affect the self. With anhedonia, there is a numbing of the emotions to prevent possible damage due to overactivity, or there is an underactivity caused by hypothyroid, drugs, etcetera.
  18. Another thing that I think we have to be careful of is the assumptions made by those reading articles citing "reduction on brain size" or "brain region volume." I personally do not believe that there is a causative relationship between brain size and depressive/anhedonic symptoms, but rather I see them as having a correlative relationship. For example, there are different average "brain region volumes" for males and females, and yet both genders seem to have the ability to experience euphoria and intense emotions. We also see animals as having smaller brain sizes, yet we have no indicators that animals become demotivated and distressed by any "emotional numbness." We do know that in depressive disorders there is a shrinkage of the hippocampus, and, if one gives this any thought, it makes sense. The hippocampus grows new brain cells (and helps produce new memories) that are gradually proliferated. We see that in depression, it is often not good for the brain to hold on to memories so, in a way, it "shuts down" (or at least slows down) production. When depression lifts, the hippocampus begins to function normally again (my educated guess), and, partially for this reason, we see a correlative increase in BDNF. I don't have any proof to substantiate this, but it's my best guess.
  19. Will is tied to desire to do something, so I would agree that in a way dopamine creates "will."
  20. By the way, things can feel so gradual that you might feel that you are "plateauing" for several months, or suddenly have a spurt of feeling. This sort of "punctuated equilibrium" recovery is sometimes the case.
  21. From the looks of your post, you are really perpetuating your anhedonia due to the amount of thought you are putting into potential negative outcomes. Perhaps try an SSRI for a little while to make the anxiety go away enough so that you are able to feel comfortable in your own skin (albeit not happy due to blunted emotions), and then slowly taper off of it as much as you can handle without the anxiety returning. Sometimes it is difficult to convince your subconscious self that it is okay to not worry constantly about things, and even better not to. Sometimes it is necessary to reach rock bottom before the message gets across to your subconscious. I think that healing from this is largely an unconscious thing, and that conscious/subconscious behaviors can simply perpetuate the anhedonia or prolong it, so the best thing to do is to eliminate anxiety spikes. This doesn't mean "not think about things," because in doing so, you are thinking about it and will have a nagging feeling that something hasn't been properly resolved (anxiety). Maybe try tinybuddha.com for further advice on this? The specter of permanence is something that can perpetuate anxiety, which is really the only reason that it would be permanent in an otherwise healthy individual. Being anxious about it being permanent causes it to become permanent as long as you are anxious about it, and then some time for things to "settle." If you are having panic attacks, perhaps you have some sort of hormonal, psychotropic use, stress, or physical problem? If left alone, anhedonia resolves. It's not something that you damage and your brain shrinks and is like that forever. There are tons of examples of this, and really, I only started improving once the nagging specter of permanence (anxiety) went away. Now it is really just a waiting game, but I don't wait banking on the outcome that I will get better in X amount of months, but try to live in the moment. I reached rock bottom so therefore I can appreciate even feeling numb in many ways because it is like a nice rest from the highly anxious self that I was. In not banking my emotional state on an outcome, I eliminate the possibility of anxiety spikes caused by disappointment which can worsen the issue. Again, it might not be possible to convince yourself that it is okay to be anhedonic and you might think "yeah if I could just make myself believe that I am better, than I am better, but I can't just do that," but really you aren't fooling yourself at all, and sometimes you have to reach rock bottom before accepting that you aren't going to feel the best for a while but really and truly small and steady gradual change happens. When you feel extremely anxious and then get a break from it, you are so relieved that you aren't anxious that being numb for a while isn't too bad
  22. I've already tried the melanocortin Bremelanotide. It had no effect whatsoever in any dose that I tried subcutaneously. In a way, anhedonia is a "defense mechanism" preventing overload and probably even seizures due to excessive NMDA overactivity in regions of the brain. This "brake" is bypassed by psychedelics which, consequently, bring upon highly emotional states as well as seizures in some individuals. I'm still experiencing substantial improvements and expect to feel pretty much "normal" after a year off of all meds, but detachment from the outcome really helps me get rid of anxiety spikes just in case I do not "get what I expected." Please remember that just because something "increases" endorphins, dopamine, or anything else does not mean much. What is important is that over time, receptor density increases and the brain is able to return to a euthymic state in a sustainable way. A lot of terrible drugs also happen to increase endorphins and dopamine.
  23. I see gradual improvements that are not notable day-to-day, but more like month-to-month. I get periods of high blunting and irritability that precede a "window" of emotion or "release." I think that after the provided time frame I will be in pretty good shape, and already I would say things are definitely adequate and livable and not anywhere near the endless torturous all-enveloping irritability and numbness that I am unfortunately familiar with. I feel that there is a slow build up to windows that occurs, but that the time between each window will decrease and the intensity of windows will increase. I commonly feel relaxed enough to doze off and sleep, which is nice - a simple pleasure that can be emulated with the use of benzodiazepines, but luckily for me, this is not necessary. I enjoy food to a greater degree than before. What I think a lot of people feel is "missing" in anhedonia is that sort of fuzzy tickly feeling of the reward center in the brain - if that makes sense. Normally, there would be a cascade of this sensation with a rewarding situation, but this is blunted in anhedonia. What I am feeling in my baseline is things reaching that "reward threshold" and giving me those feelings, but not a total "let loose" "release" "full" cascade. Sometimes I get the release fully more-or-less - I call these times "windows."
  24. Stress and anxiety are frequently involved in the perpetuation or triggering in anhedonic symptoms, and as calcium ions are used to create voltage potentials across neurons, vitamin D levels often fall to compensate. I too, had extremely low vitamin D levels
  • Create New...