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Just The Wind

Searching for Cure. Desperate.

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I don't really know how to go about this so, **** it. I'll try to summarize as much as possible. If someone feels need for my full story, I'll guess I can provide it later.

Male. 25. And I've lost the last 11 years of my life to anxiety and depression. A condition that has only gotten worse over the years. Nearly half of my life is gone forever. The majority of my childhood, and the entirety of my adult life. I came from a poor family, and a broken home. I never received most basic medical treatments. And when it comes to depression no one took me seriously because of my ****ing age. So the chance at early intervention has already been thrown away. Luckily I live in a country and culture that disbelieves and stigmatizes a condition that can't be physically seen. So great. I had to wait until I could pay for everything before I could fix any of my problems. Dental, pharmaceutical, psychiatry. Everything. All while this slowly ate into my life and mind. So I worked, pretending to be perfectly normal. Every single day. Even while my problems went untreated. Which ultimately ended up being one of the worst mistakes I ever made. I had so much anxiety that I could barely leave the house. Coping with depression is bad. Being forced to hide it is worse. Being forced to cope while hiding it and still having to perform functionally and deal with the rest of life's is what eventually killed my mind. Compensating for the kind of cognitive impairments that come along with years of untreated depression, only exasperated things further. I COULD NOT remember even my closest co-workers' names, after months of trying. I couldn't remember faces, locations, directions, or even what I was doing an hour ago. Just leaving the house felt like walking through a lion's den due to the crippling social anxiety that I was experiencing at the time . Forcing myself to endure years of this is what wore me down until it finally broke me.

I hit the most intense period of self-loathing and hopelessness this year. I was drinking a fifth of alcohol per night, started cutting myself up several times a week, and stopped eating almost entirely. It wasn't until the first several months of his that I even noticed the sudden absence of feeling or desire. The realization of which sent me into severe anxiety attack that lasted 4 months, culminating in an episode of depersonalization. Which was the most intensely painful and horrifically uncomfortable thing that any human being should ever have to experience. I still don't know if I'm entirely rid of it. After months of grueling, painstaking effort with the assistance of bupropion and a combination of every holistic and cognitive approach that I could find. I've only just recently manged to stop the anxiety attack, and ease the depression. It's been about 5 months now but the apathy and anhedonia WONT GO AWAY. I could give a about the anxiety and depression, they could be dealt with in one way or another, despite the pain. This, however, is unacceptable. Why is the worst problem also the one that seems the most untreatable. How could it be? How do I undo the years of suffering that warped my mind into this? What could possibly be done, short of just wiping my ****ing memories?

The anxiety and depression has ebbs and flows, but nothing about this anhedonia as changed or improved even a little bit. I haven't felt ANYTHING for almost half a year now. I can't feel love, affection, pleasure, excitement, fear, embarrassment, arousal. Everything's just gone. The people closest to me could all die and I would feel nothing. You could give me the options of a million dollars or a bullet in the head and I wouldn't care either way. After 11 years of constant thanatophobia, I don't fear the concept of death now. I wish I could convey how painfully alone I've felt for the last decade. And now that I've even lost the ability to feel romantic or sexual attraction at all, I'm just ****ing done with it. I never even got the chance to experience any of life and it's already over. I will not spend another 6 months as an impotent, asexual, sociopath. I just wish I could have experienced more before the end. At least losing my fear of death will make that part easier. But, then again, that also means that I'm not afraid to take extreme measures to fix this before I finally decide to end it all.

That's why I would like to know about ANY potential cures or treatments for anhedonia and apathy. Potentially induced by severe anxiety and/or depersonalization. I don't care how experimental, consumer friendly or legal it is. If it has the potential to hurt me, I don't care. At least I won't be dead. If it kills me, then frankly that'll be just as convenient. I have a fairly limited time table here, so unfortunately I may not have the greatest amount of time to invest in lengthy goose chases. However, any solid leads are greatly appreciated. I'll continue to search as well, with what limited resources I have. 

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Hi Just The Wind -- Welcome to Df.

In answer to your question, there is no cure for mental health issues. Whether that is depression, anxiety or more complex conditions. There is however, the possibility of remission following meds and maybe counselling with personal insight.

Remission by definition isn't a "cure", it means that you have had significant periods of time where your symptoms on a daily basis have greatly reduced to the point of not impacting your daily life to the extent that they previously did.

Remission can last for a few weeks, months or even years, but unlike a cure, there's always the possibility of your illness coming back.

Tungsten.

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I've been to cbt style talk therapies, however, there's nothing much to even talk about. I just feel nothing now. That's it. That's all I can tell them. I don't see anything that CBT can do for nothingness. Traditional therapy probably could have helped me three years ago when depression and anxiety were my primary problem. Now, it's gotten to the point that it feels like something has been physiologically damaged inside of my brain. I don't feel like the same person at all. This is a fairly new development. I once had things that were more important than anything else in the world to me. But now I lost the ability to ever experience them before this happened. I wish I could go back in time and let myself experience all the things that were stolen away from me. I don't care about dying young. We're all born into a death sentence, some of us have to face it sooner than others. The only thing that bothers me is that I didn't get to have a fulfilling experience with what time that I had before I lost the ability to experience it forever. If only I had known this would happen. It's too late now. **** this whole god damn world.

I need to start experimenting with all available options as soon as possible, time is limited. I still have another week before I can meet with my doctor again, though somehow I doubt that there are any traditional depression meds that can fix this particular kind of damage. Especially if brupropion already can't reverse it. The depression and anxiety aren't an issue now. It's whatever traumatic neurological damage that shut off my feelings and emotions that needs to be repaired. I doubt that specialists for anhedonia even exist. Nor that anyone in the field even considers it a separate thing to be treated. Everything has been developed for anxiety and depression. That doesn't help me.

I guess I'll try to pressure my doc to help me find any of the last resort procedures that exist, I know there's a few. If none of those work, I don't know. I'll have to find someone to help me get my hands on alternatives. Maybe MDMA, LSD or some odd combination of psychotropic drugs might be able to solicit some kind of response. Maybe a hormone replacement therapy could do something, since I probably won't be around long enough to worry about the adverse effects anyway. If not, I'll try sub-lethal doses, or odd combinations. I don't know how I'll be able to get my hands on current experimental pharmaceuticals to treat theoretical problems with melanocortin. But if there's any way to synthesized or steal them, I'm willing to throw everything away to try it. Worst comes to worst maybe I can track down a method to reliably damage my long term memory enough so that I won't be able to recall the last several years or even the last half of my life. Though who's to say which memories or motor functions will be affected. I don't want to end up stuck without even the wherewithal to **** myself.

Edited by Just The Wind

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If you're treatment resistant, tried all SSRIs, TCAs, SNRIs.. You might want to try MAOIs.
This is assuming you've tried all the lifestyle stuff. Regular Meditation, exercise, socialising, hobbies.
Anhedonia is when the brain unlearns pleasure, for some reason. Either due to prolonged comfort zones, trauma, genetics, theres alot of factors and thats why remission is attained differently per individual.

Don't think you're brain damaged. The depression/anhedonia is simply blocking all your thoughts & emotions. Some people ive talked to who got their emotions back needed high dose medications, or combinations such as:

Cymbalta + Geodon

Zoloft + Wellbutrin

Effexor + Mirtazapine

If your Anhedonia is treatment resistant you might want to ask your doctor about the above. They're based on broad spectrum neurotransmission. 

Don't read too much on the internet about meds numbing you. Meds are designed to reduce your depression, not numb your feelings. Hang in there and work with your doctor.

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4 hours ago, jaiho said:

If you're treatment resistant, tried all SSRIs, TCAs, SNRIs.. You might want to try MAOIs.
This is assuming you've tried all the lifestyle stuff. Regular Meditation, exercise, socialising, hobbies.
Anhedonia is when the brain unlearns pleasure, for some reason. Either due to prolonged comfort zones, trauma, genetics, theres alot of factors and thats why remission is attained differently per individual.

Don't think you're brain damaged. The depression/anhedonia is simply blocking all your thoughts & emotions. Some people ive talked to who got their emotions back needed high dose medications, or combinations such as:

Cymbalta + Geodon

Zoloft + Wellbutrin

Effexor + Mirtazapine

If your Anhedonia is treatment resistant you might want to ask your doctor about the above. They're based on broad spectrum neurotransmission. 

Don't read too much on the internet about meds numbing you. Meds are designed to reduce your depression, not numb your feelings. Hang in there and work with your doctor.

How're you doing with your anhedonia?

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You know, I've thought about illegal drug in the past. Due to how ubiquitous it's become, and how easy it is to get. However, I've also read that some people experience new or exasperated dissociative symptoms: Depersonalization, Derealization, ect. Considering that I've just recently experienced a horrific encounter with that exact problem, that makes this a no-go. The irony is that I never have, and never wanted to mess with drugs my entire life. This is just a point of desperation for me, considering that I don't have very much time left.

I'm currently doing every single holistic thing that I could find about treating depression. Diet. Exercise. Every kind of supplement even vaguely related to depression. Socialization to the best of my abilities. I try to distract my mind with "hobbies" as much as possible. Which is a term used loosely since every ounce of enjoyment that I once got from them is gone. Which can hurt just as much.

I'm trying to schedule an appointment with a urologist to see what tests can be done. Psychological issues can be linked with complete loss of interest in sex. However, what doesn't make sense is the gradual and now complete loss of healthy erectile functionality. Including the complete disappearance of spontaneous erections that shouldn't be affected by psychological problems alone. Hopefully this can provide some clue as to an underlying hormonal/ physiological cause, if any can be found.

Who knows how long my first appointment will take though. SO I'll take it up with my therapist/neurologist since I already have an appointment anyway. I'm not too hopeful considering it's not exactly his area of expertise. Not to mention how hard it's going to be for anyone to take me seriously considering that this shouldn't be happening to me at this age.

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3 hours ago, marvinoman said:

How're you doing with your anhedonia?

Pretty good. Im on Nortriptyline now.

I can actually enjoy things which is a start. It's a good baseline med since you can add SSRIs or MAOIs to it, and it seems to also counter SSRI sexual side effects.

If your Anhedonia is a brain chemistry problem like mine, meds help alot.

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11 hours ago, jaiho said:

Pretty good. Im on Nortriptyline now.

I can actually enjoy things which is a start. It's a good baseline med since you can add SSRIs or MAOIs to it, and it seems to also counter SSRI sexual side effects.

If your Anhedonia is a brain chemistry problem like mine, meds help alot.

Really? I would be curious to know which ones you tried before Nortriptyline, if you don't mind me asking. That's interesting because I thought most TCAs acted similar to SSRIs, acting primarily on serotonin, which is known for sexual side effects. I've found that the sedating effects can also make anhedonia more noticeable. Do you know what it acts on primarily? Maybe dopamine instead?

This is part of the reason why I went for bupropion as my second line. Theoretically, one would think that dopamine and norepinephrine would have the greatest effect on treating anhedonia and/or sexual problems. Though, considering that I still have both after week 4, maybe not. Here's to hoping that it somehow changes in the coming weeks while I search for other solutions.

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Hey Just the Wind,

I've struggled with severe anxiety and depression since I was young as well and I'm 30 now. I've tried just about everything under the sun as well with little to no luck. There a couple things I have found recently that have helped somewhat though.

CBD Oil - Is derived from cann-a-bis but without the THC so you don't get the 'high' feeling. It has helped me feel calmer, more relaxed and picks up my mood. Also helps with pain relief. The body has cannabinoid receptors so it appears to be beneficial and natural to take. Bluebird Botanicals is a good vendor.

Phenibut - A Nootropic (Smart drug) that is used to combat stress and anxiety and illicit relaxation and calmness. Also helps for being more sociable. From what I’ve read and understand it is safe if taken as recommended. I’ve never had any side effects or issues with it. It always helps me feel brighter, upbeat and relaxed when I’m desperate for relief. Reliable vendors are LiftMode, Star Nootropics and Nootropics Depot

If you're looking for leads I would check out the nootropic section of reddit. There's all sorts of things there that people share to help with their mood. I'm researching and learning about new things to try on there. It's also pretty active so I think you can get some good advice on there.

As far as practices to do I have couple in mind:

Gyan Mudra -  Have you ever seen a picture of a monk meditating and his finger tips are touching? I never understood what that was. I always thought it was just something to do with your hands while meditating. What I came to learn is that these hand gestures actually do have a healing effect on you. Mudras are also known as yoga for the hands. This one is the cornerstone mudra(hand gesture).

You simply gently touch the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb for both hands. The other 3 fingers are gently outstretched. When you do this it triggers a healing, relaxing and uplifting effect on your whole being. You will feel happier, calmer and your spirits will be boosted. It also brings you back to simpler, brighter times and also enhances focus/concentration, relieves headaches, strengthens the nervous and endocrine systems, and other benefits as well!

Do this whenever you like and as long as you'd like. You can do it while watching TV or you can have your hands in your pockets in public while doing it. This technique is so incredibly simple, easy and yet very powerful. Seriously, try it right now and tell me you don't feel better after 5 minutes of doing it. But doing at least 30 minutes a day will yield the best results. It's also good if you're having a panic attack or you need to diffuse some kind of nervousness. There are many other mudras that have different healing effects on the body/mind but start with this one since it's the main one and you can research other ones if you'd like.

I Love You Exercise - This exercise you just focus on your heart or any uncomfortable feeling within you and say ‘I Love You’ repeated times. This will help heal and re-balance anything that is out of balance in you. I know it sounds really corny and hallelujah but it REALLY does work.

If you look up ‘Emoto Water Crystals’ you’ll see that when loving thoughts are placed upon water crystals they regain their full, original pristine shape whereas negative thoughts make it ugly and distorted. Same goes for us. Love is the highest vibration in existence so it’ll heal you and bring you back to your original, healthy happy form by practicing it daily on yourself.

So I hope this helps man. Just remember this too shall pass and everything will be OK before you know it. If you ever wanna chat feel free to message me :)

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Well, a small piece of good news its that after the 4th week of bupropion, I feel good after exercise(aerobic/jogging) for the first time in over 2 years since this all got worse. It's not the emotional reward, because I could really give a anymore, but there's definitely a return of the chemical reward caused by exercise. Sometimes even enough for me to feel tid bits of how I used to, even if the emotions haven't really returned.

You know what one of the strangest things is? One of the first ways I can tell that something chemically returned to normal for about 2-3 hours after jogging yesterday is that my sensitivity to smell returned? Has anyone else experienced this? It's easy to notice the way that this condition condition dulls the sense of taste, but I never fully realize how much it affected my sense of smell too. Depression is such a weirdly ****ed up thing. Not exactly anything close to what I was looking to regain, but it seemed interesting none-the-less.

I'm going to try and get my prescribing psychiatrist to order me a more thorough blood test, if I can, to check my hormone levels  (not just standard thyroid levels). He'll probably scoff at me due to my age, but frankly I could give a . It's do or die time, and I want to leave no stone left unturned if this is it for me. Worse case scenario is that I'll have to talk to a urologist, which is not ideal because it could take MONTHS if it's like most first time doctor's appointments.

I'm pretty convinced that the actual emotional blunting involved here(Reduced affect display), is a primary culprit. The fact that I lost my ability to feel fear, concern and embarrassment at the same time that I lost all of my desirable feelings, is a strong indicator of emotional blunting that developed alongside the anhedonia. I need to ask my psychiatrist to be perfectly honest with me about how well trained his therapists are in treating this specific condition, because frankly I haven't felt too impressed with most of the therapies that I've read about for it. Since a majority seem to be just recycling techniques for broad depression/anxiety treatment, and I feel like this is a bit more specialized, at least for me.Insert other media

Edited by Just The Wind

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On 5/20/2017 at 2:25 AM, Just The Wind said:

Really? I would be curious to know which ones you tried before Nortriptyline, if you don't mind me asking. That's interesting because I thought most TCAs acted similar to SSRIs, acting primarily on serotonin, which is known for sexual side effects. I've found that the sedating effects can also make anhedonia more noticeable. Do you know what it acts on primarily? Maybe dopamine instead?

This is part of the reason why I went for bupropion as my second line. Theoretically, one would think that dopamine and norepinephrine would have the greatest effect on treating anhedonia and/or sexual problems. Though, considering that I still have both after week 4, maybe not. Here's to hoping that it somehow changes in the coming weeks while I search for other solutions.

Most of the SSRIs, Wellbutrin.

Some of the TCAs are selective for norepinephrine instead of serotonin.

It sounds like you're making progress. Keep exercising, if you dont have full remission after 6-8 weeks of wellbutrin i'd say your doctor would be looking at adding an SSRI to it.

SSRI + Wellbutrin is a good combination as well. 

Your emotions will return once the depression is in full remission, so keep working with your doctor.

Also, Wellbutrin should counter the SSRI sexual side effects. Nortriptyline does that for me as well.

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Well, I'm glad that you found something that works for you. One of the most troubling things about trying to treat anxiety and depression for me right now is just how much guess work is involved. There's no real strong consensus and what causes it, between chemical, physical, and psychological, which probably varies a lot between people anyway. And even what has been shown to work, there isn't even a perfect understanding for why.

I guess I'll go whatever the standard drug route is from here, which will probably be exactly what you mentioned. I'll keep Notriptyline in mind, though I'm sure he'll want to run me through the standard gambit before trying TCAs. I wanted to avoid anything that could possibly make my anhedonia / sexual problems worse, but now that I've completely lost all interest and emotion for anything, maybe I'm just putting the cart before the horse. I don't see how anything can worsen interests, emotions, and attractions that are already at zero.

At the very least, hopefully whatever I'm taking will help repair SOME of the damage that a decade of untreated depression can inflict on the brain. Which most AD seem to have been shown to do to some degree or another, even if nothing else. Getting some of my short term memory back would be a handy thing to have.

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I'd like to thank everyone who has taken the time to comment or try to help. It's something that none of you had to do, and it's reassuring to know that there are people willing to help even when they already have their own problems to deal with. You're better people than I and hopefully I can find it in me to follow your examples some day.

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I can answer this question with three things that I believe out me back on track, as silly as they seem they got my interest in life back and got me off meds and some other bad habits ( at age 36 ) first of all I read a book called the "feeling good handbook by David d byrnes " its on amazon for a few bucks and was like i was reading a manual on my life, the 2nd thing I started doing was buying things from different sources and selling them online ( ebay ) from thrift shops, from closeout websites, all different places and then renewing them and selling at a profit, this became a game to chase and distracted me from being bored in life, I think we all are bored at the core and must find more daring or newer ways to reach highs and distract ourselves .. the third and best thing I did was buy a little 5 week old pitbull puppy who became my best friend for the next 6 years, she forced me to leave the home each day, she never gave up trying to boss me about, and she gave me a reason to live, not only that but I found that by having such a cute puppy thousands of people wanted to stop and talk to me, i met some many girls ( including my ex wife ) walking that dog, she broke all my social phobias and changed who i was  ... unconfident, unhappy and living a banal life

some other practical things that helped distract me was a career change, learning a new language, going to the gym, walking a lot listening to music and travelling to a new place once a month, even if it was just a new metro station if i was short on cash,

 

to be happy in life you need a plan, a purpose and some goals

 

best of life to all you and peace xx

 

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In my opinion if bupropion doesn't work , then the best choice would be Amisulpride. My sister's 6 year long anhedonia was cured with it . It works even in very little doses. Infact,it works for anhedonia only in small doses. 

I would help you with any other info . my facebook id is  

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Hi, I stumbled on this discussion while searching for ideas on how to solve my Anhedonia. Long story short healing my C-PTSD resulted in ending up in Anhedonia and from all I've read on the subject it appears to be a common place to land. All the stress of breaking down and reliving the causes of the fight flight responses causes a shut down. During the process of flashback and reprocessing I had on several occassions what I can only describe as short term Anhedonia, for say a week or a month. This time, after stopping myself breaking everything I've built up during healing or reprocessing C-PTSD, by not going with my need for pastures new and not burning my bridges I have been left in this non depressed but empty place for just over 2 years.

It took me some time to try and find an answer as you kind of get used to feeling nothing and the lack of drive that brings with it. About 3 months ago I found Anhedonia or flatlining, as some call it, during a small spurt of energy to solve this. I had a small mail chat with a woman in the US who says she has a way out and maybe if all else fails I'll be turning to her, but I solved the C-PTSD puzzle so I'm going to give this a try too.

I started taking 75mg of Ventafluxine (I think it's called) as the whole thing was getting me down. I gleaned from the lady that positive thought is key, and I had used EMDR during the latter stages of my PTSD. What I am now doing is a kind of reversed EMDR whereby I focus on the positive rather than the hurt. Some days I'm completely blocked out even to the point of imagination or mental imagining, on these days whilst listening to EMDR beeps I say nice things to myself. If I can create mental images I am now focusing on extreme adrenaline inducing things such as skydiving or riding a fast motorbike or jumping from great height and then whooping with joy after each. All in my head and on occasion in a hypnotic kind of state. I have had some periods where I almost felt like I used to and once you taste that it drives you to find it again.

I'm no expert but I am a victim of this mind shut out and I can remember a time without it. To me its just a process in the mind that has shut down and I now have to jump start it. I've had absolute desire back now on a fgew occasions and my ability to create returned even more. I'm sure that with time I will get the motor running and purring smoother than ever before. So my tip is to be positive, write everyday the small things that bring pleasure and retrain the mind using EMDR in the way I've stated. I just put emdr beeps into you tube and have found a couple that work for me. I don't do the eye movement I just put headphones on, close eyes and relax and talk at times direct to my mind not even hearing the beeps...

 

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