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Answers To Curing Anhedonia/numbness/apathy, No. 1


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Hello guys

As long as here is possibly best place i have ever found in my life, anybody can help me to understand my situation better

Here are some signs:

1.I never miss anybody even my mother.

2.I never had any idea which job or profession or academic study is interesting to me.

3.I never had a girl friend while most of my friends are girls.

4.I never had a close friend while many people believe I'm a pleasant person.

5.I'm neither a fan of any soccer team nor any celebrity nor any sport car etc so it's so hard to me to find a mutual interest to talk about with other people but usually try to be open-eyed about any possible subject.

6.I can have a high income without a hard job but meanwhile i have no reason and motivation to do that so i just work when there is nothing left in my pocket to pay my monthly costs.

7.I felt alone since i can remember and always my tries failed to feel closer to other people.

8.I'm not in mood for almost everything from eating food to sleeping, for example i usually eat once each day or each 2 days.

9.I feel worse during last years after tries many thing i had hope to enjoy from but didn't such as weekend trip to nature, bungee jumping, paragliding, sex and so on.

10.I can't remember any part of my life that I was enjoying it since i was a kid.

11.I have tried 3 different psychologists, 2 different psychiatrists and currently trying psychoanalyst since last year and almost didn't help me.

12.I don't say i absolutely enjoy nothing at all, but it seems if other people enjoy something 50 to 70 percent then i enjoy that 5 to 7 percent!

Also tried a few medicines such as Citalopram 10mg/20mg/40mg, Bupropion, Asentra, Venlafaxine 37.5mg/75mg and Ritalin 10mg as I remember now

I requested a functional MRI(fMRI) and seems should wait a long time because seems it's not a regular imaging here.

So do you think I have depression? Is this anhedonya or something else? My guess is dysthymia or double depression.

By the way I'm 28 years old man living alone since 5 years ago.

sounds like 'dysthymia' to me. It is not an officail diagnosis anymore, but there is this prototypical person who is persistently depressed not completely incapacitated , whose symptoms are characterized by joylessness and associatead symptoms such as hopelessness, lack of appetite etc, whose symptoms started very early in life. Seems like you fit that picture

Edited by sc2
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I was unable to get through all 68 pages, but did manage to pick up several of the main summary posts. I am a fellow sufferer and have been for probably 20+ years.

I have been labeled as medication resistant by taking the P450 test at Mayo Clnic, which looks at genetic markers.

I don't know why I expected after all these years of research and all of the participants here on the DF to find some hope when I got to the end of the post today, but I did. I needed to.

Recent detrimental life events have pushed me to the lowest level of MDD yet. Also while I have always been GAD as well, it has now gotten to the point of being a social phobia. On several recent occasions when I have made it out of the house to a concert or a large family gathering I have neared the point of moving into a panic attack. I suddenly feel the need to leave ASAP and return to my house where I am safe. A great catch-22 as I maybe safe, but I am also completely alone (recent divorce after long term marriage), therefore I am lonely. So the experiences of trying to overcome the social phobia have backfired and moved me closer to becoming agoraphobic.

This past weekend was a milestone for me. I finished up the last of the big holidays or family gatherings. Now for the next several months there is nothing on my social calendar at all. So I am just marking time which causes me to ruminate and spiral down. Like others,I can sit for hours on end doing absolutely nothing. There is no motivation to begin doing anything and there is no pleasure in finishing anything.

I have no sexual desire and the Cymbalta which added 40 pounds to my short frame also took away my ability to respond sexually. So I feel as if I am a female eunuch.

I was just beginning to try an online dating site, but I can see from what I have read that LOVE is not going to suddenly appear and in the long run I will only be harming a potential suitor. So I will stop this crazy idea before it goes any further.

Unlike many of you I have been battling strongly destructive thoughts. And with what I have learned from this post I see no hope for the future in terms of returning to the land of emotions and life and love. If that is to be the case, and it has been for far too many years, I cannot see any valid reason for continuing this existence.

I think there is some similarity to having no emotional response, no pleasurable experiences and the phenomenon known as locked in syndrome. I consider neither of these conditions to be living, I see them as existence.

I do not care...about anything or anyone. Label me selfish if you desire. Self-preservation to me seems selfish as I am taking away good resources from others who can lead productive, loving lives that actually contribute to the betterment of mankind. I have nothing to offer anyone. So one day when the self-destructive thoughts hit I see no reason to fight them off anymore.

After all these years and after all this research I was really hoping for a better outcome.

How very disappointing. How can there be any reason for hope?

For me, this post is the perverbially last straw.

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I'm just curious of age and onset of anhedonia?

How old are you currently?

What was your age or how long ago when anhedonia hit?

Any previous bouts of depression, anxiety, etc?

I'm 25, anhedonia hit 4 to 6 months ago.

Had physical health anxiety for about 6 months when I was 22.

-Possibly had anhedonia for a short period after that, but didn't realize it at the time and didn't last long. I specifically remember not being as angry on the road, almost a dysphoric feeling from music, not as happy, not sad either. It went away.

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my anhedonia has improved over the past 4 years (after ive quit prozac), and it has especially improved over the past year / 8months.

the things i tried over the past year were tianeptine, bacopa monnieri, testosterone replacement and now moclobemide.

there is light at the end of the tunnel

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In your estimation, would people with ADHD have a chance at recovery?

ADHD and comorbid anhedonia is an interesting conundrum that I've been researching to limited effect. I have ADHD-C, which carries with it it's own motivational issues and an inherent rewards deficiency. I think unlike other ADHDers, I don't tend to start new projects all the time or do impulsive things based on a feeling of positive benefit, no matter how fleeting the feeling is or how quickly it is forgotten if you don't act on it, because I never envision any sort of positive benefit to the self-proposed action. Instead, I've always acted impulsively (anti-social behavior, money spending, etc) because I flat out don't care about the consequences at the time and I'm curious to see what will happen as a result of acting on the impulse. I'm conditioned to know that the impulsive action is not likely to result in increased pleasure, no matter how fleeting, and I'm a lot better at self-control when medicated, but that potentially disadvantageous curiosity is always in the back of my mind. I think the chronic boredom of ADHD, combined with the despiration to feel some sort of strong emotion, as conditioned by long-term anhedonia, is what fuels that curiosty.

On the other hand, the restlessness that also goes with adult-ADHD is what makes me pursue activities and projects. Like others have said, it's mostly as a way to do something with my spare time and pent-up energy and an avenue to distract me from my ever-present problems. I've learned that not distracting myself from restless energy results in depression and dysphoria and ultimately worsens anhedonia. The way stimulant medication works in this regard is by increasing perseverance against adversity (distraction, brain fog) and empowering me to do things consciously, or coldly neutral, without genuine feelings of excitement or anticipation of rewards. In effect, my humanity is blunted because every act I do is out of utility. ADHD meds worsen this somewhat, but the tradeoff in treating ADHD symptoms, and those fleeting windows of excitement and positive moments they can provide, make it well worth it to take the damn meds..

With dopamine being implicated in ADHD, as well as the "wanting" deficiency in anhedonia, it's easy to imagine the two conditions are linked. However, we still don't know what mechanism is definitively involved in either condition or which type of dopamine receptors are involved, so as tempting as it is, one can't dance on the Jump to Conclusions mat.

Also this

may sound like a strange question, but do/did you ever physically feel like you could feel your brain working under certain circumstances? Or you would get a rush to your head during different emotions?

Yes, I've felt tingling in my frontal and left parietal lobes while under the influence of amphetamines, and the first day of taking buproprion. I always took it as a sign that the drugs are working. Usually, but not always, the tingling is accompanied by those windows of anhedonia relief I mentioned earlier.

As an aside, I have unrefreshing and fragmented sleep almost every single night (idiopathic hyposomnia) with no real disorder revealed by a polysomnogram. My long-going hypothesis is that the stress responce from this poor sleep probably fuels my anhedonia via some mechanism - low-grade brain inflammation, hormone dysfunction, or maybe depleted neurotransmitters. I base this on the observation that in the rare instance of refreshing sleep I have gotten in the last 20 years of suffering from anhedonia, the symptoms seem to improve that day. I've also noticed that for me, just like idleness, sleep deprivation is a guaranteed method to induce depression/dysphoria for me and an accompanying worsening of anhedonia. Unfortunately, I have never been able to string together enough days of refreshing sleep to test this hypothesis.

Edited by Dichotohmy
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Here people are saying that they have been suffering from anhedonia from more than a decade , but on paxilprogress , everyone say that people get healed within 2 years after quitting drugs

Indeed, there's no telling what to believe and what not to believe.

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I know what it's like to feel so hopeless. This thread has helped me to realize that there are other people existing in this nothingness and lack of feeling and if other people are able to get through day by day then I can try to do it too. My mom always says to take it one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time.

I realize even though I cant experience anything I can still "do" things to make a difference in other people's lives. Maybe it's cooking a meal or smiling at a stranger. It feels empty but I can still have an impact and cause an affect. I realized this when the fire in the wood stove was almost out and was nothing but a few dying embers. I blew on it and the embers glowed brighter and soon a fire was burning again. Even though I cant feel anything, I realized my own breath was able to still cause an outcome. I hope you know that you can still "contribute to the betterment of mankind" and have something to offer.

I don't have GAD but maybe it would be helpful to do more social things whether that's a dating site, joining a gym or volunteering so you're not so alone. I know there's no reward. It might help be distractions and make the day go by faster.

Everyday is a struggle. I try to tell myself simple things just to keep going like I have clean water or that I can taste food.

Hang in there.

Edited by Tingles
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You have to realize that the negative thoughts are usually delusional. There is an imbalance (not nearly as simple as a "chemical imbalance") causing a low mood. The first thing people tend to do is try to find something to pin the bad mood on. "I must be feeling bad because of _________" when in reality there is a general irritability and intolerance of virtually everything - even things that would not have been bothersome before.

I had a letup in the emotional blunting today. I strongly suspect the reason for this was that I was forced to get up at 4:30am for my first day of work. I felt really tired, had a small energy boost around 10am, then crashed hard (really drowsy) by around 2-3pm. After all of that, emotional lability increased, which, in most people would be considered bad, but for me was refreshing.

My suggestion is to slowly taper down with a milligram scale as slowly as possible to find the minimum effective dose without bringing back symptoms. Go back up in dose if necessary, but always do the minimum with a goal of eventually coming off completely.


The anhedonia lasts from a few months to a maximum of around 3 years if left alone (with no drugs or excessive stress added). Don't worry about little things be "excessive stress" if you would normally be able to handle them. I'm talking about emotional or even physical abuse, relationship issues, etcetera.

I frequently see this as the time frame people report being "back to baseline" after MDMA abuse or SSRI withdrawal. I have heard of others I know with anhedonia from other causes recovering in the same time frame. Some take longer due to the above-mentioned issues.

Edited by itstrevor
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I'm a week in on Sertraline 50mg, but have been anhedonic since end of Feb. From then I tried 3 different meds but could not tolerate the side effects.

I am able to cry but there is no release. I do have some emotional baggage too and I'm at a loss how to resolve it due to having no emotions!!

The sertraline is giving me horrendous insomnia and lack of appetite.

I try to tackle suicdial thoughts and logic through positive affirmations but they have no effect, although when i do fantasize about suicide i sometimes feel relaxed which is very worrying.


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What do you suggest to me regarding my depression (seems kind of dysthymia since about 20 years ago!) while even none of medicines I have used, changed my mood and feelings

Please share your experience and knowledge with me, I'm too tired of joylessness, lack of appetite and hopeless life.

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Good news from me is I am noticing improvements - especially these last two days (probably catalyzed by being forced to wake up at the buttcrack of dawn for my new job). Emotional lability is increasing and I get really irritable followed by lots of crying and a variable release that is increasing each day.

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This would have seemed impossible a little while ago. The best frame of mind is to keep yourself open to emotion, and never try to force emotion one way or another. Take a detached sort of observer perspective and let it flow or not flow. Understand that you will be irritable for a while while you heal, but that the things that you think you are getting irritable a result of are really not making you irritable at all, but that you try to find things that wouldn't normally bother you and pin your irritability to them "I must be upset because of ___." You will be fooled like this, but it does get better and the only thing you can do is try to let go, accept, and prevent anxiety spikes. Feeling trapped in a life situation can cause slower recovery, but often times people think that they are trapped and try to pin their emotions on situations when really they are really irritable and sensitive to stress due to anhedonia/depression/anxiety and a deficit of pleasure.

Many people will try to tell you that you shouldn't feel this way or that way, or that you are being a baby, or a wimp, or that with everything going for you in your life that you don't deserve to feel a certain way, or that guys aren't supposed to be sensitive, or to "buck up," stop feeling bad for yourself, bite the bullet, everyone feels pain so why should yours be any different, and so on, but really I think that all humans are children at heart and are just forced to behave like adults, and stuffing emotions can hinder release and increase anxiety.

Expectations and trying to force yourself to feel a certain way can make healing slow. When the emotions do not flow imagine yourself as a weary tired traveler and a victim to the psyche. Do not stress about it, but feel bad for yourself. Society sees anger and sadness as bad, but they are valid emotions and self-regard is required before genuine regard of others. Avoid contact with others who have expectations of you or your behavior. I have to deal with people like that and everyone else does too, but leave enough recharge time inbetween.

The brain heals on it's own. You don't have to do anything. Certain things speed it though.

In my case less sleep and going to work early seems to be speeding things somehow.

I have been off of all medications for a month and 22 days now with this frame of mind with positive results after over 2 years of suffering.

Reward salience is slowly increasing, sleep latency is decreasing (falling asleep faster), little to no anxiety, little to no depression, and crying with a release 2 days in a row. It's not 100% yet but it's going to get there if this trend continues. Even my vitamin D levels are to return to normal if the graph is extrapolated.

Avoid eating sugary foods that cause spikes in blood sugar. Eat things like sunflower seeds and things that keep blood sugar levels even. I think this is more important than ANY supplement or amino acid or vitamin that I have ever tried. Instead of starving yourself then eating a bunch of sugary and starchy foods at once, be more balanced throughout the day (search a diabetic diet for balanced ideas).

Avoid using psychotropics of any kind including canny bis, alcohol, and caffeine.

When you feel anxiety increasing let it happen and think of it as the excitatory neurotransmitters systems coming back on line and try to re-route the energy towards your reward circuits. It will be uncomfortable but it isn't dangerous (you may have to reach rock bottom before realizing this). Think of it as the brain increasing pain in order to increase sensitivity of pain-relieving circuits. Think of it as an annoyance, but just sigh and let it run its course.

Edited by itstrevor
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Good news trevor! Keep going with more progress. I found few years ago when my anhedonia was better that waking up early was definetely good for it and waking up late would worsen it. Dont know why. Waking up early and getting sunlight is always good. Im planning on going back to school and having some kind of routine. Im in a complete vegetative state right now but what do i have to lose in trying that. Better than staying home all day going mad about my anhedonia.

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I think it has to do with sleep latency and when your body isn't getting as much sleep it wants you to sleep more, so it slowly you down and makes you feel more relaxed and sleepy. I think the body produces insomnia to make this happen too (natural sleep deprivation). I remember after having not slept for about 2-3 days the night I finally slept I felt 100% the next morning (this was about 2 years ago).

I don't think you should force yourself to get up early because then you will resent it. Maybe get up early to do something constructive like run or work. Try to get in a groove, niche, or routine if possible. Try not to resent anything, but feel bad for yourself instead of angry at others if possible. That negative energy needs to manifest somehow, and the best way I have found is through self-care.

People always say not to feel sorry for yourself or have self-pity. I feel that one has to be at peace with oneself before one can truly genuinely care about someone else. In this way, I feel like what these people say is complete bs.

I think this is sort of like an economy, with anhedonia being at like rock bottom and it just takes a while to get the brain's emotional economy rolling again.

Edited by itstrevor
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Hi all, I have a few questions for you if you dont mind.

I was wondering if any one you had issues with your joints, bones etc. I have been anhedonic for over a year now. The first 6 months or so I could atleast run, exercise normally and play games, which was a good distraction. Then after that my joints started to become weak and clicking/popping alot. That along with back pain and bones feeling "weak". My shoulder bones feel like they are carrying something heavy. I no longer can run or play due to the joint pain, my main source of exercise is walking which I do every day.

My doctor told me depression can cause physical pain due to heightened pain receptor sensitivity. Anyone else have similar issues with physical problems?

Lastly, I saw a couple quotes over the internet. Motivational quotes for normal people. One was "embrace the ups and downs, without them you are dead." It made me want to punch the author in the face, as if they were rubbing it in. But I realized, this world we have to call reality is so completely foreign and un imaginable/unheard of by the general public that they dont realize something like that is insulting to people suffering from depression.

It would be like if motivational quotes were posted saying "embrace running, without running you are a cripple". No one would write that because its insulting to cripples. I guess my point is we are crippled in our own way but in secret.

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Why hello everyone.

I have been following this thread for a while. Haven't read it all, so can't say I am aware of everything that has been said. But anyway here's my story.

Back in 2010 I was admitted to a psych ward for supposed mania and psychosis. Ever since then i have been on a lot of anti-psychotics, mood stabilisers, antidepressants, benzos, you name it. Well im sure some of you have been on more than me but anyways, it was a lot.

Basically i have never really found something that worked, at least for a decent amount of time. Then because i wasn't making much progress, my mental health team decided to change my case worker, who was at the time a psych nurse, and a pretty passive one at that, to their boss who is fully fledged psychologist. Anyway he started to suspect that i probably did't have bipolar, or schizophrenia, or schizo affective(since i had been off all meds for a good while at that point and hadn't had another episode) and that my episodes in the past were brought out by a combination of drugs and possibly supplements, <of which i used to take a lot(supplements).

My main issues of late have not been any kind of extreme low mood, but definitely major disappointment that i cant enjoy my life, anhedonia(which by the way is one of the two main symptoms of depression, you either have low mood or anhedonia to be diagnosed) both normal and ejaculatory, anxiety, moderate confusion, and a sense that i could not get better at anything, or become per say automatic at anything, no matter how hard I tried. This latter one has been an issue for a while and i have always been intrigued at how i couldn't seem to find anyone else that had it, or anything serious about it on-line.

anyway, after getting so sick of my anhedonia and not feeling like i could get on with my life, i went off all my meds. for about six weeks, and it was pretty bad, i mean i went off cold turkey and had gone off another one cold turkey about six weeks before that. both were anti psychotics. i think most of my issues at that point were withdrawal, but i was having suicidal thoughts and i couldn't deal with my life, so i went on citalopram as this was what i was on pretty successfully until i had my breakdown in 2010.

let me just say, i had never experienced anhedonia, either sexual, ejaculatory or normal before i went on anti psychotics and mood stabilizers. and after them, i had pretty consistent anhedonia, low mood for a while and all the other stuff i mentioned. the ejaculatory anhedonia started in 2011-12 sometime, and im not sure what meds i was on, or even if i was on meds at that time, as i went off them for a while around then.

anyway about the anhedonia, the first thing i noticed was not being able to enjoy music. that was sooo bad. i have always loved music, and taking that away was just depressing. then came the all round anhedonia, ejaculatory anhedonia, social anhedonia, food anhedonia and a general inablity to live my life.

so now i am on citalopram, and to be honest it didn't seem to helping much of my anhedonia, but it definitely reduced the suicidal thoughts, or the impact of them, or whatever the case may be, it wasn't a big issue any more, and since that was basically what i couldn't stand, it was helpful,.

now because i wasn't thinking about offing my self all the time, i started to research about ways of curing anhedonia. funny thing, that brought me here. now i could try any one of the things mentioned on this forum, but i am not too psyched about trying new meds if i don't have to. i have had some pretty bad experiences.

anyway about two or three weeks ago, i decided to buy a pack of cigis, since i wasn't really doing anything enjoyable. at this point i had been off all mood stabilizers(anti-psychs) for at least about twelve weeks, so it was pretty out of my system by then. and anyway, i really enjoyed the cigis, which i had smoked a few times in the past year and had only gotten palpitations and anxiety, and breathing anxiety, so this was a good surprise. i started to realise that it was helping me focus, i could do research all day, and just keep taking in information. btw i felt my inability to not get better at anythign is related to an inablity or an intolerance for taking in information, for any length of time, even though i have never been diagnosed with add, which may have been an over site, but anyway.

soo i then went a drank a coffee, and wala, i felt like a million bucs. i started enjoying music, playin my games, my anxiety was down, felt like i coudl take on the world! but that i didnt have to, right then and there. so i coudl just take it as it came. it was a really eye opening experience..

so i migrated to nicotine gum, and still drink coffee and take my citalopram at 20mg. i have not felt this good in a long time. just wanted to let you guys know. the antidepressant didn't fix it. but drinking that coffee and chewing that gum has pretty much solved my problems, and i feel like the antidepressant is helping to some degree too, and in any case I'm not too keen on suicidal thoughts for a while if i can help it.

i did however smoke some mary jane recently, because i had some alcohol on the weekend which i enjoyed for the first time in ages and well, and i thought maybe i will enjoy some mary as well. i thought right, but it quickly turned not so good, and my anhedonia and anxiety flared up, and i felt my body was starting to tell me i didn't need it, any more of it anyways.

so im gonna give the mary a break, and take it easy. and i don't really drink much anyway, i just did that weekend cause i was out and hadn't drunk in ages, as i never usually have fun drinking. but i don't like the hangovers, too time consuming.

so yeah, i reckon, if you haven't tried it, try some nicotine gum with coffee and possibly and antidepressant, you might find this to be the answer. i don't seem to be needing more and more of the coffee and nicotine either, i seem to have around 4-6 coffees a day, never any more, and 4-6 2mg nicotine gums a day, usually at the same time, as it seems to work synergistically. and hell i might even smoke a few cigis here and there(not that i have since that last packet, but whats the harm in a cigi if you dont have to smoke it or get addicted), and i dont have too, you know.

one other thing the nicotine gum( and possibly the coffee combo) helps with, is eating less. i usually can not eat until like 3pm or later and feel great. its a good feeling not to be relying, or feeling like you have to eat to improve your mood, or to just keep from feeling terrible. i can eat when i want and the nicotine/ coffee/ antidepresant combo keeps me happy and functional for the rest of the time.

i think even the ejaculatory anhedonia is improving... wooot.

anyways just wanted to share this with you guys, i know its so to have anhedonia, and to mix that with anxiety, depression and life/social problems, sucks.

so maybe this can be a much needed light for some of you.

good luck.

btw, i seem to have realised through all of this that personality can play a part in depression. i think i have some kind of rare personality that means i don't really get lonely, and don't have to be around other people to be happy. i always thought of this as a problem, but ever since i tried to just accept it as me, and since figuring out all this other stuff, i am much more at peace. some personality types are hard to deal with, and if you cant accept them, they can create issues in your life, and quite possibly flare up depression anxiety and anhedonia. so my last point is, do a personality test, or two or three, i recommend Myer Briggs, and the Big 5. Anyways it just helps to understand and accept who you are. You don't have to be like everyone else, its ok to be different, its better than ok, because if its who you are, then its liberating. i guess, i mean i dunno if this needs to be said, but i am not saying that you personality gives you a right to be an a******. you can be anythign you want, but that shouldn't make you want to hurt others. but there is a difference between hurting others and not allowing others to have power over you. if you know what i mean.

good day peeps.

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Thanks for sharing your story. I too had a mania and psychosis. Mine was due to extreme stress in 2012. I'm taking a little bit of zyprexa and will be weaning off soon. I don't know if the anhedonia was caused from the breakdown or meds. Can you experience emotions?

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Can't get myself to do anything.

TV, sleep, and ruminate.

Spiraling down everyday being overcome with suicide ideation.

I actually did try to make contact with 3 separate family members thinking that would help me get up and get going. They are all too busy, so I have no one.

I would call my therapist, but he would put me in the hospital since I don't have anyone to be with.

Helpless, hopeless, classic MDD and going down fast.

Really can't stand this anymore.

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I tried to send you a message itstrevor but I just wanted to say thank you for all your posts here. I've been thinking "does it ever get better" and stuff like that, I've been afraid that depression have permanently damaged my brain but your posts lately have given me hope. I'm thinking of stopping my sertraline (been on it for 6 weeks) and just stick with exercise and meditation and let my brain heal itself instead. Very much appreciated and good luck. Cheers.

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