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


itstrevor

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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.

Your not alone. Your voice has been heard. You are needed in this life and wanted in this life without being known by anything other than your addition to this community of people who also suffer. Like you, all have known your same thoughts, same desperation same hopelessness.

I ask you to find one person that will be affected by your giving in to the emptiness and survive for that one thing alone. I want you to know, I know it feels hopeless. In spite of all the emptiness. Don't give up. I am reminded of the blue fish in "Finding Nemo" just keep swimming, just keep swimming !!!

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Snow 55, hang in there. There is light at the end of the tunnel. i know it may not seem like it, but trust me, one day, its gonna get better. If you have no one and you are having suicidal ideation, it may be a good idea to go to hospital, if you can manage it. its not some thing to not take seriously. when i had suicidal ideation, the thing that stopped me was i had suffered so much and i didn't want to give life a reason to make it worse, you know by damaging myself, or something like that, if i failed. and also that i knew i was meant for more than this pitiful existence and i didn't want to end it all, cause it would make it feel like it was in vein. hang in there, get help if you need it. what lastdance said is true, you are not alone, even if you feel it. everyone on this forum has felt similar to you, at least at some point. so that is something.

Tingles, thanks for reading my post. can i experience emotions? ever since 2010, i have had issues with the anhedonia in one way or another. the lack of appreciation for music has been the most long term thing, which really ticked me off, and definitely encouraged my depression. then as i said the sexual anhedonia came in ~ 2012. only in the last year or so had it gotten to the point where i didn't enjoy socialising, food, or even play in video games, which i had enjoyed since a child. oh, i also pretty much don't cry... ha, now that i think about, that is the longest form of anhedonia i have had. it started when i was about nine, when i started getting anxious and depressed. i found i could only cry about beauty, or something seemingly separate from my life. my life felt different to others. i could never really cry when it had to do with me, or feeling sorry for myself, which i know some of you can relate to that feeling of not being able to let it all out. so frustration, and depression inducing.

so in terms of feeling emotions, yeah i don't think i really could. i mean didn't even think i felt anxious, or depressed. its just when you look up all the symptoms and signs of anxiety and depression, i pretty much had them all,

  • Behaviour
  • not going out anymore
  • not getting things done at work/school
  • withdrawing from close family and friends
  • lost ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • not doing usual enjoyable activities
  • unable to concentrate
  • Feelings
  • overwhelmed
  • guilty
  • angry, irritable
  • frustrated
  • lacking in confidence
  • unhappy
  • indecisive
  • disappointed
  • Thoughts
    • 'I’m a failure.'
    • 'It’s my fault.'
    • 'Nothing good ever happens to me.'
    • 'I’m worthless.'
    • 'Life’s not worth living.'
    • Physical
      • tired all the time
      • sick and run down
      • churning gut
      • sleep problems
      • loss or change of appetite
      • significant weight loss or gain
    • i also had sensitive bones, feeling week in the shins, and it kinda hurting when i ran.

except, extremely low mood, and that is NOT a requirement for depression. as i said its either you have anhedonia and all that goes with it, or low mood. they are different both indicative of depression, officially anyway.

but yeah since the citalopram, and now the nicotine and coffee, things are looking up. i definitely think the anti psychotics, and mood stabilizers cause anhedonia. i mean i couldn't even get drunk, or enjoy a cigi, or feel good from mary jane. but even after stopping those mod stabilizer that didn't seem to fix it. i had to go on the antidepressant for the suicidal thoughts, and the coffee and nicotine. maybe that just helps to get those neurotransmitters back to normal. i don't know, i just know it feels right.

once a again good luck. and remember, in terms of your personality, if you haven't looked into this, accept who you are, it can take such a weight off your shoulders.

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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 s*** 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.

Ironically I started experimenting with energy drinks and nicotine gum this past week. Previous to this I had avoided caffeine for about 6 months. It seemed to help quite a bit. The nicotine gum maybe, but not as much. I wonder if the caffeine will just offer temporary relief or if it helps in normalizing?

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I have been on sertraline 50mg for 2 weeks now. Constant anhedonia in every part of life from waking up now, I cry with no release. The last thing I want to do is up the dosage.

Last year I was off meds for 6 months and it was the best time of my life. I dated, had great sex and connected more with my family. I had been doing weights for 2 years and my fitness quadrupled when I came of paxil. My libido was sky high.

Now I'm here the lowest I have ever been with no Windows of joy at all. I have rang crisis lines when feeling suicidal but they do not understand anhedonia , neither do doctors or psychiatrists.

I wish God would take me in my sleep. The only thing keeping me going is not upsetting my mother.

I'm 33 with no partner or kids. I cannot see a future for me , I am now unable to connect with anyone on a basic emotional level. This thread gives me a bit little hope but the fact that I am back on ssris makes me question whether they are hindering me or helping me. :(

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austin270707,

i have been on a few episodes of anti-psychotics over the last 5 years. Mostly the anhedonia stopped fairly quickly after i stopped them. but that's just from memory. however the last time i stopped, it didn't seem to resolve. then as i said in my post, the citalopram, coffee and nicotine seems to make it better, this time around.

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Nighthawk37,

i am hoping it is not temporary. i do have a theory, but i might be wrong. Maybe the antidepressant actually helps you not develop a tolerance. it kinda feels that way. that also might explain why i don't want to go off it, or it might not. anyway, i guess i am saying that it doesn't seem to be wearing off, and i don't seem to be developing a tolerance. and i have been doing this for a few weeks. and i feel better than i have in a long time.

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Nighthawk37,

i am hoping it is not temporary. i do have a theory, but i might be wrong. Maybe the antidepressant actually helps you not develop a tolerance. it kinda feels that way. that also might explain why i don't want to go off it, or it might not. anyway, i guess i am saying that it doesn't seem to be wearing off, and i don't seem to be developing a tolerance. and i have been doing this for a few weeks. and i feel better than i have in a long time.

I hope it continues to work as well. I am going to get some timed release caffeine pills today.

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Someone please please please tell me if there is a medicine that makes you feel so intensely and unconditionally excited about things that it causes your perception of logic to be exaggerated and makes it feel completely impossible to change your mind about things. This is the way my brain used to be before it got messed up by methyl b12 injections and I really really want it back. The lack of excitement has completley taken away my sense of instinct and intuition and I really really want it back.

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Caffeine made me jittery and slightly, semi anxious, but didn't seem to really help anhedonia.

It had NO effect on my heart rate. In the past my heart would race like crazy.

How is this possible?

For years my blood pressure was consistently stable around 135/80. My resting heart rate was around 78.

Currently my blood pressure has been stable around 115/60. My resting heart rate about 65.

I have not increased exercise until recently.

Could this all somehow relate to the anhedonia?

Multiple doctors have had no concern in my change in blood pressure and pulse because it's very good. I'm not athletic though and this is not my previous norm.

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I have been on sertraline 50mg for 2 weeks now. Constant anhedonia in every part of life from waking up now, I cry with no release. The last thing I want to do is up the dosage.

Last year I was off meds for 6 months and it was the best time of my life. I dated, had great sex and connected more with my family. I had been doing weights for 2 years and my fitness quadrupled when I came of paxil. My libido was sky high.

Now I'm here the lowest I have ever been with no Windows of joy at all. I have rang crisis lines when feeling suicidal but they do not understand anhedonia , neither do doctors or psychiatrists.

I wish God would take me in my sleep. The only thing keeping me going is not upsetting my mother.

I'm 33 with no partner or kids. I cannot see a future for me , I am now unable to connect with anyone on a basic emotional level. This thread gives me a bit little hope but the fact that I am back on ssris makes me question whether they are hindering me or helping me. :(

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Hang in their smithci, suffering is one side of the balance scale. Finding a reason ( your mom) is on the other side. Finding the Will to live, where continued emptiness is the only result, takes great strength. Until the time comes always find something to put on the other side of the scale. A loved one perhaps or some reason. Hell, do it out if pure spite against anhedonia! Your not alone.

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I'm sorry, but as you can see from the last page or so of this thread, I have been asking variations of the same question multiple times and it really really feels like people are ignoring me. All I want is the name of a medicine that causes your emotional responses to things to feel more involuntary

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DaneClark. If we knew the answer to your question, this thread wouldnt exist. The whole purpose to the thread is to find ways to beet the very illness you are describing. Non of us can experience emotions or excitement. Sorry that no one has answered you, the reason is not to ignore you, but just the simple fact that NONE of us know. Like I said, if we knew we would be taking that medicine already.

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"All I want is the name of a medicine that causes your emotional responses to things to feel more involuntary"

We are praying everyday just to feel an emotion. I think for the people over here, the voluntary/involuntary thing is a luxury problem. It's like asking paralysed people in a wheelchair if they know a medicine that makes you walk a bit more elegant.

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Emotional lability is increasing for me, which is sort of uncomfortable because it seems like my brain is pushing the limits before allowing the "pressure release valve" to let things out. Eating legumes and sunflower seeds seems to decrease irritability/shaking/jitters, a small amount of magnesium/regular decaffeinated tea helps with sleep, and drinking sugary drinks seems to make things worse. It seems like some symptoms have flared up these past few days but I think it is probably because emotions have been locked away for so long.

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Hi everyone.



I've read through almost all (but not all) of the posts. Thanks for starting the topic, Trevor, and for exploring so many avenues and sharing the results. You are so impressive. I hope things continue to improve for you.



I came across this post when I googled "depression windows", because I've also had that experience that so many have described here, of suddenly popping out of depression/anhedonia and feeling briefly normal. I've never heard other people talk about this. It's such a total reversal, like a light switch, and my thoughts within it tend to be: "Oh, this is how people feel", "Oh, this is how everyone gets so much stuff done", "Oh, this is why people want to live"... It's such an incredible feeling when it happens, and yet I know in my bones that it isn't mania or a super happy mood that would stand out as exceptional for most people - it's just what's the normal baseline of mood for the majority of people. The huge, crushing weight is lifted, possibilities open up, it doesn't hurt to exist anymore... at least not in the way that depression makes existence so painful. I read an interview with Rachel Maddow in which she talked about her form of depression (cyclical), and I loved what she said about those times of feeling better (maybe not exactly "windows"in terms of duration, I don't know, but still has that sense):



"If I’m not depressed and I’m on and I can focus and I can think through something hard and without interruption and without existential emptiness that comes from depression, that gives me – not mania. But I exalt. I exalt in not being depressed.”




Anyway... for me these windows are usually quite brief - an hour or two, sometimes almost a day, usually once or twice a year, although last year I seemed to be having a few more. I had one a few months ago, got so much done in those few hours, and then back into the nothingness. I've never been able to figure out what triggers them, but I have no doubt that it's chemical.



I've had depression/anhedonia for most of my life. It's not really clear to me anymore when I had better periods, or how differently I felt during different intervals of life - especially right now, the depression is very deep and a haze over everything. I do feel that it was in the background of my life most of the time, even though what I projected to the world was mostly positive. I know that something (I didn't really have words for it at the time, but now I would identify it as depression) got markedly worse around 8th grade, so maybe there's a hormonal connection. It has been helpful, lately, to realize what a major player anhedonia has been - it doesn't seem to be talked about that much as part of depression, but it's really one of the worst things for me. I'm so sorry that other people here are suffering from it, too, although it helps to know I'm not alone.



I'm not sure what caused it, in my case - my family tree is full of severe depression, possible schizophrenia, and alcoholism (self-medication for severe depression, probably), so there's undoubtedly a heavy genetic component. I had a head trauma (skull fracture) at 3 years old, and electrical accident around 10. So I might have had a bit of traumatic brain injury, and I was psychologically traumatized by both incidents. As a result of my father's horrible childhood, he was unable to relate to me in a healthy way, and he was an unconscious combination of intrusive and unavailable. He had a bad reaction to my anger, and as a result, I have had a really hard time even feeling, much less expressing anger ever since - that vital part of me got trapped in fear. Even though I love people, I've had a really hard time with social interaction, because I'm so hypervigilant, and it requires some basic amount of relaxation to be able to enjoy socializing. I have to recover after every extended social encounter (anything more than a few minutes), because my nerves are fried. Laying down in a dark room is best, eyes closed or sometimes reading or watching tv helps me come back into some kind of equilibrium. My body only ever really relaxes in extreme states - I actually look forward to getting the flu (as long as it's not the vomity kind), because when I'm really sick enough, that desperate hypervigilance is somehow biologically forced to let go. My physical incapacity somehow makes me "get it" that - at least while I've got a 103 degree fever - I can't defend myself, so being aware of threats becomes a waste of energy. I think because of my physical/psychological traumas, as well as just having a sensitive system to begin with, I have a hard time feeling like I'm fully in my body, and dissociation (just feeling really spacey and ungrounded) is a problem.



So... I don't know what use this is to anyone, but I thought I'd post it here anyway, in case there are any clues. (For the scientists of the futuuuure.) I don't really have a place to talk about all of this, so it's helpful just to be able to post it here. I've tried heaps of antidepressants, but they haven't worked for me (and gave me bad side effects and terrible discontinuation effects). I kind of gave up on them for a while, as nothing seemed to help, and my doctor gave me a xanax prescription. I didn't know that it was dangerous to take xanax over a long period (2 years), and even though I was on a small dose, I'm having the new experience of benzo withdrawal now, which puts the SSRI's to shame. I've tried so many different things, including EMDR and lots and lots of counseling, and although I have been mentally enriched by all the learning and insights, it feels to me like there's a basic chemical component that I just haven't been able to shift. My intuition and my electrically-related ptsd says no to ECT, for myself, although I'm so glad if it helps anyone else. I'm going to try to have the ketamine infusions, and I think that will be my last stop, if it doesn't help. I have a lot of hope that it might, though! People seem to describe that light switch/window effect, so maybe the ketamine treatment is compatible with the kind of depression I have. Even though I feel like a miserable failure, I'm able to see it a little more objectively lately, like it really is just a broken brain, not who I truly am. The windows show me that. But words can't express how tired I am of the fight. I really, truly hate that I might have to end my life. It's the opposite of what I wanted to bring to the world.



I have faith that a lot of you here will recover. You are young, strong, intelligent, and amazingly scientifically literate! And open to many avenues of potential healing. It seems like anhedonia caused by medication would have a much better prognosis than a genetically based depression that "came with the package", in a very early onset. Best wishes and lots of love (yes, the feeling is largely absent, but the sentiment remains) to all of you.




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Good post brightblue. I'm sorry you have suffered for so long. Those windows must be great when they come. I sometimes forget that getting things done is much easier for regular people, so that was a good reminder. I like that quote, I like seeing quotes and stories from those who recovered. Feel free to share more. Thank you!

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smithci,

i too am 33, will be 34 in a couple months, and cannot relate to anyone. been alone my whole life.

which leads me to (briefly) my story..

got depressed at age 21 and was put on paxil. opened up socially for the first time ever, but that and the subsequent antidepressants i was on until late last year made me bipolar, i didn't know this til i became suicidal and did some research in december '12. became anhedonic last year around september around the time i got a concussion. seems awfully coincidental that the anhedonia would be exclusively caused by that, given that i had been depressed and bipolar for over 12 years, so the mild TBI (traumatic brain injury) might have nothing to do with it. i've never dated, never really had friends, just have been sitting in my room my whole life basically. have worked odd jobs in between long periods of unemployment (and parents' financial help).

so i can't relate to anyone b/c i know no one who is like me - my biggest problem was that i never knew i should have pride until i was 28, and didn't know myself AT ALL until basically the last year.

i can't go back and read all of trevor's posts, but i see he is off meds. is it the case that people find going off them completely is the best option? i'm desperate to do SOMETHING about the anhedonia. along with the shame and regret and loneliness, it's all too much to take, which is why i'm finally going to go to a psych hospital tomorrow for an assessment. i've been trying to 'recover' by myself this whole time with no results. i'm not on any meds anymore. I have wondered if the anhedonia could be a lingering withdrawal symptom, but i did a super slow, supervised taper off the effexor, then the lamictal (which i started after learning what the effexor was doing to me (rapid cycling bipolar) last year.) so i def don't want any more meds but i have to do something about the anhedonia. when there's no positive reinforcement for anything you do, well, you don't do anything.

the thing i'm hoping to get out of (possibly) doing an intense outpatient program is meeting other people w/problems, hopefully someone i can actually relate to. sure the therapy may help too. Any advice is appreciated, thx y'all.

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