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I can't laugh anymore. I can't feel happy. Can you? None
Old 06-03-2009, 05:23 PM   #1
Jinxu
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I don't remember when this started, I just remember thinking one day 'I have no emotions'. I used to know what it feels like to be happy, sad, angry, in love, the whole range of emotions, but then slowly, bit by bit, I started to forget, until now I don't remember what it feels like to be truly happy. It feels like there's this void in me, and I just have this train of thought that 'dictates' my emotions to me, like 'he hurt you, feel angry' or 'she gave you an amazing christmas present, feel happy', and I act these out, without actually feeling anything. I can feel body reactions, such as shock while watching a horror movie, but not the deep emotions. The degree of numbness varies, but I don't feel much even during my 'emotional' phases. I honestly don't know what to do, and it's scaring me except that I don't feel scared because I can't feel anything, but I know that I think I feel like a cold, heartless person, if that makes sense.

Any thoughts? Does anyone here feel the same way? Why do you think it is so? How can you fix it?

I can say that I feel like this most days.

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Old 06-03-2009, 05:26 PM   #2
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I have some of this. It's especially true with being thankful for someone giving me something. I AM thankful...but I can't seem to feel it, and so my "thank you"s seem really stupid and forced even though I actually am thankful. It was really nice a couple weeks ago when, while out hiking, had what was probably my first true positive visceral feeling that I've had in a long time (I've had negative visceral feelings like anger...but I don't exactly want that).

It's actually kinda worse than I thought for a while, though...it's like I force myself to be bored. I sit here and pretty much only post on forums and play Tetris, even though I have other things that I could be doing that I would probably enjoy if I gave them the time of day. This is of course partly just force of habit, as I've been in a heavy forum binge for about the last year and a half or so...I imagine by now my total post count is around 21,000.

Part of it, I think, is my medicated years (2001-2005), though, so there's that.
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Old 06-03-2009, 05:30 PM   #3
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  Originally Posted by Latro
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Part of it, I think, is my medicated years (2001-2005), though, so there's that.

For me, I think a large part of the cause is due to not having any deep connection with people (ie family members, friends, girlfriends, anyone really). Because of that, I don't really use my emotions often and as a result it just atrophy away.

I am however hopeful that it can be fixed. If emotions are like muscles and brains, then it can be strengthen and weaken by the frequency that they are used, the same way muscles and the brain do.

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Old 06-03-2009, 05:40 PM   #4
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I feel it too. I have a suspicion that the problem lies in my suspicions.
Whenever someone does something nice, I have a thought that tells me "that's just the way it ought to be", which totally takes away from the experience; and banalizes it.

You do still have those emotions. Try shock therapy. Not so much with electricity... but , make a leap into something new and exciting. Join a team sport. Go see a play, or a concert you wouldn't normally go to. I think a lot of our 'emotionless' state is based on the notion that we are better than our emotions; and don't require them.

I think you, like I once did; have trained yourself to ignore and set aside those emotions...

They're still there. Just find them, and enjoy them when you do.
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:56 AM   #5
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  Originally Posted by LaoTzu
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Whenever someone does something nice, I have a thought that tells me "that's just the way it ought to be", which totally takes away from the experience; and banalizes it.

I find that I think much the same way. I notice also when someone starts worrying about me, I don't feel better but I tend to feel worse sometimes. The notion that someone has to worry about me makes me feel irritated with myself more then anything, and leads me to tell them to not worry about me.

Problem with this approach is that in a sense, by telling them to not worry about me, I am in a way telling them that I don't care about their affection for me. What seems like a gesture of good will on my part often comes across as a cold shoulder to others.

Jinxu I think you nailed your own issue though. You need to let people in. I would try talking about things that you normally wouldn't with others. For example, if something is bothering you, instead of relying solely on your own input try talking to someone else about it. You could also try talking to someone about this exact problem you're having. Open yourself up. And don't overthink. Just let it get expressed.

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Old 06-04-2009, 05:41 AM   #6
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Lately, I too have been struggling with feeling emotions. I'm fairly witty and can fake my way through entire conversations and parties quite easily (to my surprise, I've been told that I come off as a "charmer" and "womanizer"), but afterward it all feels so pointless... Just going through the motions. I wouldn't necessarily call it bad, though - it's just ... different. Things seem a lot more clear this way, and I feel more satisfied with life than I did all those years ago, when I was convinced there was something wrong with me and tried to remedy it by infiltrating and imitating ENFPs. O_o

What the OP described seems very similar to
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- faking everything, trying to seem sincere...
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:58 AM   #7
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I feel the same way sometimes, it's like i dont know how i feel about most things. With anger, im sure i have anger inside me, but i never express it healthily (due to a very strict and relgious upbringing), and have gotten so used to not expressing it healthily to the point where i dont even notice anger anymore, until i blow up and dont really know where its coming from. Then when asked to explain why i exploded, i cant justify my explosion with my causes as they are all the little things that bugged me and i let pass not even realising they bugged me. Its like i realise im upset only a bit too late.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:32 PM   #8
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I can say that I've been everywhere between the emotionless and emotional continuum. When I was a kid (until 8 or something) I was very,very emotional, crying and laughing all the time. However, life changes you (yeah things happen) and I went from being emotional to emotionless, mainly because I didn't want to feel anything anymore. I don't know how, but I managed to do it. In the past 3 years I've been running after my emotions again... at least to get a bit of them back. It took a lot of thinking to me... finding out the reasons why I had no emotions and face them, but I'm really pleased with the results (well, not so much when I'm turned down by a girl, lol).
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:17 PM   #9
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No, not really... I can't say that I have. But that's probably because I'm a hedonist. Sensual pleasures often succeed in making me happy (one of my mates who had NEVER seen me smile before finally saw my smile a year after we started talking to each other, and that was when I was eating ice cream.) Nice smell, nice clothes, good food always makes me happy.

I guess I'm a simple creature who takes joy in simple things.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:23 PM   #10
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I can relate to these (lack of) feelings. When I was medicated I was essentially, emotionless.

I think a lot of the time, I get so wrapped up in my inner monologue that I tend to analyze everything. If you have to ask why something should be fun, or why something should make you feel happy or good, chances are you aren't going to feel those feelings.

For me to be able to to get into "feeling good" I have to have a disconnect of sorts from my Introversion. I can't rely solely on myself to generate good feelings. I have to take a step back, disconnect, and just realize that not everything needs to be analyzed, you can take things for just what they are on the surface, trivial and meaningless. And there's nothing wrong with that.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:38 PM   #11
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  Originally Posted by Jinxu
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Any thoughts? Does anyone here feel the same way? Why do you think it is so? How can you fix it?

I can say that I feel like this most days.

Jumping in here, didn't read the previous posts, as usual--

This sounds a great deal like depression. I know that typically, when you read symptoms of depression they list things like wanting to die, feeling worthtless, etc, but I think those are typical of deep, or advanced depression rather than low-grade depression, or
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(as least that's what it sounds like to me).

But I'm not expert, of course, so it might be a good idea to go and see a doctor if you think it's serious enough. I can also say that I have felt this way many times during my lifetime and for months at a time. It might be a good idea to find someone to talk to about it.

(And you have my sincere sympathy on this. I hope you start to feel better.)

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Old 06-04-2009, 08:36 PM   #12
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OP, maybe you should be evaluated for dysthmia, depression, or thyroid dysfunction? They have drugs and therapy that can help with that.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:14 PM   #13
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  Originally Posted by Jinxu
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Any thoughts? Does anyone here feel the same way? Why do you think it is so? How can you fix it?

I am feeling the same way, though I'm not feeling much of anything. I don't know how to fix it, but I don't want to because life is sooooooooo much easier without emotions.

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Old 06-04-2009, 09:17 PM   #14
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  Originally Posted by pocohauntus
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because life is sooooooooo much easier without emotions.

That kinda stops when the numbness turns into a paradoxical sort of unemotional sadness, in my experience.

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Old 06-05-2009, 12:01 AM   #15
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I am familiar with that numb feeling. I think if you grew-up in an abusive family, you will tend to take advantage of your adult autonomy to eradicate any chance of bringing that back into your life. In my case that meant alienating myself from everyone who knew me (spare two I trusted most: my little sister, and my best friend) and especially anyone who represented intimacy.

I think this shock therapy only serves to provide a temporary boost. I nearly had my life taken from me within the first 10 minutes of surfing ever and because of that I fell in-love with it, but the passion has waxed and waned. I'll still go down to the coast again this summer, but I'll only "like it" at best. I tried Dragon Boating, was found to be a natural at it and the rush of a 2 minute sprint in a boat full of aggressive paddlers certainly gets you feeling all kinds of emotional range. But the passion waxed and waned and I keep making-up all kinds of excuses for missing practice.

I really began to get scared when I was in a nightclub and my date was making out with me, I get a tap on the shoulder from a 20-something with four of her friends, and they're asking me to make-out with one of her friends. I. Felt. Nothing. It's almost as if that whole evening was on a 10 inch CRT T.V. with bad reception. Yeah, that actually makes sense, I was (am?) experiencing life in only two dimensions with bad reception.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, knowledge, experience, opportunity did not abate me of my problem.

I'm afraid I'll sound like a pussy for saying this, but I've long thought that I will only be cured if someone would love me; just love me and embrace me and know me. And ironically I'm the one who alienates everyone.

As the saying goes, "The hungry go unfed".
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:07 AM   #16
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How ironic, I was just checking my depression thread only to bump into yours (we've got the same problem).

Here's what you need to do (that I'm not doing). Sit down, stop doing whatever you're doing, and analyze yourself. If you can trace it back to a source of your depression, deal with that. If not tell yourself that you want to get better (even if you don't, that's the key here).

This sounds like an idiotic post because it seems like what I've said is obvious. But trust me, if you're looking to fix this and you don't have the foundation of "I will get better, and this is how I'll do it", you won't be better, if you're anything like me (which it looks like you are).
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Old 06-05-2009, 01:07 AM   #17
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I have always had my fair share of emotionality. I feel as though it could fade if I were to become entrenched in my work, if I were to be less connected to others.

Sometimes I have this strange feeling, like I wish that I weren't married or pregnant, because then I could experience that detachment, that freedom. I could go anywhere and do anything, whenever. But I know I wouldn't be happy... in fact, I probably wouldn't even go anywhere. I would just work, feeling nothing.
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Old 06-05-2009, 01:47 AM   #18
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  Originally Posted by Sylar
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How ironic, I was just checking my depression thread only to bump into yours (we've got the same problem).

I wouldn't say that I'm depressed, though I can see how it does sound like it. The key reason is that I'm still functional. I just don't feel things that most other people would.





Jinxu added to this post, 3 minutes and 17 seconds later...

  Originally Posted by Night Runner
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What the OP described seems very similar to
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- faking everything, trying to seem sincere...

Dexter is a very good example. The first time I watched it, the first thought I had was he sound a lot like me (except for the need to kill other people part). The second thought I had was "Is he an INTJ?" The third thought I had was "he should have punched that black guy. I would have!"
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Old 06-05-2009, 01:49 AM   #19
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  Originally Posted by Jinxu
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For me, I think a large part of the cause is due to not having any deep connection with people (ie family members, friends, girlfriends, anyone really).

I can greatly relate to this. I was never really close to my family (parents were always working, and I have nothing in common with my younger brother and sister), and I'm sure that I could easily replace my current batch of friends if I wanted to.

I think the only reason I keep in contact with my family and friends is because they've been very good to me (despite my rough edges) and, out of a sense of duty, I want to return the favour. If they were to "disappear" for whatever reason (death, relocation, etc.), I probably wouldn't consider it as much of a loss as other people probably would.

It's not like I wouldn't want to experience some sort of deep connection with others, but since I have never had one for the last 21 years, I don't know where to start.

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Old 06-05-2009, 02:38 AM   #20
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  Originally Posted by Gabrielle
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No, not really... I can't say that I have. But that's probably because I'm a hedonist. Sensual pleasures often succeed in making me happy (one of my mates who had NEVER seen me smile before finally saw my smile a year after we started talking to each other, and that was when I was eating ice cream.) Nice smell, nice clothes, good food always makes me happy.

I guess I'm a simple creature who takes joy in simple things.

Yes. Simplicity is indeed beautiful. I will have to say that being a woman and dealing with this estrogen thing is a lot of work and quite confusing at times because there is so much emotion involved. It is quite complex and the irrational component of it is irritating.

I can't imagine being concerned about not "feeling." But if I desired the feminine and had that nagging pressure to "feel " more I might redefine emotions as madness. I can imagine, however, how much I might get accomplished in my professional endeavors if these darned emotions weren't so dominant.

I once told someone that I wished I was more of a math person because I am fascinated with physics and want to understand complex calculations. And then that person asked me to imagine having a feeling and being unable to express that feeling.

Expression is so natural to me that I never thought about it.

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Old 06-05-2009, 10:17 PM   #21
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I've had the same problem for the last few months but it's punctuated with extreme expressions of emotions, like I would listen to a song and just feel like bawling, just get soooo moved by it (Seal's version of A Change is Gonna Come, most recently) and I think it's my way of expelling pent up emotion, especially since I don't dream and I understand that dreams are your mind's way of taking a dump.
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:02 PM   #22
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  Originally Posted by Event Horizon
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I don't know where to start.

This applies to me as well, especially with regard to my social life. I want some of the kind of social lives that "normal" people have (less of it than many, but still some) but I really have no idea where you begin. Just as an example, in a discussion about romantic partners with a friend of mine who recently began dating his first girlfriend (he's 16), we went into the two main routes to such partnerships: a friendship that becomes something more (such as his current girlfriend) and a relationship that is romantic from the start. (There is obviously a spectrum here, though.) He was essentially trying to cheer me up, because I was feeling especially down that day, saying that eventually I'd get a relationship that pretty much spontaneously turned into a romantic relationship (more or less like his did; he's known his girlfriend for about 4 years, and they only started dating maybe a month or two ago). I half-jokingly said that that would require me to have a friendship with a woman first...but in retrospect, I really wasn't joking at all. That really would require me to have a kind of relationship that I just haven't had. I've had all of one female friend since adolescence, and that has long since fizzled out.

Before someone says "women aren't a different species from men, just do what you do with your guy friends" as often occurs around here, realize that I've also only made one male friend in the last 3 years as well...and I really don't understand how that happened either.

Sorry, that kinda turned into a tangential rant, didn't it...?

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Old 06-06-2009, 01:15 AM   #23
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I've had my share of being robotic and my share of being emotional.

Honestly... the times I was most robotic I was just exhausted and stressed out, just trying to cope with day-to-day life. The times I've been most emotional, both positive and negative have been since I started treating my chronic depression. I quite enjoy feeling all my emotions in greater strength now.

I'd seriously check to see if you have other signs of depression, because often it can cause the lack of feeling.
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