hi Arisu, I think I have emotional numbness/detachment.
I still enter 'a state of' anger, fear and satisfaction, that is to say, I notice when blood rushes to my arms and legs or that I'm more/less alert than usual.
But I no longer feel anything 'inside' me. I miss that sensation inside my stomach that used to come up when I watched something sad, or the warm feeling I had when I cosied up under warm blankets at night.
The closest thing to an emotion I can feel are chills on my skin when I listen to music, but only rarely, and it still feels like something 'external' rather than 'internal'.
This whole ordeal is also causing me to have trouble empathizing with other people.
What can I do to remediate this? Should I watch more anime? Watch less? I only play vidya casually, should I stop altogether or should I start playing more? I have read Metta meditation being suggested as a treatment, but is it a good idea? I mean, wouldn't it just make me more detached than I already am? Is there anything else I can do? I don't want to talk with a therapist, if possible.
I relate with you very deeply, Alice. My own experience with emotional numbness probably started about a year ago, possibly even before that. I used to be so quick to cry over sad stories or my own emotions, but now I can't even force myself. I can't even remember the last time I was able to cry. That's probably the one thing I miss the most. Nothing can really compare to the cathartic release that a good ugly cry gives you. Other than that I find that things that would have usually made me ecstatic only give me mild satisfaction anymore. I'm not entirely sure what has started to make me feel like this, but I've always attributed it to becoming jaded with my daily routine. All the days blend together and nothing noteworthy ever occurs to separate them from eachother. That being said, I can't say I've made an honest effort to try and bring myself out of this state. Part of that is my own ignorace, but also I feel like I lack the energy to constantly assess how I'm feeling or how I should feel at a moment's notice. It could also be my diet and lack of exercise, which I do really want to change. I always manage to weasel myself out of changing with the excuse of being tired from work. If I could kick that habit, I do really think I would have a noticeable improvement in emotional and mental health. Anways, that's my own experience and two cents for you, maybe it'll give you some insight into your own situation. Either way, I hope you can find a way to feel again, Alice.
Hello there, after reading your post I have realized that I myself had this kind of problem. I apologies beforehand as I really lack life experience and my "advice" might be useless, but I still hope that in one way or another it will contribute to your progress. So, I was very emotional and sensitive to things surrounding me. I didn't think of it as something good and I wanted to get rid of my sensitivity as it slowed me down in my everyday life. Now I notice that from time to time I don't feel neither happiness or sadness. After that I understood that I still need feel something or I’ll go in deep depression so I basically started to change some aspects of my life. I started doing sports (just a bit though), and went to different courses, I found a goal and I’m learning hard to achieve it in the future. It helped me a little bit, and I finally accepted myself the way I am. I sincerely hope you will find the way to brighten a bit your life.
You might be a schizoid like me, but idk. I have similar problems where I can seem unaffected by situations that are normally traumatic and I struggle to empathize with other people unless I'm personally feeling what they're feeling.
There's no remedy that I know of besides socializing as much as you can.
I've had anhedonia on and off through a large part of my adult life, I've just broke through the surface again with some new thoughts. It might apply to you but it might not.
I think part of anhedonia stems from depression, and I think depression comes from a lack of interaction with the world. The reason we interact less is because we had some experiences or a belief that we can't make change around us.
This isn't a perfect recollection, but there was an experiment with babies about interaction. They had the babies do something like wave their hand and when they did a puppet would move, something like that. The point is, the baby would laugh hysterically when they found out they had control, they loved it. But, as soon as they stopped moving the puppet when the baby waved its hand, the baby would get more and more sad until it was almost catatonic. There's some other studies like this, look up internal locus of control if you're interested.
There seems to be a connection between how much we can affect the world and our happiness, and anhedonia I think is connected to this. I broke free from it recently by trying to prove everyday my own ability to affect the world. I saw the world as elements to interact with, almost like being in a video game. If you're playing a video game like you would watch a movie, you're probably not going to have as much fun. But if you're experimenting, exploring, interacting with the pieces you're probably going to have a ton of fun.
So in practical terms, what does this mean? It means something different than the typical depression advice of go on a run, take care of yourself, etc. These help, but can take you out of the locus of control if you put your faith in them (believing they are helping your life, not you). Pick up something, or go do something, even anything in your immediate area. Do something new with it, even something weird or destructive. The point is to remind you that you have the power to interact. Build on this in your daily life, daily conversations and interaction with the environment, do things that have results that surprise and entertain you.
Do not retreat back into noninteraction, the zombiemode of daily life. Have you ever gone on a drive and forget how you got to your destination? This is what I'm talking about. That's playing a video game like you'd watch a movie.
I have a folic acid deficiency, which makes me more prone to depression and schizophrenia. Knowing that has helped to a degree, and I've felt better after finding the right medication (not all medications work, so don't discount it after having one type fail. I needed a genetic test before I found out).
I'd contact a psychiatrist and see if there might be a medicinal solution, especially if you've had family history of those same things.
Thank you, I sincerely hope it helps you and others.