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I can't feel any joy, pleasure or happiness


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#1 Angeljasmine

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 02:33 AM

Last year I was very ill and fvcked up and had a lot of bad luck happen to me. Right now it's been about 8 months since I was at my worst and lowest period of my life. I've slowly managed to turn my luck around, my financial worries have eased and I can say for the first time in my life I've had good fortune lately, earning good money and about to go on a month long overseas holiday. This is a stark difference to how I was 6-8 months ago when I was in despair, not only financially but in all other areas of life.

My clinical history is major depressive episode last year, symptoms of BPD (self injury and abandonment issues). Im now a lot better than I was.

However, I have an inability to feel happiness, pleasure or joy (still). I just bought my dream car, and about to go to Europe for one month on holiday, but do I feel great? No. I'd expect to feel fantastic, but I don't feel much joy at all, I just feel .... nothing. Im still somewhat depressed (just not so extreme as in the past, no longer feel despair), why can't I just feel some pleasure for once, or joy, or happiness, that emotion seems to be "stuck". I can feel a bit happy after a glass or 2 of wine (though I limit it nowadays because it also is a CAUSE of depression the next day) but it doesn't last long, and sometimes I feel joy when listening to a great song. But that's it.

PS I'm NOT on any medication currently (occasionally a tiny dose of seroquel to help me sleep, probably once or twice a week) and I'm no longer in therapy as I had to change to another therapist and I took an instant dislike to her and never went back.

Is it NORMAL to not be able to experience joy/happiness/pleasure from things you'd expect to feel happy from? Why don't I feel anything???

Any input appreciated, thanks.

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 04:59 AM

Everyone deserves to have the ability to experience happiness at some point. I remember last year when I was desperately depressed, I went on Prozac. Suddenly (after about 3 weeks of treatment) I felt an emotion that I had not felt in a long while. I resognised it. It was happiness. Why was I happy? Well, it was a beautiful sunny day, I had just recieved great marks in all of my exams, I was in great shape and beautiful girls seemed to be roaming the streets.

Of course, a normal person would have taken that feeling for granted, but I only had the ability to feel it because of my anti-depressant.

I have since into a pit of despair however, and I am looking for Prozac to pick me up again. We'll see.

#3 darklord06

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 07:34 PM

Hello

I have the exact same feeling!! (or more precisely the absence of feeling), when I listen to the music I used to like it's like background noise my mind just wanders around, when I practice the sports i liked I feel nothing, I am just dead inside. I have been depressed since 2002 (the year at which I graduated from a business school and I haven't been able to find a decent life or build a life ever since).

Because I couldn't take it anymore, my doctor prescribed me an antidepressant ( seroxat) it seemed to work but i got worried of the possible long term effects on my brain, so I stopped taking it. 6months after I stopped taking it, it started feeling less and less pleasure and now, I can't feel anything.

I don't know if i should take this antidepressant again because I don't know if the way I am feeling right now is caused by it in the first place.

Any advice?





Thank you



#4 SUEzie

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 07:46 PM

Darklord:

I've been taking various AD's (anti-depressants) since 1979, and some of them haven't worked - but once I found some that DID work, they vastly improved my existence.

I've stopped taking them on various occasions - even if they DID work - because for many years, taking them made me feel that I was somehow "defective".


I was telling this to a friend of mine a few years ago (who is bipolar and also takes MI meds) and she said to me:

"If there is a medicine that you know will relieve your sufferring, I cannot imagine why you would not take it. That's why those meds exist."

I thought about that - and decided she was right. I haven't not taken my meds since.


When I was younger, I started out believing I would only be on AD's "for a few months" or for "a little while."

But then every time I stopped taking them (if even they were only half-working) I felt like total _rap. Really, really bad. Sometimes suicidal.


Eventually, I had to face the fact that my body chemistry made me the way I am - and there's not much I can do about it.

It's turned into a life-time (34 years and counting) of taking AD meds - and I can honestly say I don't mind.

BecauseI feel immeasurably better when I do take my meds. Without them - I inevitably feel like _hit.

Maybe things will get better for you off meds - but just in case they don't - I'm just sayin...

Good luck

-suzie
Curremt DX: MDD (major depressive disorder), severe OCD.

Past DX's - Only 1 of them accurate: Primordial SZ (Schizophrenia), BPD, Bipolar 2, "Adjustment disorder", GAD (generalized anxiety) and lots of depression.

Current RX: 40 mg daily of citalopram (generic Celexa), 300mg daily of Buproprion XL (generic Wellbutrin), occasional 5-10 mg of generic Ambien (aka Zolpidem) for sleep.

Pst RX's: Name a tri-cyclic anti-depressant. Mellaril, Stelazine, ECT, Serzone, Librium, Klonopin, Buspar, Lithium, Lexapro, and I forget what else.

"Hope is the thing with feathers -
That peches in the soul.
And sings the tune, without the words
And never stops at all."
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#5 Stickler

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 07:58 PM

First, this feeling is called anhedonia. Which not only sucks, but sounds like a really boring, dull country.

Second, if you read up on recent research on the effects on brain structure of untreated depression, you will find that NOT taking medicine willactually cause certain brain structures to undergo what appear to be pathological changes..or at least we'd call them pathological; the person having them can't function and thinks about killing themselves...yeah, pathological.

Antidepressants actually have been found to at least somewhat protect the brain from the structural shrinkage observed in untreated patients.

Just in skimming the article I found, the author talks about a 19% reduction in hippocampal volume-the hippocampus is involved in forming long-term memory, if I'm remembering my brain structures rightly.

http://userwww.servi...2_JDBremner.pdf

It's anti-psych drug nutjobs who are going to tell you "OOOh, the drugs mess with your MIIIIND." And I mean nutjobs in a bad way.

They do 'mess' with your mind, in the same way metformin 'messes' with a malfunctioning pancreas, or thyroxine 'messes' with a body with a deficient thyroid...they help it to function more correctly.

Not a 100% fix, mind, the medical science is way less perfect than any of us would wish, but the evidence is that you actually preserve brain structures by taking antidepressants, and do further damage by NOT taking antidepressants.

Now if there were other side effects you didn't like or whatnot, you might try a different med, but if you had one that worked fine-go back on it.

Also, given the proper chemical assistance...you may be able to create a job for yourself. My aunt and uncle remained in Pennsylvania when Saint Reagan :brooding: allowed our steel industry to close shop and move overseas (and the area has never recovered). They, however, have recovered: they bought a business, ran it successfully, sold it a few years ago and are retired.

So for a lot of people stuck without being able to find a job, they may have to make themselves one in order to remain where they are. Either that or pack it up and go where the work is.

Edited by Stickler, 19 November 2010 - 08:07 PM.

Putting the fun back in dysfunctional, every damn day. :cool: 


#6 darklord06

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 08:22 PM

thank you for you advice suzie and stickler but know I am even more affraid !! so if I understood it correctly, being in the mental hell I am in for almost a decade may have already permanently changed my brain's structure ?

Edited by darklord06, 19 November 2010 - 08:23 PM.


#7 Velvet Elvis

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 08:50 PM

Hello

I have the exact same feeling!! (or more precisely the absence of feeling), when I listen to the music I used to like it's like background noise my mind just wanders around, when I practice the sports i liked I feel nothing, I am just dead inside. I have been depressed since 2002 (the year at which I graduated from a business school and I haven't been able to find a decent life or build a life ever since).

Because I couldn't take it anymore, my doctor prescribed me an antidepressant ( seroxat) it seemed to work but i got worried of the possible long term effects on my brain, so I stopped taking it. 6months after I stopped taking it, it started feeling less and less pleasure and now, I can't feel anything.

I don't know if i should take this antidepressant again because I don't know if the way I am feeling right now is caused by it in the first place.

Any advice?

Thank you


The effects of all antidepressants should be fully reversible. Even if you're on them for years things should return to their "natural state" after a couple months. Of course your "natural state" might change on its own while you're on meds which would create the subjective experience of meds changing you.

De-gnosis: ADD, recurrent depression (or maybe bpII in the guise of such), Asperger's, OCD, social anxiety
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#8 Stickler

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 09:39 PM

Current research? the brain is more pliable than originally thought and neurogenesis(right word?) carries on into adulthood, albeit at a rate that's a tiny fraction of what goes on in a child under two years of age. The brain can repair itself to a certain degree, but can only do so slowly. This is why your recovery is likely to take a while and you need to stay on the meds for a while. You might be able to discontinue at some point-some people can...but six months is an unrealistic time frame for that to happen.

But as for the Dain Bramage...
As Douglas Adams might say, were he alive to say it, don't panic.

Go get your depression treated, eat a source of omega-3 fatty acids, a good source of B-complex vitamins(maybe just a good one-a-day mulivitamin with extra B vitamins included), don't drink alcohol or do any recreational drugs for the time being... and work on getting yourself hooked up with therapy.
Therapy and meds have been shown to work more effectively than either meds or therapy alone in treating depression...FMRI's demonstrate that therapy actually works in different brain regions than do antidepressants. So it's a one-two punch.(I heard this on a radio show and it was sketchy on details, b/c it was kinda dumbed down.)

Putting the fun back in dysfunctional, every damn day. :cool: 


#9 SUEzie

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 09:40 PM

thank you for you advice suzie and stickler but know I am even more affraid !! so if I understood it correctly, being in the mental hell I am in for almost a decade may have already permanently changed my brain's structure ?


Well staying off meds will only make things worse, IMO.

I've been off meds for years at a time (not anymore, but before recently) - and I might have done some damage to my brain doing that - but I do know that if I wasn't taking them now - I'd probably be dead. Because me off meds is NOT a pretty thing.

Also - I am still very "functional", considering.

Because I know (for me) how this goes....I stop taking them and feel ok (not great) for maybe 3-10 days. From there, it's a steadily downhill slide into Hell. Really.

Last time I ran out of meds and "decided to just not get any more" - I ended up so depressed,

my hubby was recommending hospitalization - and I don't want to burden him with this stuff anymore than necessary.

Just saying I agree with Stickler - but it's not too late. In any case - IMO, better to be on meds than off meds.



The thing with AD's is that it can take some time to find the right one that really works for you.

The good thing is that if one doesn't work - there are so many to choose from - that you will most likely find one that does work. If you keep looking.

The inconvenient thing is that this can sometimes take time - and can be frustrating - to find the one that works.


BUT - IMO "being scared" (or whatever) while natural - is not a good enough reason to doom yourself to a mediocre or sad existence. You deserve better.

Not meaning to "preach". Just saying - I've " been there" (or near" there") and it can pay to hang in there.

It took me 8 years, 6 psychiatric hospitals, 2 suicide attempts, ECT and homelessness - before I found the right med for me.

But I did find it.

The only reason I kept seeking a workable AD med - was that the only alternative seemed to be death (and I really thought I was too young to die.)

IMO, you are far too early in all of this to totally "be done" looking for an answer. Although I definitely realize the situation can seem truly hopelesss.

Good luck. Wishing you the best - hang in there - we're rooting for you.

-suzie

Edited by suzie, 20 November 2010 - 12:38 PM.

Curremt DX: MDD (major depressive disorder), severe OCD.

Past DX's - Only 1 of them accurate: Primordial SZ (Schizophrenia), BPD, Bipolar 2, "Adjustment disorder", GAD (generalized anxiety) and lots of depression.

Current RX: 40 mg daily of citalopram (generic Celexa), 300mg daily of Buproprion XL (generic Wellbutrin), occasional 5-10 mg of generic Ambien (aka Zolpidem) for sleep.

Pst RX's: Name a tri-cyclic anti-depressant. Mellaril, Stelazine, ECT, Serzone, Librium, Klonopin, Buspar, Lithium, Lexapro, and I forget what else.

"Hope is the thing with feathers -
That peches in the soul.
And sings the tune, without the words
And never stops at all."
- Emily Dickinson

#10 Velvet Elvis

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 09:47 PM

FWIW there's also quite a bit of evidence that some antidepressants can help you grow new bran cells when depression took them out.

http://mentalhealth....eurogenesis.htm

De-gnosis: ADD, recurrent depression (or maybe bpII in the guise of such), Asperger's, OCD, social anxiety
Today's Pill Menu: Dexedrine, Wellbutrin (Budeprion), Strattera, Celexa, Risperdal, and clonazepam

Like other moderators and staff of crazyboards.org, I am not a health care professional. You have no way of knowing that I am not talking out my ass. Please do your own homework before making any health related decisions.

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#11 darklord06

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 05:07 PM

Hello,



Thank you for your advices those were truly helpful !

Sorry for having taken all this time to reply, but I was busy preparing for the driving license exam that I will have next week. I have been trying to get my driving license for two years now, I already failed once because I was so nervous and I really hope that I won’t blow it again, it would be nice to not feel like a complete looser for once !



Other than that, after having thought about it, and after having thought about how I was under paroxetine and after I quit, I think that I should probably try to take this treatment again, at least for a short period of time.



One of the reasons I am willing to take it again is because I feel like my general situation has worsened, lately I can barely sleep, my blood pressure is rising again (I suffer from hypertension but despite the medication I am taking for it, my blood pressure is higher than two months ago) I feel more and more hopeless and I miss more and more the independence I used to enjoy (when I lived abroad I had my own place). In fact I think that the whole missing my independence part is a good thing, it could force me to take more initiatives to get out of the hole that I am in.



I think that my main issues are that it is really hard for me to concentrate and I am way too tense all the time, I just cannot relax. One of the things that annoy me with it is that I love to study foreign languages, when I was under paroxetine I managed to learn and speak fluent Swedish in 2 years (I’m French), I have been studying mandarin for 1 year and half and although my writing and speaking are somewhat ok, I just cannot relax and concentrate to have a good level of oral comprehension and it is very frustrating.



For now, the only way I see to gain some kind of balance would be to start taking this andidepressant again but I wish there was another way !



Thank you





#12 cynic

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 05:30 PM

darklord06 - I used to feel the same way about antidepressents, but that was because I first started taking them when I was a teen, and the one "friend" I told about it thought I was a nutjob for having to take them. She felt the same way - that they would mess with my brain permanently or something.

Angeljasmin - I'm sorry you're feeling this way. How soon will you start seeing another psychologist? Have you seen a psychiatrist to address how you've been feeling? I understand that inability to feel anything, trust me.
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#13 reetchbeetch

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 06:39 PM

I feel the anhedonia as well. I used to have big dreams about being a musician, now i just don't give a shit about music. I don't feel any real pleasure or happiness, sometimes I fake it though which makes me feel like even more shit. My pdoc doesn't want to start me on antidepressants since he thinks it could make me more suicidal. Hopefully i'll be able to get on one soon.
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#14 colinmichaels

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 08:30 AM

Last year I was very ill and fvcked up and had a lot of bad luck happen to me. Right now it's been about 8 months since I was at my worst and lowest period of my life. I've slowly managed to turn my luck around, my financial worries have eased and I can say for the first time in my life I've had good fortune lately, earning good money and about to go on a month long overseas holiday. This is a stark difference to how I was 6-8 months ago when I was in despair, not only financially but in all other areas of life.

My clinical history is major depressive episode last year, symptoms of BPD (self injury and abandonment issues). Im now a lot better than I was.

However, I have an inability to feel happiness, pleasure or joy (still). I just bought my dream car, and about to go to Europe for one month on holiday, but do I feel great? No. I'd expect to feel fantastic, but I don't feel much joy at all, I just feel .... nothing. Im still somewhat depressed (just not so extreme as in the past, no longer feel despair), why can't I just feel some pleasure for once, or joy, or happiness, that emotion seems to be "stuck". I can feel a bit happy after a glass or 2 of wine (though I limit it nowadays because it also is a CAUSE of depression the next day) but it doesn't last long, and sometimes I feel joy when listening to a great song. But that's it.

PS I'm NOT on any medication currently (occasionally a tiny dose of seroquel to help me sleep, probably once or twice a week) and I'm no longer in therapy as I had to change to another therapist and I took an instant dislike to her and never went back.

Is it NORMAL to not be able to experience joy/happiness/pleasure from things you'd expect to feel happy from? Why don't I feel anything???

Any input appreciated, thanks.

Hi AngelJasmine,

I can so relate to your post-it describes my own experience for the past 5 years or so-i am finally acknowledging it and I have quit drinking-like you, alchohol and Music could offer temporary relief.

The problem is the alchohol part make's the depression even worse if it gets out of hand-so I am trying lexapro 10Mg been on it for about the past 8 weeks-it has lifted me a tiny bit, but not really working.
To answer your question my feeling is that NO I do not think it is normal-not at all. I think it is a pathological condition-some kind of imbalance. And my Honest that beleif is that the antidepressants are, based on the research i am reading, not much more than placebo's, but I'm willing to try them even with that knowledge purely out of desperation. Good luck to you-I hope you find your way back.




ColinMichaels - currently taking ativan as needed-upped Lexapro from 10 to 15 mg as of 01/28/11-EPA fish oil 1200 MG-vitamin d 1000 i.u, taurine-500mg, green tea 5-6 cups (source of theanine)-chamomile tea 3 cups

#15 colinmichaels

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 08:43 AM

Regarding the previus post: I am new here and didn't realize these threads could be so old-oops!:unsure:
ColinMichaels - currently taking ativan as needed-upped Lexapro from 10 to 15 mg as of 01/28/11-EPA fish oil 1200 MG-vitamin d 1000 i.u, taurine-500mg, green tea 5-6 cups (source of theanine)-chamomile tea 3 cups





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