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Phil

Emotional numbness on and off drugs

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Phil

Also see:

Anhedonia, apathy, demotivation, emotional numbness

Creating a new self after withdrawal



It seems to me, that on Lexapro, I felt emotionally numbed, almost as though general emotions were just "not there" for me, even though I could "do" things. But now, coming off Lexapro, I seem to feel angry and agitated and so on. But emotional numbness is also a withdrawal effect is it not? I dont understand this - how can you be emotionally numbed on a med, but also while coming off it? Or is it just that in withdrawal the only emotions present are anger and such? I'd appreciate others thought on this. What is the difference between the two types of emotional numbness? Also - I wonder how Lexapro differs from other SSRIs in this respect. Edited by ChessieCat

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Barbarannamated

Phil, it's bizarre. I don't understand the underlying mechanism, but I feel so strange, 'inhuman' seems appropriate at times.

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Maybe

I have no clue as well, but I guess it has to do with the "long term" effects of the drugs. So you take the drugs for a longer time and they change some of your biological processes,which is why you get numb. After going off the drug the body needs time to readjust, so eventually your emotions come back. And before this happens quite a lot is in chaos and does not function as it used to, so you experience different emotional states. Just a guess though.

 

As I have only taken 4 pills, I never had any issues with emotions besides anxiety and panic. But I think that those two are very nervous system related and in my case that is what was hit by taking the drugs.

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Altostrata

I believe Maybe has it right.

 

Phil, some people feel emotional anesthesia as a withdrawal symptom and some do not. In your case, the neurological disruption may be exaggerating feelings of anger and agitation.

 

Please try to stay calm and think about managing this as a symptom, not the core of who you are.

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Phil

Thanks Alto that is a good tip, I do have a tendency to see these feelings as "me" rather than an alien symptom. I need to work on managing it better.

The depersonalization has been quite bad today as I have a tendency to worry and ruminate over it. Sometimes I feel the need to keep moving to make it "shift" and feel some relief.

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Altostrata

Think of taking walks as a way to help your nervous system heal in a lot of ways. Walk somewhere pleasant and look at everything around you. Mental stimulation is good for healing.

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Henosis

Has ANYONE recovered from Anhedonia that was brought on by re-instatement, theoretically by tapering their SSRI/SNRI down to a dose where there dopamine system started functioning? (or augmenting with anthing)? Or did feelings, passions, and excitement only return after getting to ZERO or beyond (I know some people don't get anhedonia until after withdrawal which is an entirely different beast altogether). I never felt it strongly when I was on Paxil for ten years, but during withdrawal everything was pleasurable and emotional again. Re-instatement brought out a fierce this fierce anhedonic/apathetic/zombie state despite a much lower dose than I was taking for a decade. It seems I've tried almost everything (save for nortriptline as an adjunct to me paxil taper - yes, I know dangerous, but I'm desperate).

 

It's at the point that I actively consider quick tapering just to feel alive again, and deal with the WD effects and likely loss of employment because it is so maddening. Maybe move to a foreign country and volunteer for a year until my neurotransmitters recover.

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genlady

After going completely off Seroquel and tapering Celexa I have noticed a huge difference in my emotional state.  While on the drugs also in the past my emotions were flat, meaning I did not find things funny when others did.  I seldom laughed at anything.  I also did not experience other emotions like I do now.  My family and friends have also seen a difference in me.  I laugh freely , I also feel the negative emotions stronger such as sadness from watching a movie.  It has been wonderful to FEEL.  Even though my emotions are not yet stable from time to time, I experience feelings of anger that come out of left field, I'm able to recognize that they are Neuro emotions and that they will pass soon, and they do, only lasting a short time during a day.  

 

I think anti depressants dampen our emotions , so that we don't feel sad; but we also don't feel glad.  They cover everything.  I'll be so happy when I am off all of my Celexa so I can experience the joys of life more fully.

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Henosis

 

What dose did your feeling come bac?????

 

Everything you said was relatable!

I felt same way after getting off paroxetine - WD symptoms sucked but I felt emotions , empathy, pleasure, excitement; again), but was forced back into the de-huanizingn, soul-sucking resinstement anheeonian because of cognitivelyl symptoms to keep my jobs .

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Henosis

 

What dose of clexa did you taper to when your emotions returned?!

 

After going completely off Seroquel and tapering Celexa I have noticed a huge difference in my emotional state. While on the drugs also in the past my emotions were flat, meaning I did not find things funny when others did. I seldom laughed at anything. I also did not experience other emotions like I do now. My family and friends have also seen a difference in me. I laugh freely , I also feel the negative emotions stronger such as sadness from watching a movie. It has been wonderful to FEEL. Even though my emotions are not yet stable from time to time, I experience feelings of anger that come out of left field, I'm able to recognize that they are Neuro emotions and that they will pass soon, and they do, only lasting a short time during a day.

 

I think anti depressants dampen our emotions , so that we don't feel sad; but we also don't feel glad. They cover everything. I'll be so happy when I am off all of my Celexa so I can experience the joys of life more fully.

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Henosis

Has anyone found ANYTHING that helps SSRI anhedonia brought on my re-instatement?

 

- have tried bupropion, adderall, miterazapine, low dose zyprexa

 

Debating whether to try the (knowingly ill-advised) addition of nortriptyline (TCA) for its 5ht2c receptor blockade. SSRI + TCA is specialist stuff and can be dangerous if not done correctly, but I'm desperate!

 

Not sure what else to do as I can't handle this anhedonia during the next 6-9 months.

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ChessieCat

See this topic here:  tcas-or-ssris-in-regards-to-withdrawal

 

Post #8:  "Also, the tricyclics are still serotonergics. If your system has been sensitized by withdrawal or adverse reactions, you may get unanticipated reactions to TCAs, too."

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ChessieCat

Observations about returning emotions at lower Pristiq doses:

 

31 minutes ago, Andie said:

My emotions came roaring back at about 15 mg mark and are becoming stronger.  Its like someone suddenly turned the volume up. I am very shocked at how numbed out I have been. I didn’t think it was even possible.  I was a plank of wood. I would rarely get emotional about things but I would get very irritable and angry. A few people in my life pointed out to me that I didn’t seem ‘right’ and that I had changed.  I thought I was just standing up for myself and had gained more confidence. I didn’t believe them. 

 

58 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

The lower our dose gets the less numbed our emotions are.

 

April 2017 I bought a new car when I was at 25mg Pristiq.  In October/November 2017 I was at 19mg.  I got very excited when I unexpectedly saw some whales when we were checking out a car that my daughter was looking at and the seller's house was on the coast.  I even jumped up and down on the spot which I noticed because I had been having trouble raising my legs high enough to step up the gutter (this has slowly improved).  I realised then that when I got my car it was a dulled excitement.

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VincentV

Its a feeling that's very difficult for me to comprehend, literally get my head around, and I'm just wondering if the forum could shed some light on it. Maybe other people experience this as well or maybe there's already another post on it (I have tried to look)? There was a BBC report on SSRI withdrawal and one woman said she'd had this 'lobotomised feeling' and the words struck a chord with me.

 

I've had this odd sense  since about week 8 after I took my last dose of sertraline of not being able to grasp all my own thoughts and feelings and hold them in my mind in their entirety (It sounds clumsy but that's the best way I can sum it up). I call it the 'lobotomised feeling' and 'brick/ hole in my brain" feeling. Somethings missing and I cant figure out what it is.   Sometimes I just call it brain fog, because I often feel spaced out and detached, but I'm not entirely sure if its accurate to call it that. It doesn't quite feel like depersonalisation either (though again it feels close, but I've had to a small degree before and this feels kind of different and worse somehow) Its like I try and take stock, or audit how I'm feeling, try to take a look at me, 'myself' and I just can't.  I'm completely on autopilot and have been ever since, like big bits of my subjective experience, maybe all of it are missing. Yet I'm still aware that I feeling things like depression, or agitation or anxiety. I'm just not sure what's feeling them I'm not even sure who, or what is writing this, really. I mean I know its me, but I'm not here?

 

I know this sounds crazy and ridiculous. Can anyone understand or relate or shed some light?

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Nevertoolate

Hi Vincent.

I'm sure one of the mods will be along shortly to answer your question but in the meantime fear not you're in good company. 

It's not crazy or ridiculous I'd say you'll find a huge percentage of us feel exactly that way at one time or another. 

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VincentV

Yes,  there dont seem to be many others dealing with this odd symptom. I was just wondering, from my description whether others thought it sounds like brainfog or DP. Yes I came across the lobotamy conspiracy video but didn't take it seriously. 

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VincentV

To be honest, sometimes I think or wonder whether part of it was more the shock of no knowing what was happening to me. Not know why my mind felt like it was collapsing. I remember exactly when I really noticed it, i was very upset at the time. Ever since then there's been a wall. 

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Lloyd

Hi Vincent, yes i can relate to what you are experiencing. Its a constant brain fog and spaced out feeling with some derealization like the world doesnt look real. Feels a bit like brain damage in some ways to put it in rudimentary terms. I'm 13 months out from ceasing effexor. For the first few months i felt like i was in a coma. Recently in the past 2 months i have noticed some improvement but its still not great.

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PapayaShake

Hi @VincentV

 

You have just described to a great extent how I Feel. I have also been looking for some sort of validation, but the closest I can find is the anhedonia thread. But this goes farther than that. I have used the phrase ‘’ I feel as if I have been chemically lobotomized’’ while trying to explain to my girlfriend.

 

I also try to grasp my own thoughts, like my mind is thinking them but they are not part of me or I can’t relate to them. Something is missing and I can’t figure out what it is. It’s as if my soul was absent from my body, as if I went through this activities through the day but I cant connect them to my inner self and cant find a meaning to them. I also try to look at myself and just can’t. I’m unable to grasp or process things and feel like I can resolve them because somehow things don’t go deep to my core to be assimilated. I don’t know if any of this makes sense.I also feel like there’s a wall and I can't get to myself

 

I really can’t shed any light on this, like in showing a scientific article because I haven’t found anything of the sort. I can just relate to all that you are saying and it is one of the things that bothers me the most. 

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VincentV

@PapayaShake

 

Do you notice some days where it feels more intense/annoying than others? I would definitely say that, although its always there to sone extent, some days just feel better than others. 

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PapayaShake

 @VincentV

 

Yess, it follows that windows and waves pattern. Sometimes improves and sometimes it gets unbearable and disheartening 

 

 

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