I have no emotions

Hey everybody, I stumbled upon the stream today and thought I would see if anybody shared my problem or could relate to me.

For my entire life I’ve been a loner. I’ve never fit in with anybody, was never very social, and I’ve even struggled with suicidal thoughts starting at the age of 10 because of how I “feel”. I have a loving Christian family, so I always felt as if something was wrong with me because I always felt unloved and abused. When I got to college, I fell into a very deep depression and began to starve myself because I had so much social anxiety. At one point, I found that I had become addicted to the feelings related to depression and I would chase those feelings using terrible thoughts, and even getting my heart broken on purpose to serve that end. This went on for about a year and a half and I woke up each day feeling less and less depressed for no reason. I thought that it was normal for a temporary depression to fade over time, but I suddenly realized that I was experiencing no emotions at all. I became completely detached, having no emotional connections to my first real friends, feeling nothing for my family, and despite trying very hard to feel anything at all, I was desperately unable.

At this point, I went to see a counselor on campus. After just a few sessions, he asked me if he could get a fellow psychologist to join a session. We all talked for a session, and the two asked me questions about my childhood, medical history, and my relationships. I later found out why when I was diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder. For those of you who may not know, ASPD is also referred to as Psychopathy or Sociopathy, of which I am the former. In basic terms, they told me that the signals in my brain that allow for the feeling of emotions had somehow been blocked and/or did not functioning properly, likely resulting from genetic predispositions or my recent trauma, and that this problem was partially responsible for my childhood troubles, as well as my current numbness. (all hypothetical as little research has been conducted). After learning this, I was done with therapy. I really just wanted to know what was “wrong” with me, and after learning that there was no cure, I decided to just adapt to it by myself.

So, here I am a couple years later, and I am simply a consciousness connected to a body. There is nothingness where my emotions should be and I haven’t felt anything but physical stimuli for what seems like an eternity. I start my day thinking, “I’m happy” or “I’m sad” but then I realize that those things are both just thoughts, nothing more. It has gotten to the point where I can’t even feel my emptiness anymore, and I am starting to wonder if I ever really felt anything at all. Perhaps all of my “emotions” have just been my mind trying to rationalize my experiences in relation to what I was taught about the feelings of others. Nothing matters to me, not even my own life, and I often find myself counting down the days to what will hopefully be an untimely death. I often pray to God at night, asking him to take me soon because I can’t even care enough to end it myself.

Sorry about the long, and possibly confusing, explanation, But I’ll happily answer any questions.
I mainly just want to know if anybody else experiences this limbo, this detachment, this lack of even emptiness itself.

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Hey Ferniinand,

So, I have dealt with something similar. Basically the type of depression i have is a biological/genetic depression. What that means is my body is producing the chemicals for emotions but not utilizing them. I used to feel depressed and empty and dark all the time and I had severe anxiety that masked the emptiness for the longest time. I started talking rhodiola rosea to cope with the anxiety and realized after about a year that I had no emotion. None. Felt just like a consciousness tied to a body and that was it. Well I got on Wellbutrin (bupropion) and the way that works is it makes your body use the chemicals it is already producing. It doesn’t work for everyone but you sound similar to what I was dealing with.

Now, I am going to recommend that you seek a different opinion, another professional. Preferably a doctor or someone who can talk to you about getting on medication. It doesn’t sound like you have sociopathy pr psychopathy - especially because I thought that myself until I did more research and realized I didn’t match a lot of the signs after getting on antidepressants.

Now, bit of science stuff. All of our emotions are dictated by chemicals being produced in the brain. There are two main kinds of depression: one where your brain is not producing any/enough of the chemicals and one where your brain is producing them but not using them. Now, you can have a little bit of both but that is usually caused by environmental stuff like stress. Now, there are two main causes of these kinds of depression - internal and external. Basically either your body is the cause or your environment. And like I said before, it can be a combination.

The problem that a lot of people don’t realize is that depression is not feeling sad or depressed, it’s not feeling at all. Either not feeling good things, not feeling bad things (manic), or just not feeling.

I would say to get a second opinion and talk to a doctor about trying some meds to see if you notice any changes.
Best of luck to you

Thank you for your response! That helps a lot.

I may have explained things poorly but when I was in therapy they went through a list of symptoms and I had all of them, Including the childhood conduct disorder, behavioral patterns, etc. which is why it seemed like the proper diagnosis.

Could you maybe tell me your symptoms from before you got medications so that I can compare?

Thank you again for the help.

Well it’s hard to say everything that I was dealing with because it was over the course of 11 years before I got on meds. Plus I suffered a heat injury during that time that killed a bunch of memory brain cells so I don’t know how much I am forgetting.

Basically before I got on meds: I was in a constant state of both anxiety and not feeling anything. Perpetual flight or fight mode but when you would ask me how I felt about anything - I would have no opinion. People would always tell me to calm down but I would be feeling nothing and not understand how to calm down when I felt nothing. There were a lot of dark times where I retreated into myself and disassociated most of my days. I was never really there 100% - always lost in some part of my mind. I thought it was just being lost in thought or space but now I know it was disassociation. Once I started treating my anxiety - I noticed an improvement in how panicky I always felt but then it gradually became feeling nothing. I couldn’t even explain how I felt to someone because I had absolutely no emotion on the matter. I felt like a sociopath because I could not remember ever actually feeling emotion once the panic was gone. And it wasn’t that I felt empty or at a loss, there was just nothing. and it was so terribly boring I didn’t even see the point in living if life was going to be so mundane. There was nothing to look forward to and I cared about no one and nothing. I would have been fine with ceasing to exist at any moment because why bother? I had attempted to take my own life before when I was so unhappy and I couldn’t see a way out but this was different. I just didn’t want life. At all. Existing felt like a chore, breathing was taxing.

Once I got onto my antidepressants, it took a while to notice a real difference. I was so disassociated by that point that the significant side effects didn’t even faze me. Anything was better than the void. I started noticing small changes at first. Being able to formulate an opinion on something. Being able to recognize when something bothered me and why. It was weird. Food was weird too. Everything tasted so bland and uninteresting before. Like it was muted. Getting on my meds has made everything taste so much more complex. It’s weird too because I am an emotional eater but now I like how food tastes so much more.

Let’s see, what else, God complex is fun. Having moments in which you look around and see people as lesser than you, not as smart, not as important. Used to always torture my mother and people I didn’t like by toying with their emotions until they would snap. Gaslighting was my favorite technique before I knew the name for it.

Not being bothered by death or loved ones dying is also one that throws people off. I am a sympathy crier so I always used to cry at funerals but if no one was crying then I wouldn’t. I always thought it was because my family is large and I have been around death my whole life but funerals and death don’t faze me now. After getting on my antidepressant - someone I was close with passed suddenly and it really messed me up but my only grandmother passing a year or so prior was meh.

I also tend to be a really logical thinker. I can completely remove emotion from my thought process and differentiate between emotional responses and logical ones. I used to be torn between what I thought was the answer according to society and my personal opinion because my anxiety would cause me to fluctuate between the two. Now I can see everything from an external perspective.

I guess that’s all I can really think of in the immediate. Its difficult to cover everything because most of my problems were either reduced or exacerbated by my anxiety. I still deal with certain sociopathic thinking but I recognize it now and know that its caused by my depression acting up.

Okay, yeah. I think that my experience was similar to what you went through, in that I never felt sad at funerals (and I generally glorify death, even thinking about killing my family and others on a daily basis), I am perpetually bored because I master things very quickly and everything is just a meaningless way to pass time, and I am narcissistic at times, looking down on others as inferior.

We differ in that I’ve never been chronically depressed or anxious. I had that year or so where I discovered that I actually could feel the sorrow and frustration that I was going through but based on your definition, I wasn’t really depressed because I was suddenly full of emotions, and it was firstly a result of an entire childhood of built up and misunderstood feelings (every “feeling” was bizarre and inexplicable to me until this point) and secondly a result of me not getting what I wanted for the first time. Before this point I had been able to determine my own reality by manipulating the people and situations around me, but this time I was left unable to achieve the thing that I wanted most at the time, which was a functional relationship where I could feel loved. That was something that I’d never experienced and I still haven’t experienced (and that I never thought was possible which is why I started being suicidal at the age of 10), and I continued to break my heart chasing after the rush that I took from it. Those feelings faded rather quickly which is how I came to realize who I was. I suddenly “woke up” and realized that something was very wrong.

These things are still very difficult for me to rationalize, mainly because they deal with the emotions that I could not understand at the time, but even now that I have reached full acceptance and understand that my life is meaningless, I would not give this up for anything. I like being this way, which is another reason why I stopped therapy. I revel in the fact that I am a void, aware of my own wrongdoings and flaws and simply not caring about them, and in fact being proud of them. I am certain that I am a psychopath, not because of the diagnosis, but because of how I’ve been my entire life. I am manipulative and selfish and conceited and I only thoroughly enjoy myself when I am doing something that I know is wrong, or that will give me what I want. Yet I am so good at blending in that my friends think that I am a loving and supportive guy, even after revealing my true nature to one of them. These things give me that physical rush that I deeply enjoy, and it is only in those moments that I can believe that I am happy.

You said that you were often torn between thinking emotionally and logically, which is another difference between us. I excel at mimicking and understanding the emotions of others, and I have a highly intuitive nature when it comes to how others are thinking, so I know what my emotional response should be, and what the logical reasoning is, and I can use both sets of information in manipulation. This person is clearly feeling this, so if I play into that emotion, I can get what I want, and so on. I often will choose the path that is logical, yet ethically abhorrent, just to see what people’s responses will be, and I do so in a way that makes them dismiss my callousness as sarcasm. I always stick with what I have rationalized as correct, however, and social norms are simply more rules to be broken.

As for the anxiety, I’ve never really felt the fight or flight thing. When I was in my “highly emotional” state, I simply stopped going to eat or leaving my room because that’s what I wanted to do. I was not going to get what I want so I had no reason to socialize. I’m also very unreactive when it comes to external surprises. If I almost get hit by a car, I keep walking as if it didn’t exist. Yet mentally I am always alert, giving my strange opinions freely and openly, regardless of any consequences.

I hope this explains things a bit more, and what my reasoning is for believing that I am what I am.
And I want to sincerely thank you far taking the time to talk about this with me. It’s difficult to find people that will understand some of these things.

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Well people who are extremely intellectual can sometimes develop psychopathic tendencies/thinking but the difference between how you feel and a true psychopath is that you are aware that you are doing something wrong. Even if you don’t see a problem with doing it, you are stil aware that it is wrong. I spent so long manipulating people (using logic and emotions against them) and I never saw a problem with it because it benefitted me to use them. I didn’t care and was incapable of caring about others feelings. Even when I pretended through a relationship for a year, I was only using the guy to fill my time and to make me feel wanted/desirable. I used him to fill my personal vendetta and when I moved away for school - I broke it off and didn’t even care. He wasn’t useful to me anymore - I had someone new to fill that void - someone who I actually felt something for. Of course those feelings go away when my depression gets really bad. I’m not sad or depressed - just lack of feeling. Logically I know that this void will pass and I just need to ride it out and do things that will produce the happy brain chemicals.

I think the real differences that I see between depression and psychopathy is that people with depression are capable of feeling and empathy but it just gets turned off at times. You are capable of understanding that something is wrong and that shows you are capable of empathy - that thrill you feel is a surge of chemicals in your brain - likely the fight/flight adrenal response. Anxiety and depression usually go hand in hand because you have the highs and lows but it is still common for someone to only have one side. It sounds like you have only the depression side. Like I said before: depression does not equal sad.

You don’t see a problem with how you feel because it is all you know and you have developed this toxic relationship with yourself. If therapy doesn’t benefit you then it would be a good idea to get your brain checked out and research how the chemicals in our brain change our perception.

I have dealt with a lot of shocking things and just shook it off because “well it didn’t do ____ to me so why worry?” Treating my depression was like turning my brain on for the first time. It took a while to figure it out with my meds but getting on meds was a night and day difference. It’s like before i was only half aware. I have so much more brain power now that I kick myself for not looking into meds sooner. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me because logic and self preservation were all that mattered to me. Now? I still have a pretty poor opinion of most people but that is a generalized feeling. But my interactions and feelings in regards to individuals has been better. Not saying my opinions have improved, but I have been much more analytical in how I feel about people and I have been able to remove people from my life that were doing me a disservice and only keep the people who were worth my time and energy around. Before I didn’t think anyone was worth my time, now I can see there is a mutual benefit with some people and it’s important to avoid the people who do not meet the criteria.

And before I forget, people never ever ever realized that there was anything different about me. People thought I was such a happy go-lucky and caring person while I just did not care about any of them. I became so good at pretending emotions that my roommate didn’t even know I tried to commit suicide when he lived with me. I just became so tired of dealing with everything. It was all so pointless and my job was awful. I wasn’t where I wanted to be and I felt sick to my stomach and blamed the people around me because I sacrificed the things I wanted for them because I believed these people would benefit me and i wasn’t seeing a return on the time and effort i had invested in these people. I was disgusted with everything and just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. Well it’s been quite a few years since then and there were lots of ups and downs.

I just believe that our perceptions of ourselves can become so skewed because we perceive it as normal and don’t understand that we can do things to change and improve ourselves and our situation. It took me 11 years to realize I had depression and it wasn’t even a proper diagnosis that helped me realize it. It was a list of “the symptoms of depression that you don’t realize are depression” and I had a large majority of the list and just thought those behaviors were normal because they made sense for me.

I don’t know about you, but for me - when I thought I was a sociopath or psychopath I realized that being able to label myself those things while being able to do things that didn’t match what a sociopath or psychopath would do meant that there was something else going on. Just the fact that I Knew things a psychopath would not be capable of understanding was enough for me to realize it was something different. Its easy to give yourself a label to justify your behavior but it is much harder to look inside yourself and figure out the why and how to change it.

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Now, before I forget - I am not all peaches and cream either. My closest friends call me a sociopath and psychopath all the time because they know I’m not one but I have a lot of the traits and have some pretty messed up ways of thinking - compared to others. The funniest part is that I am not wrong, everything I tell them as justification for my thinking proves to them that my thinking is sound - but it’s still fucked up. Lol. But in the opposite I am also capable of being an extremely considerate person because I do care and I would do what I would expect in return from a friend. My personalities are two polar opposites rolled into one but coexisting at once. I don’t switch between the two, my brain is always going extremely fast. Logic just dictates different responses and requirements based on the information provided. I’ve also been told I am an extremely scary person because you can never know what I’m thinking unless I tell you. You can’t figure me out except what I choose to show you. I have had people try many times and switched my personality/mannerisms on them just to prove them wrong.
I am really good at mimicking people and making myself feel super familiar to them, people always assume they know me from somewhere, to me it’s just easier than going through the awkward introduction phase and so I ingratiate myself naturally.

Like I said before, extremely intelligent people can have the traits of a psychopath or sociopath but there are key differences. Once I found those differences I was able to figure my own brain out and understand my own reasoning better. Ironically making me into a more logical thinker.

Okay, now that is making a lot of sense. Being both crazy and fucked up, but also being the best and most considerate friend. I experience that dichotomy between the good and the evil inside, especially since I am a Christian. When I’m hating myself for being such a disgusting person, that is when I realize that I’m not doing what God would want, when I ask for him to kill me so that I don’t hurt anybody. That part of me will not believe that the rest of me is real. I know that it’s not real, but I’ve tried so hard to turn myself into this person who is untouchable, and you are right, I’m not a psychopath. But I still can’t explain how I experience things, or if my emotions are real. When he comes out (and like you, he is always here) he makes it seem so rational that he would exist, and that I would do anything to keep his feeling of security around me.

I’m not really sure what to do, because me before the monster was a person with no self esteem, with a great fear of going on alone and never finding anybody to love me. I was a person with a deep, deep hatred of myself that would not go away. I never felt loved at home and I was abused and neglected. I was always told that I was worthless, and stupid, and ugly. To go along with that, I developed arrogance and pride as a way to mask my pain, but it just made me hate myself even more. So now that I have this power and freedom, and I can actually look in the mirror and see something that I like, I really don’t want to give it up. I need some help.

I’m sorry for the things I wrote earlier. It was him. I didn’t realize what I was doing, and I want to thank you for sticking with me.

Honestly I don’t blame you at all. I think giving the differing sides of your personality pronouns (me vs him) is giving too much power to something that is a part of you. I used to feel that the “dark” side wasn’t me and that it was something different than who I was but i was just damaging myself by not dealing with things in a healthy manner. Keep in mind that most people don’t think this way and keep themselves in the negative spiral and no manner of therapy helps them, I’m kinda crazy (lol) because I get sick of my own bad habits and start doing things to fix them the way a psychologist would advise.

I used to be Christian a long time ago and found it to be illogical and cause me a lot of self hate because I thought my way of thinking was wrong. Now I understand that the way I think is different and trying to force myself into a mold was just causing me to hate myself or that side of me. I became very fake because of this need to fit a mold that wasn’t made for me.

You’re going to be alright, therapy helps some people but I think you need to look into meds first and then use therapy as a support. A psychologist would be better suited to help you through this than a therapist, therapist don’t have the knowledge or understanding to do more than help you help yourself, you need someone to help you do better for yourself.

I think the more you self reflect and really think and get into the heart and soul for the problem, the better you will feel. You may feel fine now but you will know what I mean when it happens.

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I understand. This has helped a lot. I will look into getting some help.

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