Bipolar Disorder Community
APATHY, Feelings, Bipolar, meds....
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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APATHY, Feelings, Bipolar, meds....

Does anyone else out there, feel almost completely apathetic-- no care, no emotion, no feelings- since being medicated? since being diagnosed? since being on meds for a period of time? Or even if just in the midst of the ups and downs experienced with the illness......  


I am having (what I think is) severe issues of NOT feeling, not caring---about much of anything--even about the things that used to thrill me, now, it's just a response of " Eh- whatever..."

I know the meds bring down the highs, and are supposed to keep the downs from going so deep--- but just plain old out and out NOT CARING ????   is this common? Is it normal?  Is anything ever normal again, once being diagnosed with a mental illness?????
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20 Comments Post a Comment
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1242551_tn?1290678557
Yes psyvamp, I think it's pretty common to feel this way. You've just described exactly what I was talking to a freind about yesterday. various things trigger our highs and lows, I'm not sure if suppressing feelings is what stops the swings or if it's just an effect.....but I'm experiencing the same.
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603015_tn?1329866573
ditto ditto ditto, everyone tells me this is what stable is, well it s***s. Is this how we are supposed to live post diagnosis on meds that surpress our true selves. This is exactly what I hate right now, I want to be like before, my quirky up and down type of girl, sure I dont want the depression but I also miss those little highs, things I had enthusiasm about, endless energy to throw myself into stuff, yes then the fall but I coped now I am just exsisting, my diagnosis or my stability has ruin my marriage, I used to be unpredictable, my hypomanias spiced up my marriage now life is just down right boring.
ahhhhhhhhhh.
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1066198_tn?1333312628
I know exactly how you feel... Guess I am not so alone-- but still miserable. WHAT can we do about it?--short of stopping meds-- but then what???

Maybe that's why i can relate so well to the song "Lithium" by Evanescence:

""Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside.
Lithium, don't want to forget how it feels without...
Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow.
Oh, but God, I want to let it go.

Come to bed, don't make me sleep alone.
Couldn't hide the emptiness, you let it show.
Never wanted it to be so cold.
Just didn't drink enough to say you love me.

I can't hold on to me,
Wonder what's wrong with me.

Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside.
Lithium, don't want to forget how it feels without...
Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow.

Don't want to let it lay me down this time.
Drown my will to fly.
Here in the darkness I know myself.
Can't break free until I let it go.
Let me go.

Darling, I forgive you after all.
Anything is better than to be alone.
And in the end I guess I had to fall.
Always find my place among the ashes.

I can't hold on to me,
Wonder what's wrong with me.

Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside.
Lithium, don't want to forget how it feels without...
Lithium, ...stay in love with my sorrow.
I'm gonna let it go """
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603015_tn?1329866573
It feels so bad right now about this, that I am seriously considerring coming off the meds, I am waiting to see my doc to discuss this with him, he is off sick at the moment and im running out of one of the meds and seriously feel like if I dont see him I will just stop this one and then discuss the other when I see him. I want to feel alive again even if its only in short bursts.
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585414_tn?1288944902
Its important to understand there are two aspects you are speaking of. The emotional distancing (which I can't say I don't experience) of some aspects of bipolar and the cognitive blunting effect of some medications. The Clonidine I take certainly has some cognitive blunting effects and the anti convulsant for my physical disability I take that they are noting mood stabilization effects ig taken at later times in the day does have cognitive blunting effects and causes a (very minor) depressive effect. However, within standard mood stabilizers (many of which had less of that effect for me but I was unable to tolerate) there are an increasing number of options so you might be able to avoid this effect but its important to distinguish between the two concerns as they are very different.
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800339_tn?1270437086
I also experience what you were describing on a frequent basis, on and off medication. I would say it is very normal amongst Bipolars -- you are not alone in this feeling of non-feelings.

All the best,

HoᴖeyNᴗt
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1100992_tn?1262360816
I get the emotional distancing from my lows. I can't interact with people appropriately, feel happy, etc. My smile is 100% fake and I can't do it for more than a few seconds.  :(
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Avatar_f_tn
I can agree and sometimes it turns into further, deeper depression where I just don't care about anything and stay in bed. As all have said you are not alone.
zzzmykids
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1167245_tn?1353882100
I've been experiencing this as well. I don't know how much of it is cognitive or medicine-based for me, though. When I have a big success, the most excitement I can muster is "huh, cool". I feel like I might try to downplay everything intentionally so that I won't be disappointed if things don't turn out well, or if a good feeling doesn't last, etc. I've actually never really thought about whether or not the meds are causing it... but maybe there are ways to work around it eventually, somehow? Hm...
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1066198_tn?1333312628
thanks for your comments, everyone...

hell1971: we sound alot alike... I miss so much of the old me-- the (what I thought before) was the "normal me"... and I have had a dulling of the marriage affair as well.... I  miss "ME", ya know? like you said- the energy bursts, the enthusiasm, the joie de vivre-- but NO, I don't miss the seep depressions-- though I think my new "stable me" on meds-- is just more stably depressed! Oh, WTF.... SOS-DD any more... I wanna quit the meds- but I'm scared to... I'm a nervous wreck anymore in general-- and becoming more and more dependant on the valium to keep me calm.... and it's making me insane!  

Honeynut: I have never been 'jump up and down shrieking with joy" excited about anything in my entire life! lol! but before, I was at least elated, happy-- more energized in mood and demeanor about ALOT of things... Nowadays-- NOT A SINGLE THING makes me very happy at all....I feel like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh......

wj74: "I can't interact with people appropriately, feel happy, etc. My smile is 100% fake and I can't do it for more than a few seconds." I couldn't have said it better myself... (and I tried!)

moonpanda: I think alot of mine is the same-- I'm afraid to feel anything-- or to let it show that I do, because of ___________ (whatever, -fill in the blank). I've been hurt so many times over so much crap-- I'm scared to move, somedays--- and I take EVERYTHING personally!!!  I cry at the drop of a hat-- I get my feelings hurt SO easily-- when I used to be the first one to stand up for myself and back anyone else down that pushed me... My poor Husband is probably the most offensive and defensive at the same time... I feel like nothing I say around or to him, is right, like I cant ask him for anything I want or need-- for fear of refusal, rebuttal, criticism-- you name it. And yet-- there are things I so DESPERATELY yearn for, want and need from him-- but can not, will not ask......

I just feel so trapped within my own self-- but locked out of my own self at the same time. ............... like being trapped inside the mirror-- I can see in and I can see out-- but i can't touch or live on either side...
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1066198_tn?1333312628
Did not take my Lamictal Monday-- didn't take it today. Don't plan on taking it tomorrow either... Just gonna see how things play out. Can't live like this anymore.
PsyV
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1066198_tn?1333312628
doing well!
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Avatar_f_tn
I completely relate to what you are saying. The complete uninterest feeling is different to the despair of depression.  I first got that "don't care, not interested" feeling when I was put on my first medication for BP.  I became emotionless, no highs, no lows but no inbetween either and NO THIS IS NOT WHAT STABLE SHOULD BE.  This is not stability this is existence only and is not how anyone should be.  A stable state still has ups and downs but just not to the extremes of when unmedicated.

What i did about it - I told my psych I couldn't live like that, that it wasn't living, that sitting like a shop dummy wasn't fair on me, my kids or my family.  She lowered the dose I was on and that helped a lot.  I eventually came off that particular med and then started the rollercoaster of trying different ones.  My final med which has proved ok for me is lithium (of course everyone is different).  I refuse to go on a high dose even though I do still have mood swings they are manageable to a degree and I'm still far better than when not medicated.  To increase the dose would be a return to just existing.

Discuss with your psych about changing your med dosage or even a complete change of med.  You may well cope for a period without medication but I know from experience that this won't last and you will end up either hyper or depressed again.
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1066198_tn?1333312628
Still going!!! It's been a month now-- nearly, and still off the lamictal. Actually LIVING again-- and starting to enjoy it! Husband sees the difference, too-- and he really helps me keep a watch on my moods and and triggers... I feel better, want to to do things and have some energy, still being ever watchful for those signs of mania--- but none yet!! Careful and watchful... only issues having so far are occassional bouts of anxiety and mild paranoia--- but I am starting to recognize that before it gets a grip, and quell it......
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574118_tn?1305138884
congratulations. just keep watching yourself for any signs, hope they won't appear again
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1134609_tn?1269275800
You have one of two choices:

-Deal with the apathy and numbness caused by the medication.
-Take yourself off of the medication and pay the price for it. We all tend to remember the mania and how wonderful it felt and forget about the other, terrible flip side of the coin. The depression, mixed episodes, etc..

This is going to sound pedantic; the medication is causing apathy, BUT it is because it is stabilizing the disorder. Yes, it would be nice to feel 'normal', but, in many cases, a flat mood is as close as you're going to get. The suicide rate for BP people is very, very high and it is mainly due to the fact that people refuse to stay med compliant. BP disorder is unpredictable, as we all know; without the medication, you're never going to know when or what kind of issues you're going to have. Plus, withdrawing from medications is dangerous in and of itself. People would do well to remember all of this; you're playing with a loaded gun.

I am not going lie; I am tired of people that don't accept their BP disorder and pull themselves off of medication because they don't like feeling flat. I feel flat and emotionless right now and there are times when it is frustrating, but I GET OVER IT. I still love my wife, family and friends and that's all that matters.

And, as self-aware as one might be, mood swings cause poor judgment; you can 'monitor yourself' all you want, it is still dangerous. You can have everyone else around you watching for the signs of the illness, but it doesn't matter; you are the one that's going to have to take responsibility when things go downhill. No one is going to be there to force pills down your throat and being hospitalized against your will is a terrible experience.

Also, many people state that they're taking themselves off of medication under a pdoc's care. Guess what I have found? They're lying. A shrink is going to be very hesitant to take a BP person off of their medication, given what I just described about the suicide rate. They're not going to buy into the complaints about feeling apathy or the stories of how their patient's co-workers and family 'just can't see how they're BP'.

I am coming across as angry and that's because I am. I have seen too many people on these forums that talk about pulling themselves off of medications because of the SEs and then a bunch of people jump on the bandwagon. It's dangerous and irresponsible.



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1039200_tn?1314915608
You are right. I pulled myself off seroquel briefly and it created a whole load of grief and now I am on a higher dose than before plus medication for the side effects.
I would therefore urge anyone who is considering lowering or ditching medications to exercise extreme caution. Psyvamp I really do wish you the best of luck, just be careful! ;-)
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1066198_tn?1333312628
Chris- I totally RESPECT your point of view, and I do understand it.
Realize, too that EVERYONE is different; what works for some will not work for others... IF I had continued on the sub-level of "stable" that I was on while taking the LAMICTAL--  I would have eventually LOST everything I have- Husband, family, home, job... and my life. I won't go in to any further detail, just suffice it to say that my choice was for me, and no one else.

I do not deny that I have the BP disorder--- I simply decided that the medication I was taking was not appropriate for ME.  I am still in therapy, I am still taking my anxiety medication, I am still in close contact with my psych doc- and my PCP on this as well... My husband is also close with me on the decision, the monitoring and has full authority to act on my behalf IF there is ever ANY question in the stability of my psychiatric capacity.

I AM taking responsibility for ALL my own actions.  I appreciate your concern-- and I am sorry that you are ANGRY... I applaud you for taking your feelings and working with them-- and living your life in the way that works best for you and  your family. You must be a strong man...  

i wish you best. Thank you for your input .
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1066198_tn?1333312628
I am sorry to hear that you had such a hard time ....  I know it's not easy--- ANY way you look at it or approach it. It's the nature of mental illness....

I do agree with you-- "I would therefore urge anyone who is considering lowering or ditching medications to exercise extreme caution."...   and I can not stress that enough too.

thank you for your concern and support.
We all need as much of both as we can get!

Best Wishes-
PsyVamp
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8855472_tn?1400235230
I used to be glad that I didnt have a problem being on meds and miss the highs etc.  But guess what I dont do art or play music or write songs and I just spent a week not being able to leave my bed.  So now I dont know what to think.
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