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Avatar universal

How to show emotion

I was diagnosed with depression several years ago and it's taking its toll on my relationships with my family and friends.

I haven't been very excited about anything in a long time. The only thing that makes me happy is seeing my daughter. I feel like there's no point getting excited about anything because it eventually ends in disappointment. I try so hard to hide my emotions that I can't tell if I have any anymore. My wife has been trying to get me to listen to music but I don't feel any emotional connection to anything I hear. I don't feel passionate or ambitious at all; I feel like I'm just drifting through life in the direction that others push me. I just don't care enough to push myself.

Another big problem I have is that I can never see the forest for the trees. I get caught up on little details instead of focusing on what's important. As a result I usually try to find a logical justification for having fun instead of just enjoying myself. I take myself too seriously and get defensive when anyone teases me about anything. I feel confused about how to act in social situations and just freeze up when I should be talking, because I'm overthinking what I need to say, This depresses me even more because I feel so lost.

I've been in the hospital for depression before, but nothing seems to stick. I'm so grateful that my wife has stayed by me all this time, but my bad moods are taking their toll on her too and I don't want to put her through any more.

Does anyone have ideas on how to reach inside myself and dig up these feelings I know I should be having? I can't take antidepressants because I have allergic reactions to them, but my best friend overcame depression without them so I know it's possible. Changing just seems so hard...
19 Responses
585414 tn?1288941302
Its hard to have all of these symptoms improve without treatment. Talk therapy and cognitive behavioral are helpful though. Its odd that you would be allergic to all classes of anti-depressents as they work differently. Speak to your psychiatrist and ask if there are any available options they haven't tried and if they aren't familiar with them perhaps they could refer you to a mood disorders specialist.
Avatar universal
I have been undergoing therapy and that does help a little. I cannot take antidepressants because they either make me really hyper or super depressed. I cannot function on them. I once found one that I liked, but grew a tolerance to it after a year. My therapist has me on fish oil right now. Talking to my wife helps a lot too.

Thank you for your feedback, but I can't take medication and have no interest in doing so. It's a decision that me, my wife and my therapist came to together and I'm going to stick with that. I'm just wondering if there is anyone out there who has experienced the same feelings that I have. I don't need advice on medication.
Avatar universal
Have you tried appreciating all the good in your life?  A loving wife that has supported you through all this, and would like to be able to laugh with you while growing old together?  Your daughter who not only deserves your happiness but needs it to grow up a normal happy child?  Think of how you would feel if one day you woke up and they were gone.  You say you do, but do you really? This is not to depress you more, but an effort to get you to see, appreciate and dwell on all the good in your life.  It's been all about you and your feelings, it's time you think about the 2 of them, their feelings and needs.  The more you think of them, the less you will dwell on yourself.  Plus, in FORCING yourself to do things you no longer have any interest in, will show you a lot of joy and happiness.  As for social settings, freezing up and not saying anything is obviously not working for you, so why not just be yourself?  One thing you've got to understand, not all depression can be overcome by a person.  Most depressions are caused by a chemical embalance and only medication will help.  This type of depression is like any other disease, like diabetes, they have drugs to control the symptoms, but you still have the disease.  Never compare you and your depression to others, we're all different.  If your depression is a chemical embalance, chances are your daughter will inherit it.  So, you need to find the right medication and/or the drive to get better so you can advise her. Stop analyzing everything, and accept that things are what they are and get on with your life.
Avatar universal
I have found this problem a bit too. I am usually TOO emotional for my own good. Sometimes I just think of something hypothetically sad and I burst into tears. But I know what you mean about not knowing how to have fun anymore.

I "like" to do lots of things. I like to paint, I like to write, I like walking the dog down by the river. But sometimes, I can only stand to do these things for five minutes and then I get bored or sick of it. Sometimes I lay in bed and WANT to do something, but can't think of a good reason why. Like standing in front of the open fridge and finding nothing appealing. I crave something to satisfy me, but let's face it - i'M JUST NOT HUNGRY! I know I have to eat sometime, but...

I think that a lot of cases of depression can be treated effectively without medication. I have been on meds close to ten years and it has it's pros and cons, I think. I think that counselling would be one step in the right direction. I LOVE seeing a counsellor - it's like a hobby for me. What should I do today? Hmm. Paint? Walk the dog? nah, let's go see the counsellor. I think it will really help you get accustomed to speaking about what's on your mind, and it's good practice for speaking with others. Sometimes I go in thinking I have nothing to say, and at the end of the appointment I wish I had more time to finish whatever it was I found to talk about. Some things that I think don't bother me reduce me to tears when I start talking about it.

A question: are you able to feel sorrow, loneliness, grief, sadness? Do you cry at all? I am wondering if you are, perhaps, trying so hard not to be depressed that you are, in fact, REpressed? (Help! I'm being repressed! - Monty Python) It's a possibility that you are trying to stay on an even-keel to the point where you are... emotionally constipated? While combatting your downs, your ups might be on a pretty tight leash as well. Just a possibility, you will have to think about it and decide for yourself.

There are natural methods that help people battling with depression. Fish oil is one that some people take, but think about even more simple than that. A decent diet and regular exercise are great. A little exersise releases endorphins in your brain that make you feel a bit better. It also helps you sleep. Just going for a walk works, something to get your heart pumping. As far as diet goes, stay away from stimulants and simple sugars.

If you have a tendancy to analyze things, try to turn it inward instead of outward. When I was going through my badder spells, I was interested in psycology and did a lot of self-analysis. I wrote at great lengths in journals about how I was feeling, and things I dreamed about. It works to a certain extent, but in the end it is only like a mirror for a lonely parakeet. I finally anaysed everything I could and grew utterly exausted from it. Sometimes I think about it, but I don't staqy awake for hours because of it.

Why don't you tell us some more?

Avatar universal
I know you know me.  In a strange way I understand you.  I have a very different problem than you do.  I have a disease and there is no real cure for it.  Everyone just slaps medication on the problem.  I have a very high medication tolerance too.  
It's like my immune system works too well.  I think you may have a similar problem.  I know this is not what you want to hear, but I think there is some truth in it.
I wish I could give you some of the over emotions  that I have than maybe we'd be even.  Someday it'll click that being happy is just something that you have to force yourself  to do.
1006035 tn?1485575897
I'm skepticalmario's wife and I can verify that he has a really bad reaction to antidepressants. Since we have been together I have seen him come so far. I've helped him try different medications and take them correctly, but they mostly just made matters worse. We've had the most success in controlling his depression when he isn't on anything but fish oil and good diet like jbobs said! Meds may work for some people, but not everyone.

I know you may not feel like you are making progress hun, but you are. It's just sometimes for every two steps you take forward you take a step backwards. And that's ok. I'm here for you and I love you.
Avatar universal
Something like 20% of people do not find a med that works, no matter how much they try. However for the other 80% there is some relief including for some like me, total absence of depression. I encourage you to keep an open mind about meds because you only need 1 good one to make all the other bad experiences a memory.
The fact that 1 worked for a year indicates there may be some potential in further experimenting. Living with depression is not an option.
Avatar universal
I'm also related to sketpicalmario.  Some people out there have very hardy immune systems.  I know I said that once.  I am one of them.  I, too have seen him on many antidepressants and not one of them worked.  In fact the opposite would usually happen.  
I have the same problem.  I do not think that he wants to be a guinea pig.  I will say this my husband, his best friend somehow managed to cure his own depression.  I also don't think that we need to be comparing our experiences to other people's because we all have different bodies, minds and spirits.  We have all be through different trials, pain and heartache.  We have all seen different things, been to different places and don't all see the world the same way.  
I think the big issue here is he can't seem to show emotion.  He feels much like a robot husband.  I would say that medication is just a temporary solution to a permanent problem.    
Avatar universal
"I would say that medication is just a temporary solution to a permanent problem."

Yes, it can be the temp solution a person needs so they can remember what it means to be happy again.
Even the meditation books I read while I was dealing with depression said there are only a few remarkable individuals that can come out of a true clinical depression without meds. Dep tends to pull you down to ever deeper levels over time, which makes it harder than ever to come out of.
No one is telling him to be a guinea pig to hurt him, it is just that it is about the only solution that can work. (Assuming he is one of the lucky ones that it does work on.) By all means try the alternatives like cognitive behaviour therapy, meditation, volunteering etc. but most often those work only with some med booster to kick start his happy emotions again.
Avatar universal
Haha! Meds vs. No Meds. I will join in the fray.

I think medication is great - I improved a lot when on medication, when I first started them. It helps me keep from being too stressed and emotional. I led a more "normal" life while on them.

It is true that we all have different body chemistry, different circumstances, and different spirits. And to make it more complicated there are tonnes of different meds out there.

My "problem" with medication is that I feel doped a lot of the time - and I've heard similar stories from all kinds of people on different kinds of antidepresants.  I develop immunity to it and I get the dose raised and raised until I can't goi any higher, and then I have to try something new. The truth is that I am just depressed now as I was ten years ago. I don't think I will ever be "cured" and that's okay with me. I still like my life, even when sometimes I think what for???

I envy people who are managing without medication. I hope to be one of them within the next 12 months. It may or may not work, but I'm going to try. Hard.

So Mario, I encourage you not to give up on all medications completely - because some of them do work, but if you are managing now the way you are and don't want to go through the ordeal of trying and testing different meds to find out which one "works" for you - and this process can take years and take a toll on your mental strength - then if it aint broke, don't fix it right?

You're trying to find answers about methods to deal with your problems that do not include drugs. Like I said before, the ones I can think of are a good, personallized diet, regular fresh air and exercise, couselling, and staying "active"  - mentally active and physically.
Avatar universal
@birdie
I guess I'm just in the other 20%--is that so hard to believe?

@jbobs
I have been meaning to get more exercise--I rode a bicycle to work at my old job but my new one is unsafe to ride to. I should go out for a walk after work but I mostly just want to take a nap when I get home.

@teddybears
I do feel like a robot husband a lot of the time. While I know I should be more passionate and enjoyable, there doesn't seem to be much reason or use to act that way in any particular situation.

I'm trying to enjoy the things I need to do, but I'm afraid all I'm doing is not complaining that I don't get what I want. I'm going to go on a walk after work tomorrow and see how I feel then.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your encouragement honey. It means a lot to me that you support me. I love you and I'll try to show you how much every day. :-)
Avatar universal
You said on Sept 15 that you found one that you liked but after a year grew a tolerance to it, but now you say you are in the 20% that never found anything and wonder if that is hard for me to believe?
1006035 tn?1485575897
There is no need to get defensive. No one is saying that you nor anyone else has to stop taking medication nor find one that works for you. Medication is a good thing when used correctly, but there are some people who are just better off without it. I trust my husband's therapist's opinion on this so that is our final decision.

Where did you find this statistic anyways? I took a class on statistics in college and find them very interesting. It's also very difficult to get statistics that are considered accurate by the ASA. There are pretty tight guidelines that researchers have to follow.
Avatar universal
I printed it on my home page as a journal, in case the link below does not work. This article seems legitimate. I hope for the best for Mario, as depression for me was all encompassing and I would not wish it on anyone.
Bye now.


http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/expert.q.a/02/24/depression.medications.raison/index.html

874521 tn?1424116797
Hi Mario and Diva
just want to ask one question have you ever seen a really good psychiatrist??

Are you aware that if you are  BI-POLAR  and not just depressed and you take an antidepressant they will CAUSE mania and depression???

I suffer from nearly all the symptoms like yourself.(over 20 yrs now)
all the antidepressants (there have been MANY)..work for a year or less.

2 yrs ago my psych. decided he would try an ANTIPSYCHOTIC because he was beginning to think I may have a low form of bi-polar rather than depression.
well like I say that was 2 yrs ago and its STILL working for me
but yes thats only my experience, just wanted to another avenue to explore if you haven't already(?)

again all I can stress to you is to dig real deep and find a really good PSYCHIATRIST.

best of luck to you both...nice to have a really dedicated and loving partner, ur a lucky man.
874521 tn?1424116797
sorry I have to make a correction to my previous post....I am on an ANTICONVULSANT as a MOOD STABILIZER not an antipsychotic...

also if you choose to not explore this route(strongly advise)
I will give you some info on OTC treatments that I have learned abt(again I am not a doctor)

St. John's Wort is used in some countries still as an antidepressant....however if you should ever decide to try antidepressants again NEVER EVER mix the 2 together.

also my psycho pharmacologist has told me vitamin B's are good for stress.
and D's he strongly suggests I use.

best to you both
1006035 tn?1485575897
That's not a link to the actual study. It's just someone saying the results. My professor advised us to be careful which statistics to trust because they are so easy to manipulate. I'm sure I could find someone else who has different results.

My hubby (Mike) takes vitamins every day. It's a day by day process but he has made significant improvement in the last few years. Maybe it won't ever completely go away, but it's possible to learn how to manage it and control it. I see that a lot of people on this forum are asking how to ween off from medication. I think it's a great idea to take antidepressants (if you can) to get you to a point where you can live without them. For a lot of people they seem like a great temporary tool to boost you up to a point where you can function, but not necessarily a good permanent one. Like teddybears4ever2 said, eventually you have to sit down and decide to be happy. No one can do that but you.
Avatar universal
Try a couple pieces of Dark Chocolate more than 60% Cocoa a day.  

Try Fish Oil/ Omega supplements.  

These two things lift me out of my depression, I have bi-polar and I was so depressed for weeks then I realized I had stopped eating my chocolate.   There have been times in my life when I have been depressed and can't seem to get out of it.  

There is something in the Fish Oil/ Omega supplements that helps the brain with serotonin as well as the Dark Chocolate.  Walmart has a brand that you only need to take one a day.  

When you start feeling better all those social problems will go away.

How wonderful that your daughter makes you so happy.  Carry a picture with you to cheer you up when you are in social situations.  My son brings me alot of joy and happiness when I am out I look at his picture on my phone.  

Oh, sunshine is a cure for depression too.  30 minutes outside during the day will help.

Let me know if these three things make you feel better.
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