Incredibly lonely, shutting down: Suffering with Anhedonia

Posted by januaryjane @januaryjane, Jun 5, 2020

Im dealing with a lot, my body is wearing me down. Im not sure if its self-numbing, but i feel like im shutting down. Emotions, interests, pleasure. Im exhausted, heartbroken and lonely. I dont have answers although its been so long. I just want to quit fighting this battle with my body I cant figure out. Stay home, quit seeking medical advice. Whats the point?

@jimhd

Hi, @januaryjane . Anhedonia is one of the pieces of depression that I have been experiencing since I fell apart 16 years ago. I had always found pleasure in life, in many things. But pleasure seemed to have evaporated. Along with other things, of course.

In my pre-depression life I might have said something like, "things will get better", or some other platitude. The thoughtless, lack of understanding list of unhelpful things that are said to hurting people is pretty long. I've heard my share of them.

As others have said, you have found a safe place here, full of people like us, who need a listening ear without being judged, who need caring support without the platitudes and empty words.

I've been seeing therapists for 14 years now, and have been taking antidepressants, and all of it has mostly stabilized me. Because of the nature of depression, anxiety, PTSD and other illnesses, if we're willing to hear the truth and to accept the truth, depression and all its cousins will quite possibly be with us for the rest of our lives. I know that a lot of people won't agree with that, but it's been a help for me to become ok with that and to figure out how I will make adjustments to be in control of the person I am.

I know from a very long experience what a challenge it can be to find the right combination of medications that will even out the lows enough to keep me going.

Please just know that a great group of ordinary people will be here for you, to listen and give you their caring support. Me included.

Jim

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I have ptsd too, mine is more c-ptsd. Oh yes, finding a good therapist…ive been through my fair share. Im so sorry yours skipped out on you like that. I had a similar thing happen to me, we were scheduling for next appointments and said she wouldnt be here the week after next….she was moving. I had been seeing her 10 months, she or no one in that office said scruff to me. I have been working with my psychiatrist…have made changes, which i hate, but with this issue, im wondering if the meds hurt more than help. At least with my situation. I have a motility disorder so i have to be careful.

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@gailb

@januaryjane,
I'm Gail and I'm a Volunteer Mentor with Mayo Connect. Please don't give up! There are many here who will reach out to you. First, please let me know that you won't do anything to harm yourself. Please commit that you won't do that.

– Can you tell me more about your situation?
– You say you're lonely; do you have family or friends to whom you can talk? If not,
we're here for listening and communicating.
– What are you experiencing in your body that are problems?
– Have you seen physicians about treating your problems?
– Are you taking medications, and if so, what are you taking?
– What made you reach out to Mayo Connect?

I'm not a medical professional, but through my experience, and that of others on Mayo Connect, we may be able to help you find what you need. We have had many experiences and may have even been where you are now in the past.

Thank you for reaching out. Please know that you are loved.

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Thank you so much Gail. I will reply soon, sorry, brain is mush now.

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@gailb

@januaryjane How are you doing? I haven't seen a response from you to the questions I asked. If you don't want to answer my questions that's fine, however please update me on how you're feeling. I do know that medication can rob us of feeling pleasure, including sexual pleasure. Depression can do that as well. One thing I did to begin feeling again was to volunteer for various activities. This reminded me of pleasurable feelings of compassion for others and awakened my general feelings of goodwill.

I have found it difficult to feel good during this Pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement. I can't help out in either case and I would normally be very active in protests for things I believe strongly about. The amount of change we're experiencing can be destabilizing. The loss of balance as previous beliefs are challenged, and as we let go of old ways of thinking and acting can feel as if we are without our anchors in life. Added to the societal challenges, having physical and mental health issues can bring us down further.

I hope to hear from you today. Virtual hugs for you.

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One of my major issues is severe slow transit constipation ive been dealing with for 16 years. Last year i developed Ibs. Ironic, right? Ive pursued every avenue to help this, but nothing is working well. A colectomy has been nearing as the next choice as i run out of options. Im scared to death, and dont really have good medical advice. I dont want to do something i regret, but i want my life back where i can function.

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@januaryjane It's late for me to be writing, but I just wanted to stay connected with you.

I've been told I'm treatment resistant, too. It took me a couple of years to find an antidepressant that worked for me. It's a real ordeal to make your way through the list, trying each one for 6 weeks, only to learn that a) it did nothing, b) it has unacceptable side effects, or c) Eureka! This is the one for me!

Some people are fortunate enough to keep using the same medication for many years. I started taking Wellbutrin in 2006, and the dosage remains the same today. But a few years ago I was heading back to the hole of depression, and talked about it with my psychiatrist. He recommended that I try a second medication that enhances the Wellbutrin. I tried Abilify with no response, then I tried Mirtazapine, and it's been a good combination for me.

And then, along came peripheral neuropathy. I don't know how many medications I've tried, but there's not much left to try. Lyrica helped relieve the pain in my feet, but I had a serious reaction to it, and spent a few nights in the hospital. Bummer that I couldn't take it. Last September the pain specialist prescribed imipramine, and it gave me noticeable improvement – for maybe 6 months – then it became less and less effective. I'm trying to see the neurospecialist, but because of covid 19, it's been rescheduled 3 times. I'm hopeful that I will see her on the 26th of this month. This search for a treatment for peripheral neuropathy has been going on for 7 years.

I have to shut down and get to sleep. Think about how helpful the rheumatologist might be to you. You're wise to keep in mind that if you miss the appointment, it could be a while before you can reschedule.

Rest well.

Jim

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@januaryjane

One of my major issues is severe slow transit constipation ive been dealing with for 16 years. Last year i developed Ibs. Ironic, right? Ive pursued every avenue to help this, but nothing is working well. A colectomy has been nearing as the next choice as i run out of options. Im scared to death, and dont really have good medical advice. I dont want to do something i regret, but i want my life back where i can function.

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@januaryjane I also have cptsd. I've been treated in various ways and have experienced things as an EMT that were traumatic. I don't think that the trauma or abuse is as terrible as wartime PTSD, but bad enough to cause mental health problems.

Motility must be a somewhat common, in various ways. I have esophageal dysmotility, which makes eating a slow process, waiting for each bite time for the valves at the top and bottom of the esophagus to open and let the food mosey on down into my stomach. I haven't heard of any solution. As I've said, I have neuropathy, which is causing problems with swallowing, as well as double vision, worsening tinnitus, bowel and urinary issues (I take Oxybutinin to reduce the number of bathroom trips), beginning of balance risk, and the problems with small fiber neuropathy besides, numbness and tingling and burning pain from my toes to mid-calf.

It's been interesting to see how medical conditions affect mental health conditions. It seems that pain and illnesses below the brain have a noticeable impact on the depression and other brain issues. It's like a cyclical process. Motility can make a person more depressed, depression exacerbates motility, then the motility (or any other illness) exacerbates depression, etc. So round and round it goes. The same thing happens with anxiety and PTSD and suicidal ideation and bipolar disorders. The label is comorbidity, the challenge that we face in trying to treat several things at once.

It's a reality that multiple diagnoses create challenges for everyone involved. I know from too much experience how that works. It can be debilitating. It can make it a problem with making decisions, and so many other interactions. One thing that therapists can do is help us navigate all of that. It means a lot have someone who can help us keep our perspective and learn to make rational decisions.

Finding a good therapist can take some time. For me, the pool of options is extremely limited, specifically they have to accept Medicare. Most of mine have been working for the hospital, and their job here is usually just a stepping stone to better (greener) pastures. After my best ever therapist had to leave for family trouble in Maine, I saw his replacement a few times, just long enough to know that I couldn't continue wasting my time there. And a few months later I found online a counselor who met clients one day a week in the next town over, just 30 minutes away, and accepted Medicare. And since I have a supplemental insurance, there's no cost to me except for the travel expense. My only concern is that he'll decide to retire. He's old enough to do just that. But in the meantime I'll enjoy my time with him.

I encourage you to find a quiet time to think clearly about how you will move forward with your life. Perhaps you will find a healthy perspective during those quiet times of meditation.

Blessings to you.

Jim

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Sorry i havent gotten back. Psychologically, Im unraveling. I just found out i will be alone for 4 days. It sounds stupid, but ive had all these flooding emotions…fear, loneliness, abandonment, having no one. I dont want to feel this way, but ive been crying all day. I cant sleep.

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@januaryjane

Sorry i havent gotten back. Psychologically, Im unraveling. I just found out i will be alone for 4 days. It sounds stupid, but ive had all these flooding emotions…fear, loneliness, abandonment, having no one. I dont want to feel this way, but ive been crying all day. I cant sleep.

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@januaryjane I can relate to the"unraveling". We're all different, aren't we. For me, being alone for 4 days would be just what the doctor ordered. I've gone to a Hermitage a number of times for a personal retreat. No phone, no TV. Just a one room cabin in the woods. The only other person there was a hermit/monk/priest who had become a friend. I joined him in the tiny chapel for vespers sometimes, and followed along as he read the service in Latin, and all sung in Gregorian Chant.

Loneliness, feeling abandoned, fear are feelings many of us experience. They can be really intense feelings, I know. And when we're in the middle of it, it's so hard to see any ray of hope. These and a bunch of other things have filled my therapy sessions over the past 14 years. I'm indebted to those people who listened to me and helped me, ever so slowly it seemed, find a way out of the awful pain and darkness.

Some of my therapists have told me that it would be ok to call them between appointments if I felt like I couldn't go on. I only did that a couple of times, and the one I called was my PCP. He was my first counselor, when I lived in a remote tiny town, and there were no therapists. I went and sat in his waiting room until he was done with his appointments. He was a very quiet man, which some people didn't like, but I got to know him as a quiet, but caring man. I've been blessed to have such people in my life during the past 16 years of major depression.

I'm sorry you're going through a rough patch this week. I will pray for you before I go to sleep tonight.

Jim

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@januaryjane

Sorry i havent gotten back. Psychologically, Im unraveling. I just found out i will be alone for 4 days. It sounds stupid, but ive had all these flooding emotions…fear, loneliness, abandonment, having no one. I dont want to feel this way, but ive been crying all day. I cant sleep.

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I am so sorry that you're going through this rough patch, but feel the same alone, depressed, at times anger and yes crying, not thinking clearly and this pandemic magnifies these feelings for me. I called my therapist because I was concerned for me. Our chat helped put things in perspective. Know you're not alone. Sending hugs.

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@januaryjane

Sorry i havent gotten back. Psychologically, Im unraveling. I just found out i will be alone for 4 days. It sounds stupid, but ive had all these flooding emotions…fear, loneliness, abandonment, having no one. I dont want to feel this way, but ive been crying all day. I cant sleep.

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@januaryjane

I hope you're doing ok tonight. Was there something that helped you get through the day? I work hard in the yard and gardens during the day, and that gives me something to focus on instead of the burning pain in my feet, and the mental pain. It was kinda hot today, so I had to take a lot of shade breaks to cool down. If you're up to it, let me know how your feelings of loneliness and fear are today.

Be safe, and be kind and gentle with yourself.

Jim

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@januaryjane

Sorry i havent gotten back. Psychologically, Im unraveling. I just found out i will be alone for 4 days. It sounds stupid, but ive had all these flooding emotions…fear, loneliness, abandonment, having no one. I dont want to feel this way, but ive been crying all day. I cant sleep.

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Hello @januaryjane,

It has been a while since you last posted on Connect. How are you doing? Have you spoken with your doctor or a counselor regarding your feelings of loneliness?

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@januaryjane

Im so sorry you are going to through the same. Ive been on and off pills for 22 years. Ive been on most of them and consider myself resistant, though I stay on them to function. They do help but tend to wear out quickly. Im glad to hear youve been in therapy, but you have to find a good fit. The cost is outrageous, I commend you for trying what you have. None of it is easy. Have you tried Emdr or Dbt therapy? You are not alone. Stay kind to yourself.

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@januaryjane I have tried EMDR but brought up trauma difficult to deal with and had to stop that type of therapy. Now I feel PTSD has emerged and trying to find a therapist that can help me focus on getting past the trauma and back into life. Hoping…

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@januaryjane

Sorry i havent gotten back. Psychologically, Im unraveling. I just found out i will be alone for 4 days. It sounds stupid, but ive had all these flooding emotions…fear, loneliness, abandonment, having no one. I dont want to feel this way, but ive been crying all day. I cant sleep.

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Hello @januaryjane,

It has been several months since you last posted. I was thinking about you. How you are doing? Any progress in dealing with your feelings of fear?
Will you post again with an update?

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