The Numbness of Major Depressive Disorder

This article is just based on my experience. Keep in mind, I am not generalizing anything. This happened to me. It may or may not happen to you.

Search Google for major symptoms of depression. Most of the websites would start with the “feeling sad or hopeless…” part and end in “having suicidal thoughts…” There is an important symptom of depression not discussed as often. It doesn’t always show up, but when it does, it has a great impact on a patient’s daily life.


I have major depressive disorder, and I am going through that numbness as I am typing this article. So, believe me, I know what I am talking about. Numbness engulfed me out of nowhere around two months ago. I have spent the past several months facing severe mental and emotional side effects due to change in medication. Maybe this change is what triggered my numbness, but I am not sure. There were a lot of other factors too, from family problems to academic problems. So I really can’t pinpoint it.

Let me tell you about how numbness actually feels and how it affects my life. Imagine how it must be to live with very little or no emotions. There is this void inside you nothing can fill. You can’t feel anything. Anything! You could have told me I was the next president of United States of America, and I would have barely flinched. You could have pointed a machine gun at me, and I would have barely moved. That is what numbness does to you.

When you are numb, your world just loses meaning. You can’t react to anything that happens in your life. You have to fake a reaction, which is physically and mentally exhausting. With my friends and relatives, I could laugh heartily at a joke or even crack one, but deep inside of my heart, I won’t feel happy. I won’t feel anything.

Those plastic smiles and hearty laughs are just a way to hide how I actually am feeling. Because if I let them know, they are going to ask me why I feel this way. I have no answer. I’d rather throw a fake laugh and close the chapter than discuss something I myself don’t understand.

Sometimes you cannot even cry — even if you try. Some time ago, I was suspended from my educational institution for some mistakes I made. Since I was an emotionally sensitive person, I ought to have cried. Since I was a suicidal person, I might have been at risk for coming up with a plan. But instead I found myself staring blankly as my life events unfolded before my eyes.

One cannot feel happiness either, for oneself nor for his loved ones. A few weeks ago, my cousin got married. I could barely feel happy for him. There I was, witnessing his marriage, wearing a plastic smile while deep down, I was seriously bored.

My academic performance is a bit of roller coaster. One day, I am involved in my college lectures. The other day I just stare absently at the lecturer. I can only think of how I am stranded at a place in life, with little help and an obscure future.

Simply put, no matter what happens around you, you just stare blankly, having no sort of involvement in your own life. It is not a good thing. Humans rely on emotions. Hunger, attraction and protectiveness are feelings and emotions which drive a particular act to be performed. So, when you are numb, you are basically sitting idle at the same place in your life as every other person’s life goes on.

The worst part about this numbness is you really cannot do much about it. At least, I am not able to do much about it. I am just biding my time, hoping this numbness leaves me soon. Maybe one day, in the future, someone might be able to come up with a medicine or therapy that can help solve this specific symptom of depression. It is a symptom not taken as seriously as it should be.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Major Depressive Disorder

close up on feet walking down a road

Welcome to the World of Major Depressive Disorder

I would sit you down outside in a park or forested area. Some place with a natural, calming effect. We would listen to the birds chirping, look up at the blue sky with puffy, cumulus clouds and feel the light breeze on our face. I would hold your hand and look into your eyes. Then, [...]
Editable vector silhouette of a man sitting with his head in his hand with background made using a gradient mesh

My Mind's Ongoing 'War' Between Hopelessness and the Pursuit of Happiness

Editor’s note: If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. The first thing that crosses my mind as I wake up to the alarm clock is I want this day to be over. I want to fast forward [...]
Interior of a church

To Those Who Think I Can 'Pray Away' Depression

Let me start this off with one thing. I am a Christian. I believe in God, because God knows I need someone to save me just as much as the next person. I also have major depressive disorder (MDD). The fact that I have MDD doesn’t make me any less of a Christian. Yet again [...]

What My Life Is Like During a Major Depressive Episode

I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder almost 10 years ago. Since then, I’ve seen a psychiatrist and therapist on an ongoing basis. I manage my symptoms with medication and actively work on new coping skills and thought patterns with my therapist. After 10 years of active treatment, you’d think depression would have lost its [...]