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When Feeling Too Much Becomes Not Feeling at All

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

Some days, depression washes over me like a thunderstorm. The pain of depression is so intense, I feel a physical pain in my chest, radiating through my arms into my hands. Everything feels like too much effort; the thought of doing anything but staying in bed feels like too much. I go on with my day regardless, forcing myself to talk to people and smile, occasionally taking refuge in the bathroom and sobbing.

Thoughts whirl through my brain, telling me I’m not good enough, as I look around and see that those around me are so much more competent at everything than I am. I feel as though there’s no point in anything; I’m always going to feel this way, why even try? I tell myself I don’t matter, that no one cares. With all of this comes the constant thought of suicide. This varies between “I wish I was dead” during my better moments, to more detailed thoughts in my worst moments. I think about self-harm; it changes from a thought to a feeling, an urge I constantly have to fight. I go home and let my guard down. I curl up in bed and cry. I feel as though this feeling will never end.

Sometimes this slowly passes, and over a few days, I’ll feel “normal” again. Other days, this turns into a hazy fog. It stops me from feeling anything at all. The bad feelings finally stop; it should be a relief, but I can’t bring myself to care. I try to make myself feel something. I tell myself how much of a bad person I am, how incompetent I am, but feel indifferent. I try the opposite approach. I think about my partner, whom I’m head over heels in love with and so thankful for, but still, I feel nothing. I try to think about the other good things in my life. Nothing. I go to work and something doesn’t go well; again, I feel nothing. The voice in my head telling me to kill myself or to hurt myself is still there, and I’m indifferent towards these feelings.

Feeling nothing is often welcome after the days of depression, but it’s still rewarding to get out of the fog. Walk through the fog until it clears, and eventually, you’ll find the sun.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Unsplash photo via Alessio Lin

Originally published: June 29, 2017
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