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The Numbness of Major Depressive Disorder

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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
Originally published: August 15, 2016
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