Two Videos for You…
Video 1: What is Emotional Flatlining?
The first two videos below are the same video but on two different players, as some people can see one but not the other. The first is Vimeo and the second is YouTube. If it says “Oops – this wasn’t supposed to happen…” on the video below, click on the blue “try again” link in the middle of the video.
Video 2: Emotional Flatlining (Anhedonia) Research & Causes
This video is 17 minutes, which is a long time to focus when you have flatlining. But you can always pause it and come back and watch later. Again, the two videos below are the same with each using a different player.
Thank you so much for making this video. I got anhedonia in the summer after school exams. I was severley stressed and to this day I do not know why exactly,it wasn’t about the grades as much as other things. I was very lonely and felt i had lost all my friends. I was spending all day in my house either studying or reading. Everyone was at work or school. I cried a lot then. I got insomnia and that built up my stress levels a lot. I also had bad constipation. Going days and days without going. I also had a constant tingling at the back of my head for weeks and fingertips, which i was told was caused by stress. I wasnt breathing properlly and not getting enough oxygen. Now i wonder if my brain has been damaged. As everytime i would see or hear something that would have made me very happy or sad i get these senseless tingles. Like i know a feeling is trying to break out but all i can feel is the struggle. I missed my period and haven’t got it back since. (8 months) I dont know exactly when it happened. Everything became like a dream or computer simulation. I felt like a zombie not connected to world. The sun shone but for some reason it didn’t seem bright to me. Peoples voices, colours, objects, everything just seemed so far away. I was annoyed but couldnt even feel deep sorrow for this. And then one day i walked to school with headphones in like i always do and it just wasnt the same. Music used to excite me enormously and now i didnt feel these complex feelings. It was devastating i knew but i just tried to forget about it. I put my ipod away and walked on in a blur. Since then it has been getting better. I am gradually feeling more connected to the world. I am laughing more. The most crying i do is when i occasionaly realise what i have lost. My mom tries to comfort me but she says she has no clue what i mean. Puzzled when i say i just cant feel things as strongly or i am feeling like a zombie. It really is getting better but i know i am not back to normal. The complex stirs of love and memory and imagination i used to get when listening to a song or poem are not exactly back. It feels like inside me is this kind of watery feeling. Like everything is usually always just ok, nothing better nothing worse. I can see things now and acknowledge their beauty or the kindness in people.Perhaps smile or say thanks. But the spirit deep within me flinches only slightly. And doesnt get too excited. I also get these tingles that i have previously explained. They annoy me so much because its like so manys joys of my life has been replaced by this tingling. Now it is Christmas and i havent felt that christmasy feeling yet. I wasnt bothered to help my sisters decorate the tree or house. If i hear a christmas song on the radio i might tap a long but i wont feel the things i did before. Sometimes i just tell myself these things will come back in time. And sometimes i tell myself not to dwell on the past and seek new pleasures instead of the songs you once loved. An annoying part of this is I ended up doing excellent in my exams. People often come up and congratulate me. Tell me the studying must have paid off. But it wasnt worth it. Not a single A. I would rather have failed them all and not have been damaged like this. I will check out what free things you have to offer.And im trying to be healthy and cure the constipation that is still there. That fact that 95% of seratonin comes from the gut is really useful and hopefully i benefit a lot from a healthier gut. Anyway you probably dont really care about what ive said because youve heard it all before. But it just feels good to write it all down anyway. Thank you so much and if you happen to know why i get these tingles and if they will go and if i will ever be able to feel the same things i did before. Maybe let me know. Thank you so much. And i hope you never have to go through this again. You work hard i bet and it is wonderful to know that there are people out there who are putting their time into helping people with anhedonia. Thank you. Merry Christmas and goodbye.
My gosh Hannah – thank you for sharing all that. You have been through so much, and it doesn’t matter how many times I hear stories of anhedonia, my heart goes out. And every story is different in some way. The tingling is very interesting. I agree it sounds like your body is trying to feel. One woman got bad headaches when she got anhedonia, which can happen with sudden changes in dopamine. The headaches went away while she had anhedonia for 6 months. But then when she started the program and started to feel again, the headaches came back apparently as the dopamine levels started to increase again. In any event, it seems our bodies are all different, and changes in dopamine can have different impacts. And dopamine also influents other neurotransmitters as well. Good for you in continuing your search to find joy. You will get there if you just keep trying, and it is worth the effort to get your life back! – jackie
[This is Jackie Kelm inserting a comment on this post to say that I was doing intense exercise while having anhedonia but it did not help, so I’m not sure he understands this condition. Also, the website he recommends is his own. I left this comment in because there may be pieces here that are helpful, but want to give full disclosure].
Hi Hannah, please search for these names of psychiatric disorders “derealization” and “depersonalization” and check if they match with your description. If that is the case, it is one of the worst experiences you can have, but I assure you it can be cured. Extreme stress or anxiety are generally the root causes, but there are also chemical inductors, like coffe, chocolate, alcohol, cannabis, and other stimulants that you must avoid at all cost. Surprisingly, the best single thing you could do to treat that is intense physical exercises 6 times a week. Many other practices help too, but that is the most important one in my experience. Even if it is just “pure anhedonia”, it is very helpful too And to say . I think it is also a good move to explore what this site anhedoniasupport.com and gettingstronger.org have to offer. Last thing, please, do not try antidepressants untill it is the last resort, they might cause long-term apathy, regardless of what most psychiatrists will trick you to believe. I hope you already got better, anyway you will get there.
im unsure if you will receive a notification or will check this message but im so curious to ask you hannah, as i see its been some years ago since you posted your comment, to ask whether you have recovered the full depth of your emotions?
and if all the things that used to stir the spirit within you in all its complexity have returned
Hi Temi – I don’t believe the system sends out notifications for security reasons, but maybe Hannah will see this. I can’t speak to her experience, and I don’t believe she did the program but not sure. I can tell you that people who can keep going all the way with the program do get their full depth of emotions back in their entirity and all the things that used to stir them. In fact, some get an even greater depth of emotion than they had before the flatlining as they didn’t even realize their life experience was somewhat muted. Hope that helps – Jackie
Hi Jackie, thank you so much for your videos. I am looking forward to 2016 being my year and being able to enjoy the laughter and smile on my son’s face and wanting to go out there and show everyone the real me instead of the watered down quite version of me. I sounds weird but I miss me so much and my family misses my fun loud silly personality that I will get back next year! The holidays are really hard right now and I do cry often and it does hurt seeing smiles on people’s faces during this time of year.You are truly inspiring and I really can’t say that enough. This has been the roughest 4 months of me and my family’s life and I hold alot of guilt. And I’m sick of feeling that way. I’m barely stepping out of the house and trying to put myself out there but it hard. I look forward to enjoying the Simple pleasures in life again and being a happy momma! Thank you Jackie
Dear Alyssa – I know it is especially devastating to have anhedonia with kids. I remember not being able to feel anything towards my daughter and son, and would just go through the motions of hugging and kissing even though I felt nothing. Interestingly, after I overcame anhedonia and talked to them about it, they said they didn’t really notice any difference with me having anhedonia. Not sure how I feel about that LOL, but I say it to give you comfort that “faking it” with your son may be working better than you think, and as they say, kids are truly very resilient. Hang in there over the holidays as I know it is especially difficult, and try to do that simple pleasures exercises as you can to see there are some good moments in the midst of it all. Sending a big hug your way…
I found your video to be very informative and so interesting. Now looking back prior to my anhedonia I did have an over load of stress . Starting with the death of my daughter 2009 in which I struggled with intense grief for years and than after time I had periods of feeling joy here and there after years of grieving than shortly after that followed a cancer scare with my son and than me being tested for ovarian cancer. My brother in hospital not knowing whether he would live or die from a car accident and trying to support my aging sick mother from having a stroke over her son all of this over a corse of 6 months . The fright and anxiety was so intense for me I would shake every morning and frozen with fear I couldn’t move off my sofa all day long. During this period my sister in law which I was very close with for thirty years was dying of lung cancer just after her son died of a liver disease. Than after going though all of that I experienced a devastating hurt from my sister’s betrayal and cavalier attitude towards my hurt feelings after all my financial help I gave to her.. All of this caused such a break down of my nerves that I lost my coping ability. The anxiety was so intense the ring of the phone jilted me into such fright waiting for another shoe to drop. I was scared to death of the phone giving me some more devastating news that I count take. I was in the darkest place in my life I couldn’t function anymore and couldn’t get out of bed. Going through all of this I was under a psychiatrist care who prescribed me an antidepressant . But it wasn’t effective and after months of trying one after another. She kept me on one that had less side effects for me and was only slightly working and I mean slightly and after increasing the dosage over the corse of months while trying combinations of medications. That is when I developed anhedonia. No longer depressed , no longer happy. All feeling were gone. It was the weirdest feeling. I could not feel. No happiness, no joy, no interest , not even sadness. I liken it too the feeling of not having a soul like it left my body and I am only a shell of a person. Now those happy feelings is only a distant memory . I use to get so much pleasure of out life and had such joy in my heart that I looked forward to simplest little things in life even as far as making dinner for my husband. Every night great meal with fresh flowers on the table with candles long with my nice china on the table every night for when my husband walked through the door. Everyday I looked my best with never a hair out of place and a glow in my eyes and I looked 10 years younger than my age. I was in tip top shape. I was a happy joy filled person. I loved the sun shine the snow and even days of rain. I loved art and felt such deep feelings from the music of my generation and I could recall all those memories of my teenage years which was so much fun and excitement with high school football games and first love. Everyday I listened to classical music which I found an enjoyment from starting in my 40’s
Today, I have lost interest in myself as well as everything else. I stay in my pajamas all day long. My hair is a mess and I look as good as I feel…empty , flat, Zombie. No luster in my eyes, dull, and no expression on my face.. I ignore my pets. I feel nothing for them.They annoy me. I don’t leave my house unless I have a doctor’s appointment and can’t wait to get back home. I leave the house without makeup one. My husband does all the food shopping. I have no desire to cook or talk on the phone. In fact I don’t even answer the phone.
My psychiatrist told me she met with her colleagues and they have found success in with thyroid medication T-3 for anhedonia patients having no thyroid issues. So I am going on Thyroid medication this week. I need to feel happy again. It’s difficult living with this way. I up to trying anything
Oh my gosh Kim. What a story. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of so much death in one person’s life who is not living in a war zone or unstable country. Please let me know about the thyroid medication and how it works as I’m always looking for any and every answer out there. I’m glad you’re getting professional help with all this. Keep searching and you will find your joy again. The brain is amazing in it’s ability to heal and restore function once you figure it out. The anhedonia program might be worth a try if the T-3 doesn’t work, but of course only if your therapist thinks it appropriate. Hang in there my friend.
Kim Gloria, if you are out there, please reply! I need to know how you are doing! Your story resonated with me. I have not suffered the tragedies that you have, but I went on antidepressants over 20 years ago and that was the beginning of anhedonia at various levels. I began them before getting married and I can say that they ruined my ability to feel love for my husband, to be fully intimate. My sexuality left me. I became distant with my family because I just didn’t care, and I never enjoyed cooking for my husband or taking care of the house because I simply had/have no interest. He is a saint to stay with me all these years; it really hasn’t been fair to him.
I continued taking the meds because I believed the lie about chemical imbalance and thought I simply needed to keep taking the meds the way a diabetic needs insulin, even though I never felt they made my life any better. If anything, they made it worse, especially since I have lived with the anhedonia all-the-while.
Four years ago I tried to come off Effexor with disastrous results. I ended up back on and only then learned about withdrawal. I was put on a second one during this time because I also couldn’t sleep, but the anhedonia was the worst while in withdrawal. Now on two meds, I began a very slow taper to get off since I realized these drugs had ruined the prime of my life and destroyed my ability to live a full life. I tell people my main withdrawal issue right now is lack of motivation, but in coming to this website I realize it is really emotional flatlining.
A year and a half ago I lost a dog to a tragic accident that floored me. I did grieve heavily and went into a deep depression over his loss. So I was able to feel deeply about the loss. I have lost other beloved animals which hurt badly, but over time I go into anhedonia over it and never think about them, forget about them really. They disappear on me, as if they never existed. This is even more troubling. I do shed tears over that.
I never remember to send cards for peoples’ birthdays and such, and shopping for birthday presents and such has always been such a chore because I simply don’t “care.” It was a relief to me when my family decided that we just wouldn’t exchange gifts for Christmas because I got off the hook. There is a lot of shame surrounding all of this.
I am on very low doses of both meds but still caught in flatlining, quite bad, really, and I am frightened that once completely off I still won’t get myself back. Especially due to the use it or lose it problem of neuroplasticity. I still have a year of tapering to go before completely off; if I rush it I run the risk of crashing badly and ending up back on more. I think the meds have become toxic to my brain – inflammation? Double-edged sword, though, since coming off quickly can be disastrous even from the low doses I’m on.
And so, Kim, I am wanting to know how you are doing and whether the thyroid meds helped!
Jackie, what has been your experience working with people who’s flatlining was caused by antidepressants? Is there hope of coming back online after off the drugs?
I’ve heard similar tales of anti-depressant use and I’m sorry you’ve had to go through all this. Many people with flatlining have been on one form or another in their quest to feel again so you are not alone. I also want to give you hope in knowing that people before you have gotten their feelings back after having been on anti-depressants for years (they were not on them while doing the program), so while I can’t promise results because every brain is different, I do believe you can still get your feelings back after heavy antidepressant use. You are right to take your time getting off the medications and I imagine it feels like eternity to go so slow, but you will get there! I’m sure you know this but I would not recommend trying the flatlining program until you are off. The simple pleasures exercise may bring you some relief till then. Best wishes my friend and know you are not alone and there is hope for getting your full life back!
Dear Jackie. Thank you for keeping up the spirit in us in these tough times. I’ve got anhedonia through a stressful period of my life (insomnia, constant low anxiety), caused by an existential crisis with a mild depersonalization. I have gone through a DP (depers.) phase of my life before, so I hope this horrendous phase of life will resolve. The numbness is still present, but fortunately I feel better and have gone through the lowest point of anxiety of depression, which was hellish torment in itself.
I hope you help many people to recover, and it is good that you are out of this prison. I still feel a little bit unmotivated, have cognitive issues, but the fog is going to clear up. I wish you a Merry Christmas, and once again, thank you for giving other people the hope and success of recovery.
Thank you Marton. I hold the hope for you and everyone to find joy again. Be sure to search on those terms I have in the video. There is so much new information out there now on the brain, and even though it’s in it’s infancy, there are more options everyday. I also wish you a Merry Christmas, and that you will be free in-time to live a life of joy.
Hi Jackie, Thank you so much for taking the time to make these videos for us. It means a lot to me personally because of my struggles with this debilitating illness. It’s been very difficult for me the past 2 weeks because I’ve been taking finals at school for my classes, and it’s been really difficult for me to find the motivation to study due to my complete lack of interest. I also have a part time job and its near next to impossible to push yourself to get things done. It’s
absolutely mind boggling to have no energy or motivation at such a young age.
It’s also very difficult and sad to have this sort of thing during Christmas time. Christmas used to bring me so much joy and happiness and would give me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. The way that this time of year used to make me feel, filling me with intense joy and happiness, to now feeling absolutely nothing is absolutely devastating. All my relatives are coming over my house Christmas Eve, and it’s depressing knowing I’m not going to enjoy their company like I used to.
This illness has taken away over 4 years of my life, and even though I know I can’t get that time back. I know that this was a learning experience for me that I will learn how to enjoy life and all the basic simple pleasures that life has to offer.
Once again Thank you so so so much Jackie. This really means the world to me. If this program gives me my life back, you have no idea how grateful i will be. You are such a kind hearted person, If more people were like you, the world would be a better place, And I look forward to 2016 being the year that I finally get my joy and happiness back.
I know how hard the holidays are Chris. While it may not be much consolation, just know you are not alone, and others are going through it too. Try to just see the good things around you like having food, shelter, being safe ect. even though you can’t feel it to help from getting too low. And remember I am there with you in spirit holding the space for you to find joy again.
Thank you so so much Jackie! I’d write more, but I’m also suffering from impaired cognitive ability (and of course my ability to think abstractly and write creatively is in the crapper too). For now, Your my inspiration and hope! All the best to You and Your Family in 2016, and thanks again for all your efforts and understanding!
Thank you for the kind words. And yes – there is plenty to hope for, and cognitive ability comes back with all the rest!
Hi, great video, well put together. I have read over and over about the things described in the first part, all the brain and health books, etc. It’s a tough spot to be in because if interest is not there, motivation is not there, how would one even fix and even knew how to fix themselves. I’m a musician, I’ve recorded many albums, it’s quite blatant to notice in myself now how the interest in music is so low. I laugh maybe once a month. I am highly introverted but still, absolutely no interest in others, I think years ago I didn’t care to be around people but inside I still wanted to, whereas now, no interest. No libido, I’ve even improved hormone levels, bhrt, yet dead as can be. It’s not depression etc, anhedonia for sure. I really should address this. Also, I always wonder about things that one shouldn’t do, I mean like that are deal breakers so to speak, like working better on things yet not getting enough sleep or eating sugar daily. Thanks again for your work, and yeah I should work on this. ..
It is so hard to do anything with anhedonia as you say because you have absolutely no motivation. I’m impressed you even made it to the internet to find this site! I changed my diet radically as you probably saw in the free report, including stopping all sugar, but it did not affect the anhedonia at all for me. But I did feel a ton better though, and had lots of energy and no more brain fog. Hang in there, and pat yourself on the back for doing any little thing you can to move forward.
Hi Jackie, Firstly let me say that you have a beautiful backyard! Fortunately I don’t have full anhedonia but the enjoyment and pleasure that I feel doesn’t last very long. I think I might have been this way since my 20’s (I am not in my 60’s) because I always lost interest in jobs quickly (when I was working for a temp agency it seemed better) and I moved from place to place always looking for that one place where I would feel happy for a long time if not forever. In my mid 40’s I was diagnosed with clinical depression and lost enjoyment & interest in everything & everyone. Life became difficult and I did find myself often putting on a brave face pretending everything was all right. I don’t feel as depressed as I used to and am learning to cope with brief episodes of enjoyment. I do read books – a chapter or two at a time, I do go to art shows – I don’t need to like every painting, I do enjoy brief visits from friends. I just don’t try to force myself to be perfect any more; I accept what I can do am grateful. I am going to start writing down my simple pleasures as you recommend and see if I can even improve. Thank you so much for sharing your story & guidance.
Hi Janet – I am sorry to hear you have struggled for so many years. It is good you do not have full anhedonia as there are two books I will recommend that can help you live a life of joy. They don’t work with anhedonia, but they have helped many people with depression. The first is my book (shameless self promotion, but honestly it really works, and you can buy used on Amazon for almost nothing) called “The Joy of Appreciative Living: Your 28-Day Plan to Greater Happiness Using the Principles of Appreciative Inquiry.” The second book is called “The Depression Cure” by Stephen Liardi and he talks about things like sunlight and supplements that are really helpful. Give these a try and let me know how it goes!
Hello my name is Jason. I’m a Christian and “I’m not supposed to be depressed and emotionless” yet I am exactly that. Haven’t watched the videos yet but I will tomorrow. Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve struggled with OCD (most in the form of Scrupulosity) and Generalized Anxiety and panic attacks most of my life. I’ve also had severe episodes of depression here and there throughout my life. I know I have unresolved anger issues that I’m now working through with a counselor. I was prescribed Klonopin and took it only like once or twice a month for a year for panic attacks. Then I decided not to take it anymore and just try to naturally cope with anxiety through breathing exercises, supplements, etc. But for the past month I e been emotionally flat. All I can feel mostly is like a low level anxiety in the background. Don’t get me wrong, my daughter can still make me laugh and I can still cry at things, but only for brief moments it seems. Like I can’t go through the entire emotion. I don’t know if occassinal Klonopin would do that or if I’m just obsessing over emotions. I’ve always struggled with wondering if I have the appropriate emotions in situations in life, you know those “what if” questions. Maybe my OCD is fixated on emotions right now. I don’t know. I just don’t feel right. Maybe I’ve beat myself up too much mentally and emotionally and my brain is in defense mechanism mode. Anyway I will try your programs and give you my experience with them later. Thank you and God bless you.
Hi Jason – I’m so sorry to hear you are struggling as you are. I’m glad you found a counselor. There is a book I highly recommend for anxiety issues: Peace From Nervous Suffering by Claire Weekes. It was written in 1960, so you have look past some of that, but I think her ideas are spot-on and she gives specific ways to overcome anxiety. Certainly worth a try. Plus, it might help with some of the other things. Warmest wishes – jackie
I just signed up for the anhedonia program. Is there a way to contact others in case we want to talk to someone in between our assignments? I noticed Jason’s post on being a Christian and I am in the same exact position. Im desperate to connect to others even though its a surface connection. I dont know if I will get automatically notified if anyone responds.
I would love to have a forum, and realize how beneficial it would be for people. The issue is that I do not have the time or resources right now with the few people in the program to set it up or to moderate it, but if more people sign up for the program it might become doable. All best – jackie
Didn’t you experience existential crisis when you had anhedonia? Like life has no meaning. Anyway, I had like really mild depression for the first time in my life from October to February where I felt about 70 per cent of the time happy and 30 sad/depressed without any reason at all even during pleasurable activities. That was my the only one symptom, I didn’t experience any other physical symptoms just depressed mood that occurred from time to time. However, one week ago I had a depression episode ( once again without any reason at all) and during it I experienced terrible existential crisis. Like suddenly everything lost its meaning, it lasted all week and I was constantly bombarded with thoughts that everything I do has no meaning. Now, these thoughts are fading away but right now I can’t feel the same pleasure from pleasurable activities ( eating, exercising, socializing, relaxing). I will try to do your exercise to beat those moments of anhydonia and by doing them should I visualize that my brain is healing ? Could you tell me how to do visualization exercise properly?
Hi Tom – I’m not sure what you mean by existential crisis. From what you said it sounds like your life does not have meaning to you. This sounds a little different from the kind of “loss of meaning” that happens with flatlining. With flatlining the loss of meaning is due to the fact you can’t enjoy anything, and have lost interest in everything: Not because your life itself seems meaningless – if that makes sense. From what you’re describing it is sounding more like depression, but again I am not a doctor and can’t diagnose anything. Even if it is depression, the exercises might help. I’m sure you download my free report with Simple Pleasures. I would also do a search on “guided Imagery” to create something for yourself that might help you picture returning to full function. Best wishes my friend, and keep searching for you answers. You will find them!
My name is Roberto and had an episode of depression 5-6 years ago. I was able to get better from depression, but the anhedonia is something that it’s still very present in my life. Because of this I’m not able to work or feeling any kind of romantic feeling towards a woman to pursue a relationship. I’m 27 and already been trought a lot of suffering for someone in my age.
I’m not taking antidepressants because they never really worked for me, but I currently take a small dose of clonazepam only for sleep (did you also had problems with sleep?) and I’m starting to tappering off. I also tried therapy with 5 differents approaches but they never seem to do anything as is hard to communicate this feelings to someone that never experienced anhedonia.
After trying so hard during these years, trying everything from exercise, meditation, therapy to medication I find it hard to believe that this thing can be cured because I feel that my brain is “broken”. I’m trying to put hope on your program and I really want to get better. In your site I only saw testimonials of people who have got better with the program, do all the people who been trough this program got better?
Thanks for making this program. I hope it could help me to get my life back. Sorry for my english, is not my native language.
Dear Roberto – I know it feels like your brain is “broken,” but neuroscience suggests that the brain can regenerate at any age, and most certainly at 27! I have worked with 7 people including myself, and all 7 have gotten their feelings back or are on their way to getting them back. So while it’s a small group, I’ve not had anyone come to me that it did not work for. Of course this is a small sample and I can’t guarantee results. But some had flatlining as long as you or longer, so I would not worry about 5 years! I don’t think it matters whether you’ve had it 5 years or 5 months – the process seems to take the same amount of time to get feelings back. I’m very close to having the program ready so keep an eye on your inbox. And your English is wonderful for not being your first language!
I don’t know where to begin with.I just read your entire story and somehow can relate to it totally.I am 19,I have been an extremely happy person all my life.People have always loved to hang out with me.I have a boyfriend.We have been in a long distance relationship for 7 months now exactly and were so much in love until one day my parents found out about us and confronted me.I cried for over a day because I really loved him but since this incident things have changed.I really can’t feel connected to him anymore.I seem to have lost interest in everything I enjoyed previously. I am always confused over how much to eat.I am currently staying in a hostel pretty away from my parents though in the same country but it seems I don’t miss them at all even.I dont like college even.Everything about college pisses me.I have stopped interacting with people.Nearly 90% of the day I’m completely blank and empty .I feel like a zombie.Even after eating lot I feel hungry and the hostel food sucks so it just irritates me even more.I was once at all so close to my boyfriend and friends but now it seems I care about none at all.The action of hugging and kissing seems mechanical to me.Its like I have to do it so I’m doing it.Music was my life.But I don’t feel connected to music at all.I oversleep and feel tired all the time.I hardly feel any happy or joyous in hanging out with people or mg friends.I have a constant urge to runaway somewhere.I saw my boyfriend and parents like about a month ago but now it seems like ages I have seen them.I really fear if at all I’ll be able to feel anything at all.Its like imalways empyy and numb. I do not wish to talk to people at all.I can’t feel happy or have a gratitude feeling for anyone.It seems like i have forgotten everyone who was close to me.Can you please help
Me out by giving me a step to step guidance of what you ate,what exercises you did and what did you do to make yourself better again?I’m a vegetarian and a citizen of India.Please can you help me out?
This sounds very serious and you should see a doctor to diagnose and help you. What you describe sounds just like flatlining, and in the free report I describe what I did to overcome it. Diet changes and exercise were not really helpful for me with flatlining, but they did help with my depression. If you watched the videos, they also explain more about what I did and what I think works. If you think you have flatlining and your doctor approves, the emotional flatlining home study course could be a great way to overcome it. I know how hard it is to loose all your feelings, and just know that this has happened to others and they have gotten them back. So keep working at it until you do and know there is hope! – jackie
Thanks for the free content. I have had something called depersonalisation disorder for over a year and it’s pretty bad but I can still function normally. However last week I’ve been experiencing this flatlining exactly as you describe, it seemed to come out of the blue. At first I thought I had depression coming on as I had some of the physical symptoms, but after discovering your site I realise what’s going on. This is the scariest feeling in the world as I have no idea if it will go away and work yesterday was nearly impossible. I thought DPD was bad but this is even worse! If it persists I’ll consider your program, but seeing it’s so early do you have any tips to nip it in the bud early?
I would strongly suggest you start the simple pleasures exercise as soon as possible in the free report. Do it every day for at least 20 minutes, more is better. And I am not a mental health professional, so this is not a replacement for medical advice. You should still see someone for help with this – the simple pleasures is just something to try for now to hopefully get your feeling pathways working again before it becomes “hard-wired.” – jackie
Thanks Jackie. I think having discovered your site has helped, the last couple of days have been significantly better, as I’ve been trying my hardest to remain positive and not get bogged down. I’m still hovering around 50-80% feeling of what I used to and I’m not back to normal (100% feeling), I’m praying that I will! I’m a 20 year old uni student and I can’t afford to let this ruin my life, I had to defer an exam because of this which was quite upsetting. I will do your recommended exercises as much as I can. On another note, what are your thoughts on anti-depressants and this issue? I’m seeing a GP tomorrow but I’m worried they’ll put me on SSRIs which may actually worsen the problem.
I’m afraid I’m not a doctor so I can’t give medical advice. I would just be very careful to pay attention to your ability feel, and if you go on a medication and feel “numb” or feel like a “zombie” with no emotions, I would tell the doctor right away and switch to something else. 50-80% of your feelings is a great improvement, so keep going with the simple pleasures!
I am really glad I stumbled across your website. I have been struggling for many years with apathy and anhedonia from past ssri use ( I am in my late 50’s). It is so frustrating that health professionals do not understand this condition. I have had some relief from Wellbutrin, and various supplements in the past but it has not lasted. I have also tried therapy, acupuncture, exercise, and yoga but this had also had minimal impact. I am not depressed and yes it is hard to explain to others that although I look happy, I feel flat and uninterested in many of my former hobbies and interests. I can function at work and do the essentials at home but I just lay on my bed and read or watch movies during my free time. Cannot motivate myself to do simple things like cleaning out a room or excess clutter. Have not interest in my creative pursuits-sewing, crafting, painting, which I used to love. I hope your program can help me because I have scoured the internet for answers and there are various opinions about supplements, meditation, exercise, etc but so far no luck.
It sure sounds like you have flatlining, but of course only a doctor can diagnose. The live coaching program is going excellent and I’m more confident than ever that the program works, understanding I can’t promise results. But so far it’s really encouraging!! I am in my early 50’s and tried all kinds of things and I understand how frustrating it can be to find answers. The great thing is that when you get your feelings back all your interests will come back as well. And several people developed new interests in addition to the ones they had before, so there is s whole new life waiting for you!
When I started reading your story, I couldn’t believe how similar it was to mine! I have been struggling with debilitating brain fog, dissociation, depression, anxiety, lack of mental clarity and trouble concentrating, appetite loss, and anhedonia since November 2015 after a mild upper respiratory infection. I thought I had anhedonia before reading your story but after reading it now I’m 100% sure that I do. I have no history of any of this prior to getting sick. I used to have such a vibrant life with so many interests and an incredible thirst for knowledge and learning. I loved to travel and have visited many countries-quite a few by myself. Since having the respiratory infection I’ve had to stop working and driving. I also had to move back in with my parents at 30 years old. My days consist mostly of sitting on the couch with the TV on. I have no motivation or interest to do any of the things I used to enjoy and feel completely detached from the world around me. I’ve had an incredible amount of testing done-bloodwork, CT scan, MRIs, even a spinal tap. Most of the results were normal except low vitamin D and a neurotransmitter test revealed low serotonin, dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine and high DHEAs. I had a gut test done and my GI tract was fine-no leaky gut or candida. I’ve tried a few treatments without success-amino acid therapy, B12 injections, and a 10 day diet detox. I go for walks daily and eat a very healthy, gluten free diet. I’m currently see a holistic doctor who is treating me for a post viral syndrome and is doing acupuncture. I also just started taking Wellbutrin-which I know is not ideal for doing your program but I’d still like to try. I’m eager to start your simple pleasures exercise. I wanted to ask if there’s anything else that I should be doing besides the exercise and visualizations. Also, with the visualizations, are you supposed to visualize how things will be once you are better? For some reason my computer isn’t allowing me to watch your videos. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It gives me a bit of renewed hope that I can get better.
Wow – you have been through a lot. I hope the program will help. There is one woman on Wellbutrin in the live coaching group, so will see if it works for her. So far it seems to be, but it’s still early. For the visualization, you picture your brain healing and starting to feel again, not yourself feeling if that makes sense.
I will have to look into the video issue – do you think there is any chance you have a firewall that is blocking it? I have been using vimeo, but will talk to my video guy about finding another player.
Thanks for your reply! Yes I’d be eager to hear if the program works for her. And I was able to finally get the videos to load :)
Jackie – Thank you so much for uploading these videos! I sobbed while watching the first one (something I rarely see myself doing since I believe I came down with emotional flat lining) just simply because I was relieved to finally find there are actually people who have been through this and know what it’s like. I thought I’d never see the day. For me it’s been about 3 long years, and when it all first happened I was devastated. My emotional flat lining started when I was going through a very stressful time in college and suffered a severe panic attack. The trauma from the panic attack caused me to shut down emotionally. However, at the time when I first became emotionally depleted, as it was a totally new experience, I had know way to describe it– and even when I did, to loved ones, counselors the such, no one truly understood the gravity of it. Up until that point I was a very emotional person and going from being a normal emotional being to having no emotions at all was something beyond my scope of comprehension until the moment I experienced it. It took me years to finally start to put it into words that I didn’t have any emotions. I did have depression, but like you I got to a point in my life where I learned how to overcome depression, was and am no longer suicidal like I used to be, but I still knew something wasn’t right. I knew something wasn’t right when I would come back home from my job which was great and had no complaints about (lovely coworkers, making a difference and helping others e.c.t.) and feel completely fake and empty. The word fake just kept on popping up in my psyche. I felt so fake. Like I was wearing a mask everywhere I went. I was very good and putting on smiles and pretend laughing but deep down I really didn’t genuinely feel any of it. I was tired of it. That and it has greatly affected my ability to be intimate with others as I don’t really feel love and when I do it’s a very blunted version. Since graduating and getting my bachelor’s 3 years ago, I’ve felt very little motivation to chase my dreams that I used to have, and have also almost completely lost the passion that I had for my field of studies I originally was so passionate for. And in my stage of life now, it’s very hard to make big life decisions (career path, going back to school e.c.t.) as I don’t have the emotions to even be in touch with myself enough to know what I really want in life. Despite the fact that great opportunities have come my way that would be life changing, I haven’t really cared for them at all. It’s gotten to the point now where I’ve realized that I know I can’t go on like this anymore. I deserve myself back, I deserve my emotions back. Without my emotions I don’t completely feel like myself. I used to be a high achiever who undoubtedly chased his dreams. I can only hope that having found this site will send me one step closer to getting back to the old me. Again thank you for work, it has given me a renewed sense of hope!
My gosh Paul- you are like the poster child for flatlining. You describe it exactly, and I totally understand the devastating nature of living with it. And I also get how powerful it is to finally know you’re not alone with it! The great thing is that the program should work fine for you as you clearly have full-out flatlining, assuming you’re not on any medications. Having said that, I can’t guarantee results, but it has worked for everyone so far who has completed it and not been on medications. So there is plenty to be hopeful about!
Dear Jackie, and all of the others above that have shared their experiences. I will try to keep this short but my death started about 8 years ago. Until I finally got so indescribably anxious about why I could not come up for air I decided to check Goodle to see if I could find what was up. Until I found some info on Psychology Today, which led me to Jackie. Up until yesterday I thought that I was completely alone in this. I have tried so hard to explain what is wrong to my wife, my kids, my friends, family, anybody that I had to endure being with. Absolutely *nobody* has any understanding and can not fathom what it is like living in a sort of hell in which I think that I should be feeling something, anything, but they have all skirted it and pretty much have said that it is either depression, or a phase that I am going through. An EIGHT year phase?
I recently relocated and found two doctors that actually seemed to have hearts and somewhat understood that I am not depressed and I needed something done if I was going to hang on. Something major is obviously wrong but when the doctors saw the list of meds that I was shoveled back home they were both in shock as to the cocktail I was on. My previous psychiatrist, who I had visited for minor OCD, nonchalantly put me in the “depression” category and prescribed me a plethora of psychotropics, SSRIs, benzodiazapines, and regularly upped my dosages since they weren’t working. When nothing worked on my NON-existent depression I just ended up having different meds thrown in to work with the rest. With my GP I ended up on opiates due to a back injury and somehow the dosage just kept growing to freakish levels. Thankfully my new doctors actually listened to me and agreed to help me safely, slowly, wean off of everything. I got frustrated a few years ago and flushed all of my meds down the loo. That was the worst few days of my life and I ended up hospitalized and right back on all the drugs. My new docs worked with me and I am now med-free. Not an easy trip but at least that part is finally over.
It was when I got put on those drugs that those closest to me realized that something was going wrong. My wife, who has been my best friend since our first day of our freshman year in ’81, became, I don’t know how to out it, she became null and void to me. I quit talking to her after I realized that she would not take my loss of emotions seriously. My beautiful daughters would give me there regular calls and suddenly I realized that, wheras I once thrived on those loving calls, I truly did not give a —-. I had to struggle to put on one of my facades because something inside me told me that I could not hurt their feelings. I got to dreading seeing theirs, or anybody’s, names pop up on my ringing phone. I am (was) a successful writer/researcher in my field and got a deal for a 5-6 volume series dropped in my lap. When it happened I was still alive and thrilled at the notion of getting my first volume on the shelves. That was 4 years ago and I don’t care to so much as look at all of my files. My editor has been with me long enough that he can “read” me through my writings. At this point I think he knows that there will probably be no more articles, or books, forthcoming. I am now fully incapable of even slipping on the mask of my writing persona. I was known for my joviality, wisecracks, and sense of humor mingled in with my research. That writer is dead.
This deep black numbness has pervaded every aspect of my life and I’ve reached the point to where I can’t even come up for air anymore. And it is *not* anywhere near depression. I went down Jackie’s checklist and ticked every single box but one; I still dream, I sI know that I should be feeling all of those wonderful emotions that I used to overflow with… I can not grasp them anymore. The last couple nights our 11 week old grandaughter has come to visit. The kids immediately want to put her in my arms but I have to make excuses as to why I can’t hold her yet. I have to sit and struggle like hell to get a mask on. *Any* mask so that that sweet little doll will not have to look and think, “Papa has dead eyes.” I have pretty much thrown in the towel. No joy = No life. As you all know, it is a type of hell that nobody seems to understand nor believe.
I have been walking down this road alone thinking that i was some anomaly that God wanted to play some twisted prank on. Until I read Jackie’s testimony, and words of hope, I knew I was destined for a non-life. After reading all that all of you have shared above I actually felt a sort of bump in my heart. I am still under water trying to catch a breath of air but you all have given me the hope that I so needed to hang on. I am not an anomaly, I am no longer alone in this torment, and many of you seem to have become revived. I am going to hold on to that and keep kicking for the surface. I do look forward to working with Jackie and hopefully being resurrected. Sorry so long, and thanks for reading. It’s probably obvious that I am shocked that there are others out there. Knowing that has already given me the bump that I have needed for so many lost years. Just writing this is the most life I have shown in far too long. Thank you all.
It doesn’t matter how many times I read these accounts, my heart wells up with emotion. I know the loneliness – the devastation – of loosing all positive emotion and the complete inability for others to understand, and hence the total isolation which is possibly more devastating than the flatlining itself. Good for you in getting off the meds – that is quite an accomplishment, and thank goodness you found doctors who were able to help with that. Here is the really great news – every person who was not on medications and did the flatlining program and stuck with it, has gotten their feelings back. One person even had flatlining over 20 years. I will tell you it did not work for one person who was on psychotropics, but he knew that at the start and wanted to try anyway. Of course I can’t guarantee results as there might be someone who comes along that it doesn’t work for. But so far, there is plenty of reason to hope that you will love again and get your life back. And won’t that be wonderful to write about!
I think I have an identity version of anhedonia, as well as anhedonia itself. I occasionally do feel some vague emotion but I don’t identify with it. I don’t identify my thoughts, opinion, feelings as being mine. They are not external per say I just don’t identify. The complex emotional nuances and thoughts that make up the “lattice work” of our persona seems lost on me. There is no me-ness anymore. I’m just a body. I was wondering if anyone else has had this experience. I was perfectly normal just four months ago. I have a feeling that if antibiotics can effect a person so much, psychiatric drugs would have much more influence. I was on fairly high doses of meds and have not felt like myself since even while off of them. I cry on occasion because I hope with each day that some day I will begin to feel like myself again.
Oh my gosh Ruth. I have heard the psychiatric drugs can be rough, and many cause anhedonia. My guess is that others on those drugs have felt the same way but would be a good question for your therapist. If you are off them the program might help you get your feelings back. I would guess the “dissociation” or whatever it is you are experiencing in addition might get better over time as the drugs leave your body, but that is beyond the scope of what I have experienced. Just keep going until you get your answers and get your life back – there are always answers! – jackie
I am suffering from this affliction. I have watched your videos but last link for the ‘Emotional Flatlining program’ is dead. Please fix it or email me the resources instead. Thanks in advance.
Is the link working now? It is simply a link to the Program tab on the main website at http://www.AnhedoniaSupport.com.
Hi, I watched both of these videos and found that I could relate to almost all of the information included. I’m 13. (A little young, I guess.) And I think I started having emotional flatlining somewhere late around the time I developed depression. It was hard to go through depression as well as this, knowing that I couldn’t feel positive emotions. I felt that there were times where I should be feeling things, so I understand that aspect. I have a therapist, and I think they helped a lot with the depression. So now I’m kinda just stuck with this problem. Even though you aren’t a mental health professional, I believe that this information was very helpful in getting a grasp on what I had been going through. Please know that I really appreciate your effort in explaining this and your story. Thanks
You’re welcome Anne. I am so glad to hear you found a therapist and are getting help. You have so much life left to find your happiness!
Hi! I’ve read many of the posts in here and I can relate a lot and I’m somehow kind of glad to know that I’m not alone and this site has helped me a lot to understand what I’m going through. I am 20 years old, I have a whole life ahead of me, but suddenly I can not enjoy it or feel anything at all. I used to be passionate about books and poetry, dancing, and traveling and learning about new cultures and new languages. I loved flowers and was moved by just watching the sun set every day and now everything is gone. I went to a therapist and she told me it was depression, but I don’t feel depressed, I have energy and everything, but I just can’t be able to feel. There’s just emptiness and numbness. All of these started out of nowhere. I was feeling great one night, I went to sleep, next thing I know I had a fever and was vomiting. I went to the hospital and after a week of tons of exams it turned out I had a very strong infection and since then I have this feeling of flatness. I am physically fine and well I will start with the simple pleasures practice. The only thing that bothers me a little is that I’m constantly trying to feel and I overthink about this problem and I don’t know how to stop overthinking because I feel that it makes things worse and I think I’ll never have my normal life again because I will be always thinking about it. I hope everything turns out just fine and thank you very much for your help!
You are so right that overthinking it and dwelling on how awful it is, and being afraid you’ll never get over it, actually contribute to keeping it going. I know how hard this is stop doing. Anything you can do to distract yourself from thinking bad thoughts can help. Glad you saw a therapist to help, and keep going with the exercises even though it doesn’t “feel” like anything is happening!
Thank you so much for all this info. I have been feeling flat for basically for 4 years. I take 2 kinds of antidepressants @ high doses. When I would go pick up my prescription, the pharmacist would always mention that the doses were very high. I noticed going through the motions of laughing & feeling nothing. I have had my bouts of depression/anxiety & bounced back @ some point. But, not this time. This is what really feels weird, is in the past when I had a very hardy laugh when you feel you can’t catch your breath that was very normal. Now when I laugh like that, I feel like my head is ready to explode & that the chemicals in my brain is not connecting. I do a lot of research since I have these lack of feelings. It is very scary. I am cutting down on my meds through my doctor. I also ordered a brain stimulator (very expensive) which yesterday was 1 week. Not much difference yet. However, I will try it with the 30 day refund.
I know how scary it is, and just know you are not alone. I know what you mean about laughter not being the same. Certain neurotransmitters are likely not being released as they were before, but the good news is they can be regenerated. And Glad you are working with your doctor to reduce the meds. Good luck in your journey!
my story is a bit complicated. i started having this problem since 2011. i noticed this great force on my head. the force compresses my head and strains my eyes such that it turns red. i managed to pass my semestres exam to the glory of God. But in my final year(2015) it became extremely difficult for me. i had a project to write and about two seminars to present . After much struggle i decided tout suspend everything till thé following year perhaps i could get better but when i told my mum about it, my siblings were not cool with it so they offered to help me the Project but i still had seminars i needed to present myself. i tried preparing for thé seminar but couldnt . i said let me put up a sicky look perhaps they could take pity on me and exempt me from the seminar présentation. But then something slided away from beneath My face which i suspect is a facial muscle. subsequently i started having twitches In different parts of my body. My brain started moving backwards and i kept on remembering thé things that happening In thé past. i lost all feeling and emotions. i lost zeal,passion,interest and desire In all the things i loved doing before. i lost My intelligence and i started having memory problems. i found it hard remembering names of my classmates And lectures . i lost all libido. i also noticed My body no longer absorbs things i consume consequently i lost strenght. i dont Know if your programme can help me.
Oh my gosh – I am so sorry to hear all this. It sounds like you have something going on along with the flatlining, or that may have caused the flatlining. Unfortunately I am not a doctor and cannot diagnose anything. I would strongly recommend seeing a doctor and asking him or her if this program would make sense. Just so you are aware, memory troubles and cognitive thinking problems are very common with flatlining. Just know that answers are out there, and you will find them if you keep searching!
I can’t find the support forum . I really need to communicate with others that have this condition, because I also have it and I’m at a total loss of what to do. When I click on the link I get a era communicate with others that have this condition, because I also have it and I’m at a total loss of what to do. When I click on the link I get ” page not found or moved” message. Plz help, I have a doctor appointment and really need to show him stuff from this site
Hi Sherri – I’m sorry I am not sure what you are clicking on and trying to find. There is no support forum. Please tell me more about what you are looking for. Jackie
Hi Jackie, my name is Valentin. About 2 months ago I was diagnosed with ABI symptoms, I would rarely drink, but I got really drunk some day, and well the next morning, my short term memory, thinking skills, judgement, to process information and insight were horrible, id feel really confused at times, Id sleep for at least 8-10 hours a night and even nap throughout the day but id still feel tired. Id feel that way for about 3 hours and then id feel completely clear headed, everything was fine. But then symptoms would return for another 2-3 hours. As time passed the symptoms lessened up. The neurologist said they’d be completely gone by 3 months and I believed her because I feel my symptoms less and less everyday. She explained how I was a bit more sensitive to alcohol than most people. Now when I would feel my symptoms I would feel depressed, some anxiety, stress and I wouldn’t want to talk much until my symptoms subsided for a couple hours. Now when my symptoms subsided for a couple hours id be the same happy person I used to be, id have tons of energy, id talk a lot, id enjoy music, and I really did believe people loved having me around, I enjoyed making people laugh, my friends would always come to me for advice because I enjoyed being there for people and making people happy, I was always really good with empathy. Now my symptoms had gotten to the point where I would barely feel anything, then one day suddenly when my symptoms would subside and I was clear minded, I noticed that I wasn’t feeling anything. I didn’t feel happy, sad, angry or even stressed. The way I noticed was when id be clear minded id go out for a run and listen to music and I enjoyed that so much, I felt so alive. But one day I went out and I ran but I didn’t feel anything, the music didn’t move me in any way, no emotion connected any memory like it would before, I love to dance but the music didn’t make me want to move in any way, just noise in my ear, I just felt numb. I went home that night and I tried to explain to my mom what I was feeling but she didn’t understand what I meant. I cried a bit, but I didn’t feel the pain, it just felt like dry crying if that makes sense. I guess since my mind and body were constantly under such depressive, anxious and stressful emotions and they were constantly going up and down throughout the day my mind and body decided to take a timeout, maybe until my ABI passes. Id go to work and people would talk to me and tell me jokes and Id smile or laugh but it didn’t feel the same, the emotion wasn’t there. And because I couldn’t feel emotion anymore whenever id be clear minded I found it harder to relate to people since I couldn’t really feel compassion or empathy. Id act concerned about certain things because i still knew it was the thing to in certain situations but I didn’t really care to do it. I’m still get over my ABI symptoms because I still have a month left according to the doctor, but now whenever I get clear minded and my symptoms subside for a couple hours, I still feel a bit confused and my memory isn’t all that good, not as bad as when I feel my ABI, a whole lot less, but I still know when I’m clear minded, and when I’m not. Everything just started seeming so bland, food didn’t taste as good, movies and baseball games weren’t as interesting.
When I seen your videos and you explained everything it all sort of made sense why I started feeling this way out of the blue. And its good to know that there is hope out there that maybe some day I will go back to the happy person that I used to be., I know its gonna take a while, but patience is something that I always had, and just the crave for quality of life, I know will me get through it. Thank you so much for your program, I hope you know you’re truly an inspiration.
I have yet to try out your program and see how it goes.
Your description of the flatlining is so consistent with others, as I’m sure you see in the other reviews. I’m glad to hear things are getting better for you, and you have moments of feeling. Try to do the simple pleasures exercise in the free report to help with all you’re doing with your doctor to get your feelings back. Good for you in having patience! Best wishes – jackie
I was not able to watch the ahedonia support video. Said ‘not found’.
Have you since been able to watch it? If it says “Oops – this wasn’t supposed to happen…”, click on the blue “try again” link in the middle of the video. If you still can’t get it to work, please email us at GetJoy@AppreciativeLiving.com and we will try to help.
Thank you for providing all the information contained in both videos, it’s so helpful to hear, not only the personal experience but the science behind it.
My experience is very different to most of those mentioned above in terms of ‘the cause’ but the outcome has been exactly as you have described…emotional flatlining. I have always been highly emotional, I have always used my ‘3 brains’ when coming into any situation, described as emotionally intelligent and intuitive and having an ability to relate at a ‘feeling’ level. In January of this year (so 11 months ago) I found out a bit more about this when I enrolled in a post graduate NLP course (Neuro Linguistic Programming). As a life coach I figured it would increase my skill level to understand more about how people think and techniques to assist them in changing thinking patterns. Through the program I recognised that my ‘feeling’ abilities are know as synesthesias and mine were particularly strong in the see/feel and hear/feel. Anyway, to cut a long story short, as a part of the program we learned different patterns/techniques to alter/change undesired thinking or states. I participated in one of these to remove what I called my ‘mini panic’ when something went wrong…ie when I couldn’t find my car in the car park. The problem was, the pattern performed not only scrubbed out this particular feeling but seemed to scrub out or remove all my feelings (or synesthesias), by the next day I not only removed my ‘panics’ but my joy and gut connection to anything. I felt like I had something stolen from me. I tried addressing with the instructors, using NLP techniques at the time but haven’t been able to reconnect. It feels like something got unplugged. I know the feelings should be there but I can’t access them. I still feel teary emotions and can cry, but I never get the ‘take my breath away’ or spine tingles at all. I don’t feel like me…I just want me back. I still get passionate about my work with people but don’t have any feelings to back it up. I hope this makes sense…I’m not sure if it fits into the paremeters of your program but I really hope so.
Thanks for listening.
This is the first I’ve heard of anything like this and also very troubling. You mentioned being passionate about your work, which is something flatlined people do not experience, but then you said you did not have the feelings to go with it. So I’m not sure what you mean exactly. With flatlining you would have absolutely no interest at all in your work in any way in addition to not feeling any passion. I am curious to know more about what happened and will reach out in an email. Whatever happened, whether you have flatlining or not, I believe you can get your feelings back if you keep looking long enough for answers. So don’t loose hope!
Thanks Jackie, I really do hope I can.
I look forward to your email.
Hey Judy – I did email you and am hoping you got it. Please reply to this post if you didn’t –
I found your webpage by googling anhedonia (I just learned the term today) and it truly was a jaw dropping moment.
I am 36 and have been struggling with depression and anxiety ever since I was a small child. At 16 I started taking antidepressants, this was going on off and on until just a few weeks ago, when my psychiatrist recommended that I stopped. The reason was simply that they never worked, and the fact that I relied on the medicine to save me.
It’s hard for me to tell my complete history (and I won’t, don’t want to have you reading for hours!) but the fact that I have very bad memory regarding events that happened in the past also makes it impossible. I am very forgetful, easily distracted and my concentration problems have just gotten much worse over the last few years.
However, what I just realized was that anhedonia and emotional flatlining have been my companions since I was a child. I have a very hard time appreciating things, and I can distinctly remember myself at 10 years of age watching my mother and sister cry over my grandfather’s death and wondering why I didn’t feel the same.
To feel anything, I have quite a long history of seeking dopamine kicks, either from alcohol, anonymous sex, you name it. It’s not until now when I truly started to reflect upon things that I realized that life could be so much better. After stopping the SSRI I was on (quite a low dose) I now either have a discontinuation syndrome, or this is just the real me. I am a music lover (playing, listening to, producing), and now music suddenly means nothing to me. For any religious people reading this, I would describe the feeling as waking up one day and realizing that God just left for good.
Food does have a taste, but I don’t care for it at all. I can go a whole day without food, since I don’t care about it. I used to love beer, not just for the alcohol but really enjoyed the taste. Now it’s just bitter.
Beside music, I think my biggest issue with all of this is that I don’t connect with people anymore. I don’t speak to many people outside of my family and most of the relationships with my friends are suffering, since I simply don’t care what is happening in their life. Of course, I feel horrible about this, which is making me more depressed.
BUT, this is not meant to be a pity post! I just wanted to say thank you for showing me that there is a way out of this! I will definitely check out your program!
I’m so glad you found this site, and it is never too late to get your feelings back!! If nothing else it will be worth it to enjoy beer (ha ha). As long as you could feel at one point in your life, no matter how long ago, you can feel again. And it all comes back! Best wishes to you Mikael-
Because I am currently experiencing emotional flat-lining, I understand completely how it differs from depression and everything in your video and website makes total sense to me. I am so deep in this that feel it can never be resolved. The worst part is I am only 20 years old, and was doing exceptionally well in college. Once I experienced this severe anhedonia, I dropped all my college courses. It seemed to happen over night, but I believe there were some tell-tale signs leading up to this. I’ve been deeply and truly suffering with this for about two months. I know anhedonia can also co-exist with psychiatric disorders, namely Schizophrenia and substance abuse.
Movies, friends, outdoors, people, animals, sports, sunlight, beaches, music, learning, school- everything that I used to love- is now meaningless to me. There is no comfort in sleeping in my own bed. All I feel is sickening anxiety in the pit of my stomach because I don’t know how to occupy myself or my mind when every single thing means nothing to me. My only motivation is that this condition will go away, but I’m worried that I will loose that motivation as well. I truly consider this the worst thing that can happen to someone, and no one can understand it unless they experience it. Please e-mail me if you can.
Hi Annie – get help as soon as you can as this sounds recent. I would also encourage you to start the exercise in the free report right away as you might be able to get feelings back just from doing that since it so recent. I understand how this is the worst thing ever – it was for me too and others on the website. If you read these other comments you’ll hear stories and experiences very similar to yours. It is really hard to push yourself to do anything and get help but you just have to. It will be worth it to get your life back!
This can be so incredibly isolating. Everywhere I have read about coping with depression is to talk to others about your problems. But as of right now I have no problems as I simply do not care. I tried reading depression forums and felt even more alienated. They often spoke about how juggling school and work was a struggle with their depression and worried about not doing well or disappointing their boss etc. As for me, I quit my job and stopped doing schoolwork all together because I just didn’t see a point anymore even though a few months prior I was doing so well and was so excited to graduate university. I try to hang out with friends but feel like a fraud as many other people have described. I put myself on autopilot and talk and laugh and joke but none of it feels real. I can’t relate to their problems. I was put on an ssri a month ago and I can sleep better and eat more but thats about it. I really hope that something can help me because these have been the hardest two months of my life and I can’t imagine this being a more long term affliction. My psychiatrists measures how well I am doing by looking at my engagement in activities but what good is it if I went out dancing if I felt not even an ounce of joy as I would normally feel doing this. I have this irrational longing of being put to sleep indefinitely and just experiencing my life through a dream. I am not as emotionally numb in my dreams. Surely something must help, life can’t possibly be this cruel. I don’t know if anyone else can relate or if I’m crazy but I walk past homeless people in the street and wish I was in their position because they can still feel things and find meaning in their life to carry on.
I totally get it and I was there too. The most important thing is not to give up and to understand that flatlining is a physical condition where the brain cannot produce good-feeling neurochemicals such as dopamine and oxytocin and others that allow us to feel positive emotion. And you can get these circuits to work again! I strongly urge you to share this website with your therapist and see if the flatlining support program is right for you. You describe it exactly as I and others have experienced it! And know that you are not alone – read the other comments here and you’ll see the same experiences!
Jackie, in all your videos and replies to others, the idea that Anhedonia could be long-term, or even a life-long issue has never been discussed. Yes, I have had dozens of professionals work with me, and in all cases Anhedonia has been mentioned as a side-effect of my chronic depression or perfectionism or anxiety or ADHD, etc. But I have tried to describe the idea that I am no longer depressed, (have been medicated for years too) and yet, I still cannot experience positive emotions properly. But for me, it has been an issue my entire life? I don’t remember a time when I properly experienced joy or happiness for longer than a couple seconds.
I have not had many people talk about having it their whole life. I think the fact you have been able to experience joy or happiness for a couple seconds suggests your brain is capable of feeling even though it has been lacking your whole life. If you had a true physical block you would not be able to have the few second experiences. The brain is amazing in it’s ability to regenerate but it takes a lot of repetition to build up positive emotions. Some medications can also block the good-feeling neurotransmitters, so it is hard to say to what extent those might or might not be contributing. Long way of saying I would still have hope.
the final moment i ‘broke’ so to speak happened a day when i tried to sell some silly cards from childhood on the internet, some people messaged me with offers to buy and i suddenly didnt realize anymore why i wanted to sell them,
a dreadful moment ensued, where i held my face in my hand as a realization dawned on me, “i had it all wrong’ ,, inside of my being i screamed , and it was like instantly after my brain shut down it was horribly painful, and i had no more feelings and realized how wonderful life had been previously…
personally ive always been capable of dealing with everything, i have always been exceptionally pure, kindhearted,,with iron will and determination and overwhelming passion,
its funny i realize now i caused this all to occur.. it started for me a year before the moment of breakdown, with just a little unneccessary guilt and situation where i had given up a little of my otherwise complete independent and autodidact character, due to working among people thzt were antipodal in character to me + after work wasting my time on a game, as i was trying to get back back on track after quitting the job and feeling stupid and guilty ever going there , somehow instead of simply picking up my former routine i made the mistake to listen to despair and guilt and started trying some socalled spiritual program which my instincts and intuition completely rejected, so subsequently either i completely misunderstood or the book was rubbish, but in.each case i made my guilt and dependency on the outward world worse, i did everything contrary to following my instincts and intuition, repressing my healthy anger which was my way of defense which before kept me always sane and safe, as im on the inside exceptionally kindhearted, as i mistakenly thought i need to stop being ‘angry’ as if it was bad and even repressed things i loved, i got ofcourse hurted and harmed everywhere until i had a minor breakdown which i managed to reverse in two weeks, but two weeks or so after i experienced the big downfall, because after breaking down my own ‘negative’ defensive system i could no longer cope with with was a greedy person, funny, when just a year prior to that moment or even a month i would have simply called a spade a spade, greed is greed and theres no reason to tolerate it just as any other immorality,
feeling and thinking really are the treasure of life…
i will try your free program and i hope with all my heart i can recover all my complex thoughtpatterns, emotions, tendencies attitudes and psychological makeup
oh i will do it, i must! there is no other way , so here it goes: i am so pleased i am capable of being angry again when the situation requires it! the beautiful rush of deep relentless anger which i have inherently had since childhood which i can trigger voluntarily at any moment, to ward off unwanted people or detrimental influences… its not that i want to bother people.. but rather in order to completely protect my own boundaries and consesuently be almost impossible harm by any person or situation… and thanks to that i am truly wild free, overwhelmingly joyous and passionate in life, and able to muster an inwardly explosive yet outward gentle kindness for all living creatures and nature whom i always desire to protect and preserve.. and feel fulfilled and rewarded already simply from those thoughts, feelings and deeds itself! i feel.. the elated extatic feelings when im beholding the unrivalled beautiful sceneries of our wild european pristine nature in all its seasons and weather, whether in real or in artworks or literature, and how i enjoy the complexities of mystery, adventure, childlike joy and passion that are invoked by walking in the forest, and blessed i feel with my sense of justice and sensitivity to everyones pain and feelings.. i rejoice so deeply in the desiring , in taking pride, in being inventive and dilligent upon engaging in intellectually occupations and learning , oh how i feel rewarded for training the mind, learning and writing again.. and being overwhelmed and inspired by emotions upon listening my favourite enchanting music and feeling the joy of the simple act of daydreaming and contemplation… creating visions and rejoicing.. and floating away into magic
or even enjoying the sentiments of sorrow and isolation, and revel in the sweet melancholy of my introvert nature and feeling how i am misunderstood and wanting to be alone, how i love and always loved those complex sorrowful yet blissful and independent moments of solitude
i enjoy the cozy moments petting my cat and having a warm glass of milk
i love and feel triumphant and vigorous when i swim and run or engage in any physical workout, and love to subsequently feel my heart pulse powerfully in my chest
and what joy it brings to express my own silly humor either to share a laugh with those people close to me or making only myself laugh!
and the cherished moments when i read a book by the fireplace, watch my favourite movies in medieval/pagan/historical/fantastical setting or enjoy my favourite meal..: salmon or trout! without onions please ha ha
and how i love to sleep until late in the morning and feel still sleepy or refreshed and well-rested,
i will write this all down tomorow on a piece of paper and do the exercises ^^
Wow Temi – this is very detailed and poetic. I have every hope and faith you can get back to this wonderful vision of feeling again! Jackie
in addition i was wondering whether you or others who have overcome flatlining have the impression to have created new or also managed to restore the entirety and complexity of their previous emotional patterns and passions and psychological make up?
Well,I admit I had never heard of Anhedonia until I saw the term mentioned in a book I am currently reading…
I have had depression off and on for many years,particularly after a road traffic accident many years ago back in England,where I lived in London until my wife and I came to the US in 2011.(I’m originally from Edinburgh Scotland)…
I hope to learn more about the symptoms by joining the website,and by reading about other people’s experiences in connection with it…
2 days ago i pray to God if he show or tell me what i have and if there’s a cure to this horrible thing (i have no feelings and emotions now for 1,5 years).
Also the love for my 2 kids and wife are gone.
I don’t have to tell you how bad this sikness is, sometimes i want to quit because this is no life but it’s surviving, i felt dead insite.
Then i find your message, thank you for that, it’s a blessing.
But i have 3 questions and hope you have the time to answer me.
Have you ever heard about that Emotional Flatlining also can cause a reduced in your tast?
The tast of food i have is about 50-75 % and not 100%
I have also found out that my thinking and memory is affected by this Emotional Flatlining, have you or else other people heard of this?
Also, the same time i have no emotions anymore, there are problems with going to the toilet, do you know if that can related to Emotional Flatlining?
God bless you and kind regards,
Sorry for my bad English
Yes it is horrible! And yes, it reduces taste and pleasure in eating just as you describe.It also affects memory, focus, concentration, and the ability to process information because these use the same neurochemicals (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin etc) and the circuits that produce feelings. As far as going to the toilet, I have not heard of this being related to flatlining. And as for your English – please do not apologize! It is totally understandable, and I wish I could translate this into every language!