Today I feel empty

Today I feel empty. Empty and listless. I wouldn’t even use the word frustrated, because being frustrated implies feeling something. I wish I had the energy or the desire to care enough to be frustrated or, heck, even angry. Being angry would be more purposeful than feeling like I just don’t care anymore.

Maybe it’s the new meds. Just a few days ago, I felt ever so slightly more hopeful. The doctor changed my meds again since my last blog. I know the antidepressant hasn’t had time to do its thing, so my guess is a placebo effect made me feel a little better for a brief time.

I am so uninterested in life outside my family right now that it’s extremely difficult to stay focused or be motivated at work.

My therapist and I had a good session yesterday, but that positive energy I felt after leaving her office has all but vanished. It’s been sapped by this dreadful disease once again.

She encouraged me to think about things I’m grateful for each day, especially when I’m reeling at work. She told me to literally write down even the smallest achievements so I feel some sense of accomplishment. It isn’t working so far, maybe because I haven’t done it enough yet.

My anxiety is so severe at times it borders on paranoia. My self-confidence is so shaken that simple tasks seem overwhelming. My fear of mistakes is so paralyzing that I want to just crawl in a foxhole and do nothing. Only that’s not a viable option for a career…at least not for long.

So here goes. I will celebrate one little victory that on the surface seems quite pathetic. I had to craft an email yesterday for an important group of stakeholders. My fear of making a mistake, perhaps a typo, was so great that I put it off all day. Then I finally got the courage to draft it, prayed over it and hit the send button.

How ridiculous is that?

My therapist doesn’t think it’s ridiculous. She said following through and doing it despite my anxiety was actually “courageous.” Only I don’t exactly feel like Braveheart. I feel puny.

That’s what warped negative thinking does to us over time. We are working on my negative thought patterns, but they are so engrained it almost feels like a hopeless effort.

I will keep trying. I will think of a STOP sign every time the negative thoughts start.

What other choice do I have?

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36 thoughts on “Today I feel empty

  1. I agree with your therapist – you are courageous. Feeling fear and moving forward anyhow is the very definition of bravery.

  2. Jack, last year I hit rock bottom. Because of open honest blogs, including yours, I was able to seek help with medication and get my severe depression to a place that is manageable. When I feel myself slipping I turn to your blog (and a few others) to remind me that I am not alone. YOU ARE courageous and sharing your experiences are making an impact on other people suffering in silence.
    Thank you and hang in there!

  3. I really like the idea of the stop sign. I’m looking at the things I do to ward off the blues. What works, what doesn’t and what needs tweaking. I’m going to pinch your idea if you don’t mind.
    Even though you feel crap you’r still sharing good ideas. Onwards and upwards :-)

  4. The “numbness” is the worst! It not only makes you just feel off or wrong, it makes the anxiety worse, but you just don’t care about it. It’s just a very weird thing, and it’s overwhelming, which you wouldn’t think it would be given you’re numb. It’s really one of the hardest things from me to deal with. I get it sometimes with med increases or other issues. Just know that it will pass.

    The fact that you sent the e-mail, even with all the anxiety is a HUGE deal. You weren’t sure if you could do it. Your brain was telling you you couldn’t do it. Still, you did it. You should your brain it was wrong. You stood up to the anxiety and you did it. That’s ALWAYS a win.

    The fact that you can acknowledge and understand this “numb” mood is also a huge deal. Often, we don’t even realize these things are going on. If we don’t realize it, we can’t deal with it or prevent it. Now that you are able to recognize it, you can see it for what it is and deal with it accordingly, whatever that might mean for you as it’s different for everyone. So, yes, even just recognizing the “numbness” is HUGE!

  5. Dear friend…like you I have terrible bouts of depression and anxiety, i’m in a rut right now, I’m not sure if I can give you any healthy advice, thought of ending it all many times but here I am dragging myself around. Consider yourself lucky you can work. I’m unemployed at the moment and the thought of going out there again is nothing but paralysing…I have social phobia as well. I wish you all the best….keep in touch.
    By the way been on effexor, cymbalta, luvox, prozac, tolvon…now on avanza…at least I’m sleeping o.k.

  6. I don’t think it’s ridiculous at all. Sometimes my apathy becomes so great and so paralyzing that I don’t even feel anxiety.

  7. I can relate to the social anxiety as well. Wish you the best as well…sounds like you’re persevering through some rough waters.

  8. Jojesek,
    Thanks for the comments. I can relate. Terrible Catch 22….hard to choose which is worse….apathy or anxiety!

  9. Thank you for sharing your story. It is important that we don’t let the negative thought overwhelm and control us. I know that it can be difficult dealing with depression. A great site that helps me cope with my depression symptoms is I hope this is helpful for you and others reading this.

  10. I know very well how you feel. It’s good you sent the email though. You could have avoided it all together, but you didn’t. In my Recovery Inc. group we say “Endorse for effort, not the outcome.” Meaning no matter what you do and no matter the outcome, you put forth the effort, which is commendable. Especially when it comes to depression. On our worst days it’s preferable to just stay buried under the covers and hide from the world, but getting out of bed, bathing, getting dressed, eating, and going about the day is a tremendous effort. If everyone else around us had depression then they would have to push just as hard to get through the bad days.
    Don’t worry. Better ones will come. Thank you for this blog and for sharing your experiences. That’s also a big undertaking.

  11. During my bouts of depression, I’ll start by withdrawing from the world, then stay isolated in my room, curtains closed, doors locked, phone off the hook and mostly in bed.

    After a number of days, sometimes maybe a week or more, I gradually emerge on the other side as my mood lightens for no apparent reason. I tell you, it’s one bastard of a ride and I wish it on no one. I’m sure you feel the same.

  12. Hello Jack,

    My name is Leigh. First thank you for sharing your life with us. Your exceptional blog deals with depression awareness and I know you are familiar with the importance of mental health. It is for these reasons that I contact you today.

    I am ‘every woman’, the girl next door and the one you never would have suspected, however, for years I have been struggling with depression. I have written a book about my experiences entitled “The Blue Veil”.

    Through this book, it is my aim to reduce the stigma of depression by increasing awareness of the issue. I am donating a large percentage of the proceeds to 15 carefully chosen mental health awareness organizations worldwide. I have provided the list of these organizations at the end of this email.

    This is where you come in. I am organizing a 2 month long online book release campaign, structured around various depression awareness weeks around the world. It will be from July 1st to August 31st. My request is, during this period of time would you be willing to host me on your blog for a few days of those months? This can be carried out in a few ways:
    -I would send you a couple/few articles that talk about my book and of course depression awareness. You would post these articles on your blog over a few days during those months (letting me know which days you will choose)
    -You could write your own prose about “The Blue Veil” and depression awareness and post these articles on your blog over the course of the months (letting me know which days you will choose).
    Now you may be wondering what is in this for you and your blog? Well, I could provide you with a free version of “The Blue Veil”. You could also review the depression awareness organizations, which I will send to you, to see if there is one you would like to be included and I will certainly look into it.

    More on “The Blue Veil”:
    Up to 58 MILLION suffer from it in the US alone, and VERY FEW talk about it. Is it your friend, colleague or neighbor? Now, finally, ‘The Blue Veil’ brings a modern, raw account of depression. Read it and understand your loved ones better. Be assured that no one is alone.

    “Leigh has everything going for her when the unthinkable happens. She loses control of her own emotions and everything in her life begins to slip away. With a marriage strained to the brink, the loss of her father, fertility issues and the loss of her job, will Leigh be able to move beyond The Blue Veil and take back control of her future?“

    Thanks so much for your consideration and efforts. I understand that you are busy, so I wanted to express my sincere gratitude. It is with great respect for you and your blog that I write this email and it would mean so much to me to have your readers aware of my efforts.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time if you have any questions regarding my request.
    Sincerely yours,
    Leigh Turgeon
    Twitter: @leighslead
    The Blue Veil Blog
    FB Page The Blue Veil
    FB Page Leigh Turgeon

  13. get off the poison it fucks you up i was on that rubbish for years it turned me into a mindless emotionless zombie

  14. Dude I had the same problem with negativity in my thoughts. You have to small chunk this change – meaning work on it for ONE day. Make it your ONE DAY goal to have no negative thoughts, like every time one comes up you just stop it and start thinking the exact opposite. It’ll probably take you many tries, but it helps to literally walk around and (like an idiot pretty much) saying hilariously positive things in your head. “Ah a wall. The most awesome and glorious wall of all time, etc ect”. IF you mess up start again the next day, and do it till you do it. Then make the goal 2 days.

  15. Hello mate, I’d just like to say that I admire your struggle against this terrible illness. I know you are feeling terrible sometimes, but I just want to really really want to let you know that I am rooting for you.

    I kind of feel like I am in my own “war”. A war on depression, but not just yours, on the worlds. I mean I HATE the thought of anyone else feeling the same way I occasionally feel (Though I feel like it is not as bad others). So from one soldier to another, please keep fighting. And thank you.

    Your name is very good. XD I may steal it one day, if you dont mind.

  16. Congratulations for an informative post. Also, your therapist is great. You must follow all her advises and I am sure that you’ll recover soon. Just take it positively.

  17. Hi all this is the first time I am writing anything like this, as for a long time I was in denial that I had bi polar and well I guess I tried to imagine it was all a mistake but after the fifth time of trying to stay off my medication and feeling great for all of three weeks and each time hitting rock bottom again ! I have finally come to understand that this is with me for life and I got to face the facts and start to learn to be smart about how I work.

    I completely understand how everyone feels when they say they are numb, I look at my girlfriend and sometimes it is like she is a complete stranger as I feel soo blank and then sure enough out of the blue when I least expect it my feelings come rushing back and I am greeted with so much relief that I actually do love my gf and the I feel so guilty that I could ever even have contemplated that I did not like her. Do any of you have any similar ex
    Experiences ? Or it is just me ? I found the most important thing is not to get fooled by my moods but to realise when I am having a numb mood and learn to spot it and me smart and not act , but it is soo scary and frustrating , do any of you feel the same ? Would love to know as knowing there are others out there in this world who are the same as me and fighting each day really helps , look forward to hearing from you all.


  18. Wow you could be writing what I’m going through right now, except I could never have expressed it so well. I have been struggling with depression for most of my adult life and recently it got really bad, and I found myself hiding away in my foxhole. On the days when I could actually go to work it felt like your day struggling with the email. I didn’t actually get anything done, for the most part. I finally went to my university’s counselling center and managed to see a psychiatrist, after an intake interview. I was diagnosed with dysthymia and she confirmed that I am going through a major depressive episode. I’ve seen a therapist once more since then, and it hasn’t gone particularly well. She was pretty busy/distracted/trying to funnel me through and I feel like she’s not being straight with me, other than trying to browbeat me into accepting medication.

    I’m conflicted about medication because there isn’t strong support that it works one way or another. There is publication bias and the pharmaceutical industry is a very powerful lobbying force. Individual reports about efficacy conflict, and to me right now trying to find the right combination that works for me seems like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I’m not sure I want to go down that rabbithole, especially given the side effects and the dependency that ensues. My therapist insists I can just stop the meds if it doesn’t work, and that conflicts with everything I’ve read about coming off depression meds. And yet part of me wants the meds because it offers the best chance of jolting me out of foxhole mode in the near future to the point where I can actively take steps to get better. I guess I’m also terrified because this is the first time the depression has gotten this bad and lasted so long and is interfering with my work.

    Inside I am constantly numb, with intermittent but rising anxiety. I’ve been numb for years, and I don’t know why it’s becoming an issue for me right now. Maybe because my last relationship broke down partly because of my inability to feel. I want to get better but it’s like I don’t want to at the same time. Something is holding me back, maybe the sheer magnitude of the task and the hopelessness. I’m totally down for psychotherapy as I think there are extremely well-repressed internal things that I need to work out in the long term. That will happen after I get referred to an external therapist, which is something I’ve been told will happen in the near future.

    Right now I’m concerned with how to get my life back into functional mode. To get beyond the debilitating fear of having to deal with colleagues who must by now have realised that there is a problem; what to tell them; to deal with the other triggers that lie waiting for me at work. My solution is to break it into smaller steps. Sometimes just making lists helps. Just do it, as my temporary therapist suggests, isn’t quite working. My other easier projects are to get my eating and sleeping on a schedule. I’ve picked up some useful tips from here and other sites, like recognizing and clamping down on negative thoughts.

    To Jack and the other commenters it’s nice to know that there are other people out there dealing with the same things. I look forward to reading and hearing more about your experiences. And I would be quite grateful if anyone would care to share any thoughts about trying medication in particular.


  19. Hi Dani,

    It was good to read your post and I felt very much like with all the post on here that it was like reading my own words. The way I have gone about dealing with my numbness and different moods is to make a check list for my self. So in my IPhone I have a morning routine which regardless of how I feel I follow till I get to the end, even basic things like brushing my teeth I have written down as part of my list. Then I have two more list , one for when I know I am feeling numb ( which basically I have written at a moment when I am feeling things and told my self it will pass and I do love my gf and I am writing this down when I am feeling soo much) and one for when I feel high , once again saying follow a normal daily routine today as you are feeling high and so don’t spend money etc. I found the best way to deal with this disease is to firstly learn to monitor your moods and then secondly have a check list as to how to be when you are in one of the moods, this way you don’t get fooled by them and you also have less mental workload and the only thing you have to be aware of is your mood.

    Hope this helps and I would love to know if any others do similar things also ?


  20. Hello,
    My name is Cheryl and I live in the United States. Last year I nearly died due to a brain tumor that was undiagnosed for about ten years. I suffered from clinical depression as the location of the tumor was on my frontal lobe.

    As I rise from the ashes of my crumbled life, I am sharing encouraging thoughts, prayers, music, and other posts on my blog. I am a Born Again Christian.
    I hope you check it out.

    You can read about my personal journey by selecting CATEGORY on the right of the homepage. Then scroll down to ABOUT ME. I have pictures posted of myself right after surgery and present day. My recovery was quick with the Lord’s help.

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  22. “My anxiety is so severe at times it borders on paranoia.”—That is true, Jack. And aside from paranoia, it also causes some inflammation on your stress points like the temple, nape, or the likes. You can go through this by taking deep breaths and focusing on what you and your therapist want to achieve.

    Shan Salas @

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