by: Eric M. Kussin

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19 October 2018

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What Emotional Flatlining Feels Like

After coming back from my 2.5 yrs of hell, I’ve described getting my abilities back as akin to feeling like it’s Game 7 of your favorite team’s playoff series, every day. Everything is just heightened.
 
While this was/is true for getting my cognitive abilities back, it wasn’t (& still isn’t) true for getting emotional abilities/feelings back. There was such a numbness I felt at my darkest – just a vast sea of nothingness, that I’m not surprised that emotions have taken so long to return – at least to a level where I’m am “content.” Lack of emotions suck!
 
I enjoy being a student of most anything to improve how we feel (last month it was Qigong in Indonesia). I like to learn myself what works, & hopefully be able to share that on the road, &/or w you all on these platforms. I don’t take for granted how fortunate I am that practitioners will offer a trial of a practice they champion, to see how I react/improve & if it’s worth recommending as a formal “TSRR” practice on our website.
 
With that as a background, I’ve just begun a course (online, w a daily 20 min practice), on what this practitioner refers to as “Emotional Flatlining.” For those who swim in the MH space, it’s a more polite way of saying anhedonia. This particular practitioner developed this strategy based on her own lived experience – the symptoms of which are described below & resonate profoundly w me. For this #SameHere🤙 Symptoms feature, I’m pulling quotes from her materials. For those going through the same – I hope you find it comforting to know you’re far from alone. For those helping others going thru something right now, hopefully this will better paint the pic of what your friend/fam member may be feeling (or not ;)).
 
This is why depression is NOT just sadness. I describe depression as a “lack of.” Her course is about retraining the emotional center connections in our brains…& I look forward to sharing how well it works for me in the coming months. Her raw symptoms explained:
 
“I felt absolutely nothing positive. I lost interest in everything & everyone. I couldn’t enjoy hobbies, vacations, getting together w friends – even food had no pleasure. And worst of all I felt absolutely no love or connection w anyone, including my own children.
 
I couldn’t care less about my husband, my cat, & all the people in my life I used to love. I had no interest watching shows I liked, or doing anything I used to find enjoyable. I was numb to sunsets, cute animals, flowers, musics & all the other things I used to find beautiful or that made me feel good. I had to push myself to do anything. I had no motivation whatsoever. I often found it hard to focus, concentrate, & follow conversations, & I had difficulty remembering almost anything.
 
I could still feel negative emotions like anger, sadness, or frustration, but none of the good ones. But at the same time, I couldn’t feel grief – because you have to care about someone to grieve their loss, and I could not feel the emotion of caring. It was devastating and felt completely hopeless.”

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