Posted by: Reaching out | 2007/08/10

Inability to love or be loved

Before people tell me I need to see a therapist or be put on medication- I have tried both. First I will list what I consider to be symptoms then I will explain why I feel the methods listed above didn't work for me. My main problems are that I have trouble sleeping/staying asleep, but only when I have to get up the next day for something. When I have a day off- which is rare- I can sleep all day. I feel as though interaction with others is ackward. No matter how well I know them I feel as though any pysical contact seems forced or unnatural- though I long to experience "love." That is the one that I am most concerned about. I don't really feel sad all the time but I can't remember what happiness is suppose to feel like. It is like I am a shell that just acts the way people expect me to. I've been pretending for so long I have no idea what any real emotion is. I don't get mad or hate anyone, I can count the times I've yelled at someone on my hand. I just kind of exist and that's it. Also, I was talking with my one friend and somehow it came up that I don't see myself growing old and retiring. I see myself graduating and getting a job but I never saw what it would be like after that. I never thought I would grow old. I always saw myself dying young. She thought that was really strange but it seems so natural to me. I'm not sure if that is a symptom but apparently most people don't think that way. My doctor put me on Zoloft, but a low dosage. I don't feel comfortable talking to people about this in person- in my family you deal with it yourself first. I guess becuase I wouldn't tell her everything is why the dosage was so low but anyway, when I was on it I had about one day that I could "feel." which made the other days worse because I realized how bad it was. So I took myself off of the medication because it was easier to deal with the emptiness than to be reminded of what I couldn't feel. As for the therapist, I went through my school becuase you get six free sessions. Well i went to three and I hated it. The lady was nice and everything but I just couldn't take bringing up everything and trying to explain it. After a session I would have to hide all of the sharp objects and make sure my door was open so that I wouldn't do anything to hurt myself. I can't take being reminded of how I am. I keep busy and pretend for a reason. I keeps me from trying to kill myself. I just need to know what metal illness I have so I can find ways to deal with it on my own terms. Can anyone please tell me? The feelings started in 5th grade and now I am entering college. I have tried to get help in other ways, but it didnt work. I don't know what else to do.

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Our expert says:
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Hmmm. Lets look at what you appear to be describing. While Depression tends to disturb sleep by producing Early Morning Wakening, feeling low ; anxiety typically causes Difficulty in getting Off to sleep. And if there's a degree of social anxiety disorder, you could be feeling especially anxious in anticipation of days in which you'd be busy interacting with others and expecting to feel uncomfortable.
I see no point whatever in using an antidepressant at a "low" dose --- if there's a reason to use an AD, the only useful dose is the normal dose --- less than that almost always guarantees no benefits, though it may still be enough to cause side-effects. And with the added risk that a person concludes, understandably but inaccurately, that drugs are not helpful to them.
In a proper dose, that family of AD can help depression and anxiety disorders.
Similarly, counselling could surely help you a great deal, but the right sort of counselling, with a properly skilled person. ANd the only form I would consider best for you, from your descriptions, would be CBT, Cognitive-Beaviour Therapy. It is business-like and respectful of your autonomy, and would even fit with your family style --- as it would help you to usefully identify the components of your problems, and to learn the most useful skills for dealing with them and bringing these various unpleasant symptoms under your own control. Analytical style waffling would be useless and could even worsen the situation.
Don't see counselling / psychotherapy as if it was a form of surgery --- it is also not a church-like COnfessional. It is not necesary for you to tell "everything". Within CBt counselling, you'd discuss the symptoms as you have usefully begun to do in your mesage here, and the therapist would help you to clarify and identify the components of the problems, and then work on ways to remedy them, including checking the automatic thoughts and assumptions you have been carrying round within you about yourself, so as to test them, and after identifying where they are not useful, revising them so that they become fruitful

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: sj | 2007/08/10

Hi, I just had to reply to you to let you know that you almost described my situation exactly. I know it doesnt always help to know that there are other people out there who are suffering too, but just know that you are not alone.

I wish I could give you some advise, but the truth is i dont really have any. The main difference between you and I is that I am actually on medication and seeing a therapist, although I still feel as though i just go through the motions everyday and dont allow myself to feel anything. I do know, however, that without these two things, i surely would have died a long time ago. The best thing i think you can do is talk to someone. Maybe try the CBT thing and see how it goes. I just know that i eventually had to open up because i could no longer handle things alone.

I still dont know how or why i am still here today. My high school years were the worst of my life, and its hard to even comprehend now because it was so bad. Last year had its challenges, but towards the end i started letting people in again. But then it came to an end - i was overwhlemed and had no idea how i was going to cope in the 'real world' after school. (To this effect, one of the pills i take was increased). I have now finished the first half of my first year in university, and i know that the only way i have got through it is to keep to myself and to keep busy. I sometimes do get sad that im not really 'living', but i have a routine now, it may not be so healthy or good for me, but it is getting me through the day.

I guess why i wanted to write was to tell you not to give up - when you feel that you have nothing left to give and are about to quit, just remember why you held on for so long in the first place. I really wish you all the best with college and your future. Take care of yourself, and remember never to be afraid to ask for help.

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