One of my biggest problems is that I feel everything too much or I feel nothing at all.
The emptiness is the worst though. It’s always worse, no matter what you’re feeling, to feel nothing at all.
It’s hard to explain the sensation of being completely incapable of feeling things. Sometimes it creeps up on you, as though you’re slowly being chipped away, bit by bit until there’s nothing left. Other times, it’s sudden and one day you just wake up hollow, like your insides have been carved out in the night. Either way, all ability to feel emotion is gone. Everything that made you human is gone. Everything that made you, you is gone. You don’t feel, you don’t hope, you don’t care. It’s like you’re not even a person anymore. You’re not… Anything.
Despite not understanding what was happening to me myself, I soon began to realise that this was a really hard concept for other people to grasp too. People that are able to experience the full spectrum of human emotion are not going to get, and will actually probably be a bit disturbed by, your complete lack of feelings.
What’s hardest for other people to understand, though, is the way this affects almost everything else in your life. Your family don’t understand why you don’t do your homework, or do things with your friends, or do anything at all. They misinterpret your emotionlessness as arrogance. They think your lack of enthusiasm or excitement over fun activities is ungratefulness or ‘teenage moodiness’. They don’t realise that this isn’t something within your control.
I remember one of the first incidences of this in my life. My mum had bought tickets for herself, me and my sister to see Olly Murs on his first arena tour. She’d got them about a year before the actual show and the three of us were pretty excited; Olly Murs was kind of ‘our thing’. Since the release of his album, it hadn’t left the CD slot in our car and so whether we wanted to or not, my sister and I knew every lyric to every song on that record. But during that year between purchasing the tickets and the show, I went sky-rocketing downwards. Imagine the kind of gravitational pull six tonnes of lead would experience if it were dropped from 30,000 feet – that kind of sky-rocketing. So, as the date for the show suddenly became very, very soon my mum and sister got very, very excited. But I just… didn’t. I couldn’t.
The day of the show, we were in the car and I just couldn’t feel anything. And my mum was angry because she said I needed to cheer up or I’d ruin the day for all of us. And I knew she was right. And of course I didn’t want that. But what she didn’t realise was how much I wanted to be excited. I wanted to enjoy the concert. I wanted to feel things again.
She didn’t realise that it wasn’t my fault.
I started to think that maybe it was my fault. Or maybe there was something wrong with me.
Clearly, there was something wrong with me.
I soon came to feel that the only way to deal with this thing I was experiencing was to hide it as best I could. My mum was getting increasingly infuriated by my lack of emotion, I was well on my way to losing all of my friends and even I couldn’t ignore the negativity that seemed to emanate off of me. I was like a black hole. I just sucked in all of the light and joy around me like a fucking happiness hoover.
Hiding it however, proved to be a struggle.
You never have to think about how you form the right facial expressions for the right emotions until you find yourself in a position where you have to completely relearn it. It was like I had social interaction amnesia. Attempting to hold a normal conversation with someone had become ten times more difficult due to the fact that my brain was having to consciously try and work out how to express the right emotions at the right times.
Needless to say, I wasn’t succeeding at hiding it very well. And, honestly, it was so exhausting having to pretend all the time. When every social interaction leaves you a drained, anxiety riddled mess you start to stop interacting at all. I think, also, I was scared of people finding out What Was Really Going On. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was clearly crazy and incompetent. I could see how different I was to all of my friends, the people I had grown up with. They had all gone to one end of a spectrum and somewhere, somehow, I’d split off and gone to the complete opposite end. And I didn’t want them, or anyone to know what I had become.
This here was the point when I really should have talked to someone. I should have tried to tell a teacher, or a counsellor, or even a friend about how I was feeling. Except, retrospect is a wonderful thing. Because I didn’t talk to anyone, for years. So I did lose all of my friends, barely made it through my education and developed some pretty terrible coping mechanisms.
But I made it through, and I guess that’s why I’ve started this blog; in the hope that maybe, by sharing my experiences I can help someone else going through the same things. Maybe you’ve just read this post and been able to relate to it and maybe it’s just comforting to know you’re not the only one. And if that is you, then maybe follow this blog… I’m planning on keeping it updated with many more posts about my struggles with depression and the hilarious anecdotes that go along with them – because the truth is that there is a funny side to depression. I have twenty years worth of anecdotal proof.
Anyway, if you read this, thank you! I appreciate it a lot. Let me know what you thought, your opinions are super important to me.