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Extreme Apathy

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From Columbia: I don’t actually know what’s wrong with me, or if there is, but for the past years i have lost interest in everything and I feel like by now nothing makes me sad, upset, angry, excited, happy or anything at all anymore. It seems like I don’t have emotions, but I don’t think i’m depressed.

I have always been an introvert but that never bothered me I have close friends, I have an okay relationship with my mom, I haven’t faced any real loss. But, recently I was told my grandfather, who i have always been really close to, had a terminal illness and I didn’t feel anything at all, my best friend of years left the country and I’ll probably never see her again but I also didn’t feel sad at all. I didn’t feel anything. Another time, I was almost run over by a car, in fact, it did hit me, and even when i was laying on the ground with people staring at me asking me how i was i couldn’t bring myself to feel scared, there was nothing. No feeling.

I’m on my third year of university and whenever people ask me if this is what I want to do, i don’t know what to say because I don’t “want” anything, I don’t have dreams or anything, not even a small goal, I can’t see a future for myself and I can’t imagine myself living for long enough to actually have a job where I need my major. I don’t have suicidal thoughts, but I wouldn’t mind dying, if that makes sense. Sometimes I wish for it.

I tried going to a therapist, but she kept asking me if I had lost something that made me give up on my emotions too but there was nothing, not even a metaphorical death. But, for the most part I think I’m fine and I don’t want to tell anyone because they might think I’m making it up since i’ve always been “happy” and I don’t have any reason to not feel like it. And maybe I’m just making it up and being dramatic, maybe i’m just too calm and get over things too quickly. But I’m also tired of not feeling, i guess.

Extreme Apathy

Answered by on -

A.

I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter, of course. But I can tell you that everything you report is consistent with a diagnosis of depression. I don’t know why you think you aren’t depressed. Feeling hopeless, devoid of emotions, and uncaring about life are all characteristics of depression.

I’m sorry you did not connect with the therapist. But all therapists are not alike. You may not have told her your symptoms as well as you did here. She may not have experience with depression that doesn’t seem rooted in a particular event or series of events. Whatever the reason, the two of you didn’t connect. That doesn’t mean that therapy isn’t for you. It does mean that you need to see a different therapist.

I encourage you to make an appointment with another counselor, preferably someone who works with a psychiatrist. If you don’t feel heard, make an appointment with another. It is not at all uncommon for someone like yourself to try out 2, 3, or even 4 counselors before finding one who is comfortable to work with. Take your letter to us with you to show the counselor during the first appointment. It will help the two of your get started.

The reason I suggest seeing someone who collaborates with a psychiatrist is that I think you will probably be encouraged to include some medication in your treatment — at least at first. A counselor cannot prescribe medication. A psychiatrist can. The preferred treatment for depression is often a combination of medication and talk therapy. You probably do need both to get out of this gray mood.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Extreme Apathy

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Extreme Apathy. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/05/23/extreme-apathy/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.