Depression is many things to many people. The common perception of depression is that you’re “just” really sad all the time, and while this is true for many who suffer depression, this is not a universal norm. Some people don’t feel sad, per se, they feel nothing; they feel dead inside.
So, What’s it Like to Feel Dead Inside?
It’s hard to say what it’s like to feel dead inside. To me, it’s sort of like someone removed the contents of my chest and left a gaping void where there is nothing left but a painful, sucking black hole. It feels like all the places that are supposed to do something – my heart and my soul – have been removed. And this removal has left open, bleeding gashes. Wounds that tear and itch and bleed. And just knowing that my heart and soul have been removed is breathtakingly painful. Feeling their absence is like feeling the absence of oxygen from the lungs. It puts one into a panicked and near-death state.
And the thing about having your insides removed is that you really do feel the necrosis setting in in the surrounding tissue. It feels like you’re a rotting corpse. It feels like you’re the walking dead. It feels like your humanity was removed along with your insides.
Then put me in front of a glorious scene. Put me in front of a glorious sunset. Set me in front of young love. Position me to gaze upon kittens playing. And all the sucking nothingness ensures an absolute lack of feeling. Kittens playing make me feel the same as staring at a wall of grey.
And experiencing this, knowing how much I’m missing, knowing what I should feel about kittens, knowing what I should feel about a sunset, knowing what I should feel about young love, almost makes me stop breathing altogether.
You’d Think Feeling Nothing Wouldn’t Kill You – You’d Be Wrong
Because somehow in all this nothingness, there exists pain. I can’t explain why pain exists when nothing else does; I only know that is the case. I only know that feeling a gaping void inside my chest is one of the most painful states of being that I know. And I know that escaping that feeling and the associated pain is bloody high on my to-do list.
Of course escape also means many things to many people, and it’s understandable when escape means death, means suicide – if you think there is no other means available.
Feeling the Pain of Feeling Nothing Inside
Luckily, other means are available. I would consider the absence of pleasure (anhedonia) a severe sign of depression and, in that case, I really don’t know what option you have other than working with a psychiatrist in search of a successful treatment. It’s not a minor thing and your less aggressive treatments strike me as being unworkable. But that’s your call.
Or, more specifically, my call. And I would say the important thing is treating it and knowing that treatment is available and does work. No one has to live with their insides scraped out. I’ve seen this before, I’ve lived through it, and I’ve seen it go away. I can say, without doubt, that it is possible. And hopefully, that knowledge is enough to keep going.