I've lost my emotions and I'm lost about what to do about it

Dear, Dr

First of all thanks for taking your time to read this.

Ok, so my depression started maybe 2 years ago and it was triggered by this man whom I loved. This man never loved me back but was still very kind to me at least in the beginning, but it only took a few months for all that to change. I believe he had anger problems and took his anger out on me many times. He often yelled and cursed at me and I was stupid enough to let him use me for his own personal pleasures. This is where I began to feel depressed and his treatment toward me continued for about a year until I finally stood up to him and removed him out of my life. I thought by removing him out of my life I would feel fine, but I didn't and my depression just seemed to get worse.

Right now I go to therapy every week and I'm on medication which has helped a lot, but I'm still emotionless as I was before. I get so easily mad, and I lose my temper with people for silly reasons. I rarely laugh at jokes and I can't remember the last time I've smiled. I've lost so many friends because of my boring personality and I haven't been able to make a true friend in years. In high school I had to resort to just following a group of people around to help ease the pain but it often didn't work. To fill in this void in my life I would chat with net friends for hours which did help, but even they have abandoned me when I need them the most.

So please tell me what can I do to help me become a more upbeat fun person? I've tried going to a group therapy session that addressed this problem but It ended soon because of the lack of attendance. Please help. It's embarrassing to talk about and I'm so tired of being alone, being jealous of people laughing with their friends and feeling like a freak.

Ben's Answer:

It sounds like this was a very traumatic and abusive relationship that triggered this depression. So it's really trauma that needs to be addressed first. You say you've lost your emotions - yet you also say you're mad and lose your temper all the time: that's Anger. So you definitely have not lost your emotions, you just aren't feeling the emotions that you want to feel.

If this man used you and abused you, and you accepted that treatment from him for a year, I'd say you have plenty of reason to be angry. I'd guess you have a lot of rage towards him, and probably a lot of anger at yourself for allowing this abuse to happen. That's one area that you should be focusing.

Depression is really a lower state than anger or rage. Depression is at the bottom of the scale of emotional states... right down there with despair and helplessness. Anger on the other hand, has a lot more energy, and it activates the will and the self-protective instinct. Anger is the bridge to higher emotional states - positive emotional states. So don't look at your anger as an obstacle or a problem. Look at anger as your salvation.

It's not that you have to hold onto anger and become a permanently angry person. It's just a vehicle to get you out of depression. What we reject or suppress becomes worse; What we accept and tolerate within our feelings, soon passes, and transforms us.

One of the absolute best therapeutic methods for resolving abuse traumas and accelerating the process of moving through and beyond anger and other emotions - is Meridian Tapping/EFT.

You can learn to do this on your own, or with a therapist.

Don't be so quick to reject your anger. It's there for a reason. Use the fire of anger to burn away your old self and your depression and hurt, and liberate you to become the strong assertive loving person you want to be.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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