All I see is surface

I had an uncomfortable realization a couple of days ago when I looked at my husband. I didn’t feel anything. I looked at him and it was like he was just this surface that I could see but there was nothing there. I didn’t feel any love or affection or anything. I began to realize that I had been feeling like this for more than a few days and not just with him.

My friends…I see them or think of them and there’s no affection either. I noticed with my husband that I was analyzing the scene like a computer. I would see him as some kind of sentient creature that requires words and gestures of affection. I would look at him and then calculate exactly what action I should take to maintain the semblance of affection I’m supposed to feel. If it was determined that physical contact was required I would do something like reach out my hand to touch his shoulder while calculating how long it should stay there and how much pressure I should use to convey feeling. When it was determined that enough time had elapsed I would then retract my hand and walk away. This kept happening but it wasn’t until Tuesday night that I actually saw it.

It completely freaked me out in a weird way though because I was worried that my husband would notice and that our relationship would suffer. I’m assuming that eventually I’ll come out of this and I’d rather our marriage be intact.

I was hoping that after realizing what was happening and talking about it in therapy that things would get better but they haven’t.

Therapy wasn’t that helpful. My therapist was very “Let’s just pay attention to it and accept that this is happening and not judge it.” There are times when I really hate that new age line, like everything is good and let’s just chill and sit with it.

That is not helpful! This feeling is disconcerting!

Eventually after talking she decided that I’m angry and because I’m not comfortable with anger, all my other emotions are shutting down. Is that possible? Sure. Is that 100% the only possibility? No.

I try to yield to her experience but in this I wonder if she just wanted to find a reason so bad that she picked up on my irritation and ran with it. It doesn’t really matter though because it doesn’t change what’s happening.

My husband is off for four days and it’s just a bad timing considering that I feel nothing. I just spent the afternoon with him and I can barely manage to say more than one word answers to what he says. My therapist told me to communicate my needs to him which I did, sort of. I told him that I’m disconnected from my feelings and that I’m wanting to be more alone than usual but it hasn’t stopped him from talking to me which is what I really want. Of course I can’t tell him that because I don’t wish to hurt his feelings, not because of my feelings, which are absent, but because I still realize that he’s a human being and telling him to leave me alone would be unkind.

There’s just nothing, and I don’t know how to function like this. It doesn’t feel like depression because I don’t feel sad (at least not all the time). My therapist said that this could be lonely and then apparently my face showed her something because she immediately said, “You don’t feel lonely at do you?” and I didn’t. That’s kind of weird because when I was busy crying in the closet the other week, I felt very alone. But that’s gone.

I have friends who I would normally call because I haven’t heard from them and my normal course would be to call and check on them. I have absolutely no desire to do that. I simply can’t wrestle up any feelings to motivate me. There’s nothing.

How do you function in the absence of emotions? It’s strange because on one level it doesn’t bother me at all but on another level it’s very disturbing.


About CimmarianInk

Abuse Survivor Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) also known as Multiple Personalities
This entry was posted in depersonalization, derealization, dissociation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to All I see is surface

  1. Angel O'Fire says:

    I functioned for year’s without emotions and somehow similar to you I did this on the auto pilot setting, where I would recognize the emotion I should be feeling and the action that I should use or the word’s that should be said in the situation and simply robotic ally say or do what I had to. Suffice to say that years down the track when emotions came back, they did so with now warning and with a vengeance.
    So they hit me and hit me hard, emotional detachment is one of the hardest things to deal with, stay strong, I empathize with how your feeling and understand that not giving a shit kind of attitude ((hugs)))

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Thanks Angel. 🙂 It would be very difficult to deal with that persistent feeling for years so I empathize. It’s odd that since I’m uncomfortable with many emotions, the lack of them would also be uncomfortable.

  2. BB says:

    This sounds like depersonalization to me. When it gets pretty strong, it feels like you don’t feel anything, don’t know the people you are supposed to know, don’t have the right reactions to anything. It’s like living in a fog and trying to work out how to react to stop other people finding out. My therapist said this is often a chronic problem in people with severe dissociation, such as people with DID. In some ways, it’s a nice break from the constant turmoil of dealing with feelings, but it is incredibly frustrating!

    I’m sorry your feeling this way right now. I hope it doesn’t last too long. I normally get like this when my dissociation has ramped up for some reason…but it’s not always easy to figure out what that reason is when dissociated!

  3. Freasha1964 says:

    You write a perfect description of how I have felt when I felt numb. Except I didn’t “feel” much at all. This seemed to show up when I tried some certain SSRIs such as lexapro. I would rather be super depressed, personally :). At least it is a feeling.
    I am sorry you are feeling this way. It is awful. I hope it goes away, soon.

  4. maybe you just need to be with your self. i have a difficult time with emotions. they scare the hell out of me. touching my animals is something i can do and i feel it. there is only one person i feel anything with when i hug them. otherwise, i don’t want to b touched and a great deal of the time i don’t want to talk to anyone. my therapist is trying to get me to feel. the feelings are sneaking in and i feel them when i write and when i listen to music. but the feelings come out from inside of me better when i am alone. i am afraid that if someone else sees them they will think i am bad or inappropriate for having any of the feelings that i have. emotions are tricky. go easy on your self. let them come when they are ready. i’m not sure what you can do with your husband. give him the response that feels right to you at the time. you need to take care of your self first right now.

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Hi secret keeper,

      I understand the fear of emotions. Sometimes there are so many feelings that they are overwhelming and easier to just push down. Especially feelings like anger or fear I think. My therapist would say that you can’t force yourself to feel things. It happens when it happens. And she’d also say that no feelings are bad, it just depends on what we do with them.

      It’s complicated when there’s another person involved who can be hurt by my actions. We’ll see what happens. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      • i had a therapist who actually drew a diagram about emotions vs action. the emotions are okay. feeling them are okay. acting on them depended on what they were going to do. if harmful – do not act on them. if good – then okay. i fear love more than anger. anger is more of a protector where love makes you vulnerable. but anger can be harmful depending on who or what it is directed at. with bipolar or did alters, you don’t always have control of how your emotions are going to be expressed. i’ve spent time in therapy trying to work on this. i don’t want to be angry w/ my s/o & try not to be but it just happens out of no where. well you take care. will keep working on this. thanks!

      • CimmarianInk says:

        I understand the fear of love. It’s beautiful when it works and painful when it doesn’t. The chart sounds helpful. 🙂

      • and more painful when it ends suddenly beyond anyones control. i still feel that love is the most wonderful experience in the world no matter what happens. thanks. take care,

  5. bipolar type2 says:

    I have so been there! But I would have to go along with the advice of your therapist and just acknowledge that your feeling this way and kind of keep on eye on things. By doing this, you may figure out what the reasoning behind it is. But I understand how not having an answer for this can be frustrating.

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Hi bipolar type2,

      It is frustrating but it’s also true that I can’t really do anything about it right now so I have to just let it be. Sorry you’ve been there. Annoying isn’t it?

  6. meredith says:

    bless your heart! this will pass, in time, CI, but it’s part of the process. Former belief systems begin to dissolve when new awareness needs room to grown. Sometimes, healing is so internal, so personal, we can’t carry the weight of our full attention on the external world, as well.

    I looked through plexiglass (metaphorically) at the external world with disinterest times… somethimes for very long periods of time… and felt nothing. I had no idea how to feel, what to do… Barbie in a Box. The one thing I did was to find a stone I could carry in my pocket to hold and roll in the palm of my hand. It was solid, like me, and it helped keep me tied to the physical without demanding a relationship .

    P.S. I still carry a stone in my pocket when feeling like Barbie in a Box.


    • CimmarianInk says:

      “Sometimes, healing is so internal, so personal, we can’t carry the weight of our full attention on the external world, as well.”

      I thought that was excellently put meredith and it made me think that perhaps this is a reaction to the multitude of feelings that came up a few weeks ago. Maybe my mind needed a break and this is how it accomplished it.

      Having something real and solid to touch is a good idea, I may try that.

      P.S. I had to look up what SWAK meat lol! Back at ya!

  7. castorgirl says:

    Hi CI,

    There’s a detached sort of scariness when this sort of thing happens… Everything feels so disconnected, and you can realise it intellectually, but can’t seem to make those connections again. Similar to what Meredith has described, I try to do simple, safe grounding techniques, when I’m like this. Sometimes it helps; sometimes it just gives me another thing to go through the motions with 🙂

    Remember the issues that you’ve been having with your medication, family, etc. lately, so it makes sense that you’ll be feeling more than a little overwhelmed and disconnected… Please go easy on yourself, and allow yourself to work through what is happening.

    Take care,

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Hey CG,

      You put it well that I can see what’s happening intellectually but can’t really fix it. I think that’s part of the disturbance, being aware of it. Somehow it didn’t reallyoccur to me until yours and meredith’s comments that this could be connected to what’s been going on. I have this amazing ability to forget what’s happened in the sense of connecting it to myself and my reactions.

      Thanks for reminding me. I was like “Duh!” after I read that.

  8. Vivid says:

    Gah, I hate derealisation and depersonalisation (and it does sound like one of those to me), and am not surprised it’s freaking you out. In my personal experience, they’re very transient, and I really hope that’s the case for you.

    Bah, this is a crap comment. Sorry. I just wanted to let you know that I’d read this, and that I’m thinking of you.

    (((gentle hugs)))

    Viv x

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