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Anhedonia from herbal remedy, really struggling. TW

Community Member

I have been through a devastating journey with chronic illness, and LONG story short I'd realized that a herbal supplement was worsening all that I was trying to help. Unfortunately one of these symptoms is apathy/anhedonia. I have been off the stuff for 4 months and nearly 3 weeks now and although it's improving each week I still can't feel my emotions and am dissociative.
It's not just the 4 months, I've been suffering from this and the chronic illness for nearly 2 years, so for a huge portion of my life now (I am 30 and want to be living my life) I have been unable to feel music properly, or dance, feel truly connected to nature or people. And no one understands because it's such a specific affliction. I have in the past been emotionally numb from cptsd/mental illness and zero coping skills, SSRI's to a degree, and even from illicit drugs, but this effect is not being caused by my thinking, because it is known to affect the brain, gut, hormones etc. in ways that results in this symptom for some people. 

I have self harmed this month. It's improved a lot but it's at the point where I'm becoming so lucid I'm really losing my patience and am very aware of how much I have missed out on in life through all this time. I still feel disconnected and am finding it hard to reconnect with friends, I don't have many close friends, and even the ones I am closer to it's sometimes still been really hard to be social. It has been and it's going to be a real effort to get back into community and taking initiative to make new friends + start nurturing friendships again. I am sick of this life, and I know I've learned a lot and I've made it this far and finally am pulling through but I feel so upset by how my life has felt like a vacuum. It's so non linear daily I keep feeling like the rug is being pulled from underneath me, ever since I self harmed a couple weeks ago I keep thinking about doing it again (I cant even drink alcohol etc, not even coffee right now). I just feel so isolated, and mentally exhausted. I don't want to lose hope and I keep wanting to self harm again. I feel at my wits end. Most of what I do is just walk, cycle, or run, and on a good week do one social thing in my small routine as I finish a short course to get work. Life just "feels" bleak at the moment. I'm so desperate

2 Replies 2

Hi Grxmloid,

We’re really glad you could come to the forum to share this with us tonight. We know it can be a bit daunting to come and post our story on a public forum, so we really want to applaud your bravery in sharing with us.

We’ve also reached out to you privately to make sure you’re ok, please check your private email inbox. If you want to reach out to our counsellors to talk this through, we’re on 1300 22 4636, and you can reach us online here. There’s also our friends over at the Suicide Call Back service on 1300 659 467, or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

We also really recommend having a look at the free Calm Harm (self harming) app. You can read about how it works and where to download it here. Calm Harm is a free app that
helps you manage or resist the urge to self-harm.

PLEASE NOTE:  If you ever feel unsafe, please call 000 (triple zero), or attend your nearest hospital emergency department for care. 

Kind regards,

Sophie M

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Grxmloid


My heart truly goes out to you as you work so hard to feel in all the ways you wish to. It can be such a tormenting and even depressing experience for those who are incredibly deep feelers and who have lost that ability to a significant degree. When losing this amazing sensitivity (to feeling), it can become like some quest to work out why it left and how to get it back. So many questions and experiments along the way.


Being a 52yo gal who's a major feeler, not being able to feel for long periods of time is definitely a trigger for depression for me. I think this is one of the main reasons for me being one of those mind/body/spirit gals. All 3 areas cover and education when it comes to emotion/feeling. While some mental reasons exist for emotional detachment, some physical reasons exist (such as with exhaustion and/or a lack of the right chemical processes that allow us to feel energy in motion), I think it would have to be the spiritual aspect that explains feelings in the most simplistic and fascinating of ways at times. All 3 aspects combined can help explain so much in some cases.


It can be surprising, the reasons behind a sense of numbness. Until I experienced them for myself, I had no idea how much sleep apnea and a serious B12 deficiency could deprive me of the ability to feel. While both involve chemical deficiencies, not being able to get off the couch when they got bad enough led to some really depressing inner dialogue, 'You're hopeless, lazy, good for nothing' etc. And if life is about channeling energy, it's like that 2 way channel (projection and receiving) is blocked or it simply doesn't feel like it's there at all. It's a horrible sense of disconnection.


I think one of the toughest things about being a highly sensitive feeler is when you can feel the side effects of what's wrong. If we were living in a house with a depressing degrading person, we'd feel our self living with the wrong person. If we were experiencing a depressing vitamin or mineral deficiency messing with our energy levels, we'd feel our self living with not enough of the right chemical energy. If we were desperate for inspiration while in a period of depression and everyone in our environment was sitting back simply saying 'You'll be right, you just need to get on with life', we'd be able to feel our self in the wrong environment with the wrong people. We'd feel a continuing lack of inspiration. 


Can also be tormenting when everything that used to work no longer works. When we used to feel our self come alive through certain friends, music, exercise, food etc and now they're just not enough, going 'next level' can sometimes be the test. Friends that trigger a sense of wonder and excitement beyond what we ever imagined, music that we've never been led to feel before, exercising to the point where we can feel every cell in our body literally buzzing, the kind of food that leads us to almost cry with joy - it's all next level stuff. Graduating can be such incredibly hard and time consuming experimental work. Trial and error precedes finding what works.