Emotional vs. Unemotional Depression

This month depression moved in. Not the quick, fleeting sort of depression I generally have throughout the year, but the deep, slow-growing sort that seems to manifest itself during our bleak Seattle winters.

I’ve been trying to explain to the people around me the nature of this depression, because it isn’t the usual sort of fleeting, emotional, crying, despair sort I normally feel.

This depression is the unemotional, a bleak sense of resignation and a lack for caring about anything anymore.

In some ways, at first, I seem to prefer this. It isn’t emotionally jarring, I feel exhausted but don’t feel guilty if I lay around, and I don’t care from one moment to the next what happens to me (great when you have nothing happening to you). Something about it feels comfortable, like slipping on an old pair of sneakers. My anxiety seems to vanish, after all… how can you be worried when you don’t care about anything?

The trouble is that I know the end game when it comes to depression like this. Not caring about yourself and your life can be like a vacation for a week, but if it steadily grows (and it tends to for me) it can be very detrimental to began not caring for a month. Or two months. Longer, even. The longer I go without being able to care, the more things fall apart.

The other issue I have with unemotional depression is that by putting me at ease and alleviating my anxiety I lower my guard and turn a blind eye to the vigilance once keeping me from trusting the things depression begins whispering in my ear. My level of “comfort” with this sort of depression actually goes on to hurt me, because my guard is down.

It is almost like I’ve made a truce with it. Don’t hurt me any further, and I’ll let you (I say “let” as if I can actually get rid of this) stick around. 

Trouble is, it always cheats.

Before long it whispers to me, you know, you really are doing more harm being alive than you would if you were dead.

I sip my orange juice and think, “you have a point…”


Sneaky little snake!

But after months of those situations I’ve had a lot of trouble in the past not believing and agreeing. Then, you know. Hospitalization time again.

The fact of the matter is, I would like to avoid another hospitalization at all costs, and that is part of the reason for this post today. I need to remind myself who the enemy is, get to know it, and stay on guard.

10 responses to “Emotional vs. Unemotional Depression

  1. Fight, debate this Thing! Defeat it! If you’ve read any narrative therapy this is the first, vital step: calling out this destructive slide as an Outsider, an Enemy, and set on doing you harm. We’re rooting for you!

  2. I lost touch with a dear friend for about a week when she moved from stable seasonal depression into a not-caring state like what you describe. Today, she called and talked about how much better she felt. At the end of the call, I cheerfully told her to hang on to that feeling. Then, I caught myself and said that we can’t hold on to it, can we, so I hoped it would hold on to her. What else can we do? I think that one of our best tools is to write about it, and dare to share what we write. Thanks for being here.

  3. I like the name you have given this depression. It’s the type I usually get all winter in the Pacific NW. You’re very right, it’s easy to fall into the diseases snare. Maybe it’s to do with the SSD outcome?

  4. That really, really sucks. Hope it doesn’t stick around too long. Hang on in there.

  5. This is exactly how I’m feeling lately. Thanks for the reminder to keep one’s guard up, because I can feel myself sliding into that mentality of “I don’t matter” and “I’d be better off dead”. Which I know is not true, but like you said, that sneaky little voice!!

    Stay strong, I’m sure you can survive through this without hospitalization this time! I’m rooting for you!

  6. I also love what you’ve named it. I’m all too familiar with it. I’ve always referred to it as being a zombie. Life becomes gray an dull, you couldn’t care less about anything. Life becomes like a dull blade and you slow down to this state of just don’t give a fuck. It IS comfortable. And it’s terrifying. And suddenly that blade or those pills and that bottle of vodka all looks irresistible. That’s when I go to my safety box. I have a box I made in art therapy years ago that was supposed to represent me: what I thought the world saw went on the outside, what I saw in myself went inside. It is still very accurate to this day with the pictures and words I put on it. But inside are notes and reminders I have held on to. They are reminders from people that I am loved and that my life has meaning and that I have a circle of support and people who care. That’s usually about when I break down in to the ugly cry and helps me begin climbing back out of my hole of darkness.

  7. Thank you for write/sharing this. i’ve counter this unemotional depression countless time, but i didn’t aware of my situation and how to get over it. Thank you, once again.

  8. Pingback: after all… how … | rizkris

  9. Hey Sarah

    I can totally see where you are coming from with this.

    There are times when I also seem to get this ‘unemotional’ depression; it just leaves me feeling cold and empty and I’m unable to empathise with anybody and just become completely wrapped up in my own, selfish little world. But like you, it gives me a sense of calm and also like you, removes any anxiety I may be suffering with at the time.

    But it’s insidious. That calm makes you think. For me it’s more orderly thinking, less of the usual jumble of thoughts; it’s almost as if my depression is calming me down enough to make an (ir)rational decision to force me into doing something stupid, like harming myself. But I don’t let it. Those times I feel the calm, I often use it to go to sleep instead; my way of beating it. But there’s other times where I just sit and stare.

    We know who the enemy is, so our guard is ALWAYS up.

    Keep at it, Sarah.


  10. Reblogged this on rizkris.

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