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My lack of emotions
JoseyWales
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 3:52 PM
Joined: 5/22/2016
Posts: 187


I was wondering if any of you feel the same way as me. Does anyone find that keeping your emotions in check all the time causes you to not have emotional responses any more?

I work as a special education teacher, with young students with behavior issues. I take care of my husband, who seems to be heading into stage 6. All day long I keep my emotions in check, because my students look to me for a calming influence. It does no good to reflect back their angry, sad or frustrated emotions. And if I show that I'm angry, sad or frustrated, they pick up my feelings and magnify them.

DH is the same way. I have to show my calm self. I can't ever be angry, sad or frustrated or he will be, too. I have to be happy and calm at all times. When he's upset, I have to act even happier so that he feels like things are ok.

Last week, I scared myself. Something horrible happened at my school, and I felt no emotions surrounding the event. Others around me were crying, I felt nothing. Then a friend's mother died - and I feel no emotion.  DH forgot my name for the first time - I still feel nothing. And something super exciting happened for my son - I still feel nothing. I should be happy for him, but there's just no emotion there. I think I faked my way through those events, because I know what the correct response should be, but....

I'm scaring myself with my lack of response. It's probably time to go back on some antidepressants, and maybe find a way to visit with a counselor.

 


Crushed
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 3:57 PM
Joined: 2/2/2014
Posts: 4858


My therapist asks me about this all the time.  It's call "emotional detachment" and was often the first sign  for PTSD in military and first responders.

https://i.imgur.com/CokSu4J.jpg


Donr
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 5:23 PM
Joined: 4/6/2014
Posts: 352


I very seldom show any emotions.  It's just the way I am. Sometimes I just think that I am not normal.
lvcatlvr
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 7:34 PM
Joined: 5/7/2018
Posts: 226


I'm on antidepressants---and I actually think they help to suppress emotions. I keep thinking I should be crying all the time over the loss of my DH, but it only hits me sometimes, often when I am not expecting it. I think we learn to keep emotions in check because we have to when dealing with an AD patient. You have it doubly hard being a special ed teacher. I don't know what to suggest. Perhaps some therapy?
CatBallou729
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 8:28 PM
Joined: 3/10/2019
Posts: 99


I think dementia creates emotional burnout in caregivers because the disease lasts so much longer than other terminal illnesses.  My DH first developed symptoms back in 2015 so I've already had four plus years of social isolation, stress, grieving and loss. Now that he has reached the late stage and is in hospice care I feel strangely calm about it.  I'm not sure why, other than that I'm just tapped out and numb.  It doesn't feel like I'm suppressing the emotion, just weary and have no more tears left to cry.  So moving on with life...
Lills
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 6:31 AM
Joined: 12/27/2017
Posts: 232


CatBallou729,  that's exactly how I'm rationalizing my lack of emotions right now.  People are telling me what a strong person I am.  No, it's that I'm numb to what's going on with my DH (FTD/ALS, late stage 6).
Crushed
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 7:29 AM
Joined: 2/2/2014
Posts: 4858


I've been on this road 10 years.   5 years of worry, 3 years of decline , two years living alone with DW in MC.  Emotions all over the lot.  Big conflict between head and heart.  I can see why some folks get numb.  Me? I put her blue dress under my pillow.  And recall the blue dress on a sofa in the basement at her parent's house  43 years ago...My wife would stay at her parents when I traveled.  Her mother was a professor at the medical school.  DW was packed to go home but  her mother insisted we stay for dinner. So we did    Somehow when I talk about DW she seems to be right there.  

My head tells me the wonderful girl I married is gone and a shell is in her place.  My heart feels nothing but love and affection and memory. 

And when one of us is gone
And one of us is left to carry on
Then remembering will have to do
Our memories alone will get us through
Think about the days of me and you
You and me against the world

 Helen Reddy


Rescue mom
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 9:28 AM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 1153


I have been in counseling for similar issues, repressed anger and shutting down, and was told PTSD, which was a big surprise to me. I would have thought a lot of things—burnout, numb, depression, etc—but not that. Interesting to see Crushed mention it, I almost wanted to think it was some kind of new “trendy” Dx.
60 falcon
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 6:31 PM
Joined: 11/16/2018
Posts: 16


I can totally relate to this.  Particularly your comments about not being able to feel angry, frustrated, sad.  Trying to act normal when I'm so angry or frustrated is exhausting, and makes me that much more angry.  And about how DW picks up on my mood and amplifies it to the max... Doesn't seem to work that way when I'm happy though, which is wierd and unfortunate.  

I definitely think I'm becoming less emotional.

 


John1965
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 8:06 PM
Joined: 8/19/2016
Posts: 347


We have teaching in common. I taught 4th-6th graders for 24 years and would be still had AD not entered our lives. My emotions have certainly flattened over the past few years. Between your job and home responsibilities, you are (in my opinion), mashing down a lot of frustration, and may very well have PTSD.  DW was diagnosed in 2015. In early 2016 I threw a public tantrum that I attribute to stress from dealing with this disease and external expectations (I was still teaching, but hiding what was going  on at home, and also trying to put on a good front for friends and family).  I stopped teaching June 2016 and it took a full year to let go of the stress of full-time teaching. Now I no longer get angry and have found a peace that lets me go with the flow. While many AD symptoms are annoying, I’ve either learned to let it go or I’m also mashing down stuff unhealthy  

I do have experience with PTSD, which I was diagnosed with and treated for in the spring of 2013 (2 years before DW’s diagnosis and 2 kids at home). It was caused by my nearly being killed by a stray bullet coming through my kitchen window when neighbors were target shooting on their property. Looking back, I think compensating for DW’s early decline was also a factor. I went to a therapist for the first (so far only) time in my life. She used a technique called EMDR. It helped.  I need counseling again now, but can’t because DW, unintentionally, commands 100% of my time and attention. 

So ... to get back to your question ... my emotions have flattened, but I know it’s not healthy. 


Satcmo
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 9:05 PM
Joined: 8/3/2019
Posts: 18


I am here to encourage you all to try to shake the 

emotional over loads that are negative and 

Debilitating. If you were the one with this disease

you would want your loved one to be carefree as

possible. My LW is stage 6 plus but l love to tease 

her and get her laughing and happy. I am sure there 

are those that are unable to be lose enough to have

a moment or two of laughfter but be silly and maybe

loud and have some lightness.


jb crick
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 9:55 PM
Joined: 8/2/2016
Posts: 552


Satcmo wrote:
.... My LW is stage 6 plus but l love to tease her and get her laughing and happy...

 

 When my Anne was in the late stage, I did much the same. I would play music and sing songs to her, tell her jokes and riddles and play some of her favorite old comedy reruns on TV. I would sit and hold her hand, feed her, give her drinks, ice cream, tell her how important she was to me and how I love her beyond measure.

In those last months I did everything I could to make her happy and see her smile. I knew time was short and I wanted to  keep being positive and keep both of us happy as much as I could. It wasn't denial,I knew what was coming. Our life was full of lemons and I knew I couldn't stop it, so I decided to make lemonade.



JoseyWales
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 9:32 AM
Joined: 5/22/2016
Posts: 187


I really hadn't thought of PTSD, and you have all given me something to think about over the past 2 days. Honestly I don't know much about it, but I will look into it.

I just know that I probably can't go on this way much longer without some help. In some ways my lack of emotional response has been helpful - like when I have an out of control student and I need to detach from what is going on to see how best to be helpful to the student. But at the same time the lack of adrenaline kick that I should have when I'm in some danger is concerning.

It's also somewhat comforting to know I'm not alone in this. I've never been an overly emotional person, so maybe some of that comes into play too.

 


Crushed
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 7:19 PM
Joined: 2/2/2014
Posts: 4858


Satcmo wrote:

I am here to encourage you all to try to shake the 

emotional over loads that are negative and 

Debilitating.

With all respect affection and care, and I know you mean well but to a sufferer this comment can rank with soldier slapping by General Patton. 

STRESS kills  people  Stress disorders kill people 

I've worked with fire fighters for over 40 years.  I've seen what stress can do to a psyche.

Please please don't ever suggest that people can "shake it off"

 


Firedoggy
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 8:15 PM
Joined: 10/1/2017
Posts: 13


Firefighter 32 years seen a lot  retired to care for my DW EO stage 6 sliding into 7, sometimes I feel dead inside then my kids or grandsons calls  and I know what the future is about.  Yes I have grieved woke up at 0300 crying asking GOD why and only get silence. Then I see my kids and grandkids and feel joy I've stop feeling guilty about feeling joy and have happiness
John1965
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 8:38 PM
Joined: 8/19/2016
Posts: 347


Firedoggy wrote:
 Then I see my kids and grandkids and feel joy I've stop feeling guilty about feeling joy and have happiness

 

"It ain't no sin to be glad your'e alive" - Springsteen's Badlands.
This is one of the songs that helps me cope with this 'ing disease.  

 

Lights out tonight
Trouble in the heartland
Got a head-on collision
Smashin' in my guts man
I'm caught in a crossfire
That I don't understand
I don't give a darn*
For the same old played out scenes
I don't give a darn*
For just the in-betweens
Honey I want the heart, I want the soul
I want control right now
Talk about a dream
Try to make it real
You wake up in the night
With a fear so real
Spend your life waiting
For a moment that just don't come
Well don't waste your time waiting
Badlands, you gotta live it every day
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you've gotta pay
We'll keep pushin' till it's understood
And these badlands start treating us good
Workin' in the fields
Til you get your back burned
Workin' 'neath the wheel
Till you get your facts learned
Baby got my facts
Learned real good right now
Poor man want to be rich
Rich man want to be king
And a king ain't satisfied
Till he rules everything
I want to go out tonight
I want to find out what I got
I believe in the love that you gave me
I believe in the hope that can save me
I believe in the faith
And I pray that some day it may raise me
Above these badlands
Badlands, you gotta live it every day
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you've gotta pay
We'll keep pushin' till it's understood
And these badlands start treating us good
For the ones who had a notion
A notion deep inside
That it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive
I want to find one face that ain't looking through me
I want to find one place
I want to spit in the face of these badlands
Badlands, you gotta live it every day
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you've gotta pay
We'll keep pushin' till it's understood
And these badlands start treating us good
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bruce Springsteen

Badlands lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

 

 


Rennbird
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 9:11 PM
Joined: 2/23/2017
Posts: 54


Most definitely!  My husband is in a nursing home and I could write a list of complaints as long as my arm, but I won’t because it is useless. Feeling numb is a blessing.  Otherwise,  I would not be able to withstand this horrendous experience.
Mainer1
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 9:30 PM
Joined: 11/18/2018
Posts: 144


Dealing with the stress of this is like trying to play tennis with a jello tennis ball.  I cried at the drop of a hat all summer after placing my DW in June, then "pulled it together in September" and yet just ended up in the hospital with heart palpitations which the cardiologists attributed to stress.  Stress:  we "manage" it and it bites us; we hide it and it bites us; we deny it and it bites us.  Maybe someday we learn to live beyond it and go on with our lives -- I thought I had done that.  Now, maybe not.   

I think there needs to be a balance here.  We have to accept that emotional pain and the stress that goes with it is real, and, at the same time, we have to accept that life needs to go on.  I truly did not understand what real pain was until this year.  Since I can't get away with denying or hiding it, I have to accept it as a part of what life is now, and learn to carry it or die.  Since I don't want to die, I need to work on reasons to live.

A complete lack of emotions is probably not good for you, any more than too much emotion would be good for you.  Seek a balance -- find a quiet place in your soul, visit there every day, and learn where your balance is.  


Satcmo
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 11:17 PM
Joined: 8/3/2019
Posts: 18


I do not recall that l stated people can shake off

serious stress but l gently encouraged all that are

able to lean towards choices that will lighten  their

situation. How can a dismal Situation be improved? 

Maybe enlisting a friend for support will help make 

a significant difference. A mutual friend introduced

me to a fellow in the same boat l am with a LW with

dementia. Now l support him and he supports me.

This has been a signicant improvement in all of our

lives.


Crushed
Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 12:38 AM
Joined: 2/2/2014
Posts: 4858


I was trying to be as gentle as possible but "shake" and "get over it"(not from you but from others)  and similar terms imply that people are in control of their feelings.  We are not.

My therapist  suggests that I think of it as a courtroom when I deal with DW.  I am "playing a part" just like a courtroom lawyer (or an actor or professor  for that matter)  You put on the costume , learn your lines and its SHOWTIME even if inside you are aching.

can I suck it up for a half hour every day ?  Yes.  but it takes an hour to decompress afterwards.

 


PaulsWife
Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 6:46 AM
Joined: 3/1/2017
Posts: 84


I felt numb and emotionless for over a year after my eldest daughter died 15 years ago from cancer. I had to hold myself together for my younger children. I think I am partially there now too though it is not as extreme. So perhaps this is partially from grief at what is occurring with DH. The sad thing is that this will likely last as long as our DHs are alive and beyond.
Satcmo
Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 8:08 AM
Joined: 8/3/2019
Posts: 18


Sorry--l am guilty of sprinkling fairy dust in the

middle of a sh-- storm...l had a Waterloo in young 

adulthood and will always respect the power of

stress on our lives..peace brah and to ALL more

love more light