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Emotional blunting

(40 Posts)
Flaxseed Fri 27-Nov-20 21:35:10

After a bad experience in 2019, I ended up on Amitripiline for flashbacks, anxiety and insomnia. Thankfully, they worked well.
However, in June of this year, my beloved father passed away very suddenly. My Mum was completely unable to do anything for weeks after. My eldest DD and myself sorted out the funeral and all the legal stuff and I was more than happy to do this as I wanted to keep busy. I was devastated to lose him and did shed a few tears, and expected to completely break down once I had nothing more to do. But I never have. sad

My Mum, sister, and my DD’s are often recalling a sudden memory that has reduced them to tears, but my tears never come.
I feel pretty emotionless and heartless, although I know I miss him dreadfully and always will.

I used to cry at programmes (think Children in Need etc) but I just don’t anymore despite knowing that what I am watching is terribly sad.

Do I risk my flashbacks/anxiety etc again and come off of the tablets just to feel emotion again?
Has anyone else experienced this weird experience when on such medication?

I really can’t be bothered with phone consultations which is all I can get at my drs at the moment hmm

Lucretzia Fri 27-Nov-20 21:40:50

I was put on Amitripiline for chronic pain. 30mg a day

Everyone reacts differently to drugs

Personally I have found that this drug most certainly does nothing to control or ease pain. So I intend weaning off it soon

You may find that you're in shock and the absence of visible emotions, tears etc., is part of the grieving process

When my adored Grandma died I never shed a tear. Wasn't on any drugs at the time. But just found it impossible to cry.

If you do decide to come off Ami make sure you wean down as it can cause wonky side effects if you just stop cold turkey

Good luck

BlueBelle Fri 27-Nov-20 21:44:43

If possible I think our bodies should deal with the emotions thrown at us through life however painful and not resort to tablets to mask our pain but everyone is different and some will feel they want to deaden the pain I am only talking personally

MissAdventure Fri 27-Nov-20 21:47:12

I've taken antidepressants, on and off, since the death of my daughter, and I think, for me, I'm just about accepting that I need to take them all the time.
The alternative, when I stop them, is the depths of despair, like nothing I've ever known.

I'll take the numbness, even if it takes the edge off other things.

Luckygirl Fri 27-Nov-20 21:52:49

I am sorry about your DD MissAdventure - I think it is very important that if someone has need of medication, of whatever kind, then it is wrong for someone to make them feel this is some sort of weakness. I find the "should" in Bluebelle's post highly unacceptable. There is no should about it - we are all different and it is wrong for people who are suffering to be made to feel bad about accepting the help they need.

I am glad that you have found a treatment that helps you.

MissAdventure Fri 27-Nov-20 21:57:48

I think that kind of thinking is what makes me stop taking them.
I feel I should be able to cope (and I do, on an everyday basis)

It's ridiculous, but I was raised in a very "stiff upper lip" home.

Its It's quite difficult for me to post here that I need medicating!

Hetty58 Fri 27-Nov-20 21:59:37

Flaxseed, it's perfectly alright to feel exactly as you do.

Every grief is different and takes it's own time. The way we respond varies.

Sometimes, it involves a lot of crying and feeling sad. Other reactions may create a flat and emotionless response.

It's 'normal' whatever, even without medication. Just feel reassured that you're coping and don't feel that you have to grieve in a particular, set way.

OceanMama Fri 27-Nov-20 22:06:53

Flaxseed, first, I'm sorry for all you have been through. As far as emotional blunting, I'd like to share my experience with you in case it helps. At least, food for thought.

When I lost my daughter, I experienced emotional blunting and I wasn't on any medication. I think it's just something that enables us to cope with everything we need to do. I think PTSD is a factor too.

I did try medication once that initial shock wore off and I understand what you mean by emotional blunting. I did feel some of that effect too.

I guess my point is, for you to consider, whether you think the emotional blunting is really the medication or a trauma response.

Don't worry about your lack of tears. We all respond differently. Not crying doesn't mean you loved your father less than anyone else. It's just a different expression. It's not wrong and there is no better or worse way to express your feelings than the rest of your family.

I know you don't feel like going through a phone consultation. It's just not the same as an easy appointment in the office. I think you need to work your way up to discussing this with your doctor though. You need to work out whether the emotional blunting is the medication or something that needs support. Not necessarily medication, but some sort of support. You also need to work with your doctor to come off medication, if that is the path you take. I know it's not easy, especially at this time, but it is worth a talk to your doctor before you make any decisions.

OceanMama Fri 27-Nov-20 22:12:08


I think that kind of thinking is what makes me stop taking them.
I feel I should be able to cope (and I do, on an everyday basis)

It's ridiculous, but I was raised in a very "stiff upper lip" home.

Its It's quite difficult for me to post here that I need medicating!

MissAdventure, me too with the stiff upper lip home. We 'just get on with it'. Quite a dangerous approach really, because many get on with it until they just can't anymore.

I've never taken medication since the death of my daughter. Tried it, as mentioned above, but never for more than a few days. I find the side effects too awful.

I never thought I would try that kind of medication in my life. It certainly has its place though. There is no weakness in taking medication. In fact, it takes strength to recognise we need help and ask for it. Good on you for doing that.

MissAdventure Fri 27-Nov-20 22:21:10

smile Thank you.
It's important to talk about these things, even and perhaps because they're uncomfortable to open up about.

Redrobin51 Fri 27-Nov-20 22:29:12

I adored my father and was much closer to him than my mother. He died suddenly when I was about 30 and although felt every horrible emotion inside I have had an inability cry about it. I don't know whether it was because my mother had a bad faLl, the next day and I had to cope with all the arrangements etc on my own, scrapping the money together as he had left no insurance or money I just had to keep my emotions in check I just never was able to let them out. I had been been brought up in a stiff upper lip family where you were taught to just get on with life whatever was thrown at you so it could gave been my upbringing. Sometimes I feel people think if you don't cry you don't care but I have often found the very people who don't cry or cry rarely often feel things deeper but unfortunately bury them. You might find something unexpected will eventually set you off. A friend said she didn't cry until she went into a card shop after her dad had died and saw Father's day cards and suddenly found tears cascading down her face. I do think certain medications can blunt emotions. People are always amazed how I have coped with things over the last te years or so as everything has been thrown at us. I was reading gthe patients leaflet of one of my drugs prescribed for pain (not a antidepressant) to make sure it wouldn't clash with some antibiotics I had bee prescribed and saw a alternative use was for anxiety so it made me start to wonder whether it had helped me cope. If you need your meds do take them as this might not be a good to come off them. If things get easier for you a d more time has gone by so ce your dear father's death that might be the time to slowly decrease them. Thinking of you. X

Flaxseed Sat 28-Nov-20 13:23:50

Thanks @lucretzia. I had them for pain once but like you didn’t find they helped. They are definitely better for insomnia and anxiety! I wouldn’t go cold turkey. wink

So sorry to MissAdventure and Oceanmama for your terrible losses.

Thanks to all of you for your advice and views.
Like so many of us, I have had my fair share of traumas, some of which are taboo subjects and difficult to talk about to others. As time has gone on I have just accepted what has happened and moved on, but maybe I am becoming desensitised?! I hadn’t really thought of it like that.
I’ll see what my dr says when I can eventually see him again.

Urmstongran Sat 28-Nov-20 13:35:17

Reading this thread has made me well up. Sincere best wishes to you all who have had to struggle with the most devastating slings and arrows life has thrown at you.

blondenana Sat 28-Nov-20 13:41:20

I think life affects you emotionally , and what has happened in your past
I sometime wonder why i rarely cry
When my mother died i didn't cry, when my dad died i didn't cry,when my dog died i couldn't stop crying for weeks, still do when i think back
Cried for all my animals i lost
Maybe because i lived away from my parents for most of my life
I am very sorry to hear of the deaths of your DDs
I know if it was a child of mine i would cry, that would be the difference,

downtoearth Sat 28-Nov-20 14:09:56

I too have suffered from emotional blunting since losing my first daughter 40years ago,along with my dad a few weeks after,when my second daughter died 17 years ago,and my mum, just after that I just couldnt shed a tear.

I have been on Antidepressants for 16 years, and medication for anxiety.

When my partner left 2 years ago,I went to pieces,and had to pull myself out of the deepest hole,all this with a smille painted on,as I find it so hard to show anything but a strong together person
flowers for all of you fellow suffer in silence type

Summerlove Sat 28-Nov-20 14:14:13


I think that kind of thinking is what makes me stop taking them.
I feel I should be able to cope (and I do, on an everyday basis)

It's ridiculous, but I was raised in a very "stiff upper lip" home.

Its It's quite difficult for me to post here that I need medicating!

I think you are brave for posting it.

We all need different things. Some of us need medication to keep things even.

There is nothing to be ashamed of, despite what some well meaning people say

Sparklefizz Sat 28-Nov-20 14:21:01

My heart goes out to each of you with the suffering you've experienced. We all have to cope as best we can and there are no "shoulds" as we're all different.

One thing though - I don't think now is a good time to come off any medications at all what with Covid and with the emotional time of Christmas looming. A decision regarding this could be made in the New Year, if at all.

flowers for all of you.

MawBe Sat 28-Nov-20 14:24:19

I might have expected to have experienced this - first child (boy) died at three weeks. Husband with multi and complex health issues also made redundant in the 90’s making life an unnecessarily complex struggle, his years of life limiting hospitalisation and surgeries and then 3 years ago his death at just 70. Lost his mother and both my parents during those years after his transplant but should I consider myself lucky never to have had recourse to medication but let the normal grieving processes run their course? Does blunting the emotions do more than offer a temporary respite only for the grief to surface later?
Anyway the bottom line is that anything from children singing Away in a Manger to a sad book reduces me to tears in an instant.

Flaxseed Sat 28-Nov-20 14:26:42

Oh downtoearth I have no words sad

Sorry I have created such a sad thread, but it definitely helps to listen to everyone’s wise words. Thank you to everyone for sharing their stories and experiences of this.

garnet25 Sat 28-Nov-20 14:28:58

Flaxseed, please be very careful and don't come off your anti-depressants without medical supervision. I have been on anti-depressants for many years and was already on them when my son died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 30 in 2007. I could hardly cry then but I think that was partly shock as I went numb and just through the motions of coping. Ten months later my father died from cancer and at his funeral, I wept buckets. I know that was for my son as well as for my father who died at the age of 93 and had had a good and full life. I was, and am now still on the antidepressants so I feel that shock is much more of a factor in not being able to cry.

MissAdventure Sat 28-Nov-20 14:32:28

It's the same as having a condition that can't be cured, I'd say.
If you've an inoperable, painful problem that impacted your life badly, you would take something to enable you to function, such as painkillers, or use aids, or mindfulness.

Walking wounded, I think I am, and nothing will ever change that.

Flaxseed Sat 28-Nov-20 14:41:29

MawBe. Sorry for your losses too.

I only resorted to medication after what I guess is a sort of PTSD. The lack of sleep due to reliving things meant I couldn’t function at work properly. I couldn’t go on like that, as mistakes at work are literally a case of life or death!

I do wonder if I would have cried more after losing my Dad, had I managed to avoid medication the previous year tho. I’ll never know now.

I can remember sobbing for days after watching ‘Lassie come Home’ and ‘The Notebook’!!
And a school nativity would get me every time too!

I sway from wanting to come off the medication to feel normal emotions, to being too scared to in case I crumble!
But this thread has made me realise that it might not be the medication at all! confused........

BlueBelle Sat 28-Nov-20 14:44:45

Luckygirl I said very clearly it was personal to me I did say everyone is different and some will find the need to use them
If you read my post I wasn’t giving advice saying what my own feelings are not what others should do

Flaxseed Sat 28-Nov-20 14:47:31

Garnet, Thank you, I would always seek medical advice and as a previous poster suggested, I won’t do anything until next year now.

MissAdventure, here’s some thanks. I wish there was something to ease your pain.
My brother died in his 40’s and part of my parents died with him. The only think comforting us since losing Dad is that Father and Son have been reunited. smile

Flaxseed Sat 28-Nov-20 15:05:49

thing not think hmm