Join 3,425 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


My mind is blank all the time? How do I fix this??
June 8, 2012 1:27 PM   Subscribe

My mind is blank all the time? How do I fix this?? (long read but please read)

My mind is a perpetual state of emptiness. I never know what to say to people, not even my closest of friends and families. I just have no thoughts and always seem to cut conversations short. And the times that I do have ideas and thoughts, I can never put them into words fluently. I end up mumbling and feeling insecure, causing me to stutter a bit and just speak so awkwardly. Sometimes I even wonder whether I got my damn point across because it comes out so garbled.

I always wondered how some people can tell stories so well and get people to laugh with them. I never seem to have stories to tell, and when I actually do have a story, I deliver it so poorly that it ends up not being interesting or funny. Then I feel like **** because no one responds to it enthusiastically. This develops into a cycle where I don't want to open up or talk a lot in conversations. It's a nasty *** cycle and I hate it.

I don't necessarily fear social settings either. I can make eye contact easily, I don't fear groups of people. Heck, I go out to party every weekend and mingle with people all the time (im a college student). IT's just that I never have anything to say to people to keep conversations going.

I still see myself as somewhat functional. Unhappy, but functional. What I mean by this is, I have no trouble going out into the real world and doing what I need to do. I don't get nervous when I order food or interact with people. If anything, the reason why I avoid interacting with people is because I'm afraid of not being able to say the right things to keep conversations going and interesting. When I'm interacting with random strangers with small talk, I can do just fine. But it's when I'm interacting with someone because I'm trying to develop a bond/relatioinship with them that I stumble and come off as awkward, cold, aloof, arrogant, and uninterested.

Sometimes I wonder how I managed to have the friends I do now. So in that regard, I see myself as functional. When people mention how they get panic attacks or avoid interaction at all by staying in their homes, I cannot relate to that. Eye contact for me is really easy. I was able to secure an internship for this summer. I managed to date a girl for two months (although it ended). But in the end, I'm an unhappy, negative, pessimistic, cynical ******* with no motivation in life. I have zero passion. I know I'm not normal and the thing I want most is to be normal. I want to be that person who has an engaging voice and so many stories to tell. I can try faking it, but it's so mentally taxing that I can barely sustain it.

Another frustration I have is my utter lack of passion or interest for ANYTHING in life. I don't give a damn that Obama won (as bad as that sounds, I honestly didn't care THAT much). I don't have a passion in my studies; even for my major it's not something I'm passionate about. I don't give a **** about my best friend's girlfriend problems (I know that sounds really horrible.. but I just don't.. sorry). I don't care that you bombed a test or stayed up all night studying. I don't care how drunk you got and what epic stories ensued. And this isn't even an angry rant. I just am devoid of interest in anything in life. I can't grasp how some people can be so passionate about something. It's fascinating to me, really.
posted by soul24rage to Human Relations (11 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you talked to any kind of a therapist about this? People with depression aren't always "sad", sometimes they're just...blank, like this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:30 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is one of the classic presentations of depression.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:32 PM on June 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Nthing everyone before me, as well as the post's last tag.

Getting help for depression can be just as hard as recognizing it for what it is. But if you can complete the steps to do that -- and it sounds like you can -- you might make some great strides toward solving this set of problems.
posted by gnomeloaf at 1:40 PM on June 8, 2012


I think realizing that your mind is blank all the time is a huge step in working towards improving your mental health.

Figure out if your mind is blank ALL the time regardless of whether you're with others or alone. For me, my mind tends to be blank all the time regardless. I'm still able to function but that's because I can go into auto-pilot mode.

I have been diagnosed with depression, social anxiety (SA), and dissociation from traumatic events. I don't know if you have depression, SA, or dissociation, but a blank mind tends to indicate an unhealthy mental state.

I'd recommend searching for a qualified psychologist in your area that specializes in depression, SA, and trauma. Share this information with this person by printing off what you have typed here.

The psychiatrist that I worked with told me that it's going to take a long time to fill my head back up so that it doesn't feel hollow or blank. But, he also said that I can work on this by realizing that it is safe to become more aware of my surroundings and by questioning my surroundings. For instance, you can close your eyes and ask yourself questions that might seem trivial but will help you become more present. For instance, I ask myself questions like which bus did I take to the gym? How long did the walk to the bus stop take? What did I have for lunch? etc... because asking these questions is helping me become more aware rather than just coasting by through auto-pilot.
posted by livinglearning at 1:42 PM on June 8, 2012


Sleep deprivation can adversely affect cognitive function.
posted by leigh1 at 1:43 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your school should have mental health resources available for you. This kind of thing is exactly what they are there for.
posted by empath at 2:02 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


My mind is a perpetual state of emptiness. I never know what to say to people, not even my closest of friends and families. I just have no thoughts and always seem to cut conversations short.I'm an unhappy, negative, pessimistic, cynical ******* with no motivation in life.
...
I have zero passion. I know I'm not normal and the thing I want most is to be normal. I want to be that person who has an engaging voice and so many stories to tell. I can try faking it, but it's so mentally taxing that I can barely sustain it.

Another frustration I have is my utter lack of passion or interest for ANYTHING in life.


I think you're censoring yourself, just as you did in asking your question.

I'm reminded of a case of mutism in a child I read about once. When it was finally resolved in the course of therapy, the kid turned to his parents and said, 'when you washed my mouth out with soap, you washed out all the other words, too.'

I'd guess you could have an organic brain problem, such as Tourette's, or you could be holding back things that were inspired by events in your life that you don't even want to think about, much less verbalize-- the latter, most likely, since you are much more fluent with strangers.
posted by jamjam at 2:27 PM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I sound like my mom, but, take your vitamins. Vitamin D deficiency is common and can manifest in depressed mood. Get in the habit of taking a good multivitamin if you can't stomach taking a handful of pills. Vitamins are cheap and they can really help with energy levels and general well being.

Some of this sounds like general awkwardness and disconnection that almost everyone struggles with. It may help to realize that you are definitely not alone. I see from your other question that you are young (19-20?) and this is a really common feeling to go through. Apathy, depression, etc. I get like this sometimes when I am just bored out of my skull and need to switch my routine. Things get better as you live more. The hard part is pushing yourself to go outside your comfort zone while you're making an internal big deal out of your success/failure. Stagnation will make it worse. Accomplishment will help spark passion and interest. Play a team sport, for instance. I have found accomplishment begets accomplishment.

Vitamins, good food, good sleep, exercise, therapy, time. Make sure you get what you need and pay attention and learn what balance results in the best version of you. This is part of the graduation from child (when your parent told you what was good for you) to adult (when you figure it out for yourself and are responsible for making it happen).
posted by griselda at 2:37 PM on June 8, 2012


Maybe you could try taking up meditating. I don't know much about it, but the idea of not having any thoughts sounds to me like what meditators say they strive for. Turn your weakness (if you see it that way) into a strength.

I'm not really sure if that would help anything (especially if you're depressed), but I know for me at least, things that I'm naturally gifted at have often become hobbies. So maybe this could help you cultivate a passion.
posted by losvedir at 4:31 PM on June 8, 2012


You should be following a lot of the advice above, there is much good there. While you are also doing that, allow me to tell you a story about two guys I've known, one when I was a teenager and one in the last seven years.

Both were asian, which isn't quite relevant, except to note that they were both (stereotypically) extremely intelligent, and both (stereotypically) extremely shy. We would all go places as a group, and you could always count on two things from them.

One of those things was that they almost never talked. We could go hours without hearing them talk. Grunts, maybe, and a shy smile here and there, but almost never talking. The rest of us did the talking. We lightly but affectionately teased them about it, and they'd shyly smile and turn away. If you dragged a comment out of them, it was painful, and they'd answer in the tersest way possible and then clam up. So that's the one thing we could count on.

The other thing was that, once in a blue moon (not just "once in an hour" or "once in a day", but perhaps days would go by, sometimes weeks) they would open their mouths and say something voluntarily. It was never loud, and it was never long, but it was often shockingly insightful or (as the truth often is) always thoughtful and occasionally hilarious. In those moments, everyone listened to them, and put much weight into what they said. Then the conversation would continue, often in a new direction, because their comment either put the cap on that topic or presented a new idea to explore.

And you know what? It turns out that people who weigh their words so carefully, who speak only when they truly have something to say, people like them. No, they (and you) won't be surrounded by adoring fans hoping that you'll drop a bon mot, and no, you won't be asked to write a five-minute routine for a birthday roast, but you will always be appreciated, you will always be welcome in a group, and you will never be considered boastful or boorish or boring. That's an achievement that many chatty, charming people strive for and never achieve.

Oh, and one of those two guys was absolutely adored by all the women in the group, even though he never asked any out, so the women assumed he wasn't interested in them. The other one, well, he's so closed-lipped about such things that I have no idea if he's ever had a girlfriend (or boyfriend) or if he's swimming in them. So I just assume he has a normal sex life like everyone else, because why wouldn't he?

In short: go get the help you need to feel better about yourself, and to become the person you want to be, but in the meantime realize that you're not a burden if you simply stop forcing yourself to behave like someone you are not, and simply be the quiet person that you are and let your friends appreciate you for that.
posted by davejay at 9:56 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have this same problem occasionally, but have no experience with depression. My advice is threefold: Find more interesting people that talk about interesting things, do more interesting things (pick up hobbies, read articles), and ask more questions. That's whats worked for me. Because it might not be as genuine as "hey, I had this awesome idea on how to save the world" to say "I read this cool article about how this guy wants to save the world" but it's a heck of a lot easier.
posted by Grandysaur at 2:20 PM on June 9, 2012


« Older How do I learn to live by the ...   |  I love Melissa McBride's hairc... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.