I feel completely different mentally from 2 years ago. Help me reverse it (if possible). Kinda long...
April 8, 2010 6:18 AM   Subscribe

I feel completely different mentally from 2 years ago. Help me reverse it (if possible). Kinda long...

I'm a single male in my late 20's. Up until 2 years ago, I…
… had lots of ambition
… found it easy to crack jokes and make people laugh
… found it easy to be creative with almost anything
… had a very strong bond to music (listening only). It was one of the few things that made me emotional
… had healthy "me time" sexually once or twice a day, girlfriend or not. Just had a regular "urge"
… loved philosophical discussions
… couldn't shut my mind up (ADD-like) and was a perfectionist

Almost simultaneously a few years ago (and for no obvious reason), I
… lost my ambition
… lost my sense of humor
… struggle to be creative
… music doesn't do anything for me anymore, even the songs I've loved for 15+ years
… infrequently get turned on alone. With a woman it's still no problem
… my mind feels like it's on pain killers, very numb. However, I'm don't feel depressed/gloomy/suicidal/sad
… am impartial to almost everything and have really lost my own sense of "right" and "wrong"
In general, it feels like a few wires in my brain got disconnected

The thing that baffles me is what caused all of these changes to seemingly happen all at the same time?
* I exercise even more than I used to. In fact, I haven't been this healthy in 10 years
* I'm drinking socially like usual (aka not very much)
* My day to day routine hasn't changed
* Job situation hasn't changed
* Sex frequency is the same
* I'm not on any medication
* No major changes to significant others or lifestyle. Basically, no clear dramatic "event"
* My friends and family haven't pointed out any differences, but I definitely "feel" different inside
Essentially, I can't find anything specific that would cause such a dramatic change.

At the end of the day, I liked the "old" me better than the "new" me. Where do I start the investigation? Is this something I would see a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist for? Is there any relationship between these observations that I can research before I see a professional?

Thanks for any help. Because I'm anon, I'm sorry I can't write back!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Is this something I would see a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist for?

Yes it is.

You can be depressed without realizing it. In my experience, depression starts as an "eh.. whatever" feeling and spirals down from there.
posted by royalsong at 6:24 AM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]

I would get a thorough physical. Any number of physical things could be causing this. The first thing that sprung to mind is that you may have developed allergies that you're unaware of. There are lots of other diseases/conditions that could be causing it, though.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:30 AM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

Sounds a bit like dysthymia to my non-professional ear. Maybe depression. Either way, you may as well see a psychiatrist/therapist about it - what have you got to lose other than a copay? And if they can figure out what's been going on in the last 2 years and help you get out of your slump, it could be very worth your while.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:30 AM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

I highly suspect you have depression. Depression isn't always the pop culture view of feeling more awful than you should have. It's often a loss of your motivation and zest for like.

I suggest seeing a [preferably CBT] therapist and maybe a psychiatrist. And ask your doctor to check your thyroid next appointment.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:49 AM on April 8, 2010

*zest for LIFE
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:52 AM on April 8, 2010

Suffering from depression doesn't have to be linked with some major event. If you're no longer enjoying the things you used to enjoy, feel numb, the fun has gone out of everything, these are usually the symptoms of at least minor depression. Lots of people get it, there are plenty of treatments, not all pharmaceutical, and the chances are a good doctor will help you find something that works.

While you're feeling the urge to do something about it, do it. Go and see a doctor, start a course of treatment, perhaps CBT, maybe medication, talking therapy, some combination of these. It'll really help. Worst case, you'll end up knowing some nice techniques for relaxation and positive thinking.
posted by danteGideon at 6:53 AM on April 8, 2010

This is a wild guess, but you mention that there have been no changes in your life that would explain this. Maybe a lack of change is the problem? You could be depressed, but you could also just be bored. Try shaking up your routine a bit, taking up a new hobby, or traveling to a new place. Explore new music, if the old favorites aren't doing it for you. Music has always been important to me too, but the music that stirs me emotionally has definitely evolved somewhat over time.
posted by spinto at 7:11 AM on April 8, 2010

posted by eas98 at 7:18 AM on April 8, 2010

lyme disease? low vitamin d? depression, maybe. my opinion, fwiw, is to go see a good naturopathic doc as well as an allopathic. they can zero in on different things.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 7:36 AM on April 8, 2010

Everyone is jumping the gun on depression - since you are late 20s, I think there is a good chance that depression, in your case, is a knee-jerk and simplistic answer. Did you recently finish a long stint in school? Or have you had the same job for the last several years? You may just feel directionless. That's quite common at the tail end of the 20s. Maybe your life up until two years ago always had some fixed goal, and you were always, sort of unconsciously, working towards that goal. Now maybe you even have everything in your life set up how you had wanted it, or possibly have given up on some goals that you had previously (and are ok with that decision). You still have drive - but you just don't know where to apply it. So you feel stuck. Maybe you need a change, some kind of change, but don't know what.

I realize that I may just be projecting, and since this is an anonymous AskMe, we can't get a lot more answers from you. So my advice would be to spend more time thinking about where you want to be in 5 years time. Trying to figure out what you want out of your post-30 life. Finding some goals that get you excited could help kick you out of the resignation you find yourself stuck in.
posted by molecicco at 7:39 AM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

i meant to emphasize that certain medical conditions and imbalances (allergies, vitamin deficiencies, water intake, getting enough good quality salt, etc etc etc, whatever) can cause depression as a symptom and my opinion is to get that stuff looked at first instead of heading for the pharmaceuticals....they can help, but so can other adjustments.....
posted by lakersfan1222 at 7:40 AM on April 8, 2010

If you have a doctor you trust (general practitioner), go see her/him. If not, find a doctor you trust (coworkers or friends on similar health plans are great resources for finding out who the really good doctors are) and go see her/him. The other posters are right that your symptoms are common among people who are depressed. However, they're also common among people who have various vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems or anemia or any number of other conditions that your doctor can help you diagnose. I'm not saying that you wouldn't benefit from therapy; I'm saying that this could be a symptom of some non-psychological illness, and your doctor can help you figure out what's actually going on with your body.
posted by decathecting at 7:57 AM on April 8, 2010

The worst thing the world did for people who suffer clinical depression was to use the word "depression" to describe it, as if it's at all synonymous with generic feeling bad. It's really not, but I guess asking the world to spell ennui correctly was too much to ask. As others said, depression doesn't need to mean you feeling anything like typical sadness you have experienced in the past. Before I got treated the most concrete symptom I could have pointed you at was sleeping 11+ hours a day.

I'd suggest seeing a general practitioner for a physical if you haven't in the last few years. If s/he sees no reason to suspect anything physical get a referral for a shrink.
posted by phearlez at 8:32 AM on April 8, 2010

* I exercise even more than I used to. In fact, I haven't been this healthy in 10 years

I just wanted to point out that something did actually change for you over the past 2 years. Have you also changed your diet along with the healthy exercise? I think I'm in the camp of the folks suggesting vitamin/diet deficiencies.

And I am secretly hoping that you figure out the "magic vitamin" that reverses you back to normal. You could sell it and make a fortune. I'll buy some.
posted by CathyG at 8:35 AM on April 8, 2010

Obviously I'm not a doctor, not your doctor, you should go to a doctor, etc. ...

That said, when you do go to a doctor, ask to have your testosterone levels checked. I remember listening to a This American Life episode where someone had similar (yet worse in magnitude) symptoms and it turned out his body had, for whatever reason, essentially stopped producing testosterone.
posted by notswedish at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2010

As a former bona fide sufferer of depression I can tell you that it is incredibly possible that you are suffering from a form of it. This could be hormonal, psychological, or chemical-get you to a doctor and find out.

Meanwhile get as much natural sunlight as you can, get some omega 3 fatty acids in your system, and see if that helps.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:21 AM on April 8, 2010

Feel like you are sleep-walking through life, don't you? And wondering why it happened, and fixating on that instead of fixing the problem.

Yeah, that was me.

Hormones (in my case thyroid and estrogen/testosterone) could be the problem. You could be depressed for a physical cause, with a low-grade depression that has been sneaking up on you for the last couple years.

You might be in a rut.

You could have a metabolic problem.

There's any number of things it could be.

But instead of fixating on why this all came about, go. to. a. doctor.

And try not to get frustrated if it takes a while to figure this out and get you back to your former self. People are complex beings. But you can get there!
posted by misha at 11:20 AM on April 8, 2010

I'm thinking thyroid problems or hormone problems, especially a potential testosterone issue. Go to your doctor and tell him you want a full work-up that will cover those two areas, not just the regular standard work-up that covers only a few things.
posted by Asparagirl at 2:57 PM on April 8, 2010

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