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Loss of empathy and affection


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I had hppd for the past 3 years, and I'm also Bipolar type II (milder hypomanic episodes). I was on Lamictal for about a year which helped with both, but I somehow stopped taking it this summer.

After some life events wrecked me emotionally around september, I had my first manic episode since getting hppd, during which I was dumb and crazy enough to start taking mdma and lsd again.

After a couple times of both I realized what I was doing to myself and stopped. Well, it didn't make my hppd much worse, but now I'm dealing with a whole new problem, complete loss of empathy and affection.

I have been struggling with emotional situations for the last three months. Mostly, I know how I should be feeling in a situation, or what is the morally right way to act and I try to act that way, but I just don't feel anything about it.

Trying to fake it gets very frustrating, and I sometimes find myself getting angry or smiling at the weirdest moments.

Like I was at a funeral three days ago, and I was constantly trying not to smile while greeting sad people. Or, my grandma has broken her arm three weeks ago, and I've had no desire to see or call her ever since...

I don't want to start avoiding people altogether, but I'm getting tired :(

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I believe one of my lsd trips has a lot to do with this...

It was actually one of the most pleasant trips I've ever had. It felt like everything was as it was supposed to be, nothing was either good or bad but beautiful as it is etc. I guess some of you know how that feels...

But at some point, I lost my ability to interact with anything and anyone. I was merely an observer, and any action from me would change things and I just wanted everything to be as they are... I couldn't be any part of it. It felt positive at the time, but this state of mind continued for weeks and eventually became very annoying.

I guess this experience contributed a lot to me becoming detached from certain feelings.

I'm not sure if this has anything to do with dp/dr... but any help would be greatly appreciated.

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I was thinking about these kind of problems too. I'm having a hard time with feelings of regret. I can't really feel it. I can't take responsibility for my actions any more. I do got my feelings back since DP/DR has been reduced.

I do have empathy and can relate to others, but small problems never affected me since I got a lot to think of my own. I can easily do bad stuff without any kind of regret. I don't even regret getting HPPD. Isn't that sick? It's the worst thing that happend to me but I'm just accepting everything and don't feel bad about it. We are outside of the society, because we don't see the world or think as other human beings. That's why they won't understand us and we won't understand them.

Alienated; but it doesn't have to be a bad thing. There are a lot of people out there just like you and me :)


Stop telling yourself that there's something wrong about you. If nothing is good nor bad but just beautiful then so are you, right? Accept what you have become and don't try to adapt too much. You have to try to like yourself and who you have become. The goal, atleast for me isn't becoming normal. Don't care too much about what people think of how you are or what you think. I'd love to hang out with you, you seems interesting enough!


In time you will find people that'll like you for the person you are, that's how nature works, we want to connect and create and share with the people that's like us. That's atleast what I believe.

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Well, I don't actually feel very bad about it but I'm becoming more and more isolated. and sometimes just plainly rude to other people, which is not at all like me.

Actually this has some positive sides I guess, now I can say what I think of people around me more openly. But at one point I was so harshly critical of my best friend (who was also my housemate) that she became very depressed for days and all I could say was "I would like to say that I'm sorry, but I would be lying and I don't want to lie to you. I guess something is wrong with me lately, please don't take it personally." then I moved out. She has been there for me at my worst days, but I just couldn't feel anything for her anymore.

Now I moved back to my parents house after years of living in another city, and it's the same with them. Anytime my mother tries to show some affection I just get irritated, and smile in an attempt to hide what I actually think.

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Yeah I completely understand you. It takes some time for a lot of people to understand your situation, most never will. My sister who's visiting right now just doesn't get it: We just to be best friends but right now I can't really deal with her, she's just too much and my mom's is irritating as fuck too sometimes. They don't get it. On the other half, I got a girlfriend and my dad that kind of gets it, they are being more calm and understanding.

So you have to ask yourself, since you and I are ill, is it our empathy or theirs that doesn't feel right? Because if I met someone with parkinsons, bipolar or autism and I knew about I'd show them big time respect because they deserve it.

Maybe it didn't work out with your housemate, maybe it was your fault or maybe not, it doesn't matter because right now you have to focus on yourself and build your world that works best for you. Don't run over people and have a nasty attitude in order to do so but sometimes you have to sacrifice one thing for another and that's just life. Don't blame yourself too much. I wish I could just smile and hide what I think but I'm too honest when it comes to communication in good and bad ways.

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I don't share much about myself with my parents, so I guess I can't expect them to empathize. They are quite calm and accepting, but they've never been truly involved in my life in the past, and I don't want them to be now. Partly because I cannot deal with their guilt about this at the moment, and partly because I see their way of involvement with my older brother's life as detrimental.

My brother has always been the problem child, a much heavier user of drugs compared to me and also bipolar but with severly psychotic episodes at times. To be honest, I don't respect him at all. I spent my whole childhood and adolescence under the shadow of his problems. While everyone's concerns were about him, I had to grow up finding ways to cope with everything on my own. And I think too much respect from my parents turned him into an arrogant bastard who has no intentions of recovery.

Maybe that's why I get so irritated by my mother after all...

I guess I do have a nasty attitude about these kind of things. I don't blame myself too much, but I don't want to blame others either. No matter how disfunctional they've been in the past, seeing my parents only as a rent free place to stay doesn't feel right.

Not just because the society expects me to do otherwise. I see that they do love me and they are trying to make things right. And it should matter, right? But it just doesn't.

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I've had about the same situation like you. My older sister had a lot of drug issues, addictive to all different kind of stuff. I was never a heavy drug user but only liked fun drugs for recreational use. I never had to run away from anything but I liked the extra fun and the experiments of the mind. I always got support but I think they saw me like the strong and secure guy as I've always been quite succesful with the things I've done. But things has changed and now I'm the victim that needs help. Then it fucking annoys me that my sister is coming back when I need as much as support as possible to rant about her issues: I've always been so supportive to her, and the whole family has, but she just can't move on and if she'd be in my place she would know about real suffering. I can't stand people complaining about things that they can control or improve. So I totally feel you, I'm at my parents at the moment too but I might move out and get help by the social services instead as it's breaking me apart even more to be isolated in a forrest now when DP/DR, anxiety and depression has been reduced a lot. I want to live again.

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  • 1 month later...

I have had this problem where I smile inapropriately. I could feel empathy for people that were distant but in social situations my anxiety would make me unable to do so and I would find myself trying not to smile (and failing) in situations like my friend telling me his mum had cancer or even darker situations which have made me feel appalled with myself. I even lost my best friend because of it and got punched in the face... he was paranoid but I really couldn't help matters if I tried and I really fucking did. I think that is the worst part of the anxiety... not really being present in a moment with someone, like you are there with them but you are not really, I was always completey preoccupied with fighting with my inner demons to stay in control.

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  • 1 year later...

I'm guessing that you're both fairly young.  I was 19 when I got this (I'm 54 now).  One of the hardest things is that we change a lot as we grow older and the transition from teen to adult is difficult anyway.  I think most of our hearts harden as we grow up but, to be honest, I see lots of fake empathy from people every day.  90% of it actually.  I saw this girl recently go "Oh no!  That's so awful for you!" when someone told her about the death of a relative.  The girl never looked up from her cellphone.


So don't feel too bad.  But, I do think it's important to feel a sense of right and wrong.  One thing I only recently recognized in myself (and I think due to HPPD) is my highly developed bullshit detector.  I can spot pretention from a hundred yards and it's weird that I kind of know what games people are playing.  Whenever I express these opinions to others it often sounds overly negative or paranoid, so I tend to shut up about it.  But I've come to recognize it as a kind of unfortunate skill.  Thus, I actively like, or love very few people.  But those I do are well within my heart.

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