Do You Feel Empty Inside? When A Lack Of Meaning Is Something More Serious
By: Sarah Fader
Updated July 30, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Fawley
What Is Emptiness And How Does It Feel? Is It Normal?
If you're feeling numb, you likely want to know the cause of the emptiness. One of the reasons could be a mental illness or disorder such as depression, substance use disorders, or adult ADHD. For others, however, it could be caused by a lack of a good emotional support system in the past or present. If you haven’t been supported by your emotions in the past, there is a good chance you have suppressed your emotions to the point where you no longer feel them.
Reasons You Might Have This Emotion
When you feel empty or numb, it can be alarming. You may be wondering if the emptiness has been caused by something outside of yourself. Emptiness is an internal state, and while it's not easy to get rid of, you ultimately have the power to manage and shape this internal struggle. Here are common reasons for feeling empty below, before going over tools to combat feelings of emptiness.
Stressful or Hard Situations
An Unfulfilling Job or Other Unrealized Goals
Anxiety and Depression
Alcohol and Drug Addiction
Too Much Media
Too Much Social Media
Borderline Personality Disorder
Death Of A Loved One
Feeling Like You Don't Have a Purpose
Friends, Relationship, or Family Issues
Other Medical Reasons or Mental Health Reasons
How to Combat These Feelings
Set Life Goals that Establish Meaning
An essential part of getting your life moving again and finding meaning is setting goals. A lot of the time we flounder and feel lost because we haven't set goals for what is important to us. Without a plan, we can do nothing. Sometimes this means reevaluating or revisiting past goals, and other times you have to brainstorm goals for the first time.
Engage in Activities You Used to Enjoy
Talk To Support Groups
You can find various support groups that deal with the concept of meaninglessness. These support groups may consist of people who have a mental illness that gives them a state of meaninglessness, or they may consist of people who are just trying to figure out how to find a meaningful life.
Alternatively, you can go to group therapy. Group therapy helps people who have a state of emptiness by allowing them to communicate with one another and help find solutions that way. You'll be surprised how often an empty group of people can find the treatment for their state of meaninglessness by speaking to one another.
Go to a Treatment Center for Severe Issues
Work may be unsatisfying, or you don't have the time and energy to make friends. There are many reasons you may feel empty. However, if you feel severely empty to the point where it's hurting your mental health, or you have a severe mental illness, going to a treatment center can help.
Don't Avoid People and Reach Out to Those Close to You
You may not be ready to actively plan a time to hang out with friends or family, but if you get invited somewhere, go ahead and accept the invitation. Isolation may increase your feelings of meaninglessness. Your existing support system cannot support you if you alienate them. If you find yourself spending a majority of your time at home, go somewhere where other people gather.
An online counselor can support you in exploring those feelings of meaninglessness, finding the source, and working through them. Many people have talked with online counselors about their emotional numbness, received support, and moved forward. According to the APA (American Psychological Association), many research studies show that online counseling is just as effective as in-person therapy.
Many people who have dealt with similar issues have emerged as more resilient and fulfilled individuals. In fact, one study by the Berkeley Well-Being Institute found that clients with depression reduced their depressive symptoms by 70% through BetterHelp services.
You may read the full study here: Depression: Effectiveness of a Multimodal Digital Psychotherapy Platform for Adult Depression: A Naturalistic Feasibility Study
"Rachel is one of the best counselors I have ever worked with. She is kind and encouraging, she's not judgmental and is incredibly understanding. She's also not afraid to tell me what I need to hear, even if it's a difficult conversation. Without Rachel, I would have been stuck in the rut that I had been in for years. She is truly a blessing."
"Dr. MacLeod is a deeply caring and insightful counselor. She offered several helpful and practical coping strategies that enabled me to overcome a particularly challenging season of my life. In addition to her thoughtful advice, she is also a fantastic listener. I'm very grateful for the support she has offered."
If you're finding that you're unable to combat feelings of meaninglessness on your own, or if these emotions are related to drug abuse, substance abuse, or mental health issues like bipolar disorder--it's important that you get professional help. Don't hesitate to seek therapy or counseling when you can't seem to feel anything. You deserve to get the support you need and live a fulfilling life.
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