Is it possible for a person to stop feeling emotions?

I was raped a couple months ago, Since then, along with other unfortunately events that have occurred, I have been having trouble feeling emotions. It's almost as if I'm a sociopath lacking any feeling. What can I do to change this?

Eric Koll
Eric Koll
Gold standard trauma therapy for adult Nerds, Geeks, Weirdos, and Misfits

So believe it or not, this is actually very common.  First off, take a deep breath. It does NOT mean that you're a sociopath. All it means is that your brain has shifted into "survival mode" for a time and might need a little support to get back to normal. Our brain can play tricks on us after a trauma. One thing that most people experience is the desire to "push away" or to avoid reminders of the trauma which include feelings of anxiety, guilt, anger, fear, and sometimes shame. And, if you think about it, that's entirely understandable. Who would want to feel those yucky feelings or to be reminded of the trauma? But here is the catch... the more we try to push those unpleasant emotions away, the more we are actually pushing away our ability to experience positive feelings. Emotions such as happiness, excitement, or closeness with loved ones become increasingly difficult to access. MOST trauma survivors will experience this "emotional blunting" and is actually one of the things we look for when giving a diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

But there is good news! Specialized trauma therapy using evidence-backed approaches can help us to experience the emotions we're trying to push away in a safe environment. It's like our brain needs to fully "digest" what happened in order to return to emotional balance. There are several approaches that can help you recover after a rape (or other traumas).  These might include: 

Cognitive Processing Therapy 

Prolonged Exposure Therapy

Written Exposure Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing

When you're considering looking for a therapist, I'd strong encourage you to look for someone trained specifically in one of these approaches. There are mountains of research studies showing that these therapies have the best success rate when recovering from things like rape, a life threatening experience, a natural disaster, or other traumatic experiences. 

Breathe in, breathe out. You survived and life CAN get better. Trauma therapy is usually time limited (3-4 months) and can help you take your life back. You can do this! 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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