Depression Can Make It Difficult to Process Emotions

September 7, 2016 Tiffanie Verbeke

Depression has many well-known symptoms, and one of them is how depression makes it difficult to process emotions. This emotional effect is incredibly difficult for me to handle. I was an emotionally repressed child, and I only just started practicing emotional openness in college. I am still learning how to feel in a controlled fashion, how to conduct myself despite intense emotional outbursts, and how to work with feelings instead of against them. And I’m also learning how to cope during the times my depression blows my emotions out of proportion; because, depression complicates my ability to process emotions.

Processing Emotions with Depression Isn't Always Useful

Humans utilize emotions in many instances, such as when making decisions. What people decide to do is often based on how they feel about a given situation. For example, I may decide to maintain a friendship because it makes me feel joyful, lighthearted, and comforted; or I may decide to end a friendship because it makes me feel downtrodden and tired. I am constantly motivated by my feelings.

Though emotion can be useful, I prefer the comfort of reason as opposed to the difficulty of emotion. I take my emotions into consideration, but I regard my emotions as quick-changing, fleeting lenses that only slightly affect the way I see things. I tend to be more motivated by logic and reason than by my emotions.

Exaggerated Emotions in Depression Makes Processing Them Useless

Unfortunately, emotions get in the way of my logic when depression tampers with my brain. My depression is really good at taking what I'm feeling and magnifying it to an extreme, almost as if I asked for a hair trim and received a buzz cut. By the time the depression subsides, I am overwhelmed and exhausted by the sensory overload. I cannot process what has just occurred, and I shut down. Because this emotional magnification occurs so much, I have discovered that not feeling emotions is sometimes a good thing.

Must You Always Process Emotions If You Live With Depression?

I don't enjoy being emotionally numb, because I find it to be uncomfortable and eerie. Not feeling things makes me view myself as a robot. When I shut my feelings down, I worry that I’m not human enough, because I’m not laughing, smiling, or crying genuinely like others are shown to do (like people in restaurant commercials).

But I have come to the conclusion that it is okay to not feel things sometimes. Emotions are exhausting, and bad brain days can make it difficult to process feelings. So in my case, sitting back and choosing to not process my emotions is an act of self-care. I am giving myself permission to rest, and to focus on other aspects of my mental health. An added bonus is the extra time I have to dedicate to fulfilling my basic needs.

And after all is said and done, if I still worry that I am too inhuman, well, I remind myself that it is human to worry.

APA Reference
Verbeke, T. (2016, September 7). Depression Can Make It Difficult to Process Emotions, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 30 from

Author: Tiffanie Verbeke

Tiffanie Verbeke is a writer who delights in thinking and despises typing. She gets fired up about mental health and societal inequalities and she finds joy in driving under shadowy trees, running when it's raining, and kids' brutal honesty. Tiffanie welcomes feedback, so contact her freely. Connect with Tiffanie on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and her personal blog.

Dr Musli Ferati
September, 17 2016 at 6:46 pm

Depression indeed indicates quantitative emotional disorder that decreases global life functioning. Beside this huge damaging effect to personal, professional and social activity, it seriously impact somatic integrity destroying immune, endocrine, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, nervous and others vital system of our body. So it is of crucial importance to healing depression as common and repugnant mental disorder. In this direction the processing of emotional interaction exhibits great and helpful step to soften devastating effects of depression. On the other hand, emotion are complex and intriguing segment of mental apparatus, with many known and unknown aspects of mental health. they are underground of cognitive and behavioral network of humane creatures. Without emotions we shall become inert and inacceptable persons. As long as depression sprain our emotional life, it is necessary to incite and develop then through daily functioning. The best way to achieve this useful goal is to have active and creative social life. Instead, social isolation and exclusion would strengthen ruinous implication of depression to our global wellbeing. Developing and perfection of social skills is great and helpful step to overcome scattering outcomes of this emotional damager.

September, 12 2016 at 8:23 am

I agree. I find that people who suffer from depression start acting like robots after a while, lacking the emotions they once had.

Leave a reply