Q. I feel my senses are dulled and I am unmotivated. What should I do?

Answered by
Dr. Devavrat Harihar Nene
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 03, 2017 and last reviewed on: Nov 15, 2019

Hello doctor,

I had a period of time in my life recently where I was depressed and unmotivated. I have always had some forms of anxiety from time to time as well. More recently, however, I began to make strides to come out of my depression and started being happy and living life again, but I have noticed a very strange and crippling symptom that I acquired at some point in my life, that seems to maybe be getting worse. Basically, it feels as though my senses are dulled, and my perception of the world around me is severely limited. My thought patterns have become very slow and disjointed, and my day to day activities especially when alone is very very basic and boring. It is almost as if my brain is no longer autonomously processing information around me, creating memories, stimulating me with thoughts and ideas. I feel empty and blank. The severity of this feeling fluctuates and it seems to improve sometimes, especially if I am not feeling overly anxious or if I do positive things like working out or meditating. I do not know how much of this I can attribute to pure psychology and I am worried more and more that there is something physically wrong with my brain. It almost feels dementia like. My short-term or the working memory can be extremely short-lived and sometimes when thinking through pretty basic thoughts or narratives or plotlines or solving simple problems, I easily forget what I was thinking about or I cannot hold the pieces of information long enough in my head to make sense of them.

Most of the time, it is not that I do not understand the problem it is just that I am trying to wrap my head around. Rather, I will be able to fully explain it to myself and come to the answer, but still for some reason be unclear as to whether I truly got it or not, and so then I will force myself to go through the logic of the problem again and again until I am satisfied with how much it has been "solidified" in my head. I might not have articulated this too well, but I am only saying it to underscore that this seems to be more a problem of information processing rather than my analytical abilities. I have found that my long-term memory seems to be somewhat stronger. This is especially true for memories formed a long time ago, which leads me to believe that maybe my recent short-term memory problems are also preventing me from encoding enough information in the moment to create vivid memories. Anyways, whatever this is, it has been further exacerbated by my intense focus on the problem, which is preventing me from being happy and sending me back into depression. I am seeing a neurologist in two months but I really do not want to wait that long to talk to someone. Meanwhile, I would love some insight or opinions on what this might be. Sorry if this explanation was somewhat rambly and disjointed. I am not very good at putting this problem into words so let me know if there is anything I should clarify or elaborate on further. Of note, I am on Advair and Albuterol and in the past, I have been on Wellbutrin.

The onset of these symptoms seems to have maybe been gradual but my acknowledgment of how bad they are was definitely more abrupt and coincided with my efforts in trying to climb back into the real world after my depressive episode. Another strange symptom that has presented itself for a while is ED and I have been concerned that the presentation of ED with neurological symptoms could suggest MS. Are my worries valid? Kindly reply.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • From your symptoms, I understand that you have problem encoding short-term memories and processing information.
  • To know this better, I need to know few things.
  1. Have you had any seizures in the childhood associated with fever?
  2. Do you misplace things?
  3. Is it difficult to find your way back home from work?
  4. Any new food habits or change from the previous ones?
  5. Do you have any headaches? Any urinary disturbances? Any hallucinations or delusions?
  6. Is your sleep alright?
  7. Do you have any difficulty performing your day-to-day activities like cooking or other household or work-related activities which require planning?

Kindly revert back with answers to the above questions.

For more information consult a neurologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/neurologist

Thank you doctor,

No, I have never had a seizure in my life nor any other neurological symptoms accompanied by fever. I do sometimes misplace things and I believe it is because I often pay very little attention to my surroundings or what I am doing at the moment. It is not typically difficult for me to find my way back home from work or to go anywhere because I live in a very small town that is easy to navigate, but I do think I am a little directionally challenged in larger cities. My food habits have never seemed to change. I do not ever get painful headaches, just the occasional dull soreness which seems to be focused either slightly to the right or left of the sagittal plane dividing the brain. In terms of urinary disturbances, it seems like my stream might be slightly weaker, but it does not seem to be much of an issue. My one symptom I am concerned about is the erectile dysfunction, and the possibility also that the level of sensation I feel around that region has been somewhat reduced. I don't have any hallucinations or delusions and my sleep seems fine. I had concerns at one point that I have sleep apnea, but I got a test done and it does not look like I do. Lastly, I think yes sometimes I do have difficulties performing day-to-day tasks, but simpler ones like cooking and cleaning are still not really a problem. I find that problems lie more with planning out my week or month or putting my to-do list in the larger context of short- and long-term goals. Anyways, that is all. Thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Thank you for the clarification.

  • Based on the information you have provided, this seems more a part of a depressive episode. Sometimes, residual symptoms that persist even after depression are adequately treated and you do not mention them if you are still taking the Wellbutrin (Bupropion).
  • Mild cognitive deficits and subtle memory disturbances along with difficulty in planning and organizing information and sexual dysfunction are known to be a part of the depressive syndrome itself. If that is the case, then that is a good news since all this is very treatable.
  • Secondly, you have not mentioned the reason why you are on the Advair (Fluticasone propionate and Salmeterol). Steroids can also lead to depressive symptoms. I would strongly recommend that you consult a psychiatrist for these symptoms.

For more information consult a neurologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/neurologist

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