I Feel Like I Can’t Feel

Mariam Naeem
3 min readJul 27, 2021
Photo by Austin Tiffany on Unsplash

This is a difficult moment to describe. I feel like I can’t feel. Recently, I’ve not noticed much in the way of sadness or happiness. I can express it by saying it, but my body doesn’t seem to react much any more.

Call it desensitization to feeling or empathy. I think it’s going.

They say if you go through enough trauma in your life it eventually leads to your loss of empathy. It’s almost troublesome to realise that I don’t feel the way normal people feel. Yes, I have gone through things in my life that a woman should never have had to go through. Yes, I’ve had some toxic humans in my life.

I can see when someone is hot, so I’ll offer them an ice cream. If someone is cold, I’ll suggest a hoodie or a blanket. I’m not a total loss.

In terms of relationships with friends, family and lovers however, that empathy is fading. I don’t react much any more. We had a big family celebration of Eid and although I was back from travelling and exhausted, I could have still said yes. Logically it wasn’t feasible. I had no time to buy an outfit, get my nails done or relax after work. It would have been a case of running home and rifling through millions of clothes to find a suitable outfit, shower and get ready and get to the restaurant the family had booked all within an hour.

My sister exploded at me. She’s very open with her feelings. I felt like an ice cube perched beside an erupting volcano. I couldn’t really express remorse for my decision, or guilt. I just felt I had made the best choice possible because had I chosen to go, it would have seriously cut into my routine and wouldn’t have had a favourable outcome. I’d have been exhausted, drained from a long day of socialising with people who never normally speak to me, probably feeling like shit from the unhealthy food choices, and would have spent money that I could have just saved up or invested in something else. I feel strange for having no particular reaction to that.

Take today’s workout in the gym. Legs. That’s something I can feel. Except it’s something physical, not emotional. So again, total loss.

I’m beginning to think that over time, some of my behaviours can be described as sociopathic. But I’m a functioning sociopath. I’m as normal as you or I. I still enjoy doing what I do…