Here’s What To Do When You Feel Empty And Don’t Know Why

Sad Girl Looking Down
Allef Vinicius

You’re standing in a crowded place with the sweat of strangers dripping down your skin and tequila fucking your mind and cigarette smoke lacing through your hair and deafening beats hammering your ears; you can smell sex and sin in the air like cocaine, and you know the high from this scene is supposed to course through your body like electricity and fire up your senses, but then for reasons you don’t know or for reasons you do know but can’t seem to accept, you just feel so detached from the moment and even from your own body as well.

You feel nothing. You’re an empty shell.

So you take one last lethal shot, go home with one of your buddies, and decide to get laid. Maybe human touch can make you come alive. Maybe you’d feel something even if it’s temporary, even if you know that you’ll twist and turn on a bed of lies, catching glimpses of paradise that will be gone in the blink of an eye, gone with your last cry. So you fuck, but then for reasons you don’t know or for reasons you do know but can’t seem to accept, the pleasure left you feeling even emptier.

So you just sleep it all away and show up for work the next day, because you have responsibilities and you can’t use loneliness as an excuse to go on leave. Work is the only thing that keeps you going; it gives you a sense of fulfillment that, even if you’re fucked up in your personal life, at least you have a career and you’re not out on the streets. You’re earning a living; you’re paying your dues. If doing well in the work is the only criteria for this thing called adulting, then you’d have grand slammed that game.

If you’re messed up and lonely and miserable, for reasons you don’t know, or for reasons you do know but can’t seem to accept, does it mean you’re not adulting well? You’re not maturing fast enough? Does it mean you’re not counting the good things in your life?

You know depression; you’ve heard of all those tragic tales. This isn’t the same, not yet anyway. But you could already feel depression’s deathly fingers lightly grazing your heart, tracing the parts where it could sense happiness and leaving a trail of coldness instead in its wake. Its icy grip is slowly starting to take hold of your heart, dousing the fire of life that once burned brightly inside you.

You don’t know when it began; the perpetual misery just gradually started to creep in and suffocate you, like a small, almost unnoticeable puddle at your feet that just kept rising higher and higher; before you know it, you’re already neck deep in a flood of your own shit and the rain just won’t stop pouring.

A dead girl walking, this is how you feel every day. There’s a black hole in your heart, and you don’t know how to stop it from getting bigger and bigger and sucking you in. The days pass, and there’s nothing to look forward to each time you open your eyes.

You don’t understand where all this is coming from because you know that your life’s good, but you can’t shake off the feeling of emptiness. You’re drowning, sinking deeper, and there’s nothing to hold on to.

If you have ever felt this way, you know very well what I’m talking about. And I want you to know that you’re not alone. But one thing’s for sure — alcohol, drugs, sex, and other things that get you high temporarily won’t be enough to rescue you from the flood and stop you from getting sucked into that black hole. If anything, it will kill you more. But damn I know the high is exhilarating; in those moments, you feel invincible.

I know I’m supposed to tell you that you have to fight it. The world will tell you all kinds of clichés to solve your problem in the most positive way, but I’m going to sidestep this bullshit advice as well because I know that fighting or being the least bit optimistic in this kind of battle is futile. You’re empty, dead, broken, and you don’t even fucking know why or when it began or how it will end.

Stay still, darling. Don’t fight; let the waves roll over you, wash you clean. This misery is meant to teach you something. I’m not going to tell you that you’ll learn a golden lesson from this, but maybe you’ll find something greater when the dust settles.

Maybe you’ll find yourself. So if you’re in this situation, don’t force yourself to claw your way out of the black hole because it just won’t happen for as long as you’re resisting.
I know the world will tell you to just suck it up and smile and be positive and all that shit, but don’t let them get in your head. Don’t feel bad or sorry for feeling this way; you have the right to hate and curse.

That turbulence in your mind and heart now — don’t fight it; feel it. Let the hurricane spin you around and drop you someplace new, somewhere unfamiliar. Maybe from there, you can start over.

Until then, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay, darling. Feel it. Stay still. You are not alone. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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