When you feel nothing and all you can think is “I feel dead inside”, you start to believe you’ll never feel alive or happy again. Hold on, because these feelings will pass! Your life won’t always feel so lonely, empty, or meaningless.
I don’t have magic tips or miracle solutions that erase the dark feelings of being dead inside, but I can share a few practical ideas that might help. One of the best things you can do is scroll through the comments section below. You’ll see that you aren’t alone, and you may find words of comfort and support from other readers. Above all, remember that feeling dead inside isn’t a permanent state – no matter how long you’ve felt this way.
This article was inspired by a reader who is struggling to accept her relationship breakup. “I feel like I’m a dead soul on the inside,” says Kate on What to Do When Your Life Feels Empty. “I met my boyfriend at work, and I felt my life was complete because he was there for me. Day and day out I feel like I needed him more than he would ever need me. Now he is marrying someone his mother chose for him, and I feel dead inside. I am devastated and feel nothing. I am however going to start going to the gym to have an activity that I could look forward to besides work. But I am so used to having him in my life constantly, I live alone, and I don’t know how to come alive again.”
You’re not alone if you’re saying “I feel dead inside.” Last month 72,000 people searched for ways to come alive, and more people are searching for life, hope and help every month. More and more people are seeking to find deep meaning and purpose in their lives.
Overcoming your feeling of being dead inside won’t be as simple as scrolling through my tips and finding a quick fix. It may have taken years for your empty feelings to develop and take root, which means it may take a long time for them to come alive again.
4 Ways to Come Alive When You Feel Dead Inside
What worked – and works – for me is knowing that I am a child of God. In Your Purpose as a Child of God – Echoes of Dawn I describe how meaningful life can be. I don’t know if you know Jesus, but He is the key to life. I’m not talking about going to church or even talking to a pastor…I’m talking about experiencing the power of God. If you have questions about Jesus Christ, feel free to ask in the comments section below.
To come alive when you feel dead inside, you need to figure out what will work for you. You are the only expert on you (besides God, who created you), and you know more about yourself than anyone ever will. Your job is to find the crack in the tomb and start prying it open until the light comes in. Keep trying new and different things, ideas and activities that might help you stop saying “I feel dead inside” and start coming back to life.
Take one step forward, and don’t give up. These four ideas will get you started…
1. Go back to when you first started to feel numb
When my grandma died, I felt like I was dead on the inside. My grief was overwhelming and constant. I was numb and overwhelmed, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I wanted to hide from the world and never wake up.
Sometimes the feeling of being dead inside is actually grief or heartache that is stuck in our hearts, souls, and spirits. Difficult emotions, such as guilt, anger, shame, or regret can cause emotional issues if they aren’t processed or work through. But regardless of the cause – such as my grandma’s death or Kate’s breakup – the feeling is similar. Numb, no feeling, purposeless, emptiness, flat line. No ups or downs, just sad grey nothing.
I knew I needed to grieve my grandma’s death, and then I’d start to feel alive again. Kate needs to grieve the end of her relationship – and she’s already starting by going to the gym and creating activities that will help her heal.
What about you – when did this feeling of being dead inside start? Was there an event, or did it happen gradually? Thinking about this can help you heal and come back to life. If you know what the cause was, you can learn different cures. For instance, if you’re dealing with a breakup you can learn different ways to let go of someone you love. If you’re depressed you can try different natural remedies for depression.
2. Bring your story out of darkness into the light
Have you talked about what happened to you? Maybe you need to forgive yourself for past mistakes, or share your story with someone you trust. Secrecy and darkness makes everything worse. If you hide your experiences and problems, they will get darker and scarier. But if you tell people that you feel dead inside, you may be surprised at how much support and encouragement you find.
You may even find someone who says, “I experienced the same thing, and I felt dead inside for months. This is what helped me….” Or maybe you don’t need practical ways to come alive. Maybe you just need to tell someone what happened to you, who hurt you, and how numb you feel.
Bring your story and your soul into the light. It will help you heal. You might join a group of people struggling with the same thing, or start a blog, or just tell your best friend what happened. Maybe you need to see a doctor or counselor. Do something…don’t let the darkness win.
3. Venture into the past
Back when my grandma died, I didn’t do much to help myself come alive again. I didn’t know what to do.
Fortunately, I didn’t experience complicated grief or depression, and I was able to let my pain and grief go. That was an easier situation to deal with because my grandma was in her 70s, and I knew one day she’d die. I was still unprepared and heartbroken, but at some level I expected it.
But what I couldn’t get over for the longest time was my sister’s decision to stop speaking to me. This was numbing and painful at the same time. I didn’t feel dead inside, but I did feel shocked, confused, and ashamed. I’ve also experienced the pain of infertility and the loss of several loved ones.
Now when bad things happen to me, I know what helps me. I connect with God and find His presence incredibly comforting. I don’t know why we have to experience painful events and difficult feelings, but I no longer question. I’ve learned to accept and surrender to what is.
4. Experiment with different ways to come alive
It’s time to get creative! How have you tried to combat the feeling of being dead inside? Maybe you’ve talked to your family doctor, tried different prescription medications for depression, gone for counseling, joined a support group, read books, or even volunteered with people who are worse off than you.
Nothing worked, right?
Maybe it’s time to step outside your comfort zone. Plan a solo trip to Egypt. Move to New York City. Book an appointment with an art therapist. Start a blog. Learn how to play a new musical instrument. Sing in a choir. Go to church.
If you feel overwhelmed and stuck, read When the Grief Never Ends and You Can’t Reach Out to God.
What’s your experience with feeling dead inside and coming alive? Write through your feelings, ask God questions, write what He might be saying to you. Take time to think about what’s holding you back, what voices you’re listening to. Listen to the still small voice inside you – because somewhere in your heart, spirit and soul you have the answer.
And, feel free to respond to other readers’ comments. Share your experience with others, be honest about your feelings. Writing – especially in your private journal with a paper and a pen – can help you feel better.
May you find hope, healing and joy in unexpected ways on unexpected days.