Do you see the whole view or does numbness black out part of your view?
The value of numbness is that you avoid the extreme feelings or any feelings and just float in a sense of nowhere or nothingness. At times this is the easy escape. There is no pain, hurt or scary feelings when you can blank out everything. I have most often used or a good mystery novel to escape into numbness. Why pay attention to your own life when you can escape into someone elses’ life? The problem with numb is that you also push out joy, happy, calm, gratitude and awarenss of life around you. That is not a good place to be either. I know there is a middle ground where I want to stay in awareness and be strong enough to handle the big scary feelings. Somedays I feel strong other days escape is what I crave. When people ask me , “How are you?” Do they want the real answer or the public one? The public answer is now: I am doing reasonable well, staying focused on the good things around me. The private answer is: how I feel varies wildly from strong, brave, hopeful to scared, sad and exhausted. I am reading and learning how to practice self care and self compassion. I know in my brain to allow, acknowlege feelings is a good thing. Then release those emotions so they do not run your life. This all sounds good in theory. In practice this is harder to manage. What does not help. Numbing just allows my feelings to build and sneak up to overwhelm me. Escape is a reasonable short term solution when I make it a deliberate choice, not the default everyday option. Exercise is my best way to feel good – swimming being at the top of my list. I think is is the floating feeling of being in the water and you have to foucs on breathing. Swimming laps is hard to start every time until you find your rhythm then it feels like I could go forever. That awarenss that you can do the hard things helps carry over for me on dry land. Writing this journal is my way to gather, sort and process my thoughts and feelings. Reading other people’s blogs is helpful to remind myself that I am connected to other people on this journey.
I woke up this morning with the missing link: me, what about me? When I get stuck in numbness it is also ignoring me and what I need for self care. Ignoring pain, fear or sadness just feeds those feelings. I think keeping them in the light and out of my head is the best way to avoid the numb space of feeling nothing at all. Asking better questions helps get me out of a funk. What do you have to be grateful for? What did you learn today? Where did you see a reason to smile? How do you feel right now? What do you need right now? What action can you take for yourself today? See all your feelings , live with them, choose the ones that fit your needs. Simple in theory, reality is this is a daily practice that does stretch my emotional muscles. I am getting much stronger emotionally and recognize all the small little stuff is not worth my time and energy. Today I choose light over numbness, awarenss over ignoring.