I have a very close friend named Marta who is a psychologist. Marta always spoke about a person’s emotional state as if it is all mapped out, all charted. If she heard somebody describe their thoughts, feelings, anxieties, fears, shame or guilt – she always had a quick response. Her words were along the lines of reassuring the person that what they were going through was very normal. Then she would tell them that they were at a certain  stage, in what sounded like some kind of emotional choreography.

I have had friends who suffered with all types of depression and other emotionally related “disorders”, if that’s the correct term. I have worked with patients with very severe mental and emotional illness. I have seen a lot. I have also seen a marvellous amount of recovery. But I have never fully been able to get on board with the way Marta described things. She definitely seemed to reassure people though, and helped them feel they could win their battles.

I would like to talk to Marta about my feelings at the moment. She is a very reassuring person. She has a very strong character. She imparts strength in her words. She would tell me I am doing very well, that I am on course emotionally. She would explain to me which “stage” I am in dealing with loss and disappointment. She would describe to me what to expect and not to be afraid when it comes.

on.pngI have had some challenges in recent years to deal with, and I feel I know myself better emotionally after what I have been through in the past. At the moment I am incredibly tired. I do believe a lot of that has to do with my emotions.

However, I am not actually feeling strong emotions at the moment. Instead there is a numbness. I feel a little bit like I am floating along and going through the motions. I am not taking in much of what is happening around me. I am in my own little world. It will pass. I can sense that there is a lot of hurt and a huge sense of disappointment behind the numbness, but for now the numbness is perhaps protecting me. I don’t know.

Even today, which was lovely, I know it was very pleasant. But it washed over me. I wasn’t fully there. The cake I ate was moist and sweet and had all the signs of being delicious, but I was not really tasting it. I don’t know if that makes sense. But it almost feels as if my senses are dampened at the moment – and something tells me that there is a reason for that, and not be be anxious. It is a safe state to be in right now. Muted sensations. It’s as if someone has turned the volume right down for me, so that nothing can overwhelm me.

Mental and emotional health is a bit mysterious to me, but I am not afraid of it (well, I am not afraid if my own ups and downs anyway). I accept that occasionally my brain decides to switch on autopilot, until perhaps it is the right time to let me take over the controls again. I don’t know if any of this is making sense to you. But I am trying to put into words something I only vaguely have a grasp of.

But yesterday I was so lost within myself that I had a cooking mishap. I was making melanzane alla parmigiana. When I was frying off the slices of aubergine (eggplant) the oil was hissing and spitting. I know that several times hot oil landed on my arms and on my neck and the top of my chest. I remember it happening and I remember that it hurt. But at the time, I did not react. I just stood there letting it happen, because I was lost in other thoughts. So I have decided just to eat sandwiches and leftover cake from today’s afternoon tea until I am passed this numbness.






23 thoughts on “Numbness”

    1. Yes…I realized last night when I was thinking about it, that while I am not concentrating very well, I may need to think a bit differently about the tasks I undertake and make life easier for myself.

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  1. It is easy to be distracted while doing any activity. That is the nature of our mind, plays tricks on us, goes on a trip somewhere while our house is burning down. But I do understand that with certain mental health issues this can be hazardous for you. Be well, you can only do what you can do.

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    1. I have some very devestating news this week.
      I am still trying to come to terms with it Helene.

      I mentioned challenges in the past that I have faced, they involved a very stressful situation that lasted for a almost three years and then being the victim of a crime.

      I remember after leaving hospital back then my emotions were a bit topsy-turvy for a few months, and it was great to have Marta telling me that was completely normal especially in view of what I had been through.

      This kind of numbness I have had this week, I am aware that I have had it before. But Marta is not in London any longer, so I miss her reassurance.

      Lots of women have experienced this and come through it though. And of course I think almost all of them will have been through various emotions in dealing with the loss.

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  2. it sounds like you are dissociating your emotions, dissociation is a good thing sometimes, and that hot oil landing on you and you not feeling anything or reacting, yes thats definitely dissociation. sending hugs to you hun! xox

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  3. I went through a numb period last year after an anxiety burnout. During that time I stumbled onto a strangely palliative pastime – watching Kdrama (South Korean TV dramas) and reading Kdrama recaps on a really lovely blog Dramabeans (the people on it are so friendly, nice environment, interesting articles).

    Some of the Kdramas are very romantic Bridget Jones Jane Austen type of stories. You can watch them online for free or if you have Netflix they have loads of them. They’re incredibly soothing, not sure why but I think it may be because there’s an innocence and naivety about them, they’re a bit like fairy tales for grown ups. You do have to read subtitles if you watch them, but that’s rather mesmerising to do and it doesn’t matter if you miss some of it because they repeat things.

    I’m watching one called Coffee Prince atm. It’s a very sweet love story. One of my favourites is called Master’s Sun – also a love story with some supernatural elements and the villains aren’t stressful ones (in some Kdramas the villains are just too annoying and stressful).

    Find something soothing and relaxing to do. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be and do anything if you’re not ready to be and do it. It’s okay to press pause when your body/emotions/minds needs a pause.

    Take care, Mel ❤

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  4. Thank you ❤

    I like Jane Austen type stories – nice and light and merry. That is the type of thing I need right now.

    Today I wrote some abysmal poetry – which was relaxing and it helped me to get some things out. Funny how I didn't want to have to think about grammar and paragraphs or any formatting. I just wrote some poems in no particular style. But I really enjoyed it.

    I also did something that some people might think is crazy (I care not)…my little Nokia phone is really on it's last legs. I can't have a conversation with someone unless they are on speaker phone and one of the numbers on the key pad does not work any longer. Anyway…I didn't want to lose all the wonderful text messages I have received from Goldfinch, so I have copied them all out – that's right all of them!!! My wrist is hurting a bit now. I wrote in very pretty cursive handwriting and it was so lovely to sit peacefully doing it. I am so relieved that I have done it!

    I am going to have an early night tonight and then I am spending the afternoon with another nice gentle friend. I am glad I have a few gentle friends. I don't think I can cope with anything loud at the moment. Normally I do like noisy and fun. Right now…I quiet and calm is just wonderful.

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    1. I have to admit, I think it’s actually quite helpful.
      Nothing else is getting to me right now. My kitchen sink tap has broken, the bathroom light cord snapped off when I pulled it, I have had to deal with some rooooooooooude people – and none of it is bothering me. I’m in my little bubble of numbness and nothing is getting to me. I have something oh so much bigger I am dealing with, nothing else is getting to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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