Slipping into Numbness

I envy not in any moods

The captive void of noble rage, The linnet born within the cage, That never knew the summer woods:


I envy not the beast that takes His license in the field of time, Unfetter'd by the sense of crime, To whom a conscience never wakes;


Nor, what may count itself as blest, The heart that never plighted troth But stagnates in the weeds of sloth; Nor any want-begotten rest.


I hold it true, whate'er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most;

'Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.

Alfred Lord Tennyson


Imagine you could go through the rest of your life without ever feeling hurt or pain. No one you really love or even just really like would ever die. You'd never be betrayed by a friend, never fail an exam or get fired from a job, never have a negative health diagnosis. You'd never dislike your reflection in the mirror, never feel guilt and shame about a mistake you'd made. You'd never even stub your toe on the bottom of bed or walk into a door handle and best of all girls... no periods! boys... em well no whacks to the nuts. We all know which is worse of course.


One caveat though. No joy either. No purpose, no passion, no falling in love, no uncontrollable laughter. No being blessed by the kindness of another, no little eureka moments of "oh my goodness I'm blessed to be alive." In short, nothing. You'd feel absolutely nothing. Total numbness. No pain, no pleasure. Well no anything actually.

Perhaps to you a notion of this kind of lifestyle is abhorrent... you couldn't think of anything worse than being incapable of feeling. Yet it's amazing the amount of people who for one reason or another seem to be living this life.


For many, happiness, purpose and fulfillment feel like a bit of a pipe dream. Past hurts, mistakes and disappointments govern their lives and they are terrified of having to experience those feelings again. A common example is in the area of relationships. Often people who have been hurt by a partner are so terrified of feeling such pain again that they close themselves off from falling for someone else. Kind of a safety mechanism. "If I don't let myself feel, then I can't hurt right" play it safe! A kind of emotional numbness.


Somehow unconsciously I slipped into emotional numbness.


I was so afraid of being depressed again, so afraid of being tortured by questions about God, about myself and who I was that I somehow went for numbness. It felt like sleepwalking through life unaffected and unmoved by people and events around me. I didn't have passion, I didn't have purpose and I didn't have any care or concern for people. Every time I tried to write a blog it just felt really contrived and really crap.

My desire for not feeling bad was so much greater than my desire for actually feeling good. How could you keep going like that? How could you settle for such a shit life? Simple. It's better than hospital. It could be worse.  Just be satisfied. You're ok. Don't push the boat. There's always someone worse off. And so on and so on and so on.


My motto became I'll be dead someday so nothing really matters. This was such a shift from the attitude I used to have of I'll be dead someday so everything matters. How do you get out of that state? How do you proactively try to get out of a state you don't consciously realise you've slipped in to. Slipping into numbness was a safety mechanism. Stepping out of numbness would have to be a sure movement. It would take effort. It would mean feeling.


Risky...


Darren Shields

Healing through Honesty

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