If you haven’t read the first part, check it out here: 100 things that might be holding you back Part 1
A feeling of numbness is a response to pain. You can’t deal with whatever’s going on in your life, so you shut down – you push people away, you protect your injuries with a hardened emotional scab. You’re tired of feeling stress and pain, so you choose to feel nothing. You become a member of what I call the living dead.
Now, this can be a useful coping mechanism – for a period of time, being able to block out intense emotions can be useful. For example, one summer I was working for a big seed company. It was a good summer job, to make lots of money in between college semesters. I drove a truck around to fields that were owned by the company, and checked up on detasselers, and other odd jobs having to do with the harvest of corn. I had to work a whole lot of hours, and Sonia (who was my fiancé at that time) was going through cancer treatment. That made it difficult for me to go to work every day, but when we found out that Sonia had such incredibly low hemoglobin that she was at risk for a heart attack, work became nearly unbearable. I couldn’t stand knowing that Sonia could have a heart attack, and I wouldn’t know about it until I got in from the fields. I remember getting up at 4:00 every morning to go out to the fields, and as I was driving towards the brightening eastern sky, my vision would blur up and I would have a solid golf-ball-sized lump in my throat. Once I got to work I had to stuff that emotion, or I simply wouldn’t be able to function.
However – (you knew there would have to be a however, didn’t you?) this needs to be a short-term fix. If numbness becomes chronic, it saps away your energy and love of life, and it turns you into a zombie, unable to enjoy the simplest of pleasures. I know that sometimes hard situations last for a long time, but you can find some hope and peace in every situation.
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