Well Being & Mental Health

Emotional Numbness: What is your go to anesthetic?

Ummm….. I went and lost my flow again. If I am truthful I have been feeling something similar to emotional numbness for the past few weeks but am starting to come out of it. I am forcing myself to sit and write to you or I may never write again. I have no idea what I want to say, or what will come out but if I don’t sit down and try then I won’t break the silence.

It is 4.54 am, my eyes are blurred but know if I don’t carve out this time to write I will end up getting pulled into my day and another day will pass.

That is the thing with life today, always so much to fit in and it is always the important things in life which get pushed to one side in favour for keeping up with ‘stuff’ which we feel we should be doing.

We rarely stop and ask ourselves why we are doing it, we just mindlessly do it with a sense of obligation attached. We never sit and question that obligation.

But when we really look at where our time goes, and are really truthful about it, we can see that a lot of where our time goes is simply acting as an anesthetic to keep us from feeling.

A lady I truly admire used the word anesthetic in regards to these online activities and it really resonated with me and I guess has promoted this post.

The way we feel is everything. It is the barometer to how we are living our life in any given time. Our emotions should be truly felt in order to allow them to pass through us and yet we repress them out of fear or an attempt to numb them totally.

Often it is easier for us to numb ourselves with mindless activities than truly feel the effects of our life.

For instance Netfllx binging.. is fine except when it becomes a crutch which starts to fill ever spare moment of your day and stops you from ever considering how you are truly feeling.

Facebook is giving something to occupy our brain in the most seductive and mindless way. We don’t have to engage and can user finger to scroll through the lives of everyone we have ever met. We can live our lives through watching them. We don’t even have to wait until we are at home so every little spare moment which used to be free for us to feel something is now numbed out with scrolling. Even stood in a queue, we no longer have that window of nothingness to allow our brain to wander and unpick today’s burning questions or problems, we just open the app and start scrolling so we don’t have to think a thing… except perhaps to feel resentment, jealousy or judgment based on what someone else is doing other than being in a queue.

Perhaps it is solitaire or another addictive game on your phone.

Perhaps there is something else in your life which keeps you from just being and feeling your way through life.

The issue is that if we allow ourselves to walk through our lives totally anesthetized then we may miss it totally. We will get to the end of our lives, look back and realise that we didn’t feel a thing. We will notice that we had switched off and allowed ourselves to be carried through and missed the joy of loved ones, memory making and the opportunity to leave a legacy behind.

YES it is lovely to keep in-touch with people and see what they are doing BUT if you don’t do this on YOUR terms then you are sacrificing your life so you can hear about other’s, sometimes down to the minutiae of what they had for tea….

I have recently deleted FB from my phone as I noticed it was making me ill. It was my go to anesthetic when I was feeling low and was keeping me down. I felt more lonely and more disconnected every time I ‘visited’

The way it feels to me is having a phone line which is constantly on with everyone telling you their news (some polished for that perfect appearance and others dramatised for added effect) and we have little control over what we are allowing into our heads.

The way i am going to start using the platform (that or I will need to come off) is to go out for a coffee once or twice a week and catch up with friends properly. So I will unfollow EVERYONE and then go and visit the pages of people i am thinking about that week. Perhaps people I haven’t seen for a while or people who I know are doing something exciting. I know I will miss things but the responsibility seems to be on us to keep up with the news of everyone in our lives instead of them letting us know. In our live before Facebook a loved one would phone us, write to us or even text us… now it is a sweeping message for all to see and it is our responsibility to catch them all. That is a HUGE burden and one I am not prepared to carry any more.

I will try and join in and catch up over a coffee but I will not let it rule my life as it is too precious to waste.

I would love to know how using Facebook on YOUR terms means to you. What strategy do you use? How can you use it more effectively? Are you using these tools to numb your emotions? Are you feeling emotional numbness… even in a tiny way? Don’t be scared by your emotions.. they need to come out or you are trapping a little part of you at the same time and you are so flipping amazing that the whole you needs to be seen.

With love,
PS: it is now 5.20 so have written for nearly an half an hour.. not bad for someone who didn’t know what they wanted to say and a note to you to just get started on that thing you are putting off as it will be over before you know it 😉

  • Thank you for sharing, and taking the time to write such a thought-provoking piece. Addictions run strong in my family, so I have to be really careful. Because I get addicted really quick.

  • Thank you for writing this sensitive post and sharing your journey with us.

    I can relate to some of this. I burned out last year, forcing me to do those things I didn’t make time for – reading, walking in nature, yoga and sitting quietly.

    Facebook became a crutch. Unfortunately, it’s the platform where I belong to my favourite business groups, so I started being selective in which groups I visited and pruned the rest.

    I couldn’t justify belonging to 200+ groups when I never visited even 10% of them!

    In reducing my time on FB, I’ve reconnected with real people. It’s great having proper conversations, meeting someone for coffee, taking off the mask and being real.