Feelings: Numbness

Welcome to Feelings, a semi-regular gallery of popular culture GIFs, dedicated to a specific emotion. This week we have numbness.

Feeling numb is the experience of being able to remember the outline of emotions you no longer have access to. This can feel fixed, but like all emotional states, numbness is transitory, changeable – yet seemingly permanent. Feeling numb for long periods of time (months, years), can make this sense of permanency seem even more accurate.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-2442-1409096771-21.gif

Numbness can make us feel desperate. Our inability to connect with other people, express socially appropriate reactions, or feel pleasurable feelings can be painful. Without thoughtful enquiry or professional help, we may try to quiet this desperation with compulsive, distracting behaviours – we’ve all used an unhealthy coping mechanism or two before. But when the need to distract ourselves becomes a daily exercise, it’s important to take note.

Numbing behaviours aren't always obvious to other people – and what can look like numbing can be a component of self-care. What’s harmful is unique to the individual, so having your own number is really helpful here. And to be clear: there’s nothing wrong with drinking, occasional drug use, having a high sex-drive, binge-watching TV, scrolling the internet, indulging in food, or shopping. Pleasure seeking is perfectly healthy, and not something we need to pathologise. But, as with most things, understanding your motivation can help you decide whether or not a particular thing is helpful to you right now. If you feel like you've lost perspective on what is good or bad for you (or find that feeling numb has rendered you unable to stop doing things you would like to stop doing), seeking the advice of a professional might help. 

 

Links

Find A Psychologist findapsychologist.org.au

Hyperbole and a Half Adventures in Depression Part Two

Healthline Understanding Emotional Numbness 

See also - Feelings: AvoidanceFeelings: RageFeelings: EntitlementFeelings: Love (Is Love)

If you need support, please call Lifeline (13 11 14) or Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636). If living outside of Australia, please seek out services in your country.


Feelings: Avoidance

Welcome to Feelings, a semi-regular gallery of popular culture GIFs, dedicated to a specific emotion. This week we have avoidance.

Yep.

Yep.

No thank you.

No thank you.

Go away.

Go away.

Avoiding places, people, or things is very tempting.

Avoidant behaviour can vary from putting off inconvenient or uncomfortable tasks, to arranging our entire lives to exclude the things that scare us. In the short-term, avoiding can feel really good. There's a certain relief and security in knowing we can opt out anxiety provoking situations, and there are times when it's absolutely ok and good to do this. Over time though, avoiding as a coping mechanism tends to reinforce the original memory or thought causing the anxiety (as is the case with specific phobiasPTSDComplex PTSD, and other anxiety disorders). When our thought pattern or experience of a thing is limited to 'BAD', there is little opportunity to introduce the ideas of 'SAFE', or 'OK, I GUESS'. Our brains can be very good at hiding things from us; we can be so skilled at avoiding that we become unaware of our fears. This makes what we're avoiding even more confronting when we're suddenly presented with a situation we cannot avoid. 

Avoidance is also common among people with perfectionist tendencies.  Although we tend to associate perfectionism with productivity and high levels of achievement, people with perfectionist tendencies have unrealistic and unrelenting standards, which make the possibility of 'failure' (completing a task imperfectly), too frightening to engage with. 

If you're feeling avoidant, it can be helpful to work backwards by asking why; sometimes things are not about what we think they're about. If we can't make sense of our fears, talking to friends and seeking professional help are good ideas.

For a little loving encouragement, here is Facebook sensation Birb (a birb), reflecting on procrastination as avoidant behaviour. As Birb gently says, 'you can only do a win if you do a try'. 

Links

Find A Psychologist findapsychologist.org.au

See also - Feelings: RageFeelings: Entitlement; Feelings: Love (Is Love); Feelings: Numbness

If you need support, please call Lifeline (13 11 14) or Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636). If living outside of Australia, please seek out services in your country.