Imagine if you will that you come upon a horrible accident. The anguish and pain you see are overwhelming. In order for you to call for help and assist the injured, you must numb your feelings and emotions, or you will not be able to do what is needed. In this situation, numbing is essential.
What if you were working for a firm that represented a very large and valuable client? What if the client was asking you to put together a project for them that showed a side of the world which went against your beliefs and views of the world? Numbing becomes the only way to continue in your job. Not connecting anything in your mind and body allows you to get your work done. Quitting the job was not an option at that point, but numbing was the only option. In this case, numbing is essential to your survival.
Maybe you had been going through an exhausting and stressful time at work. Arriving at home, Sally needed new shoes. Jack needed new pants. Josh needed help on a school project. On top of that, you had laundry to get done, grocery shopping to complete and a million other things to do. If you stopped to feel everything in your body at that moment, you most likely would not accomplish everything you needed to, and so you would need to numb out.
Consider waking up in the morning with intense back pain. You barely were able to move. Your neck was as stiff as it can be. Reaching for pain relievers, you hope the pain will go away. There is way too much for you to do in your day. The only alternative to functioning in your day is to numb your body and avoid the pain.
Maybe numbing could best be observed in a simple way where you’ve been burning the midnight oil, and not getting enough rest. You realize that you’ve got numerous projects to finish, papers to write, or emails to answer. Maybe you have to get on a plane the next morning and fly to some business meeting. You find yourself sluggish and instead of being able to stop at that moment, you numb yourself with energy drinks or coffee and sugar.
One could argue different outcomes or choices for any of these scenarios that I have just listed. It’s easy to look at them from the outside and make statements about how we would do things differently. Unfortunately, if we do that, we do not see our life correctly. Yes, you may not have these same scenarios, but all of us encounter variations of moments in life where we numb out, or we need to numb out to make it through a particular experience.
If you were abused as a child, most likely you learned how to survive by numbing. Whether it was sexual abuse or just being beaten through spankings and physical punishment, there is no way that you can survive these things by feeling every moment of them when they are happening. We numb to survive. We numb so we don’t have to think about the things we want to forget.
Numbing is biological. It is part of our human experience and brain function. It is a way we protect ourselves when experiences become more than we can bear.
If you look at war, you can easily understand that to survive these situations; you must numb yourself. If your arm is shot off, your buddy is blown to bits, or you hear the screams of those hurt close to you, it would overload your mind to feel everything that was going on. The only way to make it through at this point is to numb out.
We numb out when we tune out of the body and shut our senses down. We are not aware that we have tuned out of the body and shut down. It is an unconscious activity, and until we have gone into what causes us to shut down, it will continue to be an unconscious pattern in life.
Being numb is when we don’t want to think about what is happening. We dissociate through countless hours of playing online games, becoming engulfed in social media or numerous other ways. Watching the TV for hours or listening to the media pundits, we do not engage our brains in a critical way. They are passively active and only subscribing to what is happening on the screen. It is numbing.
We numb when we tell others just to quit focusing on what happened to them. We act as if we are 100% healed from something when we are not. When all we want is to be happy and focus on pretty things, we are numbing. When we fail to balance our lives with the things that are not nice to look at, we numb. We are numb when we tell others that they should feel this way or that way or do this or that, but yet we don’t sit with them in the midst of their pain. Our minds are thinking from the library of the ego, not the cells of the heart. We numb when we are not completely real with others in life.
We numb through the use of alcohol, drugs, medication, marijuana, coffee, sugar, and food among others.
Numbing is going through life where we feel no pain, yet we have many ailments. When you are going through life where you fail to see the stresses of your life and how you contribute to them, it is numbing. Numbing is about keeping yourself so busy that you fail to live life.
Just before I was paralyzed during my Conversion Disorder experience, I was one of the happiest people you could meet. I never complained. I never showed that I was in pain or hurting or angry. In fact, most people thought I had it all together in life. The thing they didn’t know was that I had numbed myself so much that even I believed everything was fun, pretty, beautiful and there were no issues in my life.
As humans, we’re quite good at numbing out and not even realizing it. We can do it without thinking about it, and we do it all the time. Before you think you’re a person that doesn’t numb out, let me suggest it is time to look in the mirror and begin feeling.
We stop the numbing process by feeling. When we feel the pains and discomforts in the body, we begin to turn our life switch back on. By connecting the feeling of pain or discomfort in the body and allowing it to sync up with our mind, we begin to become more human than we could ever imagine. We evolve in awareness and increase our consciousness of who we are and all that we can be in this world.
Is it always fun to stop the numbing process? No! If you’ve spent a lifetime of numbing out, it may not be easy in the beginning moments. However, I can speak from experience that if you continue to numb out, it will catch up with you. Maybe it already has, physically or mentally or emotionally. If we are truthful with ourselves, we will see this, but if we continue to hide from it, we will never know all that we can be.
At the moment an experience or event occurs, numbing becomes a needed survival mechanism. However, if we fail to go in and discharge that from a feeling and sensing origin in the body, then we will diminish what life is.
All too often, our minds fail to realize that we are no longer living that experience. The moment of survival never turns off. If we find the courage and a person who can walk through the fire with us, then we can begin to discover that life is so much more than we see at this moment. We need a person without their own issues and judgment clouding the way.