the numbing effect.

I prefer to keep my Facebook page mostly positive and uplifting. Though I talk about my emotions and how I feel, I get down to the nitty-gritty right here.

And that's where I am, in this moment, as I write. 

This past month, I have felt an immense wave of sadness and emptiness. This past week, I finally cried the angry, frustrated, bitter, confused tears I've forced back for almost a year. I sat in my floor, and I let my coordinated eye makeup smear down my cheeks. I've seen hopes and almosts and aspirations crumble. The word "No" has felt like a perpetual mantra. I've felt let down, and honestly felt like God has waved something in front of my face just to snatch it away. And I know, deep down, that God's character is not like that. But I'm just being real, and if I'm being real, that's how it has felt. There have been pockets of joy and bliss, and for that, I am grateful. Words of affirmation are my love language, and I am surrounded by a beautiful community of people. But, nonetheless, I have felt physically and mentally overwhelmed by a deep feeling of sadness and shame. It's not healthy either. It affects multiple parts of my life. When these feelings occur, my numbing tool is withdrawing myself, and staying busy. And this week, God convicted me of just that. 

Busyness. It's my coping mechanism; my go to when my own thoughts and life become too enormous and too daunting. In my denial, I tell myself that I am just getting coffee or just taking a therapeutic drive or that I've worked hard and deserve this or that the music is just giving me fuel and inspiration. But the harsh reality is that these otherwise simple, pure things are made a drug by my abuse of them. It's my escape. And there are consequences. My car's gas light flicks to that horrific, orange color. My spending account suddenly has a cringe worthy dent; and I can tell you now that 99% of that money wasn't spent wisely, thoughtfully, thinking ahead to the future. I drown out my mind in music. I tap the volume button until all other noise is blocked out; even that of my own mind. I go from one place to another - it doesn't matter if it's a coffee shop or the gym or driving aimlessly around, hoping I'll have some "Eureka!" moment - as long as I am doing something, the deep pain and emptiness I feel is soothed. 

"If I stay busy, I don’t have to feel those things.

I don’t have to worry about them, don’t have to let them blossom in to full-fledged questions. I don’t have to sit and think about that thing someone said about me recently when they didn’t know I was there, something I can’t get out of my mind. And so I run away from it, and from everything, faster, faster, faster." (Read more here)

And then, the time comes to go home. I am exhausted. My energy now feels like adrenal fatigue. I want to cry. I walk into my bedroom, and I have no choice but to face my own thoughts. I mistakenly glance into the mirror, and am at war, once again, with the body and face I have tried declaring peace with again and again and again. I sit down on my cold floor. I sigh a deep sigh, and contemplate all of the expectations I had for the week, and the brutal reality that became of them. It hurts. It sometimes makes me wish I could curl up and die. I feel like a failure. I feel empty. 

And so, the pattern continues. There is this song called "Habits" that I have always had a strange connection to. Obviously I don't smoke weed and "watch freaky people" in clubs, but the gist of the song? I get it. As much as it can be played on pop culture radio, the lyrics intrigue me every time. One lyric, in particular, sticks out to me: "Can't go home alone again; need someone to numb the pain."

It makes sense. Once all of the fun is over, what is going to numb the gut wrenching feelings? What is left? How do I cope?

"The busy-ness is a drug to keep me numb, and a defense to keep me safe.

And it works. But numb and safe aren’t key words for the life I want to live. I want so much more than numb and safe. And when I pursue numb and safe, what I get is busy, and after that what I get is exhausted, and after that, fragile and weepy and quick to snap and fearful.
So much for numb and safe, which aren’t even something to aspire to anyway." (Read more here)
God has convicted me of not just the things in which I use as numbing, coping mechanisms - but also the fact that I put more power and faith in those things, rather than in him. We've had some interesting time together. My prayers have been a lot of, "God, you feel arbitrary" and "God, sometimes it feels like I am praying to air" and "God, I just want a clear answer." Some have been desperate. Some have been selfish. Some have been a little absurd. Some have involved choice words. You know what, though? Every time, I am reminded that he is my shepherd. Yahweh Rohi. Even if I, in my stubbornness, question his goodness and his character, I am reminded that he is my protector. He is my guide. He is on my team. When I try to run and hide from my own thoughts - when busyness becomes a drug to keep me numb, and a defense to keep me safe - and the outcomes of my life, He is my shepherd. He warms my chilled bones. He fills my emptiness with life. 
He reminds me that the materialism and the chaos that I choose to cope with only gratify for so long. He reminds me that numbness is not a natural state of being. It's not how we, as humans, are intended to function. We were created to empathize, not become desensitized to our feelings and surroundings. 

It's hard; I know. But we've got this. Just as heat has the power to bring feeling back to cold fingers; our Creator has the power to awaken a lamenting soul. 

1 comment:

  1. I know how you feel. Oh I know so, so well. I have severe depression and anxiety. I've been on medication for it, but it's expensive and not completely covered by insurance so it's a luxury that comes and goes. I think my coping is quite opposite to yours though. I can hardly motivate myself to do anything. My safety is staying at home alone, quiet, bored and exhausted. If I don't try I won't be disappointed, right? That's what my brain tells me anyway. I hope you get some nice pockets of joy soon. I know it won't magically all fix itself soon, but I know even the little things help.


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