The temptation to numb

I woke up this morning feeling the weight of the world. Actually it felt like I was drowning in manure. I was feeling very intensely a lot of dark, despairing emotions. And my thoughts jumped right on that bandwagon. I was not in a good place.

There have been a number of things churning up for me in the last while: the passing of my mother, processing memories and emotions from my past, family dynamics, outside circumstances. It makes for a pretty overwhelming mix of emotions at times. I understand this is a process and it’s going to take time. I believe I will be more healed and whole on the other side of this. And…I need to allow myself to feel what I’m feeling, as painful and excruciating as that may be.

And yet…and yet…

When I feel those intense, dark emotions, there is such a temptation to numb. There’s a part of me crying out, “I don’t want to FEEL!!!” I certainly felt that temptation this morning. The temptation to distract myself, to eat or drink something to make me feel better, to mindlessly read Facebook, to not think. I understand why so many people in our society turn to all manner of activities (some more destructive than others) to numb the pain in their lives – TV, video gaming, shopping, eating disorders, addictions. The emotional pain we experience is very real.

How do we learn to sit in our pain? Not to wallow in it, but to acknowledge it’s presence and to not run from it.

Being in community helps. My husband continues to encourage me and speak of hope and truth even when I can’t see it (or feel it). My children offer love and hugs and acceptance. Friends express care and concern…

I had coffee with a friend this evening. Being able to talk with her about my pain and to be able to hear about hers helped. I know I am not alone. We are not in this alone.

We are not in this alone.

When we learn to carry each others’ burdens, to empathize with each other in our struggles – we learn that we are not alone. And it births hope within us. To not despair. To receive love. To experience connection and belonging. It is the beauty of the human experience.


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