The feelings and emotions I experience are too intense to handle sometimes. To shield myself, I try to become “numb” so I don’t have to deal with what is going on. It’s not healthy but it’s how I have coped with events that have happened over the past three years.
I have been experiencing a mixed state for a while and my mind is so confused. I never know how I will feel when I wake up each day or how my mood will be throughout the course of a day. Will I be sad for most of the day, or will I experience a hyper mood later on?
When sad things or difficult situations happen, I transition into numbness by becoming “hyper”, because that way nothing can bother me. I try to appear “functional” by appearing “productive” and as if I am coping okay.
The problem is I make myself tired, and the feelings are ignored.
I typically experience anxiety every day in some form, but the severity varies. Last week I experienced an episode where I was convinced that I could not leave my home. I only felt safe there. It upset me because when I first experienced anxiety, I had agoraphobia and I know I do not want to experience that again.
In a numb state, you don’t feel, nothing bothers you, and you have a shell to protect you, but it doesn’t last forever and you do have to “feel” again. I want to be numb so I don’t have to feel anxiety or feel deep sadness.
Numbness may seem like a good state when you don’t want to face reality, but I have to stop using it as my defense mechanism before I burn out. Numbness is not self-care after all.
About Melanie Luxenberg
My name is Melanie Luxenberg and I am finally ready to live openly with mental illness. I was first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2003, which I still experience. At the same time, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety (which I also still experience), and then briefly experienced Agoraphobia. I have had depression on and off since I was 13 years old. In July 2010 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II. Shortly after it was realized that I experienced rapid cycling. I can experience multiple cycles in a week. Despite my diagnosis, I completed a university degree and then a college program. I have always held stable employment, regularly taken my medication and regularly attended my doctor’s appointments. There have been times of hopelessness, but I have always found support from my family, husband and 3 dogs. I am a law clerk, social media/content writer and of course, mental health advocate. My Twitter feed is full of mental health advocacy messages. I hope one day to see the end of stigma towards mental illness, because stigma has to stop!