It’s amazing what we can become numb to. When we first get sick or develop some sort of problem, it can feel so painful or irritating. But after time, our bodies adjust and although it may still feel painful, the intensity may wear down. Not in all cases but in some. I am often amazed when I see someone who is in a wheelchair- what once probably felt like the end of the world has now become a part of their life and they are able to deal with it so efficiently and make it work. I am in awe of that, as I complain about my small inconveniences from day to day. I’m sure when they first became disabled they never imagined they would one day be able to handle it the way they do now. They are somewhat forced to become numb to it.
I do believe this is something God gave us to be able to cope with some of our challenges in life. However, I see the other side of this all too often. I see people who are in a horrible marriage and have become numb to it. They say, “This is just how life is, right? My parents were like this and now we are.” Numb. I see women who have been struggling with Depression for so long, raising their little ones and providing for their families, they have become numb to the deep sadness and pain on the inside. Numb. I see men who struggle with their lack of connection to others and who have lost a sense of adventure in their lives, just going day in and day out at a job with little purpose or enjoyment to them. Numb. I see men and women who were sexually abused as children. They HAD to numb themselves when they were little to keep the “secret” they swore they would never tell. They now numb themselves with drugs, alcohol, rage, control, sex, relationships, or food. Numb.
It’s so sad that this defense mechanism that God gave us to help ourselves cope has now become a way of life for so many. The problem is, when you numb out to the bad emotions, you also numb out to the good ones, too. If you numb yourself to sadness, it will be difficult to feel happiness when it comes along. Your body can’t decipher the two- it just numbs itself all over. It’s like when you go to the dentist to get a cavity filled. When they give you a shot your whole mouth becomes numb, not just the area they will be working on. This happens with our emotions as well.
When clients come in to our office, we encourage them to quit numbing themselves and give themselves permission to feel. Feel it all, good and bad. We teach them how to cope with the bad and learn to really feel and experience the joy and happiness that comes from the freedom of not living numb! It is so amazing to watch the unveiling of this. It is beautiful and we are honored to be a part of this process.
I want to challenge you today- Do you live your life numb? Or do you really experience your life both good and bad. Do you see how the “bad” or difficult can make you stronger and better? It can help you experience the “good” and wonderful at an even higher level!
Thank you for reading today- I wish you the best!
*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.