You don’t want to be numb

*The following post discusses self harm.  If you are feeling triggered then please seek help.  Talk to someone about how you are feeling.  If you are in immediate danger, head to your nearest Emergency Department or call 000*

“I just wish that I could feel nothing, and be numb”, is something that I read regularly in mental health groups.  It’s a desire a lot of people with Borderline Personality Disorder have in common, a desire that is born when you are walking around with emotional third degree burns.  Numb isn’t what I want, because it’s how I feel a lot of the time and it’s worse than feeling everything at once.


When I was a teenager, I wish for numbness.  I didn’t want to feel the avalanche of emotions that I was experiencing.  Numbness seemed to be far off place that was surely better than where I was.  If I couldn’t feel anything, then maybe I could get on with things.  If I didn’t have to fight my head, then maybe I could be normal.  I cut myself so that I could quieten the emotions, giving myself something physical to focus on.

Then the numbness came.  It was like a heavy blanket.  It weighed down on me, making me feel like I was walking through sand.  I was still depressed but this was different because I felt nothing.  At first it didn’t matter.  I just locked myself away from the world and stared at the wall.  I went through the motions but then it wasn’t enough.  I had to feel, and I found myself cutting just to feel something, to awaken something inside me.  It only served to deepen the numbness.

People wish for numbness, but I think we forget or don’t understand the impact that it really has.  We forget the darkness that it brings because the fire that we are in now is too intense.  We tell ourselves that anything has to be better than this, we’ll be better if we just don’t have to deal with the burning emotions.  Then the curtains draw, the emotions drain away and we remember.

A couple of years ago a friend told me that she wished she could be numb.  I was harsh and told her not to be so stupid.  It’s so cliched, but numbness hurts so much more when you have a reason to feel.

Being numb steals away the good things, it doesn’t discriminate about the feelings that it smothers.  It takes away your babies first steps, their first day at school and joining in on their excitement.  Feeling numb means you find yourself practicing how to show emotions, watching how others are reacting so that you can match them.  It’s exhausting, and I’m tired.

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