You Can’t Live if You’re Numb

You Can't Feel If You're Numb

I’m posting this on a Monday. I didn’t have the energy nor the wherewithal yesterday to even consider putting my brain to work. I had a good weekend, and so you’ll forgive me for taking an extra day to get to the computer. Today we’ll talk about being numb.

For quite a long time I was unable to really feel emotions at all. After Erbie died, it felt like I short-circuited and suddenly I went from being able to feel everything to feeling nothing. I was numb to everything. It went on like that for years because I didn’t know it was a problem.

When you can’t feel much of anything then you don’t see an issue with not being able to feel anything.

However when you can’t attach emotion to the various parts of your life you miss out on a lot. You don’t exactly live through anything properly. You more or less observe your life happening rather than experience it. You’re on the other side of the window, watching everyone get on with it, and without realising it, you become a deflated version of yourself.

This pandemic has been difficult and challenging in so many ways. A big part of me wishes it never happened, obviously, but I also wouldn’t have realised how unfeeling I was without all the time I had to reflect and think. It was during 2020 that I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t letting myself feel anything for fear of being hurt again. And it wasn’t until I admitted it that I could begin to get back to a place where I can feel visceral emotions.

This weekend, I witnessed a very good friend get married. And then, the day after, I got to celebrate more pending nuptials with my brother and his wife-to-be. These are the sorts of moments when I’ve historically felt nothing, yet this weekend I found the entire spectrum of emotion, and I experienced a great deal of gratitude for the people in my life and what they mean to me.

So a weekend like this one shows how much I’ve changed in the last 18 months, and it’s a stark contrast to the person I have been – the one who couldn’t, and wouldn’t, feel much of anything.

It’s so easy, particularly as a man, to tell yourself you do not need to feel things. We tell ourselves that we shouldn’t feel emotions because that someone lessens our value, or damages our pride, or makes us less than other men. Because of this, so many of us become numb to emotion, and therefore become unable to live fully immersive lives. By denying ourselves the ability to emote, we deny ourselves the ability to truly live out our lives.

Maybe I’m talking shite here, but it seems to me that my life has become far more enriched since I began allowing myself to feel things more often. Even when I feel negative emotions, like sadness or anxiety, I now acknowledge them as a good things, because although I may not always feel good, it means that I am choosing to live and experience my life fully.

And I suppose that’s the point I’m making today – you need to feel in order to live. If you’re not allowing yourself to feel, you’re denying to yourself a life you absolutely deserve.

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