Domingo, 3 de Maio de 2020

Emotional Numbness: Causes, Symptoms and Ways to Cope

 

Emotional Numbness: 

Causes, Symptoms and Ways to Cope

Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

learning-mind.com

Posted May 3rd, 2020.

 
 
 
There is something that can be worse than feeling furious or hopeless. Emotional numbness can evolve from various issues and cause serious damage.
You’re not alone if you can’t cry at a funeral. You’re also not a freak if you can’t laugh or smile on happy occasions. There is something else going on within you when experiencing the inability to feel. This is emotional numbness, and it has many recognizable symptoms. There are reasons why you cannot feel and there are also ways to heal this problem.

The Meaning of Emotional Numbness and Dissociation Explained

First of all, what is emotional numbness? It is a condition brought upon by years of building emotional blockades toward others and denying ourselves the right to feel.
Simply stated, emotional numbness is a result of dissociation. They are not one and the same – dissociation is a condition, while the state of being emotionally numb is what happens due to the condition.
When you disassociate yourself from emotion, you separate yourself from the situation attached to the emotion. For instance, when someone dies, if you are emotionally numb, you may not be able to cry. This doesn’t mean you are heartless. It simply means, well, it means many things. Let’s read on.

What Are the Symptoms of Emotional Numbness?

1. Feeling distant

One sign that you might be experiencing emotional numbness is the detachment of your mind from certain situations. Sometimes, you feel like you’re in your own body, while at other times, you may feel like you’re floating above it, looking at yourself. It’s not necessarily as an OBE (out of body experience), but more like watching a film of yourself. Something is wrong if you’re constantly viewing things from outside yourself.

2. Lack of participation

You watch others doing things, but you just cannot seem to join in. As far as your own hobbies or interests, you leave them behind as well. There’s just no desire for past hobbies or interests. Where others are concerned, you either want to watch instead of joining in, or you simply don’t want to be around to do anything. It just doesn’t matter to you.

3. Living a “flat” existence

It’s kind of hard to explain the “flat” existence, but it’s living a life of going through the everyday motions. When you’ve started to live a flat life, you just do the exact same thing from day to day, moment to moment. It’s neither negative or positive, it’s just motion.

4. In-ability for love or hate

What’s worse than being extremely angry at someone? That would be not caring one way or the other about anyone or anything. When you feel numb emotionally, you can’t feel love or hate.

5. You are empty inside

Some people become so numb, they turn into an emotional fog, a smoke that just dissipates into nothing. Unfortunately, having no feelings gets so deep that a hole erodes into your core. But even at this level, emotional numbness can be turned around. It starts with finding the cause. Which leads us to our next thoughts. What happened?

What Are the Causes of Emotional Numbness?

causes of emotional numbness
There’s not just one thing that steals away our feelings. No, there are many reasons this happens. That is why it can be difficult to pinpoint roots and help individuals cultivate normal emotions. I go through emotional numbness at times, but I don’t stay there inevitably. My numbness usually stems from deep roots in childhood. Unfortunately, it’s a numbness that I still often fall right back into with certain triggers. It happens to many of us. Delving into this problem, there are reasons.

1. Childhood trauma

The most common reason why people experience emotional numbness is childhood trauma. These events can be one or more of the basic abuses experienced while growing up. For example, if you were sexually abused, you might grow up to dissociate automatically during normal intimate situations. You can be a married woman with a fairly healthy intimate life, and yet, you can still separate yourself from your mate emotionally at times.
Physical, verbal, mental, and definitely emotional abuse can also lead to emotional deficits like numbness. It just depends on how you respond to treatments, or whether you received any treatments in the past. Some people never even tell anyone else about going through these things. What’s worse – some people cannot even remember due to a sort of dissociation that developed during the time of the abuse.

2. Substance use

Substance abuse has a category all its own. This is because substances such as drugs, alcohol, or other things can greatly alter the mind in a whole different way. With other types of abuse, the mistreatment generally comes from outer influences, but with substance abuse, after any initial outside influence, the abuse continues as self-inflicted harm.
It’s called addiction, and these addictions, usually drawn from some initial starting point, can bring about numb sensations. Sometimes, as with drugs, these substances can cause immediate emotional numbness because of chemical content. The same can be said for alcohol. Think about it this way, alcohol greatly numbs the skin, often keeping you from feeling the extent of certain pains or injuries. It can do the same to your mind. As with other addictions that don’t seem to fit into any neat category, emotional numbness can come from the inability to “kick the habit”.

3. Mental illness such as anxiety or depression

This cause of emotional numbness can come from childhood trauma, genetics, domestic violence, adult trauma, or any other thing that alters the mind and emotions forcibly. You can be born with the pre-determined destiny to inherit depression. Anxiety can come from domestic violence. PTSD can come from wartime trauma and any other event or part of your life that sparks fear. From mental illness such as anxiety or depression, you can experience symptoms and one of these symptoms happens to be emotional numbness.
Take panic attacks for instance. When I experience these attacks, I have trouble breathing, my heart rate increases, and then I experience all sorts of random abnormalities in my behavior. Sometimes, I just become numb. My skin will either itch, or I won’t be able to feel a thing. The worst part is for many hours afterward, I will become emotionally numb. I can’t laugh, I can’t smile and I feel like a brittle piece of paper floating through the air. Individuals with mental illness do experience emotionally numb symptoms, and they go through this in various ways – more ways than I can explain in an hour’s time.

4. Medications

Certain medications can also alter the way you think and even the way you feel. In fact, one of my medications does take away the severity of my emotions. If I take more or less, the amount of lost emotions differs. This just makes sense. Some of these medications are used for anxiety, while some are administered for manic states of bipolar disorder.
There are also medications given for physical problems, and the side effects don’t only cause headaches and nausea and such, but can also cause emotional numbness as well. When I take any sort of narcotic pain reliever, I seem to lose a small bit of emotion. Yes, these medications do cause an altered state of mind, but they can sometimes temporarily take away the ability to feel joy or anger.

5. Loss of a loved one

You can also experience the lack of feeling when someone close to you dies, especially when it’s a mother, father, or sibling. When a mate dies, it can be even harder. Learning to live without someone close to you that spent years, even decades of their life in your company can have a devastating effect. It can be so horrible that you forget how to feel grief, love, or even anger. Losing a loved one can cause many different feelings, and this includes the inability to have any feelings at all. I’ve been through this too, on more than one occasion. I’ve also witnessed one dying relative live with denial of their own impending death. This was especially hard to watch.

How to Overcome Emotional Numbness?

How to overcome emotional numbness
To be quite honest, some people just train themselves to avoid difficult emotions. This provides a little insight into how to treat the problem. You can do things both professionally and as maintenance measures to help you embrace your emotions. Many will tell you to try professional help first, so we can start with that.

Treatment Options:

1. Acceptance and Commitment therapy

This type of therapy is useful for those who suffer from PTSD and many mental health problems. ACT helps you recognize when you’re avoiding feelings due to experiences. When recognized, this therapy can help you understand how it’s good to feel both the negative and positive emotions that come with life.

2. Psychotherapy

This type of therapy basically finds the root of your problem. It recognizes that your lack of emotions is not natural, of course, and they must have a point of origin. Psychotherapy also coaxes feelings to the surface, even negative ones, so that the patient can learn how to process them in a healthy manner.

3. Cognitive Behavioral therapy

Not only does CBT help you bring forth your feelings, but it also helps you learn how to properly deal with them instead of using emotional numbness as a defensive mechanism to push them down again. Cognitive-behavioral therapy addresses your unhealthy coping skills and helps you turn them into powerful and positive solutions.

How to Maintain Good Emotional Health to Avoid Feeling Numb?

You can also deal with emotional numbness on your own as well. There are a few ways that your feelings can be pulled to the surface by consistent physical and mental maintenance. Or rather, you can use lifestyle modifications that cause emotions to even surface naturally.

1. Cut out stress

Stress can be a huge contributor to emotional numbness. It can literally suck the emotions right out of you for a long time. So eliminating this stress as much as possible is one answer. Some stressors will be difficult than others to eliminate, but you must cut something negative loose in order to feel again.
There are many ways stress sneaks in, as well, and one of the most common sources is the unhealthy relationship. Getting relationship counseling is one way to help, ending the relationship is another. I can’t tell you which is better, but you will begin to understand the route to take. The same goes for jobs, friends, and toxic family members as well. Deal with it, or get away from it. It’s necessary.

2. Get plenty of rest

The lack of sleep due to things like certain medications, stress, mental health symptoms like anxiety, and others can gradually rob you of your basic positive emotions. Regulating your sleep patterns can help you gain back a healthy sense of being. In order to regulate those sleeping patterns, however, you have to deal with whatever is causing you to lose sleep and making you feel fatigued.
You already know you have to eliminate stress, but maybe you need to speak with your doctor about changing medications. Maybe you need to speak to your therapist about your mental health symptoms. Of course, this is where professional therapy comes in. Whatever you need to do, get your sleep patterns back in order.

3. Keep a healthy support system

You will always need a group of friends and family that will allow you to feel free. Sometimes, you unknowingly teach yourself to hide your emotions to avoid fights or confrontations. Having a good support system that allows you to show your anger and work out frustrations is a huge key to healing from emotional numbness. Make sure you pick the right group of people or even one really good friend. These are the ones who will let you be yourself, which is an integral part of this healing.

4. Use creativity

If you cannot express your emotions through speaking, then maybe you can be creative. Painters are notorious for expressing repressed feelings in oil and acrylics. In the past, some individuals weren’t allowed to express themselves due to laws. But painters could make beautiful works of art that some didn’t understand. Only the painter could reveal their true intention and emotion behind the work, and they could reveal it to whomever they felt would keep them safe. You can also express emotions this way, and if you feel numb, pushing that paintbrush or tapping those keys will help open you up.

5. Meditation

Did you know that meditation and mindfulness can solve many of your problems? I think they can solve almost all of them, including the horror of emotional numbness. Focus, centering, being in the present, aromatherapy, and prayer can all coax out what’s thought to be dead space from within you. Enlightenment can marry you with your true emotions and help you control them as well.

Emotional Numbness, Go Away!

At one time or the other, I think we’ve all experienced this numb state. Whether it was from trauma or isolation, most of us learned how to resurface from the depths of this hole. You may fear the grips of emotional lack right now, and you may be stuck in the hopelessness of succumbing to this demon. But before you slip under the waves, take my hand. I’ve been there, I go there still sometimes, and it’s not without hope. If you suffer from emotional numbness, please take a second look at some of the symptoms, causes, and solutions, so you too can learn to feel emotions in a healthy manner.
I look forward to your comments and suggestions. Thank you.



Sherrie Hurd

 

 

Copyright © 2012-2020 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us. 

 

 

 



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No religious or political creed is advocated here.

Organised religion is unnecessary to spirituality.

Excellent teachings of the masters have been contaminated by the dogmatic control of these religions.

Discernment yes; judgement does not.
If you use discernment you are free to research with an open mind. 

With discernment it is possible to reach the spirit of the letter of any writing and it is also much easier to listen to the voice of the soul that comes from the heart.
Individually you can be helped to find your Truth that is different of everyone. 


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Discernment is recommended.
 

All articles are of the respective authors and/or publishers responsibility. 


 

 

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Terça-feira, 21 de Abril de 2020

How to Create Safety Signals to Cope with Anxiety.

 

How to Create Safety Signals to Cope with Anxiety.

Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

learning-mind.com

Posted April 21st, 2020.

 
 
 

 

There are many ways of coping with anxiety. But there’s one we may not notice. Safety signals can be quite an effective tool for dealing with anxiety.
As a child, I had many safety signals. When trouble was coming, I ran to retrieve them and I held them tight. But until now, I never really understood their significance in treating anxiety. This is mainly due to the fact that I was a child. It was seen as normal for me to latch onto objects and become obsessed with them.

Discovering your safety signals

The human race goes through negative experiences all the time. You hear about it on the news and on the internet. Then you have those who experience trauma that causes damage later in life through conditions such as anxiety, PTSD and other mental health conditions.
So, there are “normal bumps in the road” or present trauma and then you have mental trauma scars from the past, which affect people differently. However, both can leave you with triggers.
There are differences in the ones who cope quickly and move on, and the ones who are gripped by fear that comes from unresolved triggers. But no one should ever be ashamed of this difference.
We have cognitive behavior treatments and medications, but this usually only helps about half of those who suffer from mental health-related fears. Now, we’re discovering what’s called safety signals, that which seems to work especially well for many who struggle with fears and unwarranted fears.

Therapy, medication and safety tools

The introduction of the safety signal offers a tool that actually comes from an entirely different area of the brain than where cognitive therapy operates.
With cognitive therapy, the patient who suffers from anxiety or phobia about certain objects is slowly presented with the object in order to help them grow the courage to deal with the triggers. Over time, anxious people spend more and more time with the object or even the situation they fear, and these half really progress.
But our topic is about safety signals, and how this can help the other half and maybe even those who’ve initially tried cognitive therapy.
Going back to my childhood, I remember certain stuffed animals that made me feel comforted. I remember how they took away my fears sometimes during abusive situations. Do you know what that stuffed animal represented? That’s right, it was my safety signal, a positive stimulus that was bigger than my negative object or situation.
There are other things that are considered safety signals as well. I can touch upon these for a bit to help you understand.

What can be a safety signal?

1. A shape

The first safety signal was used in case studies. The subjects of these studies were asked to associate one shape with a negative feeling, and another shape with a positive one. The negative feelings represented a threat, while positive shapes were non-threatening.
When test subjects were alone with the threatening shape, they became anxious, but when the non-threatening shape was introduced, they seemed to calm down. Thus, you have the beginnings of a new way of healing.

2. A sentimental object

The first safety signal was a shape, used to prove a point about another way of coping with anxiety. But to get a little more specific, we need to look at common comforting things so you can understand what a signal of safety can be. One of those signals can come from sentimental objects.
When you’re afraid and anxiety has exacerbated that fear, you can look at a picture of a lost loved one who used to comfort you. You can hold an object that has a lovable meaning to you as well. You may read old letters, use cups that a loved one gave you, or even sit in your car if it has sentimental value for some reason.
Sentimental objects have few limits considering many things are gifted by special people in your life. This signal is not meant to cause dwelling in the past, however, it can temporarily take you back to a time and place of safety.

3. Stuffed toys

You don’t have to be a child to use a stuffed toy as a safety signal to ward off fears. I still have bears that I cuddle when I get really upset. It seems to be a way to feel something soft and familiar in your arms while defeating the fears of being alone, the paranoia of future bad news, or any negative thing that causes fear.
I can’t exactly explain why stuffed toys work so well, but they do. They’re inviting, comfortable and definitely always there for you. You’re never too old for a stuffed toy safety signal.

4. Music

In the same way, and yet differently, music can serve as a safe way to deal with fears. If you’ve been on this planet for a long time, you’ve probably built up quite a few favorite songs, styles of music and genres that provide certain feelings at certain times. When you’re afraid, due to anxiety, go to the music which signals a warm feeling inside. This is the type you want to listen to.
For me, many classic rock songs from the 70s and 80s seem to bring my head into a good space. Music choices to battle anxiety are different from person to person. The next time you are afraid, experiment with songs until you find what seems to calm you.

5. Certain people

Safety signals can also be people, but don’t assume they’re going to be the obvious choices. You may assume your mate would be your safety signal, but they’re not always the correct choice.
Your signal could be one of your children, a friend, or some other extended family member, like a cousin. You will know who it is when you feel that same feeling of safety as when you squeeze a stuffed toy.

6. Nature

And again, I must give props to nature for being a powerful safety signal for many people who have phobias and anxieties. That is unless, of course, they have a fear of nature. In that case, it won’t work.
Otherwise, nature, with its brisk fresh air, beautiful greenery, trees, the open skies – all this can quickly calm fears if you let it. And don’t forget the sounds of nature as well. You can listen to nature sounds on digital media, but nothing beats the real thing.

Finding your best signal for safety

Only you can discover what works best when dealing with anxiety, phobias, or other unwarranted fears. Triggers can be tamed with safety signals when used quickly and practiced for consistency.
With a routine of using these signals, your therapy, and prescribed medication, you can really put a hurting on those things which scare you. And that’s exactly what we aim to do. Even during times of universal crisis, we can stay on top of things with the right comforting object, person, or place.
Now’s the time, if you don’t already know, find your safety signal. I already have quite a few myself.
Be blessed.

 

Sherrie Hurd

 

 

Copyright © 2012-2020 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us. 

 

 

 



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No religious or political creed is advocated here.

Organised religion is unnecessary to spirituality.

Excellent teachings of the masters have been contaminated by the dogmatic control of these religions.

Discernment yes; judgement does not.
If you use discernment you are free to research with an open mind. 

With discernment it is possible to reach the spirit of the letter of any writing and it is also much easier to listen to the voice of the soul that comes from the heart.
Individually you can be helped to find your Truth that is different of everyone. 


Please respect all credits.


 


Discernment is recommended.
 

All articles are of the respective authors and/or publishers responsibility. 


 

 

Like this! please bookmark. It is updated daily

 


 
 
 
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publicado por achama às 23:46
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Quinta-feira, 14 de Novembro de 2019

4 Systematic Desensitization Techniques to Use to Fight Your Anxiety and Fears

By Sherrie Hurd

learning-mind.com

on November 13th, 2019.

 
Systematic Desensitization Techniques.



 
How would you like to learn a few ways to battle your anxiety and fears? Well, systematic desensitization may be the answer.
 
During my lifetime, and that’s been 4 decades, I’ve tried everything I could think of to eliminate or even alleviate my anxiety. Some things helped pretty well, while other things just seemed like a waste of time. My fears and anxieties just continued to follow me wherever I went.
 
So, I saw the words, “systematic desensitization”, and I wondered if these were techniques that might work for me. It seemed like learning to face my fears through the help of a relaxing environment would much better than analyzing and deconstructing everything that happened to me. So, let’s examine this systematic desensitization approach.
 
What is systematic desensitization?
 
The systematic desensitization combines techniques of relaxation and gradual exposure to whatever is troubling you. If it’s a phobia, these techniques keep you calm, but they also coax you to face your fears, you see.
 
Of course, as you face these fears and anxieties, you start slow as not to cause an overwhelming sensation or possibly a panic attack.
The systematic desensitization techniques come in 4 steps:
 
1. Relaxation
 
Before you can even start approaching the subject of your fears and anxieties, you will need to learn how to relax. I don’t mean just sitting or lying down. I mean genuinely relaxing your entire being. Here are a few ways to properly relax:
 
Breathe slowly, inhaling through your nose. This is called diaphragmatic breathing. As you inhale, hold your breath for 2 seconds, then release your breath through your mouth. This type of breathing helps you relax pretty fast and helps you focus as well.
Now, close your eyes and imagine a scene. See the colors, hear the sounds, and even imagine you can smell the scents of this imaginary place. You can also let someone describe an image to you, and then see what they are describing utilizing your own mind.
 
Tense your muscles, then release them. Do this several times. This helps you understand what happens when you are afraid. You might not notice, but your muscles tense up all over your body during anxiety.
Take the time to learn more about meditation and mindfulness. These techniques help you accomplish all of the above and more. You can ground yourself in the presentinstead of saturating your mind tomorrow or the next day.
 
2. Making lists
 
After indulging in relaxation techniques, it’s time to make a list of what makes you anxious. You can include your phobias, or write them on a separate sheet of paper.
 
Either way, it’s important to try and list every single thing that triggers anxiety or fear. Knowing what makes you afraid is the key to facing the things that make you afraid.
 
You may be surprised by the things that come to mind. After all, you should list even the smallest things that make you afraid. This is especially helpful for those who start worrying as soon as they wake up.
 
I do this. I wake and wonder what negative things will happen during the day. It’s virtually taken over a corner of my life. So, I guess you would say, my list is long. But it doesn’t matter as long as you write it down and come to terms with it.
 
3. Rating your fears
 
After listing your fears, rate them at the worst and least fearful with everything else in-between. As you work through these things, other fears may surface, but you can’t let this distract you. Think about fears in different ways as well.
 
For instance, you may be terrified of spiders, which fall at level 10, but a picture of a spider may only rate on a level 7. Talking about them could be a level 5. Rating your fears helps you get ready for the last technique…coming to terms with your fears.
 
4. Facing fears
 
The first thing to do when facing your fears is to make sure you are totally relaxed. If you’re already going through something, it’s not quite the time to face fears and anxieties.
 
A good time would be in a quiet atmosphere, and it’s best to start with a therapist who can support and help you stay in control during the transition.
 
As you face your fears, you will imagine the fear first, then talk about what makes you anxious. As you talk through your anxieties, think about why you’re scared in the first place.
 
Where did the fear start, and how long has the fear been present? These are questions that will help you see the fear as something smaller than it really is. Therapy like this will slowly help you see your anxiety as something that cannot control you.
 
Final thoughts
 
It will take several sessions using the systematic desensitization techniques before you will notice a difference.
 
Over time, you may even be able to endure more than one fear at a time or face a fear during a stressful event. Until then, give yourself credit for every milestone you achieve toward your goal of being free of your fears.
 
References:
 
 
Sherrie Hurd.

 

 





 

About the Author: Sherrie Hurd


Sherrie Hurd is a professional writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and nutrition. Sherrie studied Psychology, Journalism, and Fine Arts, receiving an Associates in Marketing. She has written for Beacon, a southern college publication, and is an author of a full-length non-fiction novel. Sherrie spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse.
 
Copyright © 2012-2019 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.
 



Compiled by http://violetflame.biz.ly from: 
 

Archives:



No religious or political creed is advocated here.

Organised religion is unnecessary to spirituality.

Excellent teachings of the masters have been contaminated by the dogmatic control of these religions.

Discernment yes; judgement does not.
If you use discernment you are free to research with an open mind. 

With discernment it is possible to reach the spirit of the letter of any writing and it is also much easier to listen to the voice of the soul that comes from the heart.
Individually you can be helped to find your Truth that is different of everyone. 


Please respect all credits.

 
Discernment is recommended.
 

All articles are of the respective authors and/or publishers responsibility. 



 

Like this! please bookmark. It is updated daily

 


 
 
 
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