From Tracie: This Numbness Is An Illusion

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

This Numbness Is An Illusion

It has been a long time since I've sat quietly with myself, and delved deeply into my feelings and thoughts.

This was my big realization after a long chat with a good friend yesterday.

I've been in a numb and neutral state.

There are exceptions. There are always exceptions.

Grief. Grief so strong and thick, it bursts through my numbness uncontrollably like a breaking dam. But gets pushed back when the wall closes again.

Anxiety. Anxiety that sits heavily on my heart, in a completely physical way, and vies for control of my brain, so often winning the fight. A constant presence under the numbness, usually receiving the ambiguous label of stress, even when I can't quite identify it.

There are other emotions that sneak through the numbness. But they are just small glimpses. Not fully felt. Doubted and second-guessed. Not strong enough. Unsure. Not fully realized.

This numbness, although sometimes manifesting itself in dark days where I hide, is mostly an illusion. An illusion of okayness. My soul might know all isn't well, and maybe it is crying out for help, but the numbness is too strong to let those cries through.

It is dangerous, this illusion.

I am falling, drowning, full of fear, stuck, and I don't do anything to combat it.

This is existence without living.

I think it comes from running and hiding too successfully for far too many years. I mastered those techniques, and now they have taken over.

But, more than that, I think it comes from neglect.

Neglecting myself; neglecting those things that nourish my soul. I'm still waking up at 5am, but instead of writing morning pages, and praying, and listening as the Lord speaks to my heart through His Word and His Spirit, I am busy. Busy in a scattered, distracted, frantic way. Some of this is about scheduling and discipline and changes that I have already taken steps to take. But the heart of it is the neglect.

The neglect that the numbness has covered for months. Occasionally losing control long enough for me to dig deep in writing or feel a moment of joy seeping through the cracks, but that never lasts long.

The illusion is strong.

It pulls me deeper away from myself and hides all the things that really need my attention, good and bad.

I am left existing, but not really living.

I am left confused when those closest to me try to point out the changes that are so apparent from the outside, but not at all visible inside this cage of numbness. The key sitting, unseen, on the table by the door.

Yesterday I saw that key.

A glitter of hope shining on the table, and the peace that accompanied it.

This is me. Picking up that key. Putting it into the lock. Opening the door. Not shrinking back from everything waiting on the other side. Hoping to feel again. Hoping to reunite with my true self. Taking a step of faith. Knowing that if my faith is in the right place, I will fly and not fall.

This is me. Reaching for life and opening myself up to all the feelings that have been hidden away. They are so much stronger than I imagined.

This is me. Meeting myself as if for the first time. Trying not to run away.


  1. This is so beautiful, as are you. Thank you for sharing this, thank you for your bravery.

  2. Wow, do I know that place. The illusion of okayness, when the underneath is seething and rocking or ice cold and numb. Seems like sharing it is a step out of that place. It's so hard to do and you did it. Because you are brave and amazing. Nurture yourself. You deserve it.

  3. I know this so well. Be brave and strong.

  4. Oh my word... this post spoke to my heart.

    Struggling with depression & anxiety for so long, I feel these exact ways sometimes. I have to fight to find life.
    This is existence without living ... those words just echoed my soul some days.
    Its when I know I have to slow down - find time for myself & for God to speak to me.... its a constant battle.

  5. I know this well also. Thank you for being brave enough to share. You never know whom you will touch. Today, I was encouraged.

  6. I'm so glad you picked up that key. I have really been in strange mind places - of numbness, or sadness, or strangely both.
    And I'm glad I read through to the end.
    Sending you a lot of good thoughts!

  7. Beautifully written. One foot right in front of the step at a time, one day at a time. Sometimes that's all we can do.

  8. So many can relate to this. I too am glad you picked up the key, thus voting in your own favor so to speak. And glad too that you shared this with those of us who are hungry for any crumbs of encouragement that come our way.

  9. I love your sheer honesty, Tracie. And I love that you see so clearly into what's really going on. I am going to be praying that God open your heart and that He ministers to it with His precious love and nourishment, so that you can take those fearful steps into YOU... those corners of your soul that need tending to, my friend.

    Ask God to guide you through this, hun. He's the safety net you need right now. And He will surely never leave you.

  10. Tracie, this sounds like depression to me, if I compare it to my own situation. When I'm depressed, I'm numb and only grief or anxiety can break through (like you). When I'm not depressed (usually because medicine is doing its job) I can embrace life and feel it again. It doesn't mean you need medicine, but if it really is depression, it helps to put your finger on it, I think.

    Sending bright yellow sunshine your way.

  11. This is just so raw but beautiful's hard to open up into your soul like that, I think. But sometimes that's what starts the process of moving beyond it. Sending happy thoughts your way!