The Periods of Numbness That Come With My Grief


There have been seasons along this journey of grief in which I felt nothing. Those moments can be a bit frightening. To some degree, we can become accustomed to the pain we feel. It’s not that we get use to it, it’s simply that it can become so much a part of us that we have forgotten how we felt in the “before.” When a period of numbness envelops us, we tend to fear that something is wrong. Have we stopped caring about our child? Absolutely not.

In my experience, they have usually been times in which I have gone deeper. It’s similar to nightfall for a plant in which it may grow taller as it searches for the light. Roots will often go deeper, as well, at such times. I am internally processing when I go numb. Over time, I’ve adjusted to these seasons and have even learned to embrace them. I know when I finally get to the other side of it, I will be better off having passed through it. It’s another phase in my grieving process. It’s similar to a time of rest for me…rest from the heartache and pain.

According to livestrong.com:

The Mayo Clinic explains that two types of emotional responses can occur with PTSD: emotional numbing and emotional arousal, such as becoming easily startled. During the emotional numbness stage, patients may avoid thinking about the traumatic event. PTSD patients may have difficulty maintaining close relationships. Problems with concentration and memory can also occur when PTSD patients become emotionally numb.”

In my experience, being overwhelmed with the excruciating pain that accompanies grieving can also result in a stage of numbing. It can be a natural response to the trauma, allowing me a time to “skate,” somewhat like a built-in survival mechanism. For me, the preoccupation that may exhibit itself in these seasons is that internal processing taking place on a deeper level. If I allow it to take its course and not try to force myself onto another level, I will eventually rise once again to the surface. Of course, when I do, the pain often presents itself anew, at which time I think I have gone backwards. But, I have not. I am still moving forward along my journey of grief. I simply have to ride the wave until it once again brings me into shore.

If you fear you have been stuck in such a stage for too long, a grief counselor may be beneficial. But please do verify that they specialize in grief. A counselor who specializes in grief will have a greater understanding of what is “normal” in this process. They may be more apt to validate what you are experiencing and more able to quench your fears.

Jude’s book, “Gifts from the Ashes,” is available at Direct Textbook.

Follow this journey on Jude’s website.

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Thinkstock image by lolostock


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