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Things People Do Because They're Emotionally "Numb"

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If you can relate to feeling numb, you’re not alone. Whether you’re struggling with numbness from a struggle with mental illness symptoms, the impact of trauma, grief or something else, we want you to know we see you.


Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because You’re Emotionally “Numb”

1. You Isolate

“I isolate myself behind the ‘introvert’ behavior when really, I’m hiding.”

2. You “Overreact” or Don’t React at All

“I’m in the ‘either or’ mode. Either I overreacted or I don’t react at all. I can be functional with a smile, but inside I’m completely numb.”

3. You Have Trouble Hearing and Processing What’s Going on Around You

“When I go numb, I basically stop hearing and stop processing most of the world around me.”

4. You Don’t Laugh Out Loud Anymore

“I can still feel myself laughing internally. It’s like my brain knows it’s funny, but I have no outward expression whatsoever.”

5. You Are Extra Forgetful

“I’ll forget to message people back, have to ask people to repeat things and might seem like I’m not listening when I’m actually just not present.”

6. You Pick Fights to Feel Something

“When I go numb, I try to pick fights with my fiancé, in order to get a reaction of emotion, since I can’t feel any emotion myself. I lose myself completely and all control of my mental processing.” 

7. You Put Yourself in “Risky” Situations

“I’m willing to come to harm physically and/or emotionally so that I feel anything other than the ‘nothingness’ of being numb.”

8. You Seem “Robotic”

“My body language and voice are flatlined. When I am numb like that, I’m usually trapped in my head — sitting, staring and waiting to come back to myself.” 

9. You Experience More Anxiety and Panic Attacks

“Having panic attacks instead of feeling negative emotions. I don’t like being mad or sad. I’m numb to those negative emotions because of trauma and PTSD. I just get anxious instead.”

10. You Have Trouble Following Social Cues

“I interrupt people constantly. I don’t hear lots of what is happening.”

11. You Self-Medicate

“I pretend I’m happy and not affected by the situation at all, while I go numb myself physically with substances.” 


If you can relate to feeling “numb,” you’re not alone.

Whether you’re dealing with numbness due to mental illness, the impact of trauma, grief or something else entirely, we want you to know we see you.   

Originally published: October 25, 2019
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