I sometimes wonder how I have managed to make it through this journey of my life to this point in time. I thought back to times in my life when they were very difficult, when my support group was not really in place, or I neglected to see who would be there for me, and quite sincerely how defeat after defeating moment, I would become numb to the world around me. All of us have difficulties to share, and all of us have experienced some form of grief that once burdened us to the point of despair.
Today I would say that I am a realist, formerly I would claim to be an optimist. When inspecting the memories of my lifetime I think I have led a life I can be proud of. The early optimism probably came out of the naiveté and lack of experience in my youth. The appetite to believe in others and their goodness was a strong influence on me early in my life. I should probably credit my mother for this, I should also remit to say that the consequences of this outlook have both positive and negative outcomes for the person engaging with such a demeanor. I am neither apologetic nor regretful of such proclivities for they shaped me and made me who I am today.
The focus on the darker periods of my life have led me to see things with a different view. I do not fool myself in believing that I have had a difficult life in comparison to others. Frankly, I am privileged in being born in a Country such as the USA when looking at other less formidable Countries, along with the fact that I was not born to a family in poverty, or with single parents, or parents addicted to drugs, etc. etc..
The amplification of dark thoughts on such treacherous grounds can be disturbing due to the lack of resources one feels they have available to them, and the possible outcomes from this temperament leading to the finality of a human life resounds in the statistics of today. The mind can be a powerfully persuasive instrument for it to turn on itself. The belief that you are wasting space in the universe, or that you have no worth to anyone is a stifling thought.
The moment you start believing in the negativity of other sorrowful misguided souls around you can be a windfall for the depressed mindset. This mindset is content on gathering like negative influences which are attracted to the ailing mind. Additionally, the distraught mind will also posit into the world what it most recognizes; that being a dreadful world.
There are an innumerable reasons, conditions, and environments for human beings to become struck with anguish and grief. The human condition through out the millennia has given us a deluge of examples in all of the endeavors humans have undertaken. My own journey has led me on some lonely roads, no, bogs if you will, and navigating them can be a very difficult feat.
When it comes to the point of questioning your existence under such circumstances, you often do not think clearly due to the depleted condition you are in. Changing your circumstances seems very hard to do during these times. The suffering you are encountering is overwhelming, your energy levels are next to nothing, and you torture your mind that continues to dwell on the negative attributes of your life.
When I was training to be a crisis intervention counselor in college I was confronted with some very powerful skill sets. This awakening has not left me to this day as I learned to tune into my emotional states on levels I had never before achieved. It was the first time I had taken a deeper look within my own emotional inventories. During that year I discovered that I had shut out much of my emotional connections to others in my adolescence and childhood. Dealing with others on a cerebral level is much different than dealing with them on an emotional level. I believe that ideally blending these two attributes with your drives or desires, will result in a more balanced account in life.
The training I received was Rogerian, based on Carl Rodgers “Client centered therapy”, which focused on relating to others from an emotional level as to gain their trust and direct them out of crisis, into seeking some solutions for help for them. Sadly, when we reach a state of no emotion as in a crisis; little can be done to convince those under such extremes. There is a lethality scale used from 1-10 in crisis intervention. These levels indicate how much of a threat the person is from harming themselves. The most dangerous kind are those that are calm, and devoid of emotion. The call they might make is a final attempt at help, yet their minds are for the most part made up into ending their lives. This is a “numbness” that is most certainly the worst kind, and one of the hardest to circumvent. The higher the lethality scale is, the more detailed the person’s suicide plan is. They know usually how they will kill themselves, where they will do it, and sometimes even when.
I would have to say I have reached that point a few times in my life. The numbness one experiences some argue is a defense mechanism that shuts down tumultuous emotional aspects the psyche undergoes. In doing so, this process protects the damaging effects of extreme emotional pain from hurting the rest of the body, and ironically the mind itself. The length of time one finds themselves in this mindset can and most likely produce changes in the transmission of neurotransmitters (Dopamine a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in the functioning of the limbic system, which is involved in emotional function and control. It also plays a part in movement, alertness, and sensations of pleasure. Serotonin plays a regulatory role in mood, sleep, and other areas.) between the synapses within the brain.
The Dysthymic foundations that have directed my experiences make it much more difficult for others to spot in the everyday world in which we live. Those of like disorders, are viewed normal since these people have embedded the depressive traits within their own personalities, and therefore many cannot distinguish any differences in their moods, or attitudes. They learn to hide it well, and are less likely to draw attention or diagnose by the everyday person. Furthermore, more tragically, they often go undiagnosed and do nothing to improve their situations.
Not being able to regulate feeling is also a very troublesome condition since it effects so many others that come in contact with the afflicted people in extreme cases. I suggest that those affected probably hurt themselves most of all, but I do not rule out the family members if indeed they have maintained such relationships during this period of time they are enduring the dreadful condition. Experiencing the world with such a vision is like sleep walking. In a sense you are present physically, but you are not all there, psychologically you are not present at all. Zen Buddhists would agree and say “Wake up”! You are not fully functioning and are in essence a walking zombie going through the motions.
Numbness is a very lonely place to be. To be void of any emotion results in becoming sub-human. Not being able to enjoy the fullness of what life has to offer for whatever reason is a tragic matter. Whether one chooses to neglect their power of observation, or whether one is caught in the traps of despondency, the world is much, much more than the observances of the downhearted.