Everybody does it. All of us have times when we do something like drinking an extra glass of wine to take the edge off, eat a sleeve of Oreos while watching Netflix, work crazy hours for days in a row, obsess over a hobby. Numbing out is so common place is it not always noticed as such, in fact many people celebrate overdoing it citing reasons they deserve to indulge. I am not talking about addiction but a kind of low level and periodic overdoing it that serves as a bridge from here to there, a place of less stressed-ness.
Numbing generally means we are avoiding feeling overwhelmed, inadequate or lonely. Numbing delays a real and long term solution. Another problem with overindulging is that numbing the negative feelings means you are also numbing the good feelings. The good feelings are the goodies we need to keep us going and are the reason for all the efforts we make.
Alone-ness is the feeling we have when we frenetically clean the house and keep ourselves insulated painfully angry that no one appreciates all the efforts we take to care. To start to feel better and restore balance means facing what is eating us, not such an easy task to do. What is more challenging is changing our thinking that starts a shift in behavior.
Start small. Changing one daily routine can be all the difference we need to start the domino effect. Change is something that is helped by the support of those around us. When we change one thing at a time rather than a multitude of habits it becomes easier to sustain change. Take time to feel, write about it, talk it out and plan for some time alone to be still and notice what is there during the pause.
Laura J. Halford, CDP, LMHC