Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Have Become Comfortably Numb

Dear John,
 
I've been analyzing this periodic swing between unbearable pain and feeling positive about my life. (You're laughing, and getting ready to make a joke about me analyzing something. I know - I'm a head person - deal with it.) It seems to me that I have this injury that is painful and is healing very slowly. When it's been too painful for too long, somebody comes along and gives me a nerve block and lets the wound scab over. After a while the nerve block wears off and the scab gets pulled off, and I'm back in a fetal position eating Pop Tarts.
 
Right now I'm not shut down - I have plenty of emotion about everything else in my life. When it comes to you, I have some emotions, primarily gratitude to and for you, and taking a great deal of pleasure in memories. The rest of it is shut off. And I can't even enumerate for you what is shut off, because if I think of things and name the, the floodgates will open. When I'm numb, I can't go digging around where the scab is. I'll just get it bleeding again.
 
These times of numbness are generally viewed as the mind's way of protecting itself - before the circuits overload, the breaker takes over. I'm wondering if it isn't a gift of God, who knows me and knows which one I need now. It's a much simpler explanation, isn't it? Occam would approve.
 
In the painful phase, I'm gentle with myself - I don't do things that I'm not emotionally ready to; I make time for solitude; I keep Pop Tarts in the pantry; I see very few people. In the numb phase, being gentle with myself looks very different: I spend more time with other people, I try new things (like getting a cat), I'm more physically active, I cook more and eat healthier. In the pain phase, I curl into myself. In the numb phase, I get up, go out, and be with people. And I have more energy and feel better physically.
 
And so I keep alternating. But I trust the movement from one thing to another. I couldn't stand either one without the other. So as you read these letters and see feeling that contradict each other, that's what's going on. You probably figured it out long before I did - this won't surprise you any. But I'm making progress in my own understanding. And I'd catch on much sooner if you'd just tell me what you see, like you used to. I miss talking to you more than everything else combined, so please do feel free.
 
I'm late getting to bed - I'm subbing for Kathy at BNI tomorrow, so I'll be up at 5:30. Some sleep would be nice. I hope the critters cooperate. Please pray that I sleep well tonight.You sleep well, too.
 
Loving you, missing you,
Joan.

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