It all started with a panicked phone call from my brother.
“Are you OK, Are you safe?”
“Ummmm…yes…..I’m at home. What’s up?”
“I just heard on the radio that there were two explosions at the marathon finish line.”
I live in Boston and for the first 10 years of living here I worked right near the finish line. Going to the marathon was a regular part of my life. But today I happened to be home, lying on the coach reading a book.
But, I could feel the wave of fear that was crashing over the city. There was a BIG disturbance in the force (I know, I’m really not a Star Wars geek but that’s the best way to describe it), and it set me in motion.
First, turn on the TV to see what is happening.
Holy shit this is crazy!!!
Then I texted my sweetie to see where he was and make sure he was safe.
For the next 5 hours were spent glued to the TV trying to discover what the hell had happened. There were reports of other locations being attacked and more bombs found. Suddenly my beautiful city was awash in fear, danger and suffering.
My first thoughts after the initial shock wore off were: I need a fucking drink and a bong hit. Then maybe some pizza and I really wish I had a cupcake.
I’ve been reading Brene brown’s book- The Gifts of Imperfection– (it’s awesome and I highly recommend it) she talks about how everyone numbs out to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings. Looking at this has been part of the work that I do with clients and with myself.
If I was going to numb out- now would be the time. I decided not too.
My sweetie and I decided to turn off the news, make a healthy dinner and watch Lost Girl. It was just what we needed.
When I woke up the next morning I felt good, calm and peaceful. Until I went down to the corner coffee shop and the kid behind the counter was ranting and raving about something on Facebook and how scary it was and how scared he felt and everyone in line was getting on board. Once again I could feel the fear washing over me.
I was scattered, having a hard time focusing, and not getting any work done. I was spending lots of time on Facebook and felt the desire to numb out so I wouldn’t have to feel the discomfort any more.
My currant obsessive video game- Zuma– was calling to me. Maybe I’d watch one episode of SVU. Anything to stop feeling so spun out and uncomfortable.
Can you relate to the desire to numb out?
What are your favorite ways to do it?
My biggest ones are: mindless TV crime show marathons, SUGAR (food in general), video games.
Instead of diving into ZUMA, I decided to sit with how I felt and see what would really make me feel better. What came up loud and clear was being outside in nature.
I called some friends and went for a long walk in the Arnold Arboretum amongst the trees. The physical exertion and intense climb up to the highest point was perfect. We had a beautiful view of the city. I felt clear and grounded and no longer being overwhelmed with intense energy.
I’m glad I didn’t give into the desire to numb out because I would have missed the deep connection I felt as I took a walk with friends, laughed and adventured around the Arboretum.
One thing I know for sure- numbing out doesn’t just tone down the bad, uncomfortable feelings. It tones down the good ones too.
When you’re committed to living a life full of juicy goodness, you want to be present for all of it.
Can I honestly say I never engage in numbing out activities? Hell NO!! But I do my best to be conscious of making the choice to do it.
What about you? Do you numb out?
What is most likely to make you do it?