Comfortably Numb

deprive of feeling or responsiveness.
"the cold had numbed her senses"
synonyms: deadening, desensitizing, benumbing, anaesthetizing, anaesthetic;


I’ve been listening to a lot of Brene Brown of late, she is a shame researcher and talks a lot about vulnerability, so much so she has a book entitled 'The Power of Vulnerability'. You can watch a clip of her speaking on the subject on Ted Talk here. I have now moved on to her book 'Daring Greatly'. The theme is still focused on vulnerability and I have just reached the part about numbing which I would like to share with you.

As I write this, it is my first fully sober weekend since Christmas. This shocks me a little and while I would like to say most of the time I have just had one or two drinks, the reality is I think I have drunk a little more than that each time. It sneaks up on you, suddenly it is March and you realise the weeks are passing and you need to make some changes.

Numbing is a common phenomenon and not limited to drug addicts and alcoholics. It’s the things we do to ‘take the edge off’. When we have that glass of wine after work to wind down, watching mind numbing TV, fantasy football or the sleeping pills we take before bed. We are numbing ourselves from reality. We are desperate to feel more or less of something. According to Brene, this comes from either shame, anxiety, disconnection or some mix of the three. Feelings of inadequacy, of not feeling good enough are a common cause.

I can pin point where mine is stemming from. I have a long held belief that I am not clever enough. It probably goes back to childhood,  from having an incredibly intelligent father and brother and not feeling like I lived up them. In fact my mother is also very intelligent and my grasp of English and gramma are probably the level of a childs compared hers. I feel like I try to educate myself continuously and study various different subjects trying to feel smarter. I will have some facts in my short term memory for a while and enjoy sharing them when I get the chance but then they all seem to disappear. I know the information is in my brain somewhere as they can be triggered by conversation but I just don't seem to be able to recollect it at will.

So I not only numb the feeling of inferiority by having a few drinks, I also have an excuse for my brain not to work as well as I would like. I can blame drinking for my perceived lack in intelligence rather than the fact that I'm just not as bright as I would like. The other way in which I have been numbing via alcohol is that I have a reason why I am not achieving my goals. Wasting days hungover when I could be focusing on my business is the perfect way to avoid my fear of failure. Whole weekends can be wasted (which could easily be 16 hours of productivity). Not having time is a much better thing I can tell myself rather than I am just not good enough. I could write a book if I just didn't drink versus I don't think I can write a book. Pass me the wine!!

I have decided enough is enough and I want to change. This weekend has been sin alcohol and I’ve managed to write this so I’m already taking steps in the right direction. I am not going to go so far as to say that I am not going to drink at all, I don't want to be too extreme and I enjoy a drink sometimes but I am going to be more conscious of why I am doing it. Having a glass of wine for pleasure rather than escapism. I'm going to try to face my fear of failure head on. As they say, 'there is no such thing as failure, only feedback'.

Anyway, enough of this self indulgent spurting, I would live to hear your experiences of numbing, what you do and why? What are you numbing yourself from and are you ready to face it?

Jenny x

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