Physically Present Mentally Absent 

Do you ever feel like you’re there but you’re not really there? Like you’re not quite yourself. That feeling when you’re so overwhelmed with emotions and feelings that it does the opposite, where you feel nothing – you become numb.

Without divulging too much about my personal life, let’s just say I’ve been thrown or walked into, if you rather, a lot of situations that were toxic and unhealthy (and I don’t mean just relationship related). In those experiences, the amount of emotions I had to deal with was unspeakable. How do you deal with anger, upset, anxiety, disappointment, resentment all at once? My answer in those situations was to not deal with it at all, but instead to shut it off and ignore it, instead of dealing with it or removing myself from what caused those feelings in the first place. The thing about letting those emotions build up (like shaking a fizzy drink) eventually when you let out the emotions it spirals out of control.

When you’re consumed in that amount of emotion you find yourself doing and saying things you wouldn’t normally, making decisions on the impulse, finding things to distract yourself from the real problem and pretending to be okay to the outside world.

You wake up in the morning, you get out of bed, you get on with your day, you go to work, you function normally but you’re not you. You’re numb to the feelings and you’re not quite present. There would be days where I would be at work or around people and put on a smile, acting as if nothing has happened. Once I set foot back into my house or own space, that mask comes off and the emotions flood back in.

For me, the one thing I find myself doing a lot when I’m clouded by negative emotions is impulsive spending. A quick browse online, and before you know it I’ve successfully distracted myself for a couple hours but damaged my bank account in the process – not so great. I’m not particularly proud of it, in fact, it’s quite irresponsible to spend so impulsively on items I probably don’t even need, but it helped to ease my emotions. In those couple of hours I was focussed on buying nice things instead of facing the problem at hand. That’s one of my coping mechanisms. Other people may find themselves going to gym more (which is probably what I should do), eating more, going out more, or engage in activities that they wouldn’t normally. Whether it be heartbreak, broken friendships, family struggles, everyone copes differently.

As I write this, I’m working on how to deal with my emotions better, and one way is trying to face the problem, understand what is making me feel the way I do, and removing myself from it. The removing part is what I struggle with the most. I tend to stay in the situations and around the people causing these negative feelings with the hope that things would get better or improve. The thing about hope is that it does more damage than good in these situations because, I’m not allowing myself to be me, I’m not allowing myself to heal, I’m not allowing myself to think clearly and make good decisions. Instead I’m allowing someone else to influence my happiness.

From the outside a lot of people always think I’m strong and ‘got my shit together’. Most of the time I do but not always. Emotions aside, I’m always working on building a good future for myself- that’s a priority I’ve never let slip and something I’ve learnt to separate from my personal life. For those who are closest to me, who see me go through these situations always say to me “why don’t you walk away”, “why don’t you remove yourself from the situation”, and the truth is I don’t really know why. It takes me a while to remove myself and let things go but when I eventually do, I feel so at peace.

I’m not an expert in dealing with emotions, and I’m still working on putting myself first and not letting others effect my emotions and mood so easily. Once you take that step in realising what the problem is and removing yourself from it, even though it may feel hard at the time, you are one step closer to being yourself again and being happy.

Bottling your feelings and pretending to be okay is harmful to yourself in the long run.

Talk to someone, a friend, your family, anyone really who’s willing to listen. A lot of the time even if they can’t help you or solve your problems, at least you’ve let out how you feel and someone has listened. You are not alone. 

I know I’m not alone. I’m surrounded by a lot of people who love me, care for me and hate seeing me unhappy.

Even though I do talk to them about my problems, they don’t see the full picture and I sometimes downplay or hide the real extent of how I feel. Taking that step to be honest with yourself and those around you and admit how you really feel and what is causing that, is part of the healing process.

The notion of having “no feelings” and being team “fuck your feelings” excuse my language, is not healthy either. I’ve been there and done exactly that, thinking that in the long run I’ll be better off. But being completely emotionless and cold to the world out of fear of being hurt again only prolongs the healing process. It’s good to feel, but just channel the positive feelings and avoid things/people/situations that will provoke the bad ones. How do you avoid those things some people may ask. Well my answer would be very simple:

1. Learn from your mistakes

2. Learn from the past and don’t put yourself in repeat situations

3. If you pick up any signs that feel familiar to past situations, remove yourself from it at the earliest stage possible

All the things I’ve listed above, I’ve failed to do repeatedly and believe me I’m really trying to take my own advice but it’s easier said than done. It does take time.

You know that cliché saying ‘happiness looks good on you’ – I’m trying to look good everyday and I’ll get there, eventually.


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