I Don’t Know What I Am Feeling
If you don’t know what you are feeling, that could be a sign that you are emotionally numbing as a coping strategy.
Here are other signs of emotionally numbing out:
- You don’t enjoy activities that you once did
- You feel chronically distant or detached from others
- Life feels dull and bland
- You feel like you are going through the motions of life
- You don’t feel positive emotions with any regularity
- You once enjoyed the company of friends or family, but these days you’d rather just be on your own
If you are experiencing these feelings, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are emotionally numbing out.
For example, when someone you love dies, emotional numbness is 100% normal and to be expected.
Additionally, some medications or substances can also bring on emotional numbness. Therefore, if you are exhibiting these symptoms, it’s a good idea to first check with your doctor.
I Don’t Know What I Am Feeling.. what can I do?
Tweaking some of your lifestyle habits can make a big difference.
Not only can tweaking a few things help you get out of the emotional fog, but it can also prevent future incidents of emotional numbing.
While it may take a bit of trial and error, the key to the success of lifestyle modifications is to find what activities, friends, clubs, sports spark your interest and do more of them.
Here are things you can do to get in touch with your feelings when you start thinking,
“I don’t know what I am feeling…”
- Purposefully engage in things that evoke positive experiences. People that are emotionally numb as a coping mechanism need to have access to positive experiences in order to counterbalance the negative overwhelm.
- Create or use your social network: Reaching out to friends or family may be the last thing you want to do when you are feeling emotionally numb. However, disconnecting and disengaging is a sure way to stay stuck.
- Exercise: Feeling- be it emotionally or physically- is a step in the right direction! You already know this, but I’ll say it anyway, exercise releases endorphins. It is a surefire way to feel something and get some ‘feel good’ hormones coursing through your blood.
- Sleep: Get a good night’s sleep. Is this nearly impossible for you to do? If so, you aren’t alone. People that have PTSD are more likely to have nightmares or have trouble falling asleep/staying asleep because of the hypervigilance. If this is the case for you, I’d suggest that you speak to your doctor to discuss. Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep!
Decrease your stress
- You have just read the suggestion that you should ‘decrease your stress’ and laugh at the absurdity of my suggestion.
There are many stressors that may not be able to be changed in your life right now.
Your loved one could be dying and you are the caretaker…
Or, you need to work long hours to put food on the table.
I get it.
Bottom line: It may be stressful just to hear the suggestion “decrease your stress.” If that is the case, I’d encourage you to seek out ways to better manage the stress that you have!
Tips on how to better manage your stress
- Practice breathing exercises… which will provide almost immediate relaxation (if you don’t believe me, try it out once for 5 minutes)
- Mindfulness strategies have been found to be particularly helpful in decreasing emotional numbing while also increasing emotional strength.
- Self-compassion exercises– which is a type of mindfulness strategy have also been helpful to decrease emotional numbing and increase resilience.
- Important note: Drugs and alcohol may feel good at the moment, but can contribute to greater feelings of numbness and/or stress levels.
I Don’t Know What I Am Feeling.. what can I do?
Give Counseling A Go!
There are lots of treatment options that exist to help people who chronically say to themselves, “I don’t know what I am feeling!”
To set expectations, the treatment for emotional numbing will be gradual and take time.
After all, you don’t want therapy to completely overwhelm you…
You shouldn’t go from avoiding all your feelings to confronting them all overnight.
Rather it will be a gradual process to help alleviate the numbness.
While each treatment is unique, all the treatments share the common the goal of working towards changing how you deal with trauma.
The treatments will help you learn new coping mechanisms and ditch the numbing, escaping, disengaging, and avoiding.
Here are some evidence-based treatments that your therapist may utilize:
Are you ready to give therapy a go?
Free free to contact me directly if you have questions or to schedule a brief call to see if I might be able to support you as you journey forward.
Looking for mental health services in Indy?
As a marriage and family therapist, I also offer: