Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Emotionally Flatlined

The human mind has an amazing ability for self-preservation. At least that is how I am going to justify what I am about to explain to you. It sounds good. It sounds reasonable. Most importantly, it sounds sane.

When the emotional pressure (read: pain) becomes just too much, it is as if a an emotional circuit breaker flips...and suddenly no more pain. No happiness either...no feeling, just silence. Numbness...

...Emotionally flatlined...

One would think that after dealing with unimaginable pain, that this numbness would bring a welcome relief, and it does...for a short time.

But the unconscious mind will not be ignored. If the conscious mind refuses to acknowledge it, then the unconscious will "communicate" through the body. We call this...anxiety.

Shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea...this is the price to be paid for being emotionally flatlined.

When one can no longer tolerate the physical symptoms of anxiety and goes figuratively searching with flashlight in hand to find the circuit breaker box...

...the pain begins again...


  1. AnonymousJune 17, 2012

    So how we do get the emotions back i am currently emotionlly flat and nothing that i do is working...

  2. I suggest staring with anger, as it seems one of the easiest emotions to harness, or sadness. Watch an inflammatory news station for a full week, or a series of tearjerkers like Nicholas Sparks' movies and the Lifetime channel. You have to go through the bad to get to the good. Speaking as someone with Bipolar Disorder who frequently Flatlines for long periods between the up-cycles and down-cycles, it may be difficult to realize that you *are* feeling at first, but I can honestly claim that eventually, after watching, say, Fox News or programs that "yell" at you and talk over each other, you will start to notice a certain bodily tension, which is agitation, a precursor to anger, or, after a lot of *sad* movies, start crying. While trying this, think of repetitive tasks (try household chores at first, or filling out paperwork) that you absolutely *hate*, then force yourself to do them. Repeatedly. Don't watch programs or do activities that could incite calm or boredom such as meditation or golf: that's just going to keep you flatlined. Dance also helps. Turn on the radio and get dancing or sing along (music has therapeutic applications), or play stations where you can't stand the music's genre (rap, musicals, country, etc.), if dancing to songs you like doesn't work out (they call it "Mood" Music for a reason). To jumpstart out of a Flatline, triggering bad memories can help just as easily as good memories, if not better because we remember the bad more clearly. If you don't watch much television, try books or YouTube. For more tips, contact me through FB (I'm AstraMara Rosenstod) and I'll give you my phone number so we can call and/or text, or my email, though I check that *far* less often.
    It's a *struggle* to allow yourself to feel emotions after a long period of not, particularly in memories we've emotionally disassociated ourselves from, which is why anger - repressed along with everything else but so much quicker to surface - is usually the best to start with (followed closely by sadness or grief). As I said, if you want the good, you have to feel the bad first - sort of like an emotional purge. Feel free to contact me if the above suggestions aren't working for you; different tactics work for different people.


Sorry about the word verification, I hate it too, but spam has gotten bad lately.