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Numb numb numb

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I used to come here a bit some years ago and haven’t posted or responded for years so this feels a bit cheeky.
But I also think maybe someone here has the answer…
I don’t understand myself any more. I used to be a very emotional person, too emotional really. I got diagnosed with ptsd maybe 15 ?? Years ago but am fairly sure It started way before that.
I started to kind of even out during the lockdown, in many ways I found unexpected relief during that time. I found a sense of calm in not really having to deal w other people much,
After the lockdown I got cancer. The sense of calm remained. It’s been a year of chemo radio ops etc etc I’ve never cried. I’ve not felt much at all,
People kept saying I’m brave, but I know im Not being brave, I think I’m just really really numb.
I don’t want the emotionsl Turbulence of old, but im Not sure what this is …
Sometimes I think maybe I’ve healed?? But that doesn’t feel right either…
I remember all the pain but it feels like it happened to someone else now.
It’s actually a bit scary writing this, like I’m going to awaken the dragon but I’m so stumped
Anybody here experienced this?
Yup, me too.
I'm so numb that it's even managed to cut through a lot of my old PTSD fears and anxieties.
For example, I used to have a hospital phobia. Nowadays I'm like "Ehh whatever" and no longer freak out in hospitals.
While that superficially sounds like a good thing, I know that it's not.
My Dr's are worried about it too.
At first they wouldn't believe me when I told them how bad the numb symptom was (mine's due to depression) but when I convinced them it was so bad that my old fears and phobias were cancelled out by it they were like "Oh, umm... that doesn't sound so healthy..."
Sorry to hear you got cancer... I can understand your system responding with numbness. I think it just reduces the overwhelm. How are you coping with treatment?
oh thanks @Evdysis! It’s a relief to know it’s not just me. I don’t even think I’m depressed though?
The treatment is kind of brutal, but as I say it was like floating on a raft in a calm river. Nothing seemed to penetrate that.
It doesn’t really fit depersonalisation or detealisation I don’t think. ?
I do still have triggers but it kind of happens underground, I just feel the rumble not the seismic eruptions I used to feel.
It’s just all very odd 🤔 isn’t it…
Yes, it's definitely very weird. I've struggled to describe it to people too. "Depersonalisation" or "derealisation" have been my best attempts at labelling it too. Maybe some others will chime in and give some input too. I don't know if you've seen the new "AI" section of the forum? It's surprisingly helpful. I've got a thread there and I'm pretty sure I've mentioned the numbness thing once or twice there, but it would probably be worthwhile starting a thread of your own with one of the AI programmes and asking specific questions about it. You don't always get the "right" answer directly, but I've found often the answers are so interesting that they make me think... and then I come back with a better/ different question and get a more helpful answer...
i cant say i get it entirely but i can think i can lean into it a little. Part of this diagnosis is an “ awareness” of a lack of future. I cant say it would kick in and numb me to a diagnosis like the one you got handed, but it is an overarching factor in my daily life, almost a “go-to” tool for getting through some hard passages. Like most of the time i am trying to stay awake, and then something extra crappy comes my way so I just let my self drift off into the sleep of not caring.
As far as being called brave for not showing fear? If it feels like a compliment you take willingly, whats wrong with that? Bravery is just a word, it means so many things, sometimes it describes someone that has accepted the situation as just another thing, just another day. Your thing is outside my experience, but your acceptance is right down home
Thx @enough ! The reason I don’t like the brave comment is because I have been brave in the past and it was a huge personal effort, and it was lonely and scary and worthy of the word “brave”.
There’s no effort in this numbness and I’m not making it happen so”brave” does not feel like the right word!! If you know what I mean.,,
My T says it’s defense mechanism. Your mind sees a threat so it shuts off your emotions. I don’t know your history, for me it’s years of abuse and not being allowed my emotions. I’m still barely able to identify what I’m feeling and that’s with some major effort on my part. When I’m struggling with something the emotions are the first to go.

If you apply that to pandemic keeping you home and cancer I’d say your mind has certainly seen threat, so maybe that’s been its solution. It isn’t a conscious effort so you have to make it a conscious effort to not shut off your emotions which is certainly easier said than done. Especially dealing with cancer.

I wouldn’t say it’s a your PTSD is not flaring so much as an it is.
@Charbella I’m pretty sure the PTSD started after a very traumatic event in my 20s. I didn’t know what ptsd was then but had all the symptoms. I didn’t get diagnosed until after my partner died maybe 20 years later.
But I too came from a family situation where having feelings was very dangerous. Just made you vulnerable to being called crazy, and made me into the scapegoat of the family.
Too long a story.
but yes, I’ve always been private with my emotions and only feel safe showing them/sharing them with maybe an intimate partner - which I don’t have now. Maybe that doesn’t help?
But that’s why therapy is hard too…
Anyway, I think ur prob right. It’s flaring but in a very different way than it ever has before.
It’s not unpleasant just weird….
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