I honestly didn’t want to write a blogpost today. The main reason being that I’m not in a peppy mood, but why should blogging only be about happy thoughts when reality is that human beings experience a full range of emotions?
My current emotion = numb. I participated in a suicide debriefing at work today, which is a meeting where we review a recent suicide, process grief, and provide support for staff members involved. I have been open about my feelings surrounding patient loss (here, here, and here), and experiencing this sort of numbness is somewhat new to me. The intellectual part of me feels inclined to look up research articles to find meaning behind this numbness, however the emotional side of me lacks motivation to perform the work. We may sometimes experience a mixture of confusing, unfamiliar emotions, which may contrast from what one might perceive to be normal or expected. But that leads to criticism for feeling a certain way. How nice would it be to have freedom to be yourself and feel a certain emotion without being judged?
Yesterday, one of my newer patients wanted me to tell her where her anxiety is coming from and I replied, “I’m actually not sure, but perhaps you have an idea what might be triggering it?” My patients often expect me to identify the reason behind a specific emotion, but I find it difficult to formulate my thoughts without the patient’s own input. If I switched roles right now and sat in the patient chair and the psychiatrist asked me where I think my numbness is coming from, I’d say “I feel too overwhelmed and there’s no room for extra stress in my life.” (Then, the light bulb goes off in my head). I have too much going on in my mind and don’t have the reserve to tolerate more emotions at this current moment. Hence, feeling numb. Now that I think about it, feeling numb isn’t much different from the hours I spent watching House of Cards last night (Note: it’s out of character for me to watch that much tv on a regular basis). Either way, I am trying to avoid some unsettling feeling that I’m not quite ready to process. However, I’m bracing myself because I know the time to process the difficult emotions will eventually come. Until then, I still have two more seasons to watch.