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Why do I feel so numb all the time?

221 Answers
Last Updated: 01/03/2018 at 5:53pm
Why do I feel so numb all the time?
★ This question about Managing Emotions was starred by a moderator on 5/12/2016.
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Graham Barrone, Adip ICHP, MCBT


If you've found that your quality of life has reduced because of anxiety, fear or some kind of mental hurdle that you just can't get over then lets chat.

Top Rated Answers
July 8th, 2015 9:46pm
Have you faced any trauma recently? Did you experience a breakup? If something upsetting has occurred in your life recently, you may find yourself feeling quite numb. This is only natural; most of us have faced it at some point or another.
July 9th, 2015 1:26am
I have a feeling you're either depressed or stressed. OR both. Which is never good. I'm sorry you feel this way, though.
July 9th, 2015 7:28am
Well that's a question only you can answer. What's been bothering you lately? Just know you're not alone.
July 9th, 2015 9:43am
Numbness comes from being overwhelmed with to many emotions. You have so many emotions inside you that your brain doesn't know which one to feel so it chooses not to feel any.
July 9th, 2015 12:25pm
It can be caused due to many reasons. Like sometimes some psychological problems. Have you gone through some traumatic incident? Or something that hurt you really bad? Even mood swings can cause numbness!
July 10th, 2015 12:44am
Sometimes we decide that having no feeling is better then feeling all the pain , or the pain becomes so unbearable that we shut off completely.
July 10th, 2015 1:33am
I can be numb sometimes, but I have learned to improve on feelings. I learned to not feel anything a long time ago because I wanted to protect myself from emotions that others have, seeing how it affects them negatively. It is a defense mechanism. There are times when being numb is ok, and times when it isn't. To improve on not feeling numb, I had to realize that expressing my feelings(even if it's to myself when no one is around) was a good way to clear my head and try to solve issues instead of just walking away from them.
July 10th, 2015 6:41am
The five steps to overcoming panic attacks are: Acknowledge & Accept Wait & Watch (and maybe, Work) Actions (to make myself more comfortable) Repeat End Let's take a look at what each step entails. Acknowledge & Accept All progress starts here. This is the most important single step to overcoming panic attacks. Acknowledge Here I acknowledge the present reality, that I'm afraid and starting to panic. I won't try to ignore it, or pretend it's not there. I won't struggle to distract myself, tell myself to "stop thinking about it!", or snap any rubber bands on my wrist. I'm acknowledging simply that I am afraid, not that I am in danger. The thought that I am in danger is just another symptom of panic, not an important or useful thought. Accept Here I accept the fact that I'm afraid at this moment. I don't fight the feeling; ask God to take it away; blame myself, or anybody else. I accept, as best I can, that I'm afraid in the same way I would accept a headache. I don't like headaches, but I don't bang my head against the wall in an effort to get rid of them, because that makes them worse. Overcoming panic attacks begins with working with, not against, my panic and anxiety symptoms. How Can I Accept a Panic Attack? What makes a panic attack acceptable (not desirable, but acceptable) is that, while it feels awful and fills me with dread, it isn't dangerous. It won't kill me or make me crazy. Someone pointing a gun at me, that's not acceptable. I might get hurt or killed. If someone points a gun at me, I have to do whatever I can to change that: run, hide, fight, yell, bribe, or beg, because the consequence of being shot is so terrible that I must try to avoid it. On the other hand - a policeman giving me a ticket, even if I don't deserve it, I can live with that, and can hopefully keep my temper in check so I don't make things worse for myself. Accepting the symptoms, not resisting, is a powerful step to overcoming panic attacks. What Can a Panic Attack Do to Me? It makes me feel afraid, that's what a panic attack does. And, if I'm having a panic attack, I'm already there! I'm already experiencing the worst that will happen. I just need to ride it out. That's the surest path to overcoming panic attacks. Why should I accept a panic attack? Because the more I resist panic, the worse it gets. The more I develop the habit of acceptance, the more progress I make toward my goal of overcoming panic attacks. That's Acknowledge & Accept. How does that compare to what you usually do during a panic attack? Wait & Watch (and maybe, Work) Wait What I mean by "Wait" is this: don't just do something, stand there. It's similar to the suggestion "count to ten before you get mad". One of the hallmarks of a panic attack is that it temporarily robs you of your ability to think, remember, and concentrate. This step will buy you a little time to regain those abilities before you take any action. When you react before you have a chance to think straight, what do you do? If you're like most people, you probably flee, or struggle. You do things that actually make it worse. This is what people mean when they say things like "I know I'm doing it to myself" and the harder I try, the worse it gets. Jumping into action too quickly is a big obstacle to overcoming panic attacks. So, even though you have a powerful urge to leave, postpone that decision for a little bit. Don't tell yourself you CAN'T leave - keep that option open so you don't feel trapped - but put off the decision about whether or not to leave. Stay in the situation. You don't need to run away to get relief. Let relief come to you. Watch Use the occasion to observe how the panic works, and how you respond to it. The best way to do this is to fill out a panic diary. The diary is a questionnaire which helps you notice important aspects of a panic attack, so you can respond more effectively over time. Feel free to download and reproduce it for your own personal use. You can also download a set of instructions. My patients often report that just filling out a diary helps them to calm down. How does this work? It's not that they're distracted from the subject of panic, because the diary questions are all about panic. It helps you get a little distance from your emotions. It works because, while you complete a diary, you're in the role of an observer, rather than feeling like a victim. The best way to use the diary is to fill it out during the attack, rather than after. If you're in a situation where writing is impractical, perhaps while driving a car, you can: use a digital recorder; have your support person read the questions to you and record your answers; or pull over for a few minutes to write. What About "Work"? If you're in a relatively passive situation during the panic attack - a passenger in a vehicle, getting your hair cut, or waiting in a waiting room - "Wait & Watch" is all you need. If you're in a more active role - driving a car or giving a presentation - then you also need to attend to the "Work" of conducting that activity. Do "Wait & Watch", but also remain engaged in your task. That's "Wait & Watch (and maybe, Work)". How does that compare to what you usually do during a panic attack? Actions (to make myself more comfortable) At this point, you've already gone through the two most important steps to overcoming panic attacks. These steps, and all the steps necessary to overcome panic disorder and phobia, are covered in much more detail in my Panic Attacks Workbook. What's Your Job During an Attack? It's not your job to bring the panic attack to an end; that will happen no matter what you do. Your job now is to see if you can make yourself a little more comfortable, while you wait for the attack to end. Here are a few techniques that my patients have found particularly useful in overcoming panic attacks. Belly Breathing Regardless of what else you do, do belly breathing. It's also known as diaphragmatic breathing, but I think "belly breathing" is more descriptive. Many people think they know how to do deep breathing, but don't do it correctly, so they don't get good results. A good belly breathing technique is a very powerful tool in the work of overcoming panic attacks! How to Talk to Yourself Talk to yourself (silently!) about what is happening, and what you need to do. One question my patients find very helpful is this: is it Danger or Discomfort?. Some of the other responses my patients like include the following: 1. Fine, let's have an attack! It's a good chance to practice my coping techniques. 2. Answer your "what if...?" fears by saying "So what? I'll get afraid, then calm down again." 3. It's okay to be afraid. Get Involved in the Present People don't panic in the present. People panic when they imagine something bad happening to them in the future or in the past. This is why your panic attacks are almost always accompanied by some "what if...?" thought. If a dog just bit my leg, I don't say "what if a dogbite?". The reason you say "what if...?" is because what you fear is not actually happening! Get back into the activity you were engaged in prior to the attack, and become involved with the people and objects around you. If you're in a store, resume shopping, reading labels, comparing prices, asking questions, etc. It will move you closer to your goal of overcoming panic attacks when you bring your focus and energy back to the present environment. By this I mean, work with what is around you. Work with Your Body Identify, and relax, the parts of your body that get most tense during a panic attack. This typically involves first tensing, and then relaxing, the muscles of your jaw, neck, shoulders, back and legs. Do not allow yourself to stand rigid, muscles tensed, and holding your breath. That just makes you feel worse! If you feel like you "can't move a muscle", start with just one finger! That's "Actions (to make myself more comfortable)". How does that compare with what you usually do during a panic attack? Repeat This step is here because you might start feeling better, then feel another wave of panic. Your first reaction might then be to think "Oh No, it didn't work!". The Repeat step is here to remind you that it's OK if that happens. Just take it from the top again. It's not unusual or dangerous. You may go through several cycles, and you just need to repeat the AWARE steps again, as often as you need. How does that compare with what you usually do? End This is here to remind you that your panic attack will end; that all panic attacks end; that they end regardless of how you respond; that it's not your job to make the attack end; and that your only job is to make yourself as comfortable as possible while waiting for the attack to end. Have these statements been true for you? Don't take my word for it. Review your own history of panic attacks and see. And maybe the next time you panic, when you notice yourself thinking, once again, "Will this ever end?", you'll find yourself answering, "YES!"
July 10th, 2015 7:09am
Numbness may be caused by anxiety. Anxiety numbness is actually very common - both physically and psychologically - and is often made worse by the anxiety that many experience as a result of that numbness.
July 10th, 2015 7:26pm
You may have experienced something in your life that has caused you to shut off emotionally. Its probably been going on so long you may have even forgotten the actual event. Someone may have hurt you badly in a relationship and you have withdrawn into yourself because you do not want to be emotionally hurt again.
July 11th, 2015 12:53am
If you are able too, i suggest you get some blood flowing and your heart racing. You can't think your way out of it, you gotta get the body to help you.
July 11th, 2015 5:31am
You've lost what's important to you and you've become blasé to the world maybe this was because of an experience you've had you need to recognise what it is and try and find out what makes you truly happy because that is what will make you enjoy life again
July 11th, 2015 6:17am
Generally I feel numb when I don't feel like I am contributing positively in my life. What I do is I think positive about my day, myself, and if i have any negative self talk in my head i squash that by saying something positive about myself. Know that you are a wonderful person, and a lot of people love you.
July 11th, 2015 3:17pm
if you mean emotionally numb, in which i'm assuming you do, then it's probably because you're depressed or alone or you feel some type of way that makes you hurt. they all kind of merge together honestly.
July 11th, 2015 4:13pm
This really depends on what you mean but if I'm correct in saying, it's usually because you feel emotionally numb. If you feel physically numb, I would suggest seeing your GP as soon as possible! Otherwise, I would think you're emotionally detached from certain things, people or whatever else it may be simply because you either fin no joy in something or you find that someone doesn't understand you like you want them to. Perhaps someone is always criticising you, telling you some horrible things about yourself that may or may not have truth but there's always a reason as to why people act a certain way; it's not because you're not "normal" or because of something you did or said but simply because no one is willing to listen. It's all fair an well saying that we can listen but when the people closest to you don't, that's when it becomes a problem. If I am incorrect about this, I do apologise but the question is extremely vague so I'm just taking a shot in the dark here. I hope this information is useful to you.
July 12th, 2015 1:35am
Try going out and doing things you enjoy. Besides struggles you may be facing, having a monotone routine can essentially numb you. Do something different or activities you know gets you hyped up and happy.
July 12th, 2015 5:40am
It could be a hormonal imbalance, if you haven't yet seen a professional about this, I suggest you do. It's also normal for people to feel like this at times in their lives, tell someone you trust and try to get help
July 12th, 2015 5:46am
When I was younger I had these family issues to where everything was blamed on me, it made me so insecure so upset all the time. I eventually grew to hate myself. I felt as though this is how i am supposed to feel, which most of the time was nothing. I felt so empty so hollow
July 12th, 2015 4:05pm
It could be... well, many things! Maybe you're going through a stressful week or month and this makes you feel tired and, consequently, numb.
July 12th, 2015 8:16pm
What exactly do you mean by "feeling numb"? Are there any factors in your life at the time being that stress you out or draw energy from you?
July 14th, 2015 5:52am
Sometimes feeling numb is a way your mind copes with things that seem too overwhelming. Do you feel like you are not as 'in control' of your life as you'd like to be?
July 15th, 2015 1:16am
I probably feel numb because I have gone through a particularly difficult experience and the numbness I feel is a reaction to it. I haven't fully processed the experience. I haven't come to terms with it. I need help. Numbness could also be a trigger mechanism which is actually unhealthy but works as a 'protective' covering to sustained emotional tension.
July 15th, 2015 9:24pm
Your depression has probably stripped away all your emotional feelings. It'll do that, & has most certainly done that with me in the past.
July 17th, 2015 9:20pm
You're probably feeling numb becausey ou're overwhelmed with stress or anxiety, or just unhappy at this moment in your life. This affects so many of us from time to time. Talking to someone on 7Cups or an online therapist could help, too. Good luck, friend!
July 18th, 2015 4:03pm
Sometimes people struggling with depression experience feelings of sadness, loneliness, or numbness. Feeling numb all the time can be a sign that you're struggling with some problems that might require professional help.
July 19th, 2015 5:13am
Maybe you feel numb because, it's easier than feeling the pain that surrounds you. But, feeling numb has a lot of different reasons not just to avoid feeling pain.
July 19th, 2015 7:23pm
Sometimes this can be an affect of new medication your taking or it can sometimes be you have been so upset/ angry/ frustrated for so long now your body just cant do it anymore so it goes numb
July 22nd, 2015 4:11pm
Numbness might be your body or mind's reaction to protect you from a very tough situation. If it's ongoing, you might want to ask a friend, counselor or family member for help.
July 22nd, 2015 11:48pm
Well usually its caused my loneliness, depression, anxiety lack of attention. Not everyone feels this way for the same reason but it also may be because you arent open to feeling more emotion.
July 23rd, 2015 2:30am
Could it be nerves? Could it be anxiety? Look up these conditions, my guess is that it's one of them