Fearful Bodies: on not-feeling

My mind is too good at protecting the tiny sliver of conscious, self-identifying thought that is the ‘me’ that perceives it.

For days, maybe weeks now, something has been wrong. It’s the sort of uneasy, nebulous anxiety that is difficult to rationalise away, different to CBT one’s way out of, because how do you focus on the positives when your mother is battling the rare form of cancer that is likely to kill her? How do you get away from the fact that moving job is, objectively, scary? I am getting very good at identifying the unhelpful thought patterns that cause my negative emotions, or rather, the utter numbness that seems to have taken their place, but then what? I cannot benignly accept the possibility of my mother’s death, and I cannot deny that starting my new job is going to be an upheaval that removes me from a significant source of comfort and support. It doesn’t matter that it’s very likely to provide me with another one. It doesn’t matter that I am going to cope with whatever happens. I don’t want to have to.

Anyway. I’m not being very coherent here. I believe I’ve gone into full-on self-protection mode, and I’m not sure how to get out of it. I’m a strong proponent of vulnerability. I want to pull all these issues to the surface, and face them, and cry over them, and ask people for help with them, but I don’t seem to be able to. I don’t know what to say. I don’t understand how they could have become so deeply buried without me doing a thing. So maybe, I think, maybe they aren’t issues at all. Maybe I’m coping in a very Healthy and Mature way. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I went to see a counsellor a while back and she told me that everything I was describing was completely normal for someone in my position, so I guess that’s reassuring.

But then – if these issues don’t exist, if they haven’t been buried so deeply into my subconscious that I can’t even pull them out to look at them properly, then why am I sleeping ten hours a night, why am I failing to motivate myself to do the simplest of work-related tasks, and why am I compelled to write about it all in the first place?