You are walking down the street. You can see the cars moving and you can see the people around you. Your breath is coming in short bursts and there’s a weird pressure in between your ears, making everything sound like it’s underwater. You can see the world moving around you but you’re numb, disconnected, switched off.
This is called being ‘in the box’
For some, the box is a place of retreat. Your body goes into autopilot and your brain switches off from emotion. You disassociate with everything around you, so you can speak and interact, but nothing is going on beyond the eyes. It’s a common feeling for those who suffer with depression, and it’s not an easy one to cope with. The box is made of glass, because you can see out of it, but you can’t get out of it and reconnect your emotions. You can’t feel sad or happy or high or low – it’s all muted. Some people relate depression to being low, unable to get out of bed, a crippling sadness. Others sit in the box – neither happy nor sad. Able to get up but unable to finish anything because your mind and heart just isn’t in it. Getting out of the box? Literally the hardest thing to do, but it can be done. Getting back in touch with your emotions is a process, and you have to be patient with yourself. You may well have already joined a Tai Chi class or ordered from Next Day CBD to get your mind distracted from how you feel. There are other things that you could be doing, though, to help you to reconnect with your emotions, and here they are:
- Firstly, you need to get moving. You need adrenaline and you need your hormones firing enough to push past that numbness that has been created. Cleaning the house isn’t only therapeutic, you are channelling some energy into something positive.
- Next, you need to create a support system to be with you when things are really a struggle to cope with. Even if the people you have around you are there to help you while you are cleaning the house; company is a good way to stay distracted from what isn’t going on in your head.
- A safe space is a necessity. You may not be able to get involved in the world around you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sit somewhere that would normally trigger feelings of peace and serenity. Don’t be alarmed if you end up in a blanket fort; it’s what they’re for.
- Your emotions may be switched off, but you need to do things that would trigger them. A film that would make you sad can unlock tears. Lifting weights can unlock anger, and so on.
The box isn’t somewhere to live. It’s a good place to stay in times of stress and needing that self-preservation, but it’s not a permanent solution. Don’t ignore the numb feeling; get some help.