Numbness is nature’s prescription for pain

When I got the news my son, Charles, had been found dead of suicide, my first instinct was to find the escape route. I wanted to get the f–k away from that agony and slide into another life that was shiny and happy.

The news the police officer was sharing kept bumping up against a roadblock of disbelief and to cope my mind would take little jaunts from reality and wander down meaningless tributaries of thought to give my soul a break from the weight of the devastating news. Bits and pieces of information floated about screaming their importance with no place to land, only to be retrieved later when my mind had ability to absorb them and put the pieces together.

With that shocking loss came the brain paralysis known as numbness, nature’s shock absorber. Because as a human I could only endure so much hurt at one time. That whole first year, numbness would sweep me up in its embrace to give me a break from the agony, render me brain dead, and siphon my ability to give a damn about much of anything else.

My expectation was that year two would be a picnic by comparison but that’s when nature’s prescription medication wore off and it felt like I was facing all the hurt without the cushion. So while that one year anniversary wasn’t a magic bullet, it was a mile marker that served as a trophy for having survived the unsurvivable. Thanks to numbness, my broken heart  didn’t didn’t kill me.

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Anne Moss Rogers

I am the mother of two boys and the owner of emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. I am a writer and professional public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief and currently working on getting a book published. I lost my youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory.

6 thoughts on “Numbness is nature’s prescription for pain”

  1. Well put Anne Moss. I still drift off and lose myself for hours with mindless activity. I still cannot get as much done… And I do believe that I cannot ever get as excited or as upset about anything as I used to.

    1. I can understand that Gray. Whitten was your only and you have your own depression to deal with. I think you are remarkable. My emotional response is different, too now than before. With holidays approaching, the whole month of December is one long numb month for me. I’m sure it must be for you since Whitten died right before Christmas.

    2. I’m in so much pain I’m not sure I’m numb, but I definitely can’t get as upset as I used to, and the concept of excitement is completely foreign. And the holidays are terrifying. I feel like my head is trapped inside a small box that I can’t reason my way out of, and that I want to bang it against out of pure frustration. Instead, I read this blog, and many articles and books, and I try to think my way out of it some more. The thinking is blocking the feeling, like if I can only figure it out, I can change it. But of course I know that’s not true, so then I weep and wail some more. But the reading and thinking also help pass the long lonely hours, and not feel so hopeless and alone. Thank you Anne Moss and Gray for sharing your journeys.

      1. Oh Stacy. Just so you know, I’m in tears. I feel your pain. I am less terrified of the holidays this year but in fear of them. I just kind of go catatonic. How long has it been for you since your daughter’s death?

      1. It seems so impossible. Yet I did it. And I won’t lie I used all of you all to pull me through it. I thought I was doing this blog for self healing but I realized it was all of you in our shared pain that was helping me move through it. It’s so isolating. Losing a child is tough enough without the added twist of the knife of suicide. Things do look different now thank goodness. It still hurts but it’s not that constant grief but a lot more manageable.

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