Emotionally Numb

Emotionally Numb

by Chris Bateman

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and spent a lot of my time appreciating the mountains, forests, and rivers that are abundant in that area.  I graduated from high school in 2002 then spent 2 years at a university studying to become a small engine mechanic.  I was very much a fan of riding dirtbikes in my early adult years and that's all I wanted to be a part of at the time.  I worked for the Forest Service during the summers to help pay for college and ended up taking on part of a career as a wildland firefighter.  The money was good and the comradery was even better, it seemed like an awesome life to live.  Until the mental health and relationship struggles began to become overwhelmingly obvious. I went to a doctor and a counselor after a couple of years of not being able to tough it out anymore and they said there wasn't anything wrong with me.  Well, there was something wrong with me and it wasn't until years later that I realized that I had become emotionally numb.  In the following years I read several self-help books that gave me hope and something to believe in but it took a very long time for my emotions to wake up.  When they did it was mostly anger and resentment toward the world and how poorly I was being treated by everyone else.  This was the beginning of the end of a life that was toxic and extremely restrictive.  My instincts had finally had enough and I was gaining the confidence to give it all up for a better life.  A few winters of waves of suicidal thoughts and feelings also added to the justification to leave the toxic relationships and habits I had been a part of creating.   So I did it.  My first move was to sell my house in a small town that was way to quiet for me and move into a 5th wheel trailer in a bigger town about 30 minutes away so I could still keep my job.  After a few weeks of that, the angry Sunday nights ruminating about how some coworkers were getting better treatment and getting promotions over me came back.  It only took about 2 of those Sundays and that was enough proof to me that I had to take more action.  I quit my job and floated for a month or so until I found another job in an even bigger town about 2 hours away.  I moved up there, and stayed in my camper for a few weeks until I found a house to move into.  That's when I started going full-time at my new sales job that offered a lot more control over my schedule.  After a few anxious weeks of minimal success, the anger and resentment toward people came back.  I was able to back off on my schedule and take control over how much anger-inducing interactions I was exposing myself to.  I started doing research on how and why these issues were cropping up and found some help but I also got in touch with a therapist who specialized in anger issues. This is where I discovered that my own instincts had been manipulated and poorly programmed during my life and were causing issues that seemed to be on an evil and spiritual level.  I ended up getting removed from my sales job for poor performance which I wasn't all that surprised about but it was disappointing.  It seemed that after all the changes I had made still weren't quite enough yet to get me onto a path of good health, success and well-being. 

My therapy led me onto a book about Complex PTSD by Pete Walker and the work he has with his patients.  After listening to the audiobook, it started to become to obvious why I was having these mystical issues in my life.  Now I am on a journey, learning about my own sub and unconscious habits, my problematic thought patterns, my emotions, and my beliefs and opinions that still shape my inner and outer world.  Therapy is helping organize my mind and body so that I don’t feel so lost about life. I have been looking for ways to connect with people and understand my struggles better and find ADAA's website. I have haphazardly discovered a way that helps me understand and deconstruct my own issues and wanted to share and improve on it here.

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