When Comes The Numb Heart- A Letter To A Friend

My dear friend,

I know you are confused about how numb and overcome with frustration you are right now. You have lack of excitement for anything good and you are keeping fear and sadness at more than an arm’s length. You aren’t happy, but yet you aren’t unhappy; you don’t feel love and butterflies for anything in life, and you can’t associate with anyone who is going through painful things. For you, this is extremely unusual. You have always been wide open about life while maintaining your naivety and innocence. You are goofy and so smart and so willing to go full-bore into activities that push you physically and mentally. And you’ll focus with your brow furrowed with focus until you finish and then you’ll grin broadly. But not now. Now you are practically deadened with a lack of emotion while going through the motions. It is hard to enjoy the highs when you have no lows.

I told you that I would tell you my thoughts on this numbness and here it goes:

Your numbness reminds me of the surgery I had three years ago. I was cut open and put back together to deliver my son into the world. I was warned about nerve damage to the area, so I thought I was well-informed enough to not be shocked. However, nothing prepared me for how I felt, more so, how I DIDN’T feel, when I ran my hands over the area of the surgical cut. I could feel my fingers’ pressure but there was nothing, no receptors that told my brain how it felt to be touched there. The area spanned about two inches above and below the incision. I kept touching the area, willing to feel again, and I was sufficiently freaked out about the numbness.

When someone gets an open wound, it gets sutured by stitches or surgical glue that binds the edges of the wound back together and encourages healing. However, when the person is wounded and has their physical body torn open, the nerve endings of the wound area are damaged. Sometimes, the nerve endings grow back and the area can be felt again. But sometimes the area is irrevocably damaged.

You, my friend, have experienced some shitty times recently. Your heart has been broken, and when a heart breaks and mends, like physical wounds, I believe that it mends with a hardened scar that has no more active nerve endings. So when our heart experiences enough breaks, the scar tissue becomes large and so overwhelming that we can no longer feel, no matter how hard we press on the area and will the feeling to return.

You wonder why you don’t feel. You are pressing on the edges of your heart in confusion and while you know you SHOULD feel something, you don’t.

My friend, it took years for the feeling in my abdomen to return. But this is what the doctors don’t tell you. Yes, you may feel again, but the feeling will not be the same. Something in you has changed and your body has adapted and grown different nerve endings. Maybe your heart is changing and moving away from the innocence and belief in the world that had you so wide-eyed and receptive to love.

This sounds bad. It isn’t. It is a part of life and learning wisdom, I guess. And it happens to people at different ages.

If you want to feel that uninjured innocence and love again, go watch a child explore the world with glee and run back into the arms of their loving but injured parent. Watch how the parent encourages the fun and love and desperately tries to retain their child’s excitement and hope and happiness. The child does not feel the pain that you do. The child hasn’t experienced the pains of the world yet. But they will, and they will yearn to feel that free again. So watch the child and know that you are experienced and will have to grow new nerve endings that make you feel differently. And try to protect those around you from experiencing the pain that wounded your heart.

Please let your scarred heart move from excitement and happiness into acceptance and contentment.

I’m sorry you are experiencing this horrific period of growth.

I love you.