Emotional numbness

The other day I cried really hard over a comic strip on Tumblr. There’s a reason for this story, I promise. The comic was about a black cat who was purposely killed by a driver, just because it was a black cat. The ghost of the cat was with Death, who in this comic, takes care of the pets that had passed away naturally, were abandoned, lost, or killed on purpose. I have always liked the comic creator, but something about the comic about the cat opened up the waterworks.

Cats are my favorite animal. If anything bad happens to a cat, I get very sad and wish I could have done something to prevent it. I think that’s why the comic got to me so much. Something bad happened to the cat and I was very sad and angry at the unnamed human in the comic.

At some point, the scene changes to an elderly woman, and she had been feeding the cat who was killed. She notices the food bowl is still full, and she fears the worst happened. The scene changes to show another cat in a shelter. This cat is also black and missing an eye. People pass this cat by and day in and day out, and the cat wonders why no one wants her. She says to herself she is a good cat…right?

Eventually, her time is up. She is about to be taken from her cage to be euthanized. This cat is scared. She swears she’s a good cat, she is! Suddenly, the old lady is there and she says quite firmly that she will take the cat. The person, surprised at the old lady’s outburst, gives the cat to the old lady. The scene changes to show ghost cat sleeping in Death’s arms, and ghost cat is awoken by Death. He shows her the black cat with the missing eye in the old lady’s home, sleeping on her lap while she knits. Ghost cat tears up and says “That’s my mom”.

That’s what broke me. What started off as something so sad ended so beautifully. I hadn’t felt so strongly about something in a long time. It’s hard for me to get emotional about something you’re supposed to be emotional about. Like when a beloved character dies in a movie. Unless I connect with that character very strongly, I find it difficult to cry about it. I’ll feel sad about their death, but I move on rather quickly. This was not the case with the cat comic. I write this a few days after I’ve read it. It’s significant to me that I write about this because of the fact that I’m still thinking about it. It had a profound, emotional effect on me. This is unusual, but I welcome it. It’s a change in the way I’ve felt.

Having anxiety partly means feeling a lot of things at once, and with depression, there’s just emotional numbness. Having both is…well, not fun. One minute I’m sitting there not really feeling much, and the next thing I know I’m having a panic attack over something I did that made me look awkward, or stand-offish, or unlikable, etc. And it goes on for several hours before I’m ok again, or just emotionally numb again. And then my misophonia will be triggered, and I’ll be angry and irritable because that’s the knee-jerk reaction of this condition, and then I’ll be back to feeling nothing after an hour or so. This article can give more detail about emotional numbness in depression.

Yesterday was Christmas Eve. I sang in church at midnight mass with people I like a lot, but I didn’t feel much. All I knew was that I was tired. And I was triggered when mass was almost over, so I just wanted to go home after that. Today was Christmas, and it is now past 11:00pm. I was supposed to joyous. We had good food at my family’s house, we opened presents, and I laughed when appropriate. Some of it was genuine, but some of it wasn’t. Some of it was out of pure obligation. I received gifts and tried to express my gratitude, but felt so fake. I took pictures with my new camera to try and distract myself and so I could do something other than sit there.

Anxiety tries to convince me the therapist will trigger me and it will all be pointless, that they won’t understand, and that any medications I’m put on will make me gain weight or feel worse. Depression is trying to keep me in bed and to just sleep in a little longer, your pets will be fine without food for another hour; or to forget about getting in the car to drive because what’s the point? I don’t matter. Nothing matters.

Except that’s not true. I do matter, and lots of things matter. My family, my friends, my boyfriend, my faith, my hobbies, my freelancing job, and getting better from anxiety and depression. One step at a time. I will end with a journal entry:

List 20 things that make you smile

  1. Cats
  2. My boyfriend’s smile
  3. My boyfriend’s laugh
  4. When my boyfriend says “I love you”
  5. Babies laughing
  6. Babies smiling
  7. Dogs being unsure if someone is at the door and going “boof” before doing an actual bark
  8. Hugs
  9. Videos of soldiers coming home to their family
  10. Videos of dogs going crazy when they see their human after a long time
  11. Videos of dogs being rescued by people
  12. Videos of children being cute
  13. Anything by Kitten Lady
  14. CreamHeroes on Youtube
  15. Jacksepticeye’s Meme Time videos
  16. Getting a perfect shot in a photography assignment
  17. Fog hanging over trees and mountains
  18. When someone–namely my boyfriend–makes me tea
  19. When my boyfriend plays a song for me on his guitar
  20. When someone asks to pray over me

Until the next update.

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