grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

When Your Face Goes Numb

on June 19, 2014

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been anxious.
I’ve lived most of my life in a state of fight-or-flight.

I learned not long ago, in a counseling session, that in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder lingo, this state of being, of interacting with the world, has a name: Hypervigilance.

I am a seasoned Hypervigilante.
(Yes, I just made up that word…*smile)

For a long, long time, I managed to be a fairly high-functioning Hypervigilante…

  • I stepped into a leadership role in our local Mothers of Preschoolers group when my four girls were 6, 4, 2, and 5 months.
  • I was an uber-volunteer at their school when the oldest hit elementary age.
  • I coached their volleyball and basketball teams through the middle school years.
  • I owned and operated a small, home-based business.

During those years, I also battled a host of health challenges and fought to keep my head, and heart, above water while the Riptide of Crazy that came with being married to an abusive addict** threatened daily to pull me under.

I sincerely believed it was my job to do everything in my power to make sure all of it looked bright, shiny, and normal…to everyone on the outside, at least.

And, I did that job well.

Until I couldn’t anymore.

I can’t tell you when I hit that wall…when I stopped being so successful at playing the High-Functioning Hypervigilante…when all the tightly-bottled-up anxiety refused to be contained a minute longer.

I just know it happened.
I found myself forced to admit that all my attempts at keeping the panic at bay were ultimately failures.

The most recent evidence of this vain attempt has been numbness.
Specifically, numbness that started in my lips and tongue and has since spread to my whole face.
It comes and goes as the levels of anxiety and panic ebb and flow.

The first time I experienced it, the numbness scared me a little. I wondered, ‘What new health challenge is presenting itself now?’

In fact, I was so worried about what I might find, I asked the Mister to look it up for me…and made him promise not to tell me if it was Something Really Bad. I just couldn’t take the thought of facing another Something Really Bad.

So, he looked it up and let me know that it, the numbness, was likely linked to anxiety.
My anxiety.

I was relieved and frustrated at the same time.
Relieved that it wasn’t Something Really Bad.
Frustrated that it was something I hadn’t been able to master…my tendency toward anxiety…my Hypervigilantism…my horrible record when it came to managing stress.

And, I know I would’ve felt totally hopeless…helpless…if I hadn’t found a kindred soul who’s actually written a book about anxiety, panic, PTSD…a book about finding spiritual whitespace…soul rest.

Bonnie Gray and her brand new book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace, arrived on scene just before the first Numb Lip Incident.

Divinely timed.

There are no words to convey how very grateful I am for her bravery, her words, her invitation.

Because when your face goes numb, you need some solid ground to stand on.
Because when your face goes numb, you need some compassion and empathy and encouragement.
Because when your face goes numb, you need some dear soul to point the way to Rest.

Reading Bonnie’s book does all of that and more.

Even as I’m tapping these keys to form these words, my face is numb.
But it doesn’t scare me anymore.
It simply brings home to me that being a Hypervigilante can no longer be my gig.

Breathing deep.
Finding rest.
Creating whitespace.
Living as the Beloved.

Those are all part of my new gig.
And I believe that as I lean into each of those inviting but unfamiliar things, the numbness will wear off…like it does after a novacaine-filled dentist appointment.
Gradually.
With some odd tingling.
I’m okay with that.

**The Mister and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary this winter. He is in recovery and is actively pursuing tools and strategies that can enable him to be more healthfully engaged while taking responsibility and making amends for the damage his addiction and abuse caused.

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace
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8 responses to “When Your Face Goes Numb

  1. Holly says:

    Beautiful words, beautiful heart… Praying you and your Mister continue to heal, to rest and find your #spiritualwhitespace. :)

    • LauraK says:

      Thank you, beautiful Holly, for your sweet words and for your prayers. Grateful to be on this journey to #spiritualwhitespace with you! :)

  2. Krista says:

    This really resonated with me. Similar experiences with anxiety stemming from some personal matters. It’s funny, I never put two and two together until I found Bonnie and her blog. I pray you and your hubby continue to heal and the restoration will be a magnificent testimony for you both! ((Hugs))

  3. Sharon O says:

    Beautiful although I am a bit worried, have you been checked out by a doctor? that could be more than anxiety. great writing… and truths.

    • LauraK says:

      You are a dear, Sharon. :)
      I have mentioned it to a practitioner and was told it is likely connected to anxiety (and all the holding of my breath that I unconsciously do), which fits what the Mister found in his searching.
      Trying to remember to breathe – slowly and deeply. ;)

  4. I’ve heard wonderful things about Bonnie’s book. This post says a lot about the ways deep emotional pain can affect every area of life. Praying for that deep breathing, that the Spirit of comfort would meet you there.

    • LauraK says:

      Bonnie’s book – and her hopeful honesty – are really impacting my life in ways I never imagined. Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet prayers. :)

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