Uncomfortably Numb: Why I'd Rather Feel Pain Than Feel Nothing At All


The lowest point in my life was undoubtedly my first heartbreak. I fell hopelessly in love with a man who didn’t love me the way I thought he did.

I didn’t know it then, but my worst time was also my best time.

The relationship was madness. The conversation created fireworks. The sex was invigorating.

But when it ended, I felt like someone had shot me, robbed me, and spit on my dead body.

Long after he and I fell apart, I spent evenings dwelling on my misery. I relished in my sadness.

In full effect, my heartbroken life looked something like this: endless makeovers, dark poetry, and The Decemberists on full-blast.

When friends and family expressed concern for my well-being, I reassured them that part of the process was staying in my room and feeling my feelings.

I had never before felt such a dark storm brew inside of me, and my senses were heightened to an unparalleled degree.

“I can’t explain it without sounding crazy,” I’d say. “I feel sad. But I feel alive."

Heartbreak is possibly the most unjust feeling. Unlike other unfortunate events -- like a family member’s death -- we are the ones who get ourselves into it. If something goes awry, we're the culprits.

In a sense, getting our hearts broken makes us our own enemies; after it happens, we second-guess everyone and everything, sometimes to the point of going insane.

But pain -- like birth and death -- is an inevitable part of life. Though I wouldn’t want to experience that heartbreak again, I also wouldn’t go back and change a thing.

Pain, unlike indifference, is stimulating.

Before I met my heartbreaker, I didn’t know what it means to hurt unconditionally. But I also didn’t know what it meant to truly love someone.

I had been floating through life, believing everything was in my control, not knowing that an insurmountable wave was about to consume me.

Love can escalate quickly, and it comes out of nowhere. It teaches us about ourselves and others. But so does pain.

Anything less than loving or hurting is unexciting.

You can’t win big unless you bet big.

I took a leap with my heart and fell flat on my face. There’s no question that I’m forever changed. But at the end of the day, I would not have it any other way.

A small risk yields a small result; the only chances worth taking are the big ones, because they help us perform the seemingly impossible.

I ended up losing more than I gained. But if I hadn’t been brave, I would have forever wondered, “What if...?”

Unless you’ve experienced the worst, you won’t be able to recognize a good thing when it hits you.

By failing to value me the way I deserved, my ex unknowingly taught me my value. We cannot appreciate our best gifts until we’ve hit our bottom.

By causing me pain, he threw me into the arms of the things and people in my life that did deserve my love -- the ones I should have been loving more all along.

For that I am grateful.

True self-awareness is achieved through sadness.

When we are hurt, our minds set little traps for us. We tend to get lost in these trips. I didn’t learn only about the depths of my sadness; I also learned the limits of my empathy.

To discover that I was capable of being so profoundly affected by something was both impressive and illuminating.

In working through my pain, I realized just how strong I am.

You learn to recognize which behaviors are “red flags.”

We hear about what makes bad boys bad, but we don’t actually learn to steer clear of them until we’ve experienced this unhealthy relationship ourselves.

If "my" bad boy had never hurt me, how would I know who is deserving of my love?

I used to love with my eyes closed. Pain taught me to keep them half-open.

This, too, shall pass: Pain is fleeting.

No state of mind is ever permanent; every feeling fleets. We ride both the highs and lows in life. Some people simply feel their emotions more strongly than others.

Sadness may take years to dissipate, but it will eventually fade -- whether because of time or newfound happiness.

The pain was so palpable that I couldn’t overcome it simply by talking with friends; I had to find another outlet.

The heartbreak eventually became the impetus for my writing. I couldn’t control my feelings, but I could control how I channeled them.

To this day, I spend some nights nights lying awake and lamenting the loss. But writing made me who I am; in the end, pain made me who I am.