(Un)comfortably Numb

By Sonja Blignaut

Some interesting memes have been popping up on Social Media the last few weeks. One Tweet read: "January is giving me end-of-year fatigue", on Facebook someone posted "What a year January has been". I also experienced a strange "time forgetfulness." In the last week, I often found myself confused about what day it was - I literally had to look at my calendar or think for several moments to work out if it is Monday, or Wednesday .. or, uhm ...Monday? What was most concerning is that I couldn't be bothered to worry about it. Finding these posts on Social Media, and hearing from friends and clients that they are having similar experiences thankfully made me realise that I wasn't alone.  

For many, 2022 has started with what seems to be the opposite of a bang. Motivation is fleeting; it is hard to "get going ."It has been challenging to describe or name precisely what we are feeling. I think the technical term for this is languishing - that blah feeling between depression and flourishing. A friend said it reminds him of an old Pink Floyd song ...

Comfortably numb - Pink Floyd

"There is no pain you are receding

A distant ship, smoke on the horizon

You are only coming through in waves

Your lips move, but I can't hear what you're saying

When I was a child

I caught a fleeting glimpse

Out of the corner of my eye

I turned to look, but it was gone

I cannot put my finger on it now

The child is grown

The dream is gone

I have become comfortably numb."

The question is ... are we comfortably or uncomfortably numb? Are we more anxious about the pandemic not ending, or of not knowing what lies beyond when it does end?

There seems to be "something strange in the atmosphere" here at the start of 2022. What we have found helpful is to normalise these feelings. To keep reminding ourselves that we are not the only ones feeling like this. In fact, we often tell our clients (and ourselves!) that "if you are not experiencing any of these things right now … if you are motivated, energised, ready to take on more … you probably need to see a doctor asap". Sometimes knowing that you are not alone, that this is part of our collective trauma and our collective unconscious response, is enough to give us the strength to carry on.

What has your experience been of the start of 2022?

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