Emotional Paralysis

Do you feel like you have emotional paralysis? We are all affected by emotional pain, stress and emotional trauma in different ways, and of course, your definition of this term may vary from some-one else’s, but maybe you feel any one, or a combination of the following:


  • It could be that you describe yourself as depressed. Perhaps you notice your mood is very low on a regular basis, until it gets increasingly difficult to bring yourself out of your state of depression. The result is a feeling of being stuck in the deep doldrums, unable to get out, and some people may call this,emotional paralysis.

    WHO (the World Health Organisation) defines depression as follows:

"Depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. These problems can become chronic or recurrent and lead to substantial impairments in an individual's ability to take care of his or her everyday responsibilities.”

If you are in deep depression (or clinical depression), you may feel physically exhausted, to the point that even getting up and walking out the door, or performing a few small household chores leaves you physically drained.


  • Fearfulness may prevent you moving forward in life. Perhaps to you, your emotional paralysis means you are stuck in fear, and are having difficulty getting out.

  • Perhaps generally, you appear to function normally, yet you compensate and cope with the pain and memories of a previous traumatic event in particular ways, such as through over eating, excess drinking, or you find yourself engaging in repetitive behaviour patterns, such as getting involved in inappropriate relationships.

    In this sense, you may feel that up to this point, your emotional paralysis manifests in the reluctance or inability to deal with your emotional hurt head on, to resolve it, and let it go.

  • Perhaps you are carrying a deep emotional hurt, from the distant or recent past. This could be due to the loss of a loved one, divorce, emotional abuse – or some other form of abuse.

    As a result of this significant emotional event, you may have put up barriers to dealing with your pain. Those barriers, quite simply, may be the cutting off of your feelings, because looking at your feelings could make you feel vulnerable.

    Eventually, you may become more broadly detached from your emotions generally, as a form of ‘self protection’.

    It may even be that you now find it difficult to experience happiness, to laugh and enjoy life, so that in one sense, you feel emotionally cut off or ‘paralyzed’.



Dealing With Emotional Paralysis

We are all different. At times we may need more support than at others. It’s not weak to seek help, indeed, it requires strength to admit when you need it, and that you are doing so because you wish to move forward.

Depending on the depth of emotional paralysis and hurt you are feeling, and which of the scenarios above best describes your situation, you may like to consider any of these, or a combination.

    1. Seek counselling support from a qualified professional to help you face and overcome your emotional paralysis. The aim should be not merely to acknowledge your issue, but to actually resolve it and let it go.

    2. Seek additional support from a qualified health care professional, especially in the case of depression.

    3. Seek self-help tools to deal with your problems, such as self help books and CDs, hypnosis and self hypnosis tapes and CDs, support groups, and so on.

    4. In tandem with any of the above, nurture yourself. Give yourself time whilst resolving your feelings of emotional paralysis, and try to reduce your exposure to stress as much as possible. Keep away from emotional vampires (people who offload their negativity and troubles, then clear off; or those who keep you focused on pain, because it’s their main area of conversation and interest!). Engage in relaxing activities if you can, such as walks in the countryside, a candlelit bath.

In addition, you might also like to try and help yourself feel better, with exercises to improve your self esteem, cope with general stresses, and feel better about yourself generally.

In short, investigate:

Self Esteem resources

Stress Coping Tools

Relaxation Exercises

Hypnosis and Self Hypnosis

Tools for releasing Fear and Anxiety




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