Protection by numbing & autopilot.

“Shock is when language and emotion get overwritten by trauma’s numbing code.” 

Stewart Stafford

When you are faced with an experience that is overwhelming and/or you can’t escape. Your brain steps in and protects you from the distress caused by detaching you mentally from your immediate surroundings, your body or your emotions. 

This emotional numbness, often described as running on auto-pilot, makes it feel as if you are:

▶️ detached from other people or

▶️ looking down on yourself and others as if you are outside of the world, 

This is called ‘Dissociation’, and it is your brains way of protecting you by building a wall around your unsafe thoughts and memories. To stop the

▶️ distress,

▶️ guilt and

▶️ shame

you may feel at your failure to do the most basic thing in life and keep yourself safe.

Numbing and living on autopilot involves detaching yourself from reality, rather than a loss of reality as in psychosis.

The problem with living on autopilot/disassociation over a long time is that it tricks your brain into thinking that it is constantly under attack. This is also known as operating from a position of survival. Nobody, including you, can be in a constant state of survival and still function well. 

2️⃣. Protection by numbing or autopilot can be one or all of the following.

2️⃣.1️⃣ Dissociation

Is when your mind stores thoughts, memories, and emotions in sealed boxes. Where you can open the boxes and deal with emotions at a later stage. It works on the unpleasant feelings but It leaves you unable to feel any of the good emotions. This leaves you feeling empty inside. Disassociation ranges from

▶️ mild day dreaming to

▶️ the more extreme depersonalisation and derealisation.

2️⃣.2️⃣ Derealisation

▶️ When you feel as if you look at the through a veil.


▶️ As if places and people are a long way away.

2️⃣.3️⃣ Depersonalisation

▶️ You feel as if the world is dreamlike, it is not quite real, and people and events lack meaning. 


▶️ You feel as if you are separated from yourself. As if you are a reflection or you are looking down at yourself.


▶️ You feel as if the entire world is dreamlike, less real, lacking in significance.


▶️ You do things without thinking or enjoying as if you are living life on autopilot.