Ep 27 - Feeling numb? Us too - with Tamica Wilder

By Amy Crawford

Tamica Wilder is a Melbourne-based sex coach, multi-qualified therapist and the author of Wild Honey. Tamica is hugely passionate about teaching women how to return to the language of their body. I invited her to chat with me about a physical and emotional numbness creeping in due to ongoing lockdowns. You feel it too?

Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast and more.

Broadcast: August 20, 2021
Duration: 38:56


Here is a snippit of our conversation…

The numbness creeping in…

Amy: Last week, I was enjoying some online interactions with a woman in the ACT who had been thrown into a sudden seven-day lockdown. She described the feeling she'd gotten as like whiplash … I don't think I'll be alone in saying this, but for me, the sensation isn't whiplash, it's a feeling of being numb and with that numbness, a sense of fatigue that washes over me. Now, given you Tamica, have been through exactly the same challenges, I want to ask you this one simple question: Do you feel numb too?

Tamica: My answer is Yes. It’s what you've described exactly. It's like a withering and lethargy and apathy, a tiredness, a dryness. I don't think that I would have had all of those words for it a while ago. This lethargy is chronic and it is a very acute felt experience.

Amy: And what I think I'm very conscious of is that as humans, whenever we feel discomfort, we quickly try and find ways to fix that discomfort you know, or to buffer it.

So, let's be still, silent – and just stop.

Tamica: I think for me, I have to just be with this numbness, be with these sensations, be with those moments. And you know, I've got the four year-old and seven year-old at home and, oh my gosh, I can't do any more crafting or baking any more bread. So it is an acceptance. I went to a psychotherapist a while ago and what I learned was that I had to learn how to do nothing and learn how to stop, be in stillness and silence. And it was wildly frustrating to me at the time. Do nothing. I was to sit there and just be, and it's a really deep lesson. After that I was able then to change my sensations a little bit more and find my breath a little bit deeper and find my centre more easily, because I got used to the nothingness, and I think we're all being forced into that lesson a little bit.

Amy: So what you've suggested is that if we just embrace those feelings of nothingness that it's in those moments, when we will find greater connection, with our feelings or what's in our body.

Tamica: Yes. The practice of just being, because we're all so in entangled in the doing and the having and the going after - and all those things are super important to a balanced life is what we're finding. This is not to say that it’s actually fine that we're all just here in stagnation and locked up, but it's just a little bit of practice of being a bit comfier with Being. I feel like mindset is a big part of this conversation. Like people's mental health and capacity to take on different challenges over and over and over again in this lockdown situation. A lot of people are experiencing ‘the straw that broke the camel's back’ kind of vibes in the home.

Permission to find pleasure in the simplest things.

Amy: I think what happened for many of us a year or so ago is that we went into overdrive. We thought - 'Great.' Here's an opportunity to clean the laundry, or here's an opportunity to bake and do all these things that we haven't had as much time to do. But many of us now have clean homes. And I don't know about you, but I've also lost a lot of inspiration in the kitchen. I'm just having to keep it really simple, and grounded. So for me, it's always about walking. I walked and walked and walked and walked on Saturday. And then I ended up getting my hands dirty in an overgrown garden, which I spent hours in over weekend. I didn't have any music. There was no podcast. It was just gloves on pulling weeds on my knees for hours. And so just from doing that, it brought me a great sense of satisfaction and pleasure. I just got my hands in the dirt. It created a notable shift in me across the weekend, just because I set myself a task and it was a simple one. And that's it, that's what I achieved on the weekend. I didn't go near social media, I didn't do any work and that's what I needed.

Tamica: This is so permission granting isn't it? It’s so refreshing, like hearing people, you know, therapists like us actually talk about the human stuff, all of this, like these mechanisms inside of us, everyone's going through it at the moment. We're all talking through the same lessons and survival needs.

Amy: I think something else that's really worth mentioning as well is becoming really aware of how your body reacts to whatever it is you are reading or watching, how you're spending your time in lockdown – and if your nervous system will tolerate it. Like, as an example, I'm choosing to spend very little time on social media at the moment because of the way my body reacts. Facebook, I find difficult at the best of times, but anything that slightly triggers any discomfort in me - I stay away from. But also some of the TV shows I’ve enjoyed over time. I love Scandi Noir and a lot of crime thrillers, but lately I've found my nervous system is just not tolerating it.

Navigating sensory overload in lockdown…

Tamica: Yeah. I'm finding the same thing. Facebook I'm like, ‘Oh, wow - that's so specific and unique’. The sensation in my chest, my belly, my throat, my heart, my womb… So I have to stay away from that. Input is huge for me. I've been a lot more sensitized to the energetics of beings and having discernment and setting boundaries.

Amy: I think what's also been coming up for me on the relationship front is that I am very used to a lot of solo time and so it's trying to find ways to navigate that sense of freedom and independence and solo time when you're in lockdown with someone else.

Tamica: So, does it feel like it's your tendency to lean away rather than lean toward?

Amy: Yeah, absolutely. So there's a tendency to feel uncomfortable and then a need to figure that out for myself and to internalise it and bottle up a little bit, I suppose. And because that also comes with feelings of discomfort around wanting solo time and not wanting necessarily to say that because you don't want somebody else to feel rejected. So, it's all very complex. Isn't it?

Navigating sensory overload in lockdown…

Tamica: Yeah. I'm finding the same thing. Facebook I'm like, ‘Oh, wow - that's so specific and unique’. The sensation in my chest, my belly, my throat, my heart, my womb… So I have to stay away from that. Input is huge for me. I've been a lot more sensitized to the energetics of beings and having discernment and setting boundaries.

Amy: I think what's also been coming up for me on the relationship front is that I am very used to a lot of solo time and so it's trying to find ways to navigate that sense of freedom and independence and solo time when you're in lockdown with someone else.

Tamica: So, does it feel like it's your tendency to lean away rather than lean toward?

Amy: Yeah, absolutely. So there's a tendency to feel uncomfortable and then a need to figure that out for myself and to internalise it and bottle up a little bit, I suppose. And because that also comes with feelings of discomfort around wanting solo time and not wanting necessarily to say that because you don't want somebody else to feel rejected. So, it's all very complex. Isn't it?

Know when to go solo - and when to lean back in.

Tamica: It really is. For me, it's really the balance of when I want solo time or I want to back away and cave up, which feels really good to me sometimes. But if it's coming from a place of bottling and hiding or repressing, that's totally different. So I always have to catch it and then if somebody else needs something from me, the relational space is a two way street and sometimes I need to lean forward and allow, pave the space with them and be nurturing and gentle and present and available for someone who you know, is going, ‘Oh, I'd really love some cuddles.’

Amy: Yeah. And there's so much value in the giving to another. A lot of us have a tendency sometimes to go within and we can get a little bit self-obsessed. And yet often when we're going through such a challenging time, one of the most beautiful things we can do is be outward thinking and start caring for somebody else and reaching out to others. Now Tamica, I imagine that many listeners are feeling, a drop-in libido at a time like this. So what would you say to somebody whose libido feels like it's dormant? Is this something that we just acknowledge or would you be recommending that it is something that we try and what's the right word? Stoke?

Goodbye libido (for now).

Tamica: Yeah. It's so normal. The first thing, if you have no desire libido at the moment, you're like: Join the club. It is so super normal that you would feel like this. When you think about survival and fight and flight in the body and the nervous system, you know, sex is a biological function and it is usually reserved for the safest places and the safest moments. And we're all going through an emergency stress response. This is not about “Get them back on the horse”, so to speak. It really needs to come from a place of cultivating safety in your body first, for you by you. Self-soothing, and from a place where you and your partner have cultivated your own sense of safety, then meeting each other from that place. So again, not outsourcing your pleasure and not making it your partner's responsibility to make you feel a certain way, because we do that often with sex as it is. During this really stressful time, we would love to be moved by another, but what I invite us to do is to try and find ways to move ourselves first.

Amy: You can find Tamica’s wonderful work over at Instagram @theorgasmicmama. Thank you for being here.


More:

Follow Tamica on Instagram at @theorgasmicmama
Or visit their website: www.theorgasmicmama.com | Purchase Tamica's book 'Wild Honey' Reclaim and embody your authentic sexual expression here.
Join online program, The Erotic Embodiment Immersion here.
Listen to the Erotic embodiment playlist here
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Published:

August 20 2021

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