Everyone has defense mechanisms. They are ways of behaving that protect us when we feel threatened. Sometimes they are the result of childhood traumas. Sometimes they are just learned behaviors.
I build a wall. When faced with emotional pain, I build a wall around my inner self brick by brick to keep everyone else out. If the pain continues, I coat the wall with steel. If the pain still persists, I begin to freeze all emotion. You know, like Tracy on Heroes. One touch and things freeze before shattering.
I've been aware of this tendency in myself and have made a conscious effort to keep myself interacting with people even when I am in pain. I am a private person by nature and enjoy keeping parts of my identity away from others. So, it takes real effort on my part to continue to put myself "out there". I don't want others to enter my pain; I want to keep it for myself.
I felt the first bricks fall into place on Sunday. I have lived in emotional pain for nearly a year now and it became acute last Thursday. The only way that I anticipate survival is to shut down.
I don't have a great application or insightful saying. I just hurt. And I'm trying not to.