Can anxiety make your face feel numb? It certainly can. Read my story about how my face went numb from anxiety, and what I did to fix it. Today, I want to talk to you about anxiety and facial numbness.
I received a lot of emails from people that have asked me can anxiety make your face feel numb, and in my personal experience, the answer is yes.
I have absolutely experienced facial numbness as a symptom of my own anxiety.
Watch the video or continue reading below…
I’ll tell you a little story:
This goes back to the year 2004, the year that I met my husband. I was on an airplane flying over to Perth to meet my in-laws for the first time and I felt this little twitch in my face and then my face just went completely numb.
And this was just on the plane, it felt like it came out of nowhere – the right side of my face – just so sudden.
(It didn’t strike me at the time to stop and think – can anxiety make your face feel numb – I knew that I had been feeling nervous about meeting my boyfriend’s parents for the first time but I guess I didn’t realize exactly how nervous I was actually feeling and, I suppose, what a big deal, it ended up being long term, At the time, I didn’t know he was going to be my husband. But now, obviously, he is. So on a level, I must have known on the airplane what a big deal this was.)
So, anyway, I was sitting there on a plane, twitch, face goes numb.
And you think to yourself, “Am I having a stroke? Is something going on? Is there some kind of other attack happening here?” And of course, your anxiety just amplifies. So, by the time I got off the plane, I was just a numb, tingling bundle of nerves that my boyfriend took to his family for the first time and it was just a really overwhelming experience not only because there was a lot of family to meet but also because of this feeling in my face, being unable to feel my face.
I couldn’t feel the facial expressions in my face.
I couldn’t feel whether I was smiling or frowning or, obviously, I probably looked quite worried a lot of the time.
It felt a little bit like when a dentist numbs a part of your face to do a dental procedure and you can’t really feel whether you’re smiling or what your facial expression is.
And when you do touch your face, it feels really strange and foreign.
I guess the really important thing to note is, for me, the numbness seemed to move around my face and also around my body as well.
So there were times that my arm would go completely numb or my leg would go completely numb.
It was almost like if I really focused on it, I could move that numbness and the pins and needles and the tingling feeling around my body at will. So, if I really focused, then I could get that sensation to move around.
So that was sort of disconcerting and it also kind of showed that I was probably paying a little bit too much attention to it and getting a little bit too worried about it and that worry was feeding into the numbness and the tingling feeling that I was having in my face and throughout the rest of my body as well.
But it does show that it was based in my mind because I was able to get in there and consciously move this sensation around my body.
The question – can anxiety make your face feel numb – still didn’t cross my mind. I was too busy trying to manage these terrible numb and tingly feelings!
So, I spent the two weeks in Perth meeting my husband’s family.
We did a little bit of travelling and it would have been so nice to have just enjoyed being over there a little more but I really couldn’t. It was such an uncomfortable feeling that I had, not being able to feel my body fully, worrying that something was really wrong with me because it just felt like this numbness and tingling over the two weeks was getting worse and it wasn’t really getting any better at all.
I was feeling it all times of the night and day as well. When I first wake up in the morning, I’d feel it straight away. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and I’d feel it. And there weren’t very many times where I could not feel it.
I was so busy trying to cope, that the thought of – can anxiety make your face feel numb – still never dawned on me.
I actually remember, while we were over there, Matt decided to take me to the cinema to see a movie.
He thought that it would be a good idea to get my mind off the sensations that I was feeling and maybe I’d be able to focus on something else.
I actually had to leave the movie cinema halfway through the movie because I just couldn’t handle this numb sensation that was in my body and my face.
And it was almost like sitting there in the cinema was making it worse because I couldn’t move my body when I wanted to. I couldn’t feel the blood flow, I couldn’t make myself feel sensations when I wanted to and it just kind of felt like this numbness was going to overwhelm me and suffocate me and maybe paralyze all of my body.
That was just how I felt at the time. It really, really was that bad.
The two weeks passed, and I got through it. I went to see a doctor and the first doctor I saw actually put me into a little bit more of a heightened anxiety or should I say a lot more of heightened anxiety because he suggested that perhaps, the numbness and tingling that I was experiencing were symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
So I had to get checked out for all of that, a number of tests, an MRI on my brain which thankfully did end up ruling out multiple sclerosis. The only thing that they ended up concluding was that anxiety definitely can cause numbness and tingling in the face as well as I the rest of the body.
So the conclusion was, at that time, that I was experiencing anxiety and facial numbness.
Can anxiety make your face feel numb? Absolutely.
So, getting the doctor’s reassurance was a really good thing and it really gave me some concrete backing that what I was experiencing was a symptom of anxiety.
Yes, it is a very uncomfortable, but also a very real, symptom of anxiety.
Those things really helped me to cope with the symptom of numbness in my face because it didn’t subside right away.
It certainly wasn’t something that, as soon as the doctor said to me, “Oh, yes. The numbness that you’re experiencing in your face is a symptom of anxiety,” that it was like a miracle recovery that I had. Nothing like that.
It was actually time and acceptance that really brought me to the understanding that I wasn’t going to be overwhelmed and swallowed up and permanently paralyzed by this numbness I was experiencing.
Over the months, it became clear that the numbness was beginning to resolve with acceptance and with time.
Yes, there were certainly times where I second-guessed and wondered – can anxiety make your face feel numb – like really? The sensation felt so true and real for me.
So that’s what I say to you as well, my Butterfly. Once you’ve had your facial numbness checked out by a doctor and when they say to you, “Yes. This is a symptom of anxiety,” accept it.
Give yourself the time that you need to really coming to acceptance of this sensation being a symptom of anxiety.
And once you accept that, you come to realize it’s not as scary as what you think it might be and the longer, I guess, that this symptom goes on and you realize that you can live alongside it, it really becomes obvious that this is something that you absolutely can live with and just by accepting that, you coming to the understanding and your body comes to accept as well that that numbness and tingling isn’t required to be there anymore.
If you are experiencing numbness and tingling in your body, I recommend that you do my grounding meditation.
My grounding meditation (free download) shows you how to gather your energy back to yourself and to really ground yourself into your body again. It’s a 2-3 minute meditation, it really takes no time at all but it will really, really help you to harness your energy and to bring it back into your body and bring it down into the ground again.
So if you are currently asking yourself the question – can anxiety make your face feel numb – remember my story. Take the steps I took and it will resolve for you as well.
Love + light