I’m not an expert on the subject, but I do know what it’s like to be (hyper)sensitive.
In the comments section of my post about me talking about how sensitive I am, two of my favourite bloggers actually put a name to what I go through on a daily basis. I am, what they call, a highly sensitive person (HSP). Wow. I couldn’t believe it at first. Then I googled it. I tick most of the boxes, so I’m convinced. I grew up thinking for years that because I cried or was startled easily (to name a few) made me weird. And weak.
But I am not weak! I can be a little weird. But in a good way.
I decided to first profile what someone with hypersensitivity looks like and then look at ways to live with it. (I initially wrote “deal with it” but I found that a little offensive. I must be sensitive!)
1. They feel (their own) emotions deeply.
2. They are sensitive to the emotions and emotional states of people around them.
3. They are easily hurt or upset.
4. They tend to avoid conflicts, arguments and other types of confrontations.
5. They tend to become agitated and/or flustered when surrounded by large groups of people or lots of activities.
6. They tend to need time to themselves each day.
7. They tend to be creative types who deeply appreciate art, nature and music.
8. They are prone to suffer from recurrent depression, anxiety or other psychological disorders.
9. They tend to be slower at recovering from intense stimuli, because they are sensitive to other people’s suffering, noise, light, caffeine, pain, medications, temperature, and other stimuli.
10. They tend to be introverted and have rich,complex inner life, because they are able to concentrate and process information deeply.
There’s a post over at wiki-how about how to “overcome hypersensitivity”. Again, I felt slightly offended because I don’t think one can just overcome something that is part of who you are. I don’t know if it’s a good post. I don’t want to say it’s a bad one, because I know someone spent some time working on it you know. I think the post incorrectly portrays hypersensitive people as overemotional people who are unreasonable and quick to cry or display uncalled for anger.
Being hypersensitive means you can notice a shift in someone else’s energy that they won’t even notice. This is an amazing skill, but it’s a huge burden to carry. We may feel hurt and not even know why. How does one move forward from here? Especially knowing that every step you take, you may be feeling emotions and sensing drama that is not your own.
It isn’t easy, but over the past few years I have learnt that putting healthy boundaries in place helps save me from drowning in emotions that are not my responsibility to feel.
So, the other day when I just collapsed in a puddle of gloom and tears, I could have prevented it, or rather- I could have made the puddle a little less deep by creating a boundary between me and situation I got stuck in.
I wallowed when I could have possibly swum through the muck.
I learnt about healthy boundaries at my time at the psychiatric clinic, but they focused more on healthy boundaries between people than between me and a broken PC or a broken phone. I think they could have touched on taking blame versus taking responsibility- how do I deal with myself in any situation? Or perhaps they could have talked about another way of coping like looking at the bigger picture-other than focus solely on the problem at hand (just for a few breaths). Being so sensitive means you have the ability to do that. You can focus your energy to zoom out. And no, this isn’t airy fairy stuff. It’s possible. It’s doable.
I’m not sure if this all will help, but I’m hoping it does. I’m still learning coping mechanisms myself. The more I learn, the more I’ll share with you all.
I am living,