Tag Archives: HSP

The Sensitive Life

I have been trying to think of how I could accurately describe what a “HSP moment” is like for me, as I sit and come down from a stormy spinup this morning and somberly process my emotions, actions and interactions.

Sometimes, it feels so beautiful and passionate when I feel something. It’s like, my chest swells with this warmth, love, pride, whatever the feeling is. It grows so large, so big that I cannot help but let those emotions spill out over everything.  The feeling spills into tears as they roll down my cheeks and I just feel like I am swallowed whole by the emotion.  It can happen anywhere, about nearly anything and I am left completely transformed with emotion in that moment.

Othertimes, it combines with my anxiety and they do battle.  I get ‘spiked’, or worried about something. Maybe a tone someone had, or the words they used, or how they said something, that makes me start to worry. Maybe they are mad at me? Maybe they’re unhappy? Maybe I did something wrong? Then it begins to spin further into worst case.  What makes this spin even worse, is that I can actually FEEL the frustration from the other party. I can feel the confusion, the frustration that I won’t just STOP what I’m feeling and again, I am completely overwhelmed with sensation.  With their facial expressions. With their tone of voice. With some way that they said what they said.  They might tell me that it’s all fine, everything is okay – but unless I can FEEL that it’s okay – I cannot let myself believe them. I just can’t. It’s like I can feel them still being frustrated or angry or confused. Whatever.  It’s a really hard moment and something I work on trying to sort out but man, it’s hard.

Hard.


I feel so completely and utterly, out of control and totally misunderstood in the moment.

It’s also so hard on those I love. The hope that they can help me, or understand me at the very least and not blow up too.  The hope that they can hold me and love me despite these flare ups.  The need for them to accept me as I am, without wishing I was different.  It’s hard enough to wish that I was different myself…let alone thinking that others would like it if I were different too.

At its best, I feel so lucky to feel so deeply. To smell so richly. To feel that swell in my chest of love. Of pride. Of warmth and sunshine.  To be so moved by the chirp of a bird or the depth of a sunset.  But at its worst? It’s like this terrible nightmare that assaults all my senses, that I can. not. wake from. I can’t get out. I can’t stop feeling. I can’t stop hearing. Smelling. Feeling. Thinking.  I know it’s happening, but I’m feeling things so fast that I can’t stop it, I can’t get out and I can’t stop and say, “Hey, I”m having a hard time right now.”

It feels like a toddler who is feeling, but can’t express themselves yet so they throw a tantrum. I feel like a freaking child throwing themselves on the floor.  Then comments come about how keeping my emotions in check would be an adult thing to do.  Salt on the wound. Insult to injury.

I AM an adult.  I just can’t always control it.

I was reading a book and they quoted Pearl S. Buck, and the quote spoke so much to me.

A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.

To him… a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.

I appreciate the gifts I have that allow me to be compassionate for others, that allow me to be a wonderful doula who recognizes what others need, that allow me to love fully and completely.

Just sometimes, I wish it were a little easier.

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All I know

It seems like I only ever come here to post lately, when I need help. When I’m heavy and struggling. When I need people. And I’m sorry for that. I hate people to feel like they NEED to respond or reply, but honestly? It’s so hard for me to reach out for that reason exactly. I never want anyone to feel burdened by me or heavy. Ever. Regardless, I still need people.

For many years, I felt heavy and neglected. My husband worked a stressful, demanding job, 12-13 hour days where I wouldn’t hear from him. Where he would potentially be in dangerous situations, dealing with awful situations. I mean, I still remember the 1am phone call that he had been punched in the face and I was to meet him at the hospital. It was one of the most terrifying and life-altering moments that I’ve ever had, followed by facial reconstructive surgery two weeks later. He attended school full time in a prestigious, yet again, demanding program. There was no time left for us. For me. For a while – that was okay. I worked too. I missed my family but couldn’t reach out without hearing, “chin up!” I missed him. I missed us.

After we got married, I became a full time housewife for a couple years and for a while, that was okay too. We fought as I begged him to spend time with me. To take a semester off. As I noticed the changes in him the longer he worked a job where he had to shut off his feelings. As he denied the changes and blamed me. I cooked because I loved it. I provided. My heart on a plate because that was what I could do. I could show my love and care in carefully constructed meals. I could provide some love at lunch time for him, even if I wasn’t there. I worked out. I obsessed about food. I lost weight. I put too much value in my appearance. I dreamed of what I wanted to do with my life but couldn’t yet.

When we moved to New York, it was tumultuous. If I am completely honest, we were openly talking separation before we both decided to put TWO FEET IN and make it work. Even now, I admit that when we fight, I worry that we’re still there despite making big leaps and taking great steps. The move shook things up and settled the all the same. I somehow, by the grace of…who knows, finally took steps to enter in a career that I’d felt absolutely compelled to be in for years. Finally.

The pieces started falling into place after I took the training. I got another job. I was accepted into a collective of amazing doulas with mentorship. I started taking clients. I got promoted to office manager. My office grew and grew and I got a raise. I found an amazing childbirth educator and she started referring me fabulous clients.

And here I am.

I am emptier than empty. I’m still charging very low rates due to my membership in this group. I am running all over, answering multiple emails from multiple accounts daily, all hours. I feel like I can recharge a little bit, but then each interaction takes more than I was able to recharge. I keep talking about it and talking about it – but I don’t know how to change it. I can’t figure out what I can possibly drop as the sole earner right now. I am useless when I get home and that certainly doesn’t help my relationship no matter how badly I wish it could be different.

I love giving to people. Supporting my clients feels so good. I get to see new life. I get to cut cords. I get to tell people how much I really do believe in them, that they CAN do this. I get to watch people become pain free and live their lives healthier. I truly, in my heart LOVE helping people so, so much. But…I just don’t know how I am finding the energy to keep giving. It’s all coming at a cost that I quickly am becoming unable to pay.

Pressing the publish button is really difficult for this post. I feel like I am just whining and people are rolling their eyes but…this is really hard. It’s just so, so hard to love what you do but still feel completely worn out and exhausted by it all.

I don’t have answers on how to fix it and you don’t have to respond.

It’s just all really heavy right now and all I know is to talk about it.

Tired.

Have you ever felt so tired inside and out that you just wanted to cry but…couldn’t? 

It’s not depression. I’m not depressed. I get out of bed. I go through with my day. I find enjoyment in small things. I just feel…exhausted.

This isn’t news either, I realize. I’m working a 40-hour a week job in which I see an average of 35 patients a day, I commute 40 minutes by public transit each way, I’m taking a class every Sunday for three hours and I am actively interviewing, meeting with clients and attending births at all hours. Even as I write this, I feel guilty saying that this is ‘busy’ since I’m not shuttling kids around all day. Still, I feel so busy and just tired.

I’m doing such awesome things though you guys. I am seeing BABIES BORN. I’m watching moms become moms and dads become dads. I get to see dads go from disinterested or unsure to, “HOLY CRAP!? That’s my SON!” then racing to cut the cord.  I talk to loving nurses and doctors who very clearly want the best for my clients, regardless of what they’d do.  I get to help women see how amazingly capable they are and see them fall in love within seconds. It’s so ridiculously wonderful and by far some of the best moments of my work.

The flip side to that is…I see a lot of not so fun stuff.  I am having trouble walking away from each birth after seeing care providers disrespect my clients, knowing it didn’t have to be like that. Hearing someone say, “Well you’re ONLY three centimeters…” and then walk out of the room. Seeing them perform vaginal exams without even asking before penetration. I see family members trying so hard to convince their daughters to just, ‘take the drugs’ and ‘why do you want to suffer?’  I see a lack of lactation support in hospitals, a lack of true, unbiased childbirth education, I see a lot of scared women who are not being helped by their friends’ horror stories of how awful their labor was, how tired they were after their baby was born, how badly it will hurt and how their life is over.

So. Naturally. Sometimes, the bad outweighs the good. I can’t seem to step away from each birth and feel like I really helped. Instead, I walk away feeling like it could have been different and I couldn’t help MORE.  This is primarily why I suspect I’ll be applying to Midwifery School in the next couple years. Once I get some other things settled – I really think it’s the only way for me to really change the system. As a mentor of mine said, at least if I were their care provider, I’d know that they were treated with respect and would be heard.  I at least would know that someone believed in their bodies. 

What I am finding is that…I am struggling to open up. I’m struggling with all of this inside. The good, the bad and the ugly – all wrapped up inside.  I sat in a circle of amazing doulas last night, listening to birth stories. Some were so beautiful and wonderful, while others were absolutely tragic.  I was so proud to listen to these beautiful women tell the stories they’d been a part of and was blessed to support them. Even through all of this – I felt alone. I felt like I didn’t belong and didn’t fit in. I found myself wanting to share but not being able to figure out WHY I wanted to share. I just wanted to talk. As a particularly hard memory from my last birth popped up, someone I didn’t know well looked me in the eye and said, “You know, if you need one of us to cover you for even an hour during a birth, so you can take care of yourself, you need to do it.”

In that moment, I wanted to go off and talk to her. There was something about this person’s energy and spirit that I just…felt safe with. I had felt so alone that night, in the midst of all this love, but in that moment I just felt like I needed to cling to her.  Instead, I gave her a hug before I left and made a note to email her a thank you today.  I cried when I left the workshop because I felt like I didn’t know how to make deep, meaningful friendships. The kind where I don’t feel guilty calling them and needing them. I NEVER feel bad when someone needs me, but…it’s different. It’s me. I’m too much for anyone.

So. I’m struggling with just being emotionally tired. Exhausted. Worn out. I can’t stop being a doula, taking classes or reading about birth because it really feels like who I am inside. I can’t stop working the paying job even though it’s crazy because I make decent money for us and they love me there. I love my patients. I’m not quite sure where to go.

I just am finding it hard to reach out and say I need a hug – without some REASON for needing to talk and hug. Just because isn’t enough for me. I had no idea I struggled so hard with being vulnerable but apparently I do.  I worry too intensely about what someone will think of me, will my thoughts be crazy or too spinny. I don’t even contact my own mentor that gets PAID to help me because…I just don’t know what to do. What to say. Why we are meeting.  Then it makes me anxious.

I came home early from work today at 3pm and crashed. For 2 hours. I’ve been weepy ever since but I think it will pass. 

I’m just really tired y’all.  Thanks for keeping this space open for me.  

Back on my Game

Man, this whole going back to work while keeping the rest of life going thing is no joke.

I realize I have no children and only 500 square feet to care for but please understand what I did not before now.  It has been over THREE YEARS since I have had to leave the house to work. I have been able to try and care for myself while keeping house, laundry, errands and 100% of the cooking from scratch.

I had also forgotten how much energy working with the public and the pained takes out of you. I actually really love the work. I love helping people get well, helping them stay on track amd working with positive,  health-minded people.

It’s just tough sometimes. Being a highly sensitive person doesn’t help either.  It takes a lot of energy to learn all the new systems and procedures all while helping patients. I feel things from patients and staff that might be completely unrelated but…painful or negative all the same. I am hard on myself when I make a mistake, despite the fact I have only had 2.5 days of actual training.

I am struggling to remain focused sometimes, I’ll admit. I forget to eat. I feel scattered. I think that might be normal when there are two people waiting in front of you, you’re on the phone, the second line is blinking, other staff are buzzing around, you’re still learning to manage the six schedules and a beeper is going off to tell you need to take a patient from their room. Just maybe a scattered brain could be understood.

I come home at 8:30pm on work days and I am USELESS. I swear. I want to get up and cook because it makes me happy but my brain is mush, my body is tired and my feet ache. Oh, I am also usually STARVING.

So, all of you super Moms out there…I SALUTE YOU. Holy cow. You really are amazing and super. You give, give, give…and so rarely get. You deserve so much love, support and respect.

Thank you all for the continued support. I’m sorry to not be around a lot right now…but I hope you understand. I miss you all. I worry that someone needs supporting and I am not there,  most of all.

I’ll get in my groove. I am only part time and it isn’t enough sadly, but I am SO grateful for this job. I love the office and the staff. I love the patients I get to help. It will get better. I’ll get stronger and will figure out my way.

Do you have any tips for meal prepping ahead? Any tips on saving your energy? Any great packed lunches or quick breakfasts you love?