Tag Archives: relationships

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.

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.

Shades

I am constantly reminded of what amazingly complex people we are. At least, I am.

I don’t know about you, but I rarely share ALL of me with one person. Some people get Chef Sarah.  Some get Compassionate Sarah.  Others get Weepy Sarah. Depending on the day, what is going on and how I’m feeling, sometimes people get Strong Sarah, Emotional Sarah, Spiritual Sarah, Philosophical Sarah, Science-y Logical Sarah or cold ‘I-am-holding-it-all-in Sarah.  Most get several shades of me, but it is so rare that someone gets the whole rainbow.

I think this is probably true for so many.  I do my best to share as genuinely as possible. It’s not like I am making these sides up or anything. I think it’s natural that different people stimulate and draw out different shades and colors. Different people represent different levels of safety and security – allowing more colors to show themselves.

I try so hard to integrate as many of them into my every day self as I possibly can but it just doesn’t always seem possible.  I am getting better at it the more I can face my fears of being judged or criticized and allow those colors to show more and more. I do think I’m getting better, but I am far from perfect.

I had a brief conversation with an old friend tonight and boy, did he reach things that others just haven’t gotten at. It wasn’t intentional, I didn’t ramble on purpose but it all came out. It just reminded me that people have such different purposes in our lives and I think that’s just okay.  It’s okay that one person doesn’t know EVERYTHING about you, or that you have different people you text depending on what’s going on.  It reminded me not only of my own depths, but to not feel offended if someone doesn’t reach for you – because they will when you are what they need.

It reminds me of my thoughts on polyamory. Before I moved out West, I was in a polyamorous relationship. I lived with a married couple and it was my first introduction into different philosophies on relationships. Honestly? It was wonderful.  It is what made me really think about the fact that putting EVERYTHING on one person, for some, can be a tough cross to bear. It developed the idea for me that it could even be unfair to expect one person to be all you needed in life. I found it so freeing to be able to be one person with my girlfriend and to be able to express a different side with my boyfriend. Sometimes we all had different things to share, sometimes we shared together, sometimes it was separate. I could be whoever I was and didn’t need to expect one person to be able to handle it. Each and every interaction, in the beginning, was a beautiful new expression for me.*

I am not sure where I am going with this post other than to say we all have so much complexity inside. We all have so much we are going through, so many different places we are coming from and so much to share. It doesn’t always have to be one side or another and it doesn’t have to be ALL of you all of the time.

We are pretty amazing people with so many colors and shades. So much complexity. I love learning and knowing each shade I am shown. I just hope I get better at sharing my own.

 

*I am quite fine with questions about my past experiences, polyamory and so forth. Feel free to comment or to email me at salamanderpal at gmail if you want to chat! I really love sharing my experiences. No room for judgement here!