I’m an INFJ.

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Hello again.

I hope you are having a nice day.

As well as being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I am also an INFJ. If you are not familiar with the term or the Myers-Briggs personality test, I highly recommend you give it a go yourself here. I have found it to be very helpful in understanding myself.

I expect it is somewhat common among HSPs to also be INFJs but, out of the 16 personalities, this is said to be the most rare – especially for men. Also known as “The Advocate” or “The Romantic”, INFJs account for less than 1% of the population.

This might explain why I nearly always feel like the odd one out. Like I don’t fit in anywhere. Like I am different.

But maybe being different is okay – good, even.

Because is the average person happy? Does the average person drink and smoke to deal with their problems in life? Do they find fulfillment and connection or are they merely a consumer of the media and over-priced clothing and material objects, chasing status or fame?

As an INFJ, I have a very high sense of morality and am extremely idealistic. Think of Gandhi, who was thrown into this category. On the positive side, we see what is lacking and what needs to be changed – we want to make the World better. But our desires for change can be met by much resistance, as many people would prefer to do things the way they have always been done. Some people don’t think there is anything wrong with this World…

It isn’t a coincidence that I found Veganism – but I will save the talk on this topic for another, more in-depth post.

At the core of the INFJ is a desire to make a difference to this World. To spread happiness and kindness. Hostile environments make us tense and we feel the need to leave those situations so we don’t become overwhelmed with negative energy, which is hard to absorb. People beeping at each other in traffic can make us feel on edge. An argument with a spouse can leave us feeling drained of energy. We have a ‘Can’t we all just get along?’ mentality, which could be considered naive given the state of our World.

We should probably recognise that most other people aren’t born with the same set of values as us. But it can be hard to have any empathy for those who chase money and power while hurting those who stand in their way. Or for those who cheat on their partners, or manipulate them for their own gain.

Speaking from my own experience, I very much lack empathy for those who act selfishly and hurt others in order to get what they want. Relating this to being Vegan, I can feel extremely angry if I see a video of someone hurting an animal ‘for fun’. And while this is the natural reaction that many other people would share, I find it hard to let go as I want so much to see justice and retribution. I sometimes create fantasies in my mind where I catch the perpetrator and torture them in painful ways. I mean, I seriously beat the fucking shit out of those horrible bullies!

In reality, this isn’t useful as I have yet to find myself in a position where I can carry out such acts. And who is to say I would be able to in reality? But seriously – hurt an animal and I will go Liam Neeson on your ass.

INFJs are known for their creativity. The ‘I’ stands for introverted, so we spend a lot of our time turning inwards and thinking. This can be great, but if we are in the wrong environment, we can become chronically stressed and negative. Anxiety and Depression are common, because there is always a need for improvement – in ourselves and in the outer World. We are very perfectionistic and expect far too much of ourselves. We focus on what went wrong instead of what went well. Something often feels missing and so – most of the time – we feel discontent.

Personally, I find it incredibly difficult to conform to rules and one-way approaches too. My current job in Car Insurance is unfulfilling to me, because it doesn’t offer me the opportunity to be creative. Everything is rigid and lacking in any personality. I don’t like to use technical jargon like ‘on a without prejudice basis’ or ‘knock for knock’. I would prefer to speak in real, animated ways. Just speak plain fucking English! Every now and then I will get a letter from a ‘third party’ solicitor and they really can talk some old bollocks.

INFJs – as well as HSPs – are prone to becoming overwhelmed and burned out, because things are rarely ‘good enough’ and so much needs to be sorted out. Being an introvert in itself can be challenging given the work-structures of nearly every company, but combined with the high expectations and over-stimulation we face in crowds or when in a situation we feel trapped by, one can sink into some very low moods. This is likely why I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which I am still very hopeful to resolve.

Despite the difficulties I face on a daily basis, this way of being has made me very spiritual and – in the good moments – I feel very connected and at one with the Universe. I must monitor my energy levels – physically, mentally and socially – so I do not become ‘that guy’ who I don’t like so much. All of this is a journey and the more we understand our needs and meet them, the happier we can be. Whatever our personality type, we need to understand ourselves as best we can so we can make the right decisions in life – whether that revolves around Career, Hobbies or Relationships.

You can read all about INFJs in more detail here.

Thank you again for taking the time out of your day to read my thoughts. Please do follow me for further posts on being a Highly Sensitive DUDEEEEEEE. Don’t forget to like the new Facebook page for updates > BOOBIES!!!

I will try to make time to record some more videos for the YouTube channel soon.

Peace.

~ Alex.

 

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I have been struggling with Depression.

Never Again

Hi.

I am writing this before I head off to work.

I slept badly again. I didn’t get to sleep until around Midnight and I woke up – wide awake – at around 5am. That’s not nearly enough sleep for someone who is burned out with adrenal fatigue. If I could just get a good night’s sleep, or a few in a row, it would help massively.

While at work yesterday, I couldn’t have felt any worse. I had also got a bad night of sleep the night before. So I emailed my HR contact and basically said I can’t do the job anymore – at least not full time. I didn’t care anymore what would happen to me, because I was at breaking point. I kind of wanted them to tell me to go home and not worry about coming in again.

I started this job just 7 weeks ago and have struggled to cope with the pace. It’s ridiculously busy, with emails constantly pouring in throughout the day, the phone ringing intermittently and various files to follow up on urgently. The role is car insurance and my stress is worsened when I spend much of my time sitting on hold to other insurers (I literally can be on the phone for an hour waiting for someone to answer) and it is impossible to catch up.

Everyone else in my team is in the same position, but they care more about the job than me. They have ambition around Insurance. Some of them have studied or taken exams and want to make it a career. I am not like them.

The rest of my team seem in no rush to leave at the end of the day. When it hits 5pm, I am ready to get the fuck out of there. I am spent. The noise and the stressful environment have taken their toll, and I am weak. Throw in the lack of sleep and subsequent lack of energy and it’s a recipe for disaster. Often my colleagues stay to work over-time. I turn down the offer any time I am asked.

The stress of the job has been creating a lot of anxiety for me and is the reason I can’t rest well at night. So I needed to speak to the lady in HR.

Instead of 9-5, I will now be working 10-4 (5 days a week). While this is an improvement and will help me, I will be losing money each month and I will still have an insane workload, because the company doesn’t want to pay more money for new staff. But fuck it. I don’t care anymore. That’s their problem. If I can’t do all the work, despite pushing myself to the max, it’s not my issue.

I still need to get out of this place, because I have been doing insurance for a few years and I’m completely sick and tired of it.

No wonder my health seems at an all time low.

I walk around like a zombie, wondering why I shouldn’t just give up entirely and end my misery …

But that’s no way to think. When you die, it’s over for good. I feel inspired to do whatever I must to leave this industry. As a HSP and INFJ, I need purpose. I have a lot of passion in life – about injustice, animal welfare and fighting the bullshit we call normal and acceptable. I need to center my career around something I care about.

I was looking briefly at Open University courses, but on a part-time basis they take 6 years to complete. I would be 32 when I was done if I started the course now. I’m not sure I have the patience to wait 6 years to live my life.

So I still have no idea what I am going to do. This life can be very testing for those like myself who don’t just want to fill a spot and work for money. We spend most of our lives at work, so if we had our jobs we need to change them.

I would love to hear from you. I am sorry I haven’t posted much in the last week or so. I hope I feel stronger soon.

Thank FUCK it’s Friday!

For those who haven’t achieved anything…

I, too, have got into the mindset where I feel I have done nothing of value with my life.

That if I died tomorrow, I would die without having anything to show for it.

And maybe that’s because we idolize Film Stars and Musicians, who have a a host of glamorized achievements under their belt. Or maybe we see inventors like Steve Jobs, or authors like J.K Rowling and we just cannot live up that level of success and contribution.

And, of course it is extremely unlikely than anyone can! Let’s be real for a minute.

But just because you haven’t walked down the red carpet to screaming fans, or got a number 1 record, doesn’t mean your life is meaningless. It doesn’t mean you never achieved anything.

For example, you might drive a car. That’s impressive – even though some driver’s make me wonder if the test is still too easy. But really, something as simple as passing a driving test shows what can be achieved with practice and dedication. I passed my test on my forth attempt. That sounds bad, and I used to get really nervous because I don’t do well in situations where I am being observed closely, but I have never had an accident in the almost 7 years I have been driving. And hey, I could have quit after 3 fails – But I got there in my own time.

Some people might pass their test first time round, but then rush into a sense of immortality and invincibility. And then they have an accident or, worse yet, die.

This has gotten a little dark, as is usual for me.

But let’s think about something else you might have achieved. How about passing your exams in School? Sure, maybe you weren’t a straight A student. But if you tried your best and didn’t end up unemployable afterwards, that’s worthy of a pat on the back.

And maybe you think your job is a bit shit. Maybe it’s dull, or a monkey could do it. Maybe you are right. But, in time, you can get where you want to be.

Also, we don’t need to see success in the same way we always have. Maybe success is being a good person who does good things selflessly. Maybe someone who looks after the sick and vulnerable is the real success. Maybe that’s what should be valued, instead of good looking people on the TV.

Because there are a lot of rich and famous people in the World who are fucking assholes. They have betrayed people, or maybe exploited people/animals to get where they are now. Like, there are a lot of rich farmers. And Steve Jobs is responsible, in part, for slavery and human rights violations. Think of all the overworked people in China, getting paid fuck all so Apple can reap ridiculous amounts of profit. And I might be a hypocrite for saying that, because (like most people) I own an iPhone. Though I didn’t actually buy it. It was a hand-me-down.

But maybe we should look beneath the surface instead of focusing on the iceberg (or Success) that we usually zone in on.. Maybe some people’s success is a veneer of shit, decorated in some shiny glitter. Maybe all that money is the product of blood, sweat and tears.

And, ultimately, whether you die a Millionaire or a struggling single Mum on benefits, you still die. Your body still gets buried in a hole or burnt to ash (pretty nice thought, isn’t it?).

So, if you want to achieve more, be reasonable. Life gets in the way and we are all trying the best we can (well, not everyone is, but those reading this Blog are the one’s who are in touch with their desires). If you want something bad enough, I believe you can get it. Refuse to quit and don’t give up when success doesn’t come quickly.

But also remember to take a chill pill and lay off the pressure sometimes.

~ Alex.

P.S. I set up a Facebook page, so give it a LIKE 😉

 

You ALWAYS have a choice …

Crossroads

Do you ever get stuck feeling like everything is helpless and there is nothing you can do about it?

Sometimes we are restricted in our abilities to change a situation, but we always have a choice.

Let’s give a couple examples to get across what I am wanting to say …

On the way to work, I go a quick way even though I am not supposed to. Y’know, because I’m naughty and so very rebellious. But really, there is a lane I am supposed to only use after 9:30am. Before then, only cyclists and bus drivers can use it. But compared to some of the other crimes in life, I recon I’ll be spared an eternity in Hell for this. Today though, as I was going through, I spotted a bus coming from the opposite direction. The road is narrow, so I pulled over to allow the bus driver to come past. He looked at me and he knew I wasn’t supposed to be there.

He shook his head at me and I audibly laughed after. But now I feel a bit nervous. Up until today, I’d not been ‘told off’ for my naughty behaviour … I’d gotten away with it. But I might see the bus driver again. It made me a little anxious, thinking ‘Shit. I don’t want to keep bumping into this guy. What if he steps it up a gear? Maybe gives me the middle finger … maybe honks his horn at me while waving his arms in outrage … Maybe blocks the road and pulls out a machine gun and f*cking shoots me!!!’ Okay – that last one seems unlikely.

But I have a choice, don’t I? I can either carry on going down the ‘illegal’ route, and risk being shouted at, while feeling like I’m sticking it to the man. Or I can be a good little man-child and add another 10 minutes to my journey.

Let’s think of another example – also from today.

I was sitting on a bench by a river on my lunch break at work. I was there for 5 minutes, enjoying my hummus and falafel sandwich, watching the swans and geese. Then, a couple of middle aged ladies came up to me and asked, “Is it okay if we join you? There aren’t any benches left.”

In my head, I said “No. I would rather be left to read in peace without feeling like I’m eavesdropping on your conversation and feeling like my personal space is being invaded”.

Out loud, I said “Sure. Have a seat”.

After a few moments, I shifted my eyes to the right and saw – quite clearly – a solitary bench, with nobody sitting on it. I thought, ‘I could just go and walk over there and have my own space again … but these ladies will probably think I’m rude and antisocial’.

I debated it for a few minutes and then I realised … I have a choice. Thinking about it isn’t going to change anything. What am I going to do? Do I want to spend the rest of my lunch sat with these gossiping women and not being able to concentrate on my book? Not really, no. So I just walked off and sat on another bench. Maybe they thought I was rude. But does it matter? Of course not. I enjoyed reading my Kindle, without feeling like I was being watched (something us introverts cannot avoid feeling).

So, what I am trying to put across to you is that you cannot always help the things that happen to you. Often, we are just a passenger on this roller-coaster ride and have little influence on what will come about. But we can change our reactions and we have a choice in how we handle situations.

Should you take that medication? Who knows… but it’s up to you if you decide to or not.

Should you go out tonight with your friends? Or should you stay at home and read like you want to?

Should you quit your job? Maybe not if you have nothing else lined up, but nobody is going to stop you.

Next time you feel yourself feeling trapped, realise that you can change your response. Sometimes, in my day-job, I get down and start wondering what I am doing with my life. I want to be making YouTube videos, or writing, or seeing the World. I want to be creating music. But I also want to be able to eat and have a roof over my head. You can’t always have it both ways, but acknowledge that you are choosing what you do with your life.

I hope this helps you. Give it some thought the next time you are feeling like things are out of your control.

If you’re a newbie, be sure to Follow me (not in a ‘I’m outside your window’ kind of way) and Subscribe to the YouTube channel for future videos on life as a Highly Sensitive Dude.

Peace and Love,

~ Alex.

Feeling Depressed :( *Trigger Warning*

Depressed

Hi.

I feel really, really, REALLY bad.

I’m going to be very transparent in this post. Like a freaking window.

I set up this Blog out of pure desperation. I am so desperate to escape my current lifestyle of working in a busy office and dealing with what feels like constant stress. And I needed to be able to express myself to people who don’t know me in real life. I feel thin-skinned and after a while of facing the bombardment of noise and bright visuals, I want to hide away. I start getting really anxious and don’t want to be around people.

I can’t look anyone in the eye, because my self-esteem has died. I start to feel paranoid that people are judging me or whispering about me.

I start to question everything.

Why is this World so cruel? What if there is no such thing as Karma? What if the people who do bad things just get away with it? Why do the bad guys so often succeed and will our World always feel so hopeless and upside-down? How can I escape this? Maybe I should just live in a cave away from civilization. Will I always feel this unhappy? What if there is no such thing as long-term happiness? Maybe the odd moment is all you get. And then you just die. Holy shit – What if this is as good as it gets? I just want to feel peaceful. I just want a bit of space and quiet. I don’t fit into this way of life …

I have been working in the wrong jobs for years but, realistically, I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do to get my life on track. It’s hard as a creative person.

I want to be a writer, or do music, or help animals.

But there are too many people in this World and they are better than me. They don’t all have adrenal fatigue or anxiety & depression. I have these obstacles. I have no confidence in myself. I feel like a lone wolf when I go about my daily life. I feel SO alone. I feel like I have nobody to connect to when I’m at work. I feel like nobody understands me. Maybe I am just a freak.

Surely it isn’t supposed to be this hard. I have read SO MANY self-help books and where have they got me? What change have they helped to create? Nowhere. Nothing.

Where do I begin? I am struggling to pull myself out of bed to face what will be another exhausting day. I just want to stay inside, away from the madness. I just want to read books and watch TV.

Due to the stress I have experienced, over such a long period of time, I am gaining weight around my stomach (AKA Visceral Fat). This can kill you in the long run, and though I still appear skinny to anyone who would glance my way, I feel uncomfortable sitting down. I have ‘Skinny-Fat’. My diet is good. I walk a lot. But stress increases cortisol production from the adrenal glands and this in turn leads to weight gain. Until I can deal with the stress (and I’ve tried for years at this point), I am screwed.

I just feel like I’m sinking into a pit of doom. I want to feel safe. I want to feel like there is hope and that I can get better. But I don’t know where to start.

I would like to hear some words of encouragement if anyone is in a position to help me. I’m feeling really lost.

😦

 

How To Deal With Anxiety (HSPs).

Matrix

This follows on from my last post, where I talked about why anxiety is common among Highly Sensitive People.

You can read that post HERE.

After living with Anxiety (and Depression) on and off for 10 years, I wanted to share what I have learned and how I deal with my crazy little mind.

I spent a lot of money on supplements for a long time, because I was convinced my anxiety and depression were related to a physical problem. I’m not talking about serotonin – I am talking about the negative side-effects I experienced following treatment with Accutane (as previously discussed). I figured I was only depressed and anxious because I felt weak and tired a lot of the time. Or that my body was over-run by toxic medicine residue.

Did any of those supplements help? No. I literally pissed away thousands of pounds and noticed absolutely NO changes. And when I say supplements, I mean I tried like everything. Ancient Chinese herbs, multi-minerals, other herbal remedies (specifically made for me by a Herbalist). All kinds of nasty stuff, like ‘Chinese Bitters’. Holy cow, they were bad!

At one point, I literally put Coffee up my ass!

Don’t judge me! I was super desperate to feel better and even though I knew it seemed like a long shot, I was advised that it’d help cleanse my liver of toxins. To be honest, it felt quite nice (haha) though those days are now ‘behind’ me.

Get it? ‘Behind me’ … like my butt.

Anyway … it’s totally true that there is a mind and body connection. Stress can literally kill you if you don’t take it seriously. At times, I wonder how the f*ck I’m still alive. Like, I’ve been through some deep shit, man. How has my body not just given up? How have I not got cancer?

Despite some ongoing health issues – which I will touch upon in a future post about Health and High Sensitivity – I am very lucky to have not been struck down with anything life threatening.

But if you lack energy, motivation and generally feel a bit naff, it could be that your mind is having an effect on your body. Just in case anyone is still in doubt or somehow thinks this sounds New-agey, it is pure science. The placebo effect has proven how our mind can influence our body. There are plenty of metaphysical books out there about healing. People claim to have beaten Cancer and other incurable diseases by changing their lifestyles and their minds. I for one believe them, because life is too bizarre to be a mistake.

I don’t think we are supposed to just die for no reason, having not achieved the things we are capable of. Although, having said that, this World is obviously very mysterious and, at times, frustrating and brutal. People die because of other road users, or terrorist attacks, or sociopath cannibals. It is hard to give meaning to some things.

Can you tell I am just writing without a thought? This post may seem a little all-over-the-place, but I’m in the zone!

Let’s get to the point though. Anxiety is a big problem. If you are anxious (or depressed, or just generally feeling like crap) a lot of the time, your body is in fight, flight or freeze mode. I’m sure you have heard this before. The whole Caveman thing, where we are faced with a Lion and our adrenal glands are put to work. Everything is put on hold, resulting in susceptibility to illness, a low sex drive, digestive problems and a bunch of other weird stuff. Your heart might race. You get a throbbing headache. Maybe you feel dizzy.

Here is what I can tell you …

  • The more you fight to change the anxiety response, the worse you feel. Because it doesn’t work like that. You are anxious because you are stressed out and resisting what is your current reality. Continuing to fight, while seemingly noble, will not change anything. If you enter a situation where you feel fear, do not try to change your reaction. You can’t! Allow the anxiety to remain there and slow down. Focus on your breathing and allow yourself to just stop caring for a minute. I mean, Jesus, you can’t carry on living like this all the time, right? It can be hard when you are stuck in a rut. Sometimes you need to get away from the situation that’s bringing you down. But sometimes, you need to accept your limitations and shift your focus.
  • The more grateful you are – for the things that are awesome about your life – the better you will feel. There are some Millionaires who are less satisfied with their lives than those who can’t even meet their basic needs in Eastern Countries, stuck in poverty. Often, what we focus on is what we feel. So choose to be grateful for the things that are good in your life. I guarantee you have plenty to be grateful for. Your current mindset may say otherwise. Don’t believe a word. It’s easy to keep saying you will be happy when you quit your job, you find a loving partner, you go on holiday or whatever. But sometimes things are complicated. Sometimes dreams remain dreams. Sometimes a holiday is not forthcoming. So look around at what you have now, in the present. Nothing can last forever, so remember to enjoy the things that surround you at this moment in time.
  • Exercise is so important for the following reason. Anxiety and stress cause your adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline and cortisol (hormones). This is okay in moderation, but if it keeps happening you wind up feeling like a deflated bag of potatoes. Exhausted. The best way to release that pent up tension is through exercise. Like, for me, I do get stressed more easily than some people. If I don’t get away from the office during my lunch break, I can start to feel more and more pissed off. I need to have some alone time and space from people. I need to get away from buildings and cars. I get to a spot of nature and it helps. Maybe I still feel fed up afterwards, and want to go home, but it’s the best thing I can do. Combine nature with exercise and you’re onto something good. For me, gyms are ugly factories filled with steroid-injecting, mouth breathing meat-heads, so I avoid them.
  • Anxiety is normal. We can’t feel great and relaxed all the time. And our World promotes anxiety through the negative stories in the news – and there is always a new one. The trashy magazines that tell you how you should look are nothing but poison. People on Social Media can seem so happy and all-together. Remember to keep a realistic perspective. Some people like to make our they are fine when they are really not fine. Not everyone in the streets is a murderer. Celebrities aren’t flawless and pictures are heavily edited. Most of all, accept that with this life (that we have been GIVEN) we can’t always have it our way. Appreciate the good times and carry on when things are hard.

Because I guarantee you, if you feel beaten up at the moment, you will feel better and will have a smile on your face again soon. Anxiety cannot survive if you have hope and love in your heart. So choose to believe there is a reason for all of this. Look for the good in things and if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to take the reigns and create change.

I wish you all a wonderful week.

Please share this blog post if you enjoyed it. It isn’t easy trying to reach people when you are only just starting out.

I would love to hear from you. What makes you feel most relaxed? What are your anti-anxiety tips?

Peace and love,

~ Alex.

Anxiety in Highly Sensitive People.

Stefan 4

I have lived with Anxiety ever since entering Adulthood – around 10 years ago (I am 26 as I write this).

I was shy and sometimes anxious when I was a child, but when our eyes are opened and we are told the truth about some of the things that happen in our World, it’s hard to go back to that state of innocence and naivety.

I mean, let’s be real … it was much easier to relax and have fun when we thought that Santa Claus was real. We loved that guy purely because we wanted some gifts.

Now, if an overweight man with a beard came down our chimney and entered our homes, we would call the Police. We would also probably wonder how an overweight man can actually fit down a chimney. Oh, and if they want to invite Children to sit on their lap, be sure they aren’t a pedophile!

I think I’ll tell my future children from the get-go that Santa is a lie. I’m not having some fictional fat-ass take the credit for the Playstation 6 (let’s hope that they come up with a new name by then) that I bought ’em!

Oh, and with regards to the Tooth Fairy, what kind of weirdo is paying to collect some second-hand teeth?

Anxiety is something that everyone has to deal with, but some can suffer chronically, until it takes over their lives and makes everything appear very hostile, dangerous and bleak.

I would say the highly intelligent and highly aware are those most likely to struggle. Ultimately, I think we HSPs are much more prone to becoming anxious (and depressed – but more on that another time) because we feel things deeply and it’s hard to find distraction when we are constantly trying to live with purpose. Sometimes life gets in the way and we are not able to achieve the things we dream of achieving. It can take a long time to get anywhere.

And some people may be happy to settle for whatever lands at their feet and then they enjoy their social lives or watching TV soaps when they get home from work, but for the Highly Sensitive we crave meaning and depth- more than can be offered by ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ or ‘America’s Next Top Model’.

And hey, I’m all for finding a healthy escape.

I enjoy watching shows on Netflix (maybe I’ll do a post on the kind of things I watch) but I can find it hard to relax when I feel I am not achieving what I would like to be. Or other things are at the front of my mind, such as the hopeless lives Farm animals are born into. I feel a duty to get involved with fixing this dreadfully broken World, because I am no longer in denial that things are okay.

Things are actually pretty shit. And that becomes apparent as you mature and learn about our reality.

I have learned to take better care of myself, but I do have to be extra diligent, or else I can fall into a pit of fear and apprehension. Things are stimulating for us, and so loud noises and crowds of people naturally wear us down and can leave us a frazzled mess. On top of that, if we skimp on sleep and eat poor diets, we suffer the consequences pretty quickly.

It can feel as if we are alone and separate and this, again, causes us to feel anxious. We feel like the odd ones out and can sense people’s judgement. We overthink things and end up worrying that people don’t like us, or think we are boring, quiet or even rude because we don’t quite fit in to the status quo.

As an introverted Vegan, I do feel very alone out in my every day life. I feel like I am more evolved than others, without meaning to sound like I have my head stuck up my ass. I roll my eyes (in my mind) when I hear people’s small talk or superficial conversation. I feel frustrated with my job and long to feel at peace. I get bored and agitated with monotonous routine.

Sometimes it can feel like I will never get there and that everything is just pointless (falling more into the category of depression here) …

If we don’t allow ourselves to live in line with our core values, we will feel like crap. We will feel like something is missing. We will have difficulty resting and sleeping through the night.

Given that I have dealt with these feelings for a long time, I have read hundreds of self-help books and spent a lot of time looking into treatment of Anxiety. I will share what I have learned soon, but please know that there is no ‘cure’. There are lots of little things we can do to help ourselves, but while the World remains as it is, we will feel pain. In our lifetimes, there will always be fear because things – if they are ever going to change – are not going to change quickly.

There is always the threat of another World War, and it can seem inevitable when Donald f*cking Trump might actually be elected as the next President. The new Prime Minister of the UK – Theresa May – has gone on record to say she would kill thousands of innocent people with a nuclear bomb to show ‘we aren’t afraid to use our weapons’. Pretty scary stuff. Of course, this was all said hypothetically and I don’t think it’s as simple as pressing a little red button behind a capsule, but you have to wonder what our future will look like.

Sometimes, although it is hard, we need to let go of feeling responsible for everyone else’s problems and look after ourselves. As I write this, I am feeling a burden. I feel like I could be doing more for the animals. I feel like I am responsible for helping them. But I also feel exhausted. I feel like my spirit is weak, because I have been focusing on the negative a lot.

I am a pessimist, although I sometimes think I am just being realistic.

I need to learn to let go of that which I have no control over and let people make their own choices – good or bad. Because telling people to stop paying for animals to be slaughtered isn’t guaranteed to change their mindset. In fact, most people become defensive and immature when faced with reality. They can get angry at you for asking them to change and argue that it’s a personal choice to murder innocent beings.

Anyway, I’m going off on a Vegan rant so I will end this one here.

P.S. I set up a YouTube channel and put up my first video, so be sure to check that out HERE.

See you in the next post!

~ Alex.

10 Reasons I LOVE being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

A little word of warning …

The super positive title of this post is going to soon be contradicted by a follow up post about why I HATE being a HSP. But for now, we will focus on what is AWESOME about being sensitive.

#1 – I am very empathetic and feel deeply connected to animals. I feel I can sense their mood and emotional state based on their body language. I also care for people, but animals have a special place in my heart because our World exploits them and takes everything it can without giving back (more on this another time). I see them as pure, innocent and REAL – much like Children before the World intrudes and turns them into self-conscious adults who act their way through life. My dog has helped me through some really tough times, just by being her little doggy self. If I was not a HSP, I wouldn’t appreciate the silent connection that two different species can share. Look how beautiful she is …

Maisie

(She isn’t quite so cute when she eats her own poop)

#2 – I make conscious choices and have very strong morals. If everyone could CARE and FEEL like we HSPs do, this World would not be so very fragmented and screwed up.

#3 – I don’t get distracted with unimportant things like status or owning the latest gadget. I live beyond the shallow. I am able to live DEEPLY and SPIRTIUALLY. I don’t believe in God or Religion, personally. However, I feel there is more to what we think we know based on the physical. I believe in …

#4 – … Nature! I absolutely love how wonderful and perfect Nature is. It grows food for us. It sustains life and gives, gives, gives. Epic Mountains. The Northern Lights. A Star-filled Sky. All the colours of the Rainbow. A Sunset. Snow. The fresh, optimistic feeling you get walking on a Beach and feeling at one with this Planet as your feet sink into the sand. Of course, some people don’t appreciate the Planet like we do and are gradually tearing it to pieces (watch ‘Cowspiracy’ on Netflix). I feel so peaceful in the outdoors and it’s a blessing to be within such an amazing World (despite all the chaos and noise it contains).

#5 – I am not overly reliant on people like many others are. This is largely in part because I am an Introverted HSP. But I think, because of my sensitivity, I appreciate time alone and feel like I really know who I am. While I can feel envious of other, ‘normal’, people – are they really happy if they cannot stand being in their own company? Is it good to rely on lots of people for your own happiness? Is it good to need a lot of external stimuli in order to feel alive? I feel alive and well when I am in my bed or sat in a garden chair reading a new book on my Kindle. It may sound boring to some, but for me it is blissful.

#6 – My intuition. I have learned to trust it, because there were times in my past when I didn’t want to hear the truth and only ended up causing myself greater despair further down the line. Sometimes our intuition will not be telling us something we want to hear, but when it is strong, we need to listen to it and take some time to be with ourselves while we decide upon a plan of action. Doing nothing causes a lot of problems when the voice in our head is screaming for change or an escape. It’s going to keep shouting until we do something.

#7 – My creativity. I write and record music, I can put YouTube videos together. I can be creative in my writing and this is the positive side of the HSP/Introvert coin. Although I sometimes feel like my talents aren’t recognised or respected (or even ‘needed’) in this World, I feel very connected to … something … when I am in the zone of creativity, or even appreciating the works of other people – Film makers, artists, writers, actors and musicians.

#8 – Knowledge and life experience. Through all the hard times I have been through, I feel like if I am a parent one day, I will be able to really help my child find their way through life. It all comes from understanding and accepting yourself – for your talents and your flaws. I also know you cannot be controlling as a parent and you need to allow children to make their own decisions and mistakes. Because mistakes and failures are important in becoming stronger and growing into an adult.

#9 – I feel LOVE stronger and more powerfully than non-HSPs. My Girlfriend is a HSP too, but I mean Love in general. I can suffer the consequences of feeling other emotions very strongly (more on than in the next blog post) but it’s great to feel such strong emotions at times. It is what makes us human and alive. I can be on Cloud 9 (whatever that actually means) and have Bipolar like highs when I am happy and excited. There is nothing that feels better than that.

#10 – Awareness and Survival in my Genes. If this World ever reverts back to us surviving in the Wild (Hunger Games style), I would be a great person to hang around with. Because I can sense changes in mood and the environment and I am careful, so avoid making rash decisions and school-boy errors. We really need some Highly Sensitive Politicians instead of these egotistical, greedy and power-hungry morons.

So…

What do YOU love about being a HSP? Leave a comment and please share this post if you enjoyed it 🙂

~ Alex.

 

 

How I discovered I was a Highly Sensitive Person.

I first discovered I was a HSP several years ago, when I stumbled upon the World renowned book by Elaine Aron.

I remember it coming up as a book linked to others I was searching for on Introversion, as I had began to realise there were other people like me.

I always knew there was a reason for the way I felt. I just didn’t know what that reason was yet. I thought I’d tell you a bit about my life story … Buckle in. It’s not straight forward or short, but I promise you that it will be an interesting read.

***

I had always been shy as a little dude, thinking about it now. I have some vivid childhood memories, in which I felt scared and alone. Stuck in my imagination, I worried a lot about things that could happen. About things that might go wrong. I will save some of those details for another post I have planned on growing up as a HSP, but I was a happy child, I would say. I had friends, but I was afraid they would leave me. At times, I was afraid I didn’t have enough friends, or didn’t quite fit in. I felt like I would be everyone’s last choice. I felt very unsure of myself when I was on my own.

But the lines became blurred as I grew up. I didn’t know why I was the way I was. At 15, I developed a bad case of Acne and became much more self-aware and lacking in confidence, which I suppose is understandable. No conventional treatments proved to be of any use and I ended up taking a serious, powerful medication called Roaccutane (known as Accutane in The US).

Suddenly, I found myself to be very unstable. I was deeply affected by the side-effects of the drug and I became very emotional. I would cry hard and long … really sobbing, and I would have no idea why. Because, if anything, I should have felt happy that my skin was clearing up and I was looking less like a Pizza.

I had moments of pure rage where I was afraid of myself and the thoughts running through my head. I thought I was going to end up hurting someone, or myself, although I never did. All of this was completely out of the blue for me, and so I was determined Accutane was to blame for my problems with depression and anxiety.

I quit the drug after being on it for 5 months, but my mental (and some physical) struggles persisted.

I spent years obsessing about what the drug had done to me. It was all I really thought about. I would be on forums late at night talking to others who had been negatively affected by the drug. For hours we would try to grasp what sounded like a logical theory of what the drug had done to us. We were desperately seeking a magical supplement or diet that might help us recover our health. Some people tried fasting for 3 weeks. Some people went for colonic irrigation, as if that would reverse all the damage. Others cut nearly every food group out of their diet. All in an attempt to overcome the various issues, like Chronic fatigue, aching joints, dry mouth/dry eyes, low (or no) libido and deep depression.

I myself spent thousands of pounds on different supplements and saw various health specialists. I had numerous blood tests, all of which came back as ‘normal’. I was losing my mind because I just knew that what I was experiencing wasn’t normal. I had gone from being super horny and athletic to someone with no desire for sex at all and I felt very weak, physically (and mentally).

None of the supplements made any difference, by the way. And the forum post, which I started, now has over 1,000,000 views. People there are still confused as to what on earth happened. I haven’t been involved with any of the discussions for a few years, but I did partake in a BBC documentary about Accutane and it’s link to Suicide.

But not for one moment during this time did I consider Accutane might not be the only factor in the struggles I was experiencing as I entered the adult World or work and responsibility. I felt certain that it was the culprit. I would have bet my life on it.

And yet, growing up is hard for nearly everyone and all of this happened during a time of massive change. From Boy to Man. From Student to Employee.

During the years after High School and my treatment with Accutane, I felt totally lost. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I felt tired – constantly. I had social anxiety and I would get depressed often, though the crying for no reason went away quickly after ending treatment. I became very introverted and split off from my friends and family. I spent most days worrying about what the heck was wrong with me. I also thought about killing myself, a lot. Because the emotional turmoil I was going through every day was too much to bear. I felt numb. Completely and utterly worn out. I felt like the best years of my life had been stolen from me and that my life was over.

***

But as the years went on, I realised Accutane was not to blame for all of my problems. I had always told myself that everything was super perfect – and then I took an awful medication.

But was everything perfect?

Would I really have been all that different if it wasn’t for that drug? I’m not saying Accutane isn’t terrible, because in my experience it absolutely is. There is a strong link with suicide and depression and the creators of the drug will continue to deny so, because they want to make money. Billions of pounds.

But I think part of the reason I fell prey to its effects so strongly is because my body is wired differently to most. I can’t drink coffee, I can’t get away with drinking alcohol and I certainly can’t get away with taking a risky, controversial medication.

So, to sum up, taking Accutane was a bad idea. A mistake. But I believe I would still be struggling now (though perhaps less so) if I hadn’t of taken it, or got Acne in the first place.

Because I have always been Highly Sensitive. I was born this way, baby. And it can be hard to navigate through our World as a HSP. I am still trying to piece things together and find my place.

Anxiety and Depression are common, though. This World can create a lot of suffering and the people in charge of this broken system which encourages sitting down at a computer for 8 hours have a lot to answer for. I no longer feel the need to blame Accutane for everything that is wrong with my life, because I know that sitting in an office all day and commuting through traffic are the current problems I face. I cannot change what has already happened but I can play a part in how I spend my precious hours now.

Acne and a traumatic experience with Accutane certainly were added baggage that I wish I could have avoided. They delayed my discovery and understanding of the HSP and Introverted world, because I thought my emotions could be cured with a super healthy diet, or special supplement. But I know I am capable of being happy, because when I am in my element, I am happy as Larry.

And Larry is a happy guy.

I apologise if this post was a bit depressing. And God knows it was LONG. I said previously that I would be brutally honest and open about some of the things I have gone through and continue to go through.

If you made it this far, I want to say a big Thank you. And if you did make it this far, leave a comment saying ‘Santa Claus’, so I know who the extra awesome ones are.

It took time to understand that I was a HSP, and I think it is very common for people to go down a whole bunch of roads before arriving here. Hopefully in time people will find the answers they seek and realise they don’t need antidepressants, because they are not broken and antidepressants will not change your inherent nature.

Sometimes, we need to take a look around and realise WE are the sane ones. Drugs and other substances can numb your sensitivity, but do you really want to be one of them?

I would love to hear YOUR story. How did you come to understand your own nature as a HSP? I look forward to talking to you in the comments!

~ Alex.