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.

Advertisements

Do you feel like the only HSP in the World?

I know that I can feel very lonely and isolated in my day-to-day life.

Sometimes, I can be feeling quite happy and at ease, but I can also often feel incredibly anxious, paranoid, drained of energy and in need of a big strong hug and a reassuring, ‘It’s okay. Everything will be alright. Just hang in there. You are doing well’.

On the bad days though, when I am stuck at work (in my corporate office job) those hugs and kind words aren’t usually forthcoming.

I can feel very lost, like a child desperately looking for their parent in the School yard. I feel vulnerable, like I’m pretending to be an adult. I am a tall kid, wearing a suit and tie. I am an imposter. ‘Nobody else feels like this …’ I think.

But, as I have previously stated, Dr. Elaine Aron (the expert on this stuff) says that 15-20% of the World’s population are Highly Sensitive. On her website that promotes the film ‘Sensitive The Movie’, there is a claim that 1.4 people are HSPs.

While this claim is obviously an estimate, it’s probably pretty close.

Which can be relieving to know, but also seemingly impossible.

Because you cannot see that people are Highly Sensitive, unless you are very observant or spend a lot of time with them. Most likely though, you are focusing on yourself 90% of the time. And so are the others. Isn’t it funny to think the others probably assume you are an extrovert, or Non-HSP?

Do you know where your work colleagues go for their lunch? Do you notice the other people leaving the office by themselves? Are they heading off to meet a friend or do they just need to get some breathing space? What about that person in the corner of the lunch hall with a book? Maybe they are like you.

P.S. Don’t you hate when someone tries to start a conversation with you when you are reading a book?

“What’cha reading there?”

(*Thinks* GO AWAY)

“Oh, erm … it’s a book about … well, it’s a romance. It’s a lovely little novel about someone getting disciplined by a fella called Christian Grey. It outsold Harry Potter.”

It actually outsold Harry Potter. Oh dear!

So, while you will continue to have days where you feel weak and need picking up, try to keep a rational perspective. Some people are good at blending in with the crowd and go unnoticed. Others are good at acting and go home exhausted afterwards.

There is nothing wrong with being a HSP.

In fact, much of the traits that are a part of being Highly Sensitive are wonderful. Things like honesty, integrity and kindness. Creativity and appreciation for the arts. The lack of desire for superficial material possessions. The spiritual connection to animals and people. Real, deep connections instead of shallow or even ‘fake’ friendships. Thinking about the people in need, instead of just caring about your own desires and stepping over anyone who is in your way.

I don’t mean to make this an ‘Us Vs. Them’ thing. I just want to remind you that this isn’t a curse. And I also don’t want to give the impression that I think everyone who isn’t Highly Sensitive is a heartless, cruel, two-faced bastard. I’m merely saying that HSPs are – in my opinion – never those things.

Thank you for joining me in another post.

I will speak to you again soon. Until then, take care of yourself and remember YOU ARE AWESOME.

~ Alex.

 

Traits of a Highly Sensitive Person.

As this blog has only just started, it makes sense to touch base with the basics of being a HSP.

So, what kind of boxes do you need to tick off in order to establish that you are, in fact, a Highly Sensitive Person?

If you relate to a lot of the below, and would have done if I had of asked the same a year ago (meaning you are not just going through a rough patch), the chances are likely that you are a HSP like me! Welcome to the club if so. Have a badge. (Reminder to self: Get some badges for the people!)

One other note before we begin. I am an introvert. Most HSPs are, but Elaine Aron (who I mentioned in my first post) estimates around 30% to be extroverted. I apologise if some of the below seems directed more towards introverts, but I am speaking from my own experiences.

I also apologise if you think apologise should be spelled with a ‘Z’. You are wrong, my American friends!

Let’s go through a few questions to see if you are officially Highly Sensitive …

P.S. THE LIST IS LONG!

  • Do you startle easily, such as when a loud noise comes on suddenly? (BEEP! BEEP!)
  • When you were younger, were you often regarded as ‘Shy’ or ‘Very Quiet’?
  • Would you struggle to cope under pressure or while being watched? (‘Oh no! My fingers appear to have turned into Jelly .. Let me just try and type that sentence again … Oops. This must be happening because you are WATCHING MY EVERY MOVE!!’)
  • Do you become exhausted if you are unable to get away by yourself for a while?
  • Do you have a deep connection with nature and animals?
  • Do you appreciate art and lean towards creativity?
  • Does an open office look a lot like HELL to you?
  • Do you overthink things and worry more than what might be considered ‘normal’?
  • Do you find yourself overwhelmed with sadness when you hear of bad and tragic news? Is it hard for you to let go of that sadness?
  • Would your ideal day be sitting outside in your garden with a book, as opposed to drinking in a bar full of people or shopping in a Mall?
  • Do other people’s moods affect you? I.e. does their anger make you feel really awkward and uncomfortable?
  • Does small talk just seem like a complete waste of time to you?!
  • Do you often come home from work and retreat to your bedroom, drawing the curtains?
  • Are you very self-aware?
  • Are you unable to tolerate caffeine and other stimulants? Will coffee make you feel anxious and jittery? Does alcohol affect you quickly and leave you feeling a shambles the next day if you have more than a few drinks?
  • Do you get stressed when you are forced to multi-task?
  • Do you try hard to avoid making mistakes?
  • Are you hard on yourself? Perfectionist, much?
  • Is it impossible for you to shut out irritating noises, such as a ticking clock? (TICK, TOCK. TICK, TOCK. ‘Oh, God! It’s counting down the seconds until I cease to exist!’)
  • Do you spend much of your time reflecting on things inside your head instead of looking at the World around you?
  • Do you feel like you are lagging behind everyone else?
  • Do you enjoy quiet and solitude, particularly late at night?
  • Do you sometimes struggle with insomnia and poor sleep?
  • Are you sensitive to hunger? I.e. ‘I am going to commit atrocities if I don’t eat something! It’s been like 3 hours since I ate!!’
  • Does change make you feel uncomfortable and are you slow to adjust to new people and environments?

That’s my list I put together with a bit of thought. I think that just about covers it.

I know some HSPs are sensitive to violent films and TV shows, but I personally enjoy watching horror films and crime shows. Although, perhaps they are more stimulating to me than for those usual folk.

Can you relate to the above? Did I miss anything?

I would love to hear about YOUR experiences as a HSP.

Until we meet again, take care of yourself and dream big.

~ Alex.

 

An introduction to this blog.

Hello to you.

My name is Alex Lay and I am a highly sensitive dude.

Up until a few years ago, I had just assumed I was a bit weird. I knew I was different to most people, but I had no idea there was a label for people like me.

At first, I thought the label sounded very negative. Surely being sensitive is a bad thing … Our World is all about survival of the fittest. If you aren’t strong and resilient, you will fall behind and end up as a failure. You’ve got to do what you can to keep up with the daily grind!

But after giving it some thought, I realised our World is a bit of a mess. Greedy politicians run anti-immigration campaigns and appeal to the small-minded who think ‘Them ruddy immigrants are stealing all our jobs, init’. People compete with their work colleagues in an attempt to gain a small promotion. Men and women cheat on their partners and betray their family’s trust in order to attain short-term satisfaction. Billions of animals are slaughtered and abused in factory farms and slaughterhouses or, arguably worse, at the Yulin Festival in China. Planet Earth continues to be destroyed, while people remain blissfully ignorant and tag along with the crowd like lost sheep.

I could go on …

But let’s just say that some very, very bad things happen. You can’t turn on the news for a few minutes without hearing about another tragic murder or terrorist attack. The news of this week is that an American police officer shot a black man for, well … being black. The guy was getting his vehicle paperwork and the Cop freaked – or else is just very racist and assuming – and unleashed a spray of bullets.

America – mate – you’ve got to tighten up the gun control laws. “But Alex, guns don’t kill people. People kill people”. Yes. You are right. But guns certainly make it very easy, don’t they?

Dr. Elaine Aron first coined the term ‘Highly Sensitive Person’ (or HSP for short). Elaine estimates that 15-20% of people are predisposed to a more active and sensitive nervous system, which results in a tendency to become more easily overwhelmed and stimulated that the rest, coined ‘Non-HSPs’. You cannot decide to become non-sensitive. It is in your physiology. It’s in your blood, man.

I’ve been ever interested in this stuff, because it plays a HUGE part in my life. So huge that I had to hit caps-lock for a moment. I digest everything HSP related I can find, but I have become aware that not many men are talking about this.

Sometimes, you realise you are the one who needs to do what hasn’t yet been done. So I am stepping up to the plate.

Please follow this Blog for further posts. I will aim to write something new at least once a week, and I will be very transparent and open about my appreciation for my own sensitive nature, as well as honest about the struggles I have faced and continue to face as I navigate through this crazy little planet.

I plan to start filming some YouTube videos soon, which I will combine with my posts so watch this space!

Until the next time, take care and dream big.

~ Alex.