Ever had one of those weeks when the universe kept smacking you across the head with something? I had one of those. Confession time!
I went to BodyTalk just over a week ago (Google it if you want to know what it is...I can't explain it, but will tell you that I'm quite certain that it saved my life), and the topics of self-expression and speaking one's truth came up. Since my appointment, the concept of the Highly Sensitive Person (you can Google that too) kept coming at me from different directions. I've known for a while that I fit into that box, but I keep trying to pretend that I don't. In a nutshell, I get overwhelmed by too much sensory input. I can't handle crowds, too much noise, strong scents, violent TV/movies, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I feel what other people feel, picking up uncomfortable emotions easily. I often end up in bed with the duvet pulled over my head to recover from too much of everything. This week, however, was a wake-up call for being comfortable with who I am. I almost lost it at the Y on Tuesday night because the cardio room was packed full of people; just being close to a whack of strangers freaked me out. Then my headphones broke and I had to replace them immediately because listening to music (and blocking out everything else around me) is the only way I can cope with being on public transit and going to the grocery store. Finally, I went to the symphony last night with a few people from work and essentially lost the ability to function. The concert wasn't sold out, but I was so thrown off by being in a crowd that I could hardly speak and I adopted my favourite coping mechanism of staring off into space like a bunny caught in the headlights. Worse yet, the conductor was schmoozing after the concert and approached our group. Everyone else talked to him in a graceful manner; I mumbled something about it being nice while trying to quell the urge to run out the door. *face palm* I went home, banged my head against the wall a couple of times, berated myself for being ridiculously awkward, and went to bed. (Feeling marginally better this morning.) All this makes me think that it's time to stop thinking that I'll outgrow all of this. I turn 39 next week, if I haven't left it behind by now I don't think I ever will. Time to embrace the sensitivity and see it as a gift rather than an ailment that needs to be cured.
I think my biggest concern with this HSP thing is worrying that I'll offend people. So here's my disclaimer: if you ask me to go out somewhere or do something and I say no, please don't take it personally. It just means that I know I can't handle it and would rather stay away from the situation rather than risk losing my shit in front of the whole world. What's going on inside me is not necessarily reflected on the outside. It's not you, it's me. :)