Written by Anouk Lauzon Groleau
Hypersensitivity: higher than average sensitivity, which may be long-lasting or temporary. *
I started hearing about hypersensitive fairly recently. A little over a year ago.
Let me explain.
After 2 (almost 3) years of waiting, I ended up having the Call. You know, the Call with a capital C that a lot of us are really looking forward to receiving in Quebec.
I was finally going to have a family doctor.
I make an appointment with her. No particular health problem, I pass most of the tests with the nurse. I am finally transferred to the doctor’s office. She asks me a few questions which I answer:
-Are you pregnant, or have you ever been?
-Do you have heart problems, or have you ever had them?
– (Easy) No.
– Is your mood stable?
(And there, I am unable to answer… Is she trying to trick me? I explain.
At this time, I’m a full-time student in the health field. I’m starting my final internship shortly. I have a part-time job in my field. The holiday season has not yet started, but with divorced parents and their respective blended family, it’s challenging for me to have a viable holiday schedule!
How could I be emotionally stable at this time?)
-No, but no more than most people. Well, I think.
She asks me to clarify.
Sh*t. I don’t want to talk about how I feel extraterrestrial at times. I don’t want to admit that I might have self-diagnose myself almost all mental illnesses causing emotional upheaval (thank you Google … or not in fact): bipolarity, borderline personality disorder … I don’t want to talk about my “ups” and my emotional downs. Or my last 3 anxiety attacks at the end of the semester (it’s normal to experience that, right?). Because I always feel very ” stupid ” (sorry for the expression) having to manage my anxiety, my emotions, and bawling for any reason.
It must be me who is exaggerating, right? It’s like that for everyone, isn’t it?
-Hmm … No, it’s not normal.
NOT EVERYONE’S LIKE THAT
How to crack the thin shell that I’ve created for myself? Should I tell myself that I’m exaggerating, that it’s going to pass, that everyone’s life is like that. Part of my world shattered. A part of me that I’ve always repressed was now exposed.
When the diagnosis fell, I broke down in tears. Hypersensitive with a severe generalized anxiety disorder, mild depression and panic disorder.
The part of me that I had refused to acknowledge for years finally had a name.
Well… When we talk about hypersensitivity, we are talking about temperament, not a problem. Important to note.
So, I began researching the subject.
Do you know that 25 to 30% of the population is hypersensitive?
Some live well with it while others not so much. The last, are more prone to anxiety and depression (Hey, hi!), due to their increased receptivity to stimuli (sounds, sights, smells …). It’s easier for them to reach their limits, which can also lead to a state of constant fatigue.
WHAT DOES IT MEANS FOR ME?
It means that I’m an emotional sponge. But not of my emotions, but other people’s emotions. Mostly the negative ones (what a joy! …). I don’t just empathize with the ones who need help, but I also feel their emotions. Sometimes I feel them stronger than they do, and will be unable to feel good as long as the other person isn’t better.
Okay, okay, it’s not that bad, I hear you say!
But imagine that with 2, 4, 6 persons, at the same time, plus my own emotions to manage …
It quickly becomes chaos, trust me.
Isolating yourself is a good way to let go of the overflow without stimulation. It can be a refuge for some (and beware, if it’s, it’s sacred)!
But it can also become your worst nightmare.
You can quickly hit the bottom of the barrel as your emotions are never settled and with emotional “hyperactivity”… You don’t want to go there.
But, on more than one occasion in my life, that’s where I found myself. I got lost too.
I began seeing a social worker. Every week. For 8 months.
The best 8 months of my life.
I’ve evolved more than ever before in my personal life. Before, for several months, I had many downs, something that doesn’t happen anymore. I was unable to put into words my emotions, and today I’m getting there. My whole life, I was repressing this part of me, this little girl who only wanted to be told: “It’s ok, it’s a part of you, and it’s cool.
In a society where emotions have to be camouflaged … I am learning to letting go of them. I discovered that I was not empathetic but sympathetic. That is to say that I really experience the emotions of others, and not only feel them. And I know today that it can be a strength.
I will continue to be the “mom” of my friends, the one who always wants everyone to be good, who will give everything to help them feel better and happy. I will keep on respecting myself and my limits.
I’ve tamed my hypersensitivity and stop seeing it as a weakness.
And it’s so liberating to let go of who you are.
It was difficult for many people around me, I admit. It even ended many relationships, it strengthened some, it was difficult for me too, and it still is at times.
Why am I talking to you about all this?
Because 25% of the population suffers from hypersensitivity, you probably know a person like that. You may be one yourself. You may already know someone, maybe not. Whatever.
If my story can open your eyes to a reality different from yours or show you that you are not alone, well, that would make me very happy.
* (Source: Psychologue.net)