Highly sensitive person

This week has been a bit up and down for me. Among other things, I have been able to close the door on a few weeks containing a lot of social events. I am not very good at social happenings and seeing my calendar filled with such events day after day, with no breaks in between, is something that is very difficult for me to cope with.

It has been like that all my life. The only times I haven’t struggled with going to events of various kinds, has been if it’s been part of my job; especially when I was working as a journalist. With my pen, paper and camera ready, I went wherever I was asked to go with confidence, but privately my pattern was to find an excuse to not attend just before the event, even though I might have felt it was a good idea only a few days earlier.

“I am not very good at social happenings “

Up until three/four years ago I just excused this behaviour of mine, as being a real loner, even though deep down I knew it had to be a bit more than that, since it quite often felt like a handicap. Then, buy accident, I found an article that finally gave me the key I’d been missing when it came to most of my struggles in life. I am a highly sensitive person or HSP for short. This isn’t a diagnosis or an illness. One in five people all over the world belong to this group. I won’t go into the research of HSP in any depth here; instead I’m going to point you to a brilliant website about the subject, that I highly recommend if you want to know more about HSP or think you could belong to this group yourself.

http://hsperson.com/

I will tell you a bit about how HSP makes my life more difficult than I wish it would be. For instance, it is impossible for me to have a fulltime “clock in – clock out” job. Long before I knew anything about HSP I had figured out where my limit was. I can work three days a week in the same job and around sixteen hours. Any more than that and I start waking up with anxiety at night, and I start to get various physical symptoms that sooner or later forces me to go to the doctors for a sick note. It doesn’t matter whether it is a job I enjoy or not, the pattern is still the same. I don’t know how many times in my life I have gone up in hours, because it is all going so well, and I obviously want to work, but after a few months with more hours, the pattern starts again. There is no logic to it, which infuriates me. I somehow feel jailed, and the environment that was so pleasant whilst I was doing my sixteen hours, suddenly becomes threatening. Strangely, there is no problem for me having two jobs. This is something I have had to do many times when I have needed more hours. Two different jobs in two different settings works for some reason. I never had any problems when working as a journalist either. Probably because the hours were so free in that job. I often worked very long hours, much longer than a normal working day, but I was in charge of  my owe time. I’d do an interview, I’d write, and I go home.

The same applies to working with my own baking business or my writing. It doesn’t matter how much time I spend working on them, I am always fine. I suppose it is all about being free and in charge of what I do myself. For some reason I can’t cope with feeling trapped in any shape or form.

Other things that are difficult for an HSP person is being in crowds, in very noisy environments, in situations where there is an underlying threat of any kind between people etc. The positive with being HSP is that most people in this group are very creative.

So, back to this week. After bigger bursts of social activities, I always need to get the chance to cut myself off from the world and find myself and my thoughts again. The longer I am forced to be social without time for myself the more it feels like my safety nets in life go adrift and little by little I stop functioning. This week I didn’t get enough time to find myself again before I had to go back to work. Work in itself went well, but one of the elderly in the care home I work in had passed away while I was on holiday. It upset me, but a couple of weeks had already gone since the event, so the care home had moved on and I didn’t feel I could show my grief. That has played on my mind.

“…it feels like my safety nets in life go adrift…”

Last weekend I also had to give up my 15-minute break at work to go home to feed the cats and let the dog out, because no one else was at home. This meant I went nine hours without any kind of food and had no energy to cook, healthily or otherwise, when I came home. I didn’t eat badly, but not eating can be just as bad as over eating when trying to lose weight.

On Monday I was working at home, but tired due to lack of food during the weekend. This caused a domino effect which made many of my overweight thoughts appear from out of the shady corners again. Doubts about myself, my life, my future, my money situation (with the interest rate on my mortgage suddenly starting to jump up with an alarming rate) etc. was filling my day, and for all of these worries my solution and safety is food. Food of the unhealthy kind.

Despite of all this, I did very well. I managed to analyse what was going on with me and even though I felt horrible all day and had no interest what so ever in cooking proper food, I managed to stay away from the worst kinds of comfort foods and keep to healthier options when snacking from the fridge. I also went out shopping and now have a fridge full of healthy stuff to keep me going for a while.

“…for all of these worries my solution and safety is food…”

Weighing in day was yesterday, and I had managed to stay the same. I would have preferred to lose another pound or two, but as long as I don’t put any weight back on I’m not too worried. I have accepted that my mind-set wasn’t quite ready for “project weight loss” when I started, so seeing the weight go the right way for seven weeks, even at a very slow speed, is good enough for now.

Have a good week and see you in 7!

Åsa

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