A Highly Sensitive Person Wonders About The Mathematical Reality Of Normalcy

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Borrowed from gocomics.com

I haven’t been around much lately. Well, that’s not true. I’ve been exactly where I have always been except for those times when I was somewhere else, but I haven’t been hanging out in Blogville. Of course, it’s possible that you read that first sentence and thought that much isn’t a place so how could anyone be around it and I understand your confusion now that I have reread that sentence too many times to admit to most people but since most people don’t read what I write, I’ll tell you that I have reread it four or five times, maybe eight. I have a problem.

Having  a problem wouldn’t be a big deal except that I am finding that I have more than one problem and I’ve been finding these problems online. A few weeks or maybe months ago, (time runs together in my world and it’s difficult to explain to anyone that has to abide by any sort of schedule) I read this article which I think was originally in Psychology Today about Highly Sensitive People. I didn’t even know such people existed so imagine my surprise, nay, shock to find that I may be one of them.

People have always told me that I am too sensitive, usually in that slightly condescending dismissive tone, but I may have been reading too much into their tone of voice which I believe is one of the signs or symptoms of being one of those HSP types. All I do know is that as I read that article I kept thinking “That’s me!!!” I was happy to have a name for it and to know that I wasn’t just being ‘overly sensitive’ as my rather insensitive compadres would have me believe.

Now, to be honest, I couldn’t answer yes to every single trait that the article mentioned, but I could and did answer in the affirmative on more than half so I’m left to wonder if perhaps I’m just borderline HSP and then further wondering leaves me wondering just which side of the border I’m on. Am I just this side of HSP with long excursions across the border and too many entry stamps in my psychological passport to count or am I just the other side of HSP with occasional jaunts into normalcy? Although what is normal, really? That’s like asking what is reality and no one has a great answer for that either.

I would have done more research into my newly discovered personality type, but then I came across another article about how spending too much time online is leading to mental deterioration of the intellectual kind. Yes, there is accumulating evidence that too much online time leads to increased stupidity. Idiocracy is just around the corner and if it’s anything like the movie, it won’t be a pretty sight.

And on top of all of that, I had what could only be described as a major anxiety attack. I had never experienced that before and it was enough to get me to a doctor, or PA since my $10K deductible reduces my medical choices significantly though she is well qualified  and I have complete faith in her abilities, as I thought I was having blood pressure or heart issues. Apparently, physically I’m okay though I haven’t had the tests she suggested or prescribed. I haven’t felt brave enough to call and find out how much they will cost which will be a major factor in whether I have them.

Now, to be clear, the anxiety attack was not related to my online activities though too much time reading random articles on just about everything probably contributed but the underlying trigger was some news from a close friend that left me in a fetal position sobbing for too many days to count, and then the elevated heart rate and lightheadedness and absolute panic that was so visceral and yet I couldn’t describe exactly why I was so panicked. Not really an experience I would recommend and for all those who have those types of attacks on a regular basis, I now know exactly how it feels and it is just about the worst feeling there is after the feeling of loss when a loved one dies. I feel for you and it’s not just because of my HSP tendencies.

I’m sure what I’ve been feeling could be eased with medication but again, prescription drugs aren’t covered on my medical plan so it’s not an option for me. Besides, I think most anti-depressant and anti-anxiety meds might make me sleep all day and get fat and neither of those side effects is desirable. Instead, I’ve chosen a course of more yoga, more dancing, more sunshine, more books, and less online time. Writing about it may have helped, but I’m just now to the point that I feel I can trust my words. I’ll have to ease back into the writing thing though I was never that regular with it. I still occasionally read blogs here and there and I have missed some of your blogs very much and hope to spend a little more time on that in the near future.

And just in case H.E. is reading, I haven’t forgotten about your F*%ked Up Fairy Tale assignment though it wasn’t so much an assignment as it was a task I volunteered for and I have written about 1000 Thumbelina-esque words in the last few days and now I’m stuck but I still have a few weeks or less until the deadline is here. I used to work great under pressure. In college, I waited until the last possible moment to write papers. So no worries about that, at least not yet when there is so much other stuff to worry about, but that is why I’ve been spending less time online. Less online time equals less worry so even though people like to say less is more, in this case less is less and it seems to make sense mathematically, too, though I’m not an upper math specialist, so I could be wrong about being mathematically right.

And while my self-imposed online sabbatical hasn’t quite freed up as much extra time as it did for Rat, it is allowing me to slowly heal.

Namaste, my friends. And for those of you unfamiliar with Sanskrit, ‘namaste’ means the light within me honors the light within you. So once, again, with the feeling that only a person with HSP tendencies can muster, namaste and may peace always be your companion.


26 thoughts on “A Highly Sensitive Person Wonders About The Mathematical Reality Of Normalcy

  1. But as a HSP don’t you sob into your pillow at night in sympathy for all the other HSPs on blogs who are sobbing into their pillows at night because they think you have deserted them?

  2. HSP must also be for Highly Sensible People.
    “more yoga, more dancing, more sunshine, more books, and less online time.” This will improve if not cure most anything. (Maybe more prescriptions for this should be written before expensive meds that end up causing other medical issues as well as poverty…)
    Sometimes your body forces you to learn how to be gentle with yourself.
    Toss in a good serving of smiles and loud laughs, too.
    Wander back when you’ve time – or can’t resist
    Meanwhile I’ll just send a giggle across the same sky you are pondering.

    • Thanks, Karen. Now when I look up at the sky and smile and marvel at the beauty I see in the clouds and stars, I’ll remember that you are looking up and smiling with me. You’re comment made my day!

  3. I’m so sorry something happened that affected you like that, though it happens to all of us at some point.
    I’m very angry that you medical care is more a question of money than need.
    But I’m very happy that your prescription of dancing, sunlight and books. And yoga.

    Rack on, sandylikeabeach, and it’s a pleasure to see you when/wherever you turn up!

    • It’s true we all have struggles and feel overwhelmed at times and figuring out how to cope is sometimes a difficult and lonely path. Right now, for me, it’s trying to get to more good days than bad and it seems sometimes like one step forward and two back, but I still keep taking those baby steps.

      Sadly, we seem to care more about profits than people in this country. I have always been bewildered by the concept of health care as a profit center. Perhaps one day in the not too distant future, we’ll finally come to our collective senses and come up with a better solution. Until then, for people like me, not covered by an employer subsidized plan, too young for Medicare and not poor enough for Medicaid, health insurance is expensive and tends not to cover very much. I think of it as catastrophic coverage which I hope I never need.

      Thanks, Guapo, for always being a brilliant light of kindness, compassion and joy.

  4. Sadly, it’s always about profit. Poor baby, hope you feel better soon. Uh….it’s not contagious, is it? Ah, I’ll be over at my place.

  5. I’m not sure if you read this post of mine, but if not there are some really helpful hints on dealing with panic attacks: http://benzeknees.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/adventures-in-panic-attacks/ I have been suffering with panic attacks for over 30 years. For the first 25 years or so, I mostly coped without medication by using some of the tricks & tips mentioned in my post. It’s only been in the last 16 years or so when I have had to admit (with depression) that it’s more than I can handle on my own. I can certainly understand your aversion to meds & there are lots of other things you can do to help yourself such as meditation, bio-feedback & hypnosis (self-hypnosis). All of these methods are you working with your own body to bring about states of relaxation. I think it’s great you concentrate on the sky & stars – it helps to keep you grounded in the moment which is sometimes very important. If I can be of any help, please drop me a line. I am not a medical professional, but having dealt with this for so many years I can listen really well.

    • I didn’t read that post because that is about when my panic attack hit me and it hit me hard. One of my friends had tried to explain what a panic attack felt like years ago, but I didn’t truly understand what she was feeling until I had one of my own. I’m going to read your post when I get home tonight. I’m finding that deep breathing helps calm me down if I can catch those feelings early enough.

      I appreciate your concern and may take you up on your offer and please know that it goes both ways. I am a good listener as well, and now that I better understand what you know so well, I know the importance of knowing someone out there cares. Stay strong, my friend.

  6. The nice thing about the Internet is that when we venture back there are always a handful of lovely people there for us.

    • I was hesitant to write about this experience. It was difficult for me to express what I was feeling to my close friends, but they were incredibly supportive and understanding. You are right, John. There are lovely, compassionate people here and thank you for being one of them.

  7. Namaste, Sandy. I have been this path. My worst panic attack led to a stroke, so I sympathize entirely. I determined a long time ago applying logic (mathematics) to emotional normalcy ends in a lot of imaginary numbers. I think your calculator is fine.
    Blessings and be well.

    • Namaste, Red. I, too, have a difficult time combining logic and strong emotional feelings much to the dismay of one of my closest friends who tends to be rather Spock-like. I’m finding that yoga, music and spending time with happy, supportive people is the best prescription for me. Blessings to you, and thanks so much for your kind words.

  8. As someone who used to have panic attacks on a semi-regular basis, I sympathize and hope you’re doing okay. They’re horrible. Take good care of yourself! Also, thank you for reminding me that I too have a Fairy Tale post to do for H.E…..

    • Panic attacks are awful and I’m hopeful that the worst is behind me though I’m told my behind is one of my better assets. And you’re welcome for the reminder. It’s always good to have company in the procrastinator’s club. Now, if we could just decide on a meeting time….maybe sometime in the not too distant future…..

  9. Great read! I’m going to have to go find that article. I think I may be making a few trips across the border and back, too!

    • Thanks, Jason. I can’t remember where I read that article and tried to find it but couldn’t, though I did find lots of other articles. Best of luck to you in your border crossings.

      • Haha…thanks! No worries on finding the article. I’ve found several as a matter of fact. I have to say I’m surprised this is the first time I’ve heard the term. It’s very interesting.

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