In my continuous search for answers to why I go through spells of low moods and anxiety I have found some clues and answers, the most obvious of which would be some level of depression. There is a chance that is part of it but I am not convinced this is the only answer. I also think that the term depression has been rather misused especially in recent years.
I have not been diagnosed with depression but that is likely to be because I have somehow neglected to visit a doctor in the past 6 years! Yes, I know!
I have now registered with a doctor close to where I live (my previous doctor de-registered me, I guess, through lack of contact on my part, the poor lonely soul!!) and I am hoping to get an appointment with my new doctor next week as I feel perhaps it is time to suppress my stubbornness to do everything on my own and seek some professional help. This was largely helped along the way by a meeting with my boss in which I embarrassingly broke down in front of her. Thankfully she was very caring and supportive and made me realise that it is time to take a different approach. She also changed the format of the meeting from being a performance review to trying to find ways of making life a little easier for me at work. She came up with some good ideas that will take some of the pressure off and also reassured me that they would not invest that level of money into recruiting and training someone only for it to collapse. I managed to get myself into a downward spiral of worrying about being out of a job, which from a rational point of view is a little odd because I have fully come to the conclusion that working in a high pressure industry is not suited to my personality.
I have no idea what to expect from the appointment with the doctor and for once this doesn’t fill me with anxiety, at least not at the moment. I do, however, feel a little reluctant about going because I don’t want a label stuck on me. I want to understand if what I am going through is down to a physiological condition such as an overactive thyroid rather than a psychological condition.
The search for answers has continued throughout this week and has taken me down a path of research/learning about the condition referred to as HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) as well as Dabrowski’s concept of over-excitability in his theory of Positive Integration.
Attributes and Characteristics of Being Highly Sensitive
Emotionally, Highly Sensitive People (HSP) are mainly seen as shy, introverted and socially inhibited (or can be socially extroverted). They are often acutely aware of other’s emotions. Sensitive people learn early in life to mask their wonderful attributes of sensitivity, intuition and creativity.
Physically, HSPs may have low tolerance to noise, glaring lights, strong odors, clutter and/or chaos. They tend to have more body awareness of themselves and know instinctually when the environment they are in is not working for them.
Socially, introverted HSP may feel like misfits. They actually enjoy their own company and are totally comfortable being alone. Both introverted and socially extroverted HSP often find they need time alone to recover after social interactions.
Psychologically, HSPs compensate for their sensitivity by either protecting themselves by being alone too much, or, by trying to be ‘normal’ or sociable which then over-stimulates them into stress.
Work and career is particularly challenging for HSPs. They are often overlooked for promotions even though they are usually the most conscientious employees. They are excellent project oriented employees because they are responsible and thorough in their work.
Relationships can be difficult. In relationships they may be confronted with their unresolved personal issues. They can however, offer their partner the gifts of their intuitive insights.
Culturally, HSPs do not fit the tough, stoic and outgoing ideals of modern society and what is portrayed in the entertainment media.
Childhood wounds have a more devastating effect on HSPs. It is important for them to heal their past hurts because they cannot just forget them and go on in denial.
Spiritually, sensitive people have a greater capacity for inner searching. This is one of their greatest blessings.
Nutritionally, HSPs may need more simplicity in their diet. They may be vitally aware of the effects of food on the health of their body and their emotional stability.
Used with kind permission by www.sensitiveperson.com
I can relate very strongly to every single point. In fact it pretty much sums up how I feel most of the time. I am not a big fan of being labelled or categorised, but this has provided more clarity than anything I have studied before this and with this clarity I have felt acceptance and relief to an extent I haven’t felt before.
It explains perfectly why I so often crave solitude, especially after being at work where I get so involved with other people’s lives. It has helped me explain why I shy away from conflict and big crowds and why I am finding it so difficult to conform to modern society, which incidentally, I see as a good thing.
The not so positive side is the anxiety and spells of low moods, but right now I am beginning to see these in a slightly different light and perhaps I can learn to see these as a part of me instead of seeing them as feelings to fight and to be avoided.