Day 954 – Temporary, but Excruciating, Pain Is the Price of Healing

“Birth Of Happiness” – Collage Art by Sara Shakeel

So…. I *am* supposed to be on a social media hiatus, but here we are 36-ish hours later, and I had to come back to make a legit proclamation about (what I feel) is TREMENDOUS BREAKTHROUGH PROGRESS IN MY RECOVERY.

And… As severely minimized as this may sound — it is, in fact, the icing on my current intrapersonal voyage… er, I mean cake: I wholeheartedly believe I’ve figured out the TWO core reasons I drank and engaged in the other various reckless activities the way I did.

  1. After even more emotionally/mentally exhausting research — but the good kind of exhaustion — I have come to learn that I am an HSP (highly sensitive person) and…
  2. I believe that, upon making this grandiose HSP discovery, and then coupling that with my “daddy issues” (TL;DR – my dad is a self-absorbed, narcissistic ego/megalomaniac who denied my sisters and I a lot of things if they did not meet his interests and/or expectations. I cut-off communication with him shortly after my daughter was born in 2008. Based off what I’ve heard, he hasn’t changed/didn’t care to learn anything from me cutting him off) are the deepest sources of the unresolved pain I’ve been lugging around for nearly TWO decades.

It’s only been 2 1/2 months since I responsibly weaned off my meds (my Zoloft was prohibiting me from feeling anything outside of a suspended, indifferent 7-month long depression), that my senses have leveled out to natural “normal” levels, and I’m at the point where I know the only way I can achieve any kind of long-standing happiness, is to understand what triggers different levels of emotional discomfort and discontent.

“Emotional pain cannot kill you, but running from it can. Allow. Embrace. Let yourself feel. Let yourself heal.”
― Vironika Tugaleva

I say emotional discomfort and discontent because I have constantly felt misunderstood and/or dismissed when speaking up about my hyper aware + energetically sensitivities, for as far back as I can remember. Post formative/adolescent years, I’ve never quite felt like I’ve fit in with much of anyone, except for when I was drinking… and to say I’ve felt like even more of some kind of misfit since I got sober and started actively recovering out loud, is a legit understatement.

Without airing dirty laundry, I also believe that upon understanding what all it means to be an HSP, it has helped me pinpoint areas in my daily life where I believe there’s been a (huge) disconnect that’s led me to feel even more misunderstood and/or have it expressed  (usually aggressively asserted) to me, that I am either being “ridiculous” or that I am simply “too much.” Hopefully after educating myself and learning how to successfully communicate these traits about me, it will help those (very few people) that are closest to me, understand who/how/why I am the way(s) I am.

Fuck character flaws, defects, and stigma. I proudly know there is nothing wrong with me; I’ve only just now begun to understand who I am, myself — and again, THAT is a hard-earned reward for all the healing and feeling that could only be achieved and obtained by being sober and in recovery.

Here’s an excerpt from a site that thoroughly yet concisely summarizes what it means to be an HSP, and I’ve linked a couple of items as well (at the very end of this post), in the event you identify with any of this and would like to do your own research.

If you find you are highly sensitive, I’d like you to know the following:

  • Your trait is normal. It is found in 15 to 20% of the population–too many to be a disorder, but not enough to be well understood by the majority of those around you.
  • It is innate. In fact, biologists have found it in over 100 species (and probably there are many more) from fruit flies, birds, and fish to dogs, cats, horses, and primates. This trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting. The brains of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others’.
  • You are more aware than others of subtleties. This is mainly because your brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply. So even if you wear glasses, for example, you see more than others by noticing more.
  • You are also more easily overwhelmed. If you notice everything, you are naturally going to be overstimulated when things are too intense, complex, chaotic, or novel for a long time.
  • This trait is not a new discovery, but it has been misunderstood. Because HSPs prefer to look before entering new situations, they are often called “shy.” But shyness is learned, not innate. In fact, 30% of HSPs are extroverts, although the trait is often mislabeled as introversion. It has also been called inhibitedness, fearfulness, or neuroticism. Some HSPs behave in these ways, but it is not innate to do so and not the basic trait.


Kristin xo

Helpful HSP Articles:
The Highly Sensitive Person

Am I Too Much for the World, or Is the World Too Much for Me?

The World Is Gradually Coming to Embrace the Concept of Neurodiversity

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