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How to deal with hypersensitivity/identity issues?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Birdie, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Hi there,

    wish you all a happy new year!

    I am dealing with being overly sensitive to ...ehm.... nearly everything.
    Since I stopped taking meds and pills 1,5 years ago (took tranquilizers, pain killers and muscle relaxants for over 15 years) I notice how oversensitive I really am.

    Having an appointment the next day (like meeting a friend) causes me sleeplessness and pain for the whole night. Having to say "no" causes me pain & sleeplessness. Really, really minor stresses of live seem to overwhelm me. I feel like I barley have functioning mechanisms to deal with stress. I also feel like I'm easiliy loosing myself in contact with others. It's more easy if I feel liked and understood. But I loose myself in contact with people who were more critical or not very empathic. I feel shame for every need and want. All these identity-issues fuel my TMS.

    The only thing that feels calming to me is meditation or visualizing positive situations I experienced. Journaling about traumatic and even non-traumatic but problematic issues easily throws me into a state of "hyperarrousal", so I don't do it.

    I already made some huge progress concerning my life long feelings of inner emptiness, feeling robot-like. Meditation helps me to connect with myself. I still can sense this dread feeling, but from time to time it really lessens. So negelcting my daily meditation practice immediately gives me more feelings of emptiness.

    I feel my main issues are feeleing abandonned and "shamed to the core", lacking a stable sense of self and therefore personal boundaries. I am really working hard on these issues but appreciate some input. I guess I am not the only one here dealing with this kind of problems.

    Thank you :)
    Anne Walker and Ellen like this.
  2. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Birdie. Ein gluckliches neues Jahr (is that correct German? :) )
    I think you benefit greatly from mind work like meditation. If journaling isn't working for you, than that is ok I feel.
    I guess you also use positive affirmations (?). I use Ace's "I feel calm, relaxed, patient and confident". It especially works when I have trouble sleeping. I feel my eyes become heavy as soon as I start saying it. I still become easily sensitized sometimes from other people's opinions, but I have seen this year that it improved by using meditation and patting myself on the back once and a while. Also the affirmations can help me become less aroused the more I practice them. I am still learning to better ignore or even counter any people that show disapproval about my actions. And if I come to the conclusion they might be right after all, I simply apologize and leave it at that. I am only human. I learned that standing still in endless doubt isn't helping me much.

    You should be (easy to say, I know) proud of yourself for getting this far in your journey. Lots of people don't have the courage to take it on. You did, and you're not there yet, but what an achievement you made already!! tiphata

    Can you explain what you mean by loosing yourself in contact with people that are critical or less empathic? Do you mean you are attracted to them, like in wanting their approval? Or do you mean that you are easily sensitized by what those people say to you? Could it be that, like many of us, you are yearning for people's approval? Maybe in that case you could really benefit from some positive affirmations. The first and foremost person that should approve of you,.... is you....
    And don't forget, give it time. By acting you learn and you will slowly develop healthy boundaries. Don't refrain yourself from asking help once and a while here on the forum.
    Anne Walker likes this.
  3. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    "The unconscious sensibility of an hysterical patient is at certain moments fifty times more acute than that of a normal person"

    - Carl Jung, on Alfred Biner

    Steve Ozanich cites this quote at the start of "Highly Sensitive People - HSPs", Chapter 21 of his book The Great Pain Deception (2011). Birdie, you might want to check out that particular chapter out because at the end Steve O. cites Elaine Aron on a number of ways your HSP trait affects your medical care, including:
    • You're more sensitive to bodily signs and symptoms
    • If you don't lead a life suited to your trait, you'll develop more stress-related and/or 'psychosomatic illnesses.'
    • You're more sensitive to medications.
    • You're more sensitive to pain.
    • You'll be more aroused, usually over-aroused, bhy medical environments, procedures, examinations, and treatments.
    • In "health care" environments your deep intuition cannot ignore the shadowy presence of suffering and death, the human condition.
    • Given all of the above, and the fact that most mainstream medical professionals are not HSPs, your relationships with them are usually more problematic.
    - Elaine Aron, PhD., The Highly Sensitive Person

    Sounds painfully familiar?

    I know from my own experience what you're talking about too. I can remember when I did badly in an oral examination having to stay locked up for three days alone because I felt so worthless, unable to face a hostile world I imagined was completely against me. These HSP traits, it seems to me, have a lot to do with low self-esteem issues, don't you think? Don't have a bagful of solutions to your problem, but it sure seems as though if you solve the emotional riddle behind your TMS, you'll also resolve issues driving your HSP traits. Lots of resources right here on this Forum and, of course, the Wiki. I notice that mindfulness meditation has helped me a lot.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
    Anne Walker likes this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I relate to everything you wrote. I am very similar. Like you, I have found meditation and the practice of mindfulness to be the most helpful with these issues. The other thing that helps me when I feel I am becoming overly sensitive and overly reactive is listening to (or reading) Eckhart Tolle. He puts everything into a perspective that I find very calming.

    I have found the most help with relationships from reading Byron Katie--Loving What Is is a wonderful book with some very practical strategies for changing one's perspective about relationships with others. And it is all about perspective, I find.

    I love the saying that Alan Gordon quotes in his Recovery Program: Thoughts are like trains arriving at a station. You can either get on and go where they take you, or you can watch them leave the station. This to me this is the essence of mindfulness---being aware enough of our thoughts that we don't go for a ride on the ones that are taking us somewhere we don't want to go.:) Ahhh, but you have such great trains in Germany! ;)
    Anne Walker and Msunn like this.
  5. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Thanks for your post Birdie. It takes courage and honesty to admit those traits. I share being overly sensitive.
    My involvement in a twelve step program over the last several years has somehow made those traits lose some of their power for me.

    Some books that have helped me: Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw, Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, Co-Dependent No More by Melody Beattie. You might find one or more of those helpful.

    I've also seen a therapist in the past, and am currently seeing one for TMS issues. It's really helped me to get better perspective on my personality traits and other issues.

    Wishing you the best
  6. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    ;)Hi all,
    wow, thanks for yor numerous replies ;).
    Gigalos, yes, that's correct. Wish you all a "gluckliches neues Jahr", too:D! I mainly use affirmations or positive self talk when it comes to anxiety/TMS symptoms before I want to meet other people (that's one of my greatest triggers). Or when I want to do something outside my house (it seems that everything outside my own four walls seems to frighten my unconscious mind). I didn't find it helpful when it comes to severe sleeping problems but perhaps I didn't try hard enough.
    Ok, hard to explain in English, but I'll try. It's not only so much about getting other peoples approvment. It's much more about trying to prevent to get hurt or really injured by them. That means watching their facial expresion, how they talk, what they talk and so on. That really absorbs my full attention in that moment and it also happens quite often that I don't say my real opinion because I fear to be rejected. In such an altert state I easily loose the connection to my own feelings and needs (anyway, I am a bit alexithym and connecting to my feelings is not very naturally to me). So it often happens that I find myself saying things I don't mean (like saying yes when I want to say no) and being overly tensed with headaches and other pains. That's what I mean when I say "loosing myself"

    Bruce, thanks, you reminded me of the chapter in SteveOs book I already read 1,5 years ago, so I forgot he mentioned HSP. Maybe I should follow SteveO's advice and purchase a second book to read it twice :D! To be honest, I don't know if I am what is called a highly sensitive person in the literature. Yes, I am overly sensitive to lots of things. But I guess, if I have had a quite "normal" childhood, I won't. Certainly I don't know. But lots of these issues are due to my childood when I was not able to develop proper ego boundaries or a stable sense of my identity. So I really can't say if I am an HSP due to genetic components or due to traumatic childhood events. Maybe that doesn't play a role and I am overthinking ;)

    Ellen, I also like Tolle and will reread some of his books. What I like most from Alan G. is his "outcome independence". And don't you have great trains in America? The Germans are always mourning about the "Deutsche Bahn", because the trains are often late and expensive ;). And I will also check out Byron Katie, I remember Tolle recommending her doing.

    Msunn, a few days ago I checked out the www for some 12-step-groups (emotions anonymous) but could not find one near me, the next one is about 50 miles away :( ( I am living in the middle of nowhere). Thank you too for your book recoomendations! Started reading Bradshaw on my kindle (already read his book about healing the inner child and I really liked it). Did' know Brene B. has written a book!? Saw her in a video and found her really great!

    It's really a good feeling that so many people seem to know what I am talking about. Thanks again!

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