There's a degree of sensitivity that goes way beyond the standard definition of being highly-sensitive and turns into pathology and lost quality of life. It is as isolating as it is impossible to explain to others and can feel as though it came from nowhere, or perhaps has been there all of your life in one form or another, perhaps amping-up with the passing of time or added stresses and trauma, yet often making no sense at all in the context of how well you look after yourself, strive for a healthy life and cultivate positive attitudes and yet, all through your nervous system, there are triggers, over-reactions and pain. Its as though your nervous system is laid wide-open to the sky rather then held, or supported, by life. Exploring sensory defensiveness, where does it come from, how do we tackle it (because, apparently, we can with good results and thus I am). This will be the first of my shares on the topic as I progress through the protocol.
Perhaps more than any other aspect of chronic illness I have ever had to deal with, including chronic unrelenting pain, dysautonomia has the ability to throw your entire life into disarray, permeating every single aspect of your life in ways that can be as invisible to the casual bystander as they are devastating. Is there a bright side, things we can learn, ways of living with it better?
Twice-exceptionality is such fertile territory to explore for anyone who may have even an inkling it applies to them (assumng they can get over the sticking point of using that much stigmatised word “gifted” for long enough to even consider it). The effect of being gifted in some areas and yet held back in others can make a person seem as though they are coping when they really aren’t, and it can also deprive them of the help, understanding and accommodations they desperately need for their deficit areas, as well as the recognition they deserve for their exceptionality. The outcome can be a lifetime of lost potential, fallen through the cracks, or even total burnout...until both the giftedness and challenges can be seen side by side and looked at in a whole new way.
If you have ADHD then you don't need me to tell you what its like...but I didn't know I had so many coping methods until I started to write them down so here they are, in case they help.
Women with ADHD tend not look like men with ADHD; we often hide it, we work around it, we express it differently and we harness it in ways that allow us to excel and do our suffering in private, we even seem to feel about it a different way to most men, so its absolutely essential to find other women and hear what they have to say if you are going to work out if this is really you!
The natural response of the mind is often to shut-down vague recollections of some past event that you don't remember fondly but there lies the problem...we shut it down consciously, yet the body continues to harbour the irritation or pain, at the subconscious level, which then has no choice but to manifest as imbalance or some other symptom, that feeling of perpetuation in the body (on and on and on in perpetuity = "chronic") and, of course, where one "off-kilter" energy tends to linger, other sticky energies will attract, leading to escalation (the "snowball" effect).
Illnesses stop us in our tracks and call time on the old ways of being that no longer fit who we are. Often, they are an invitation to look deep into the corners of our life and do some real work…the kind of work that brings us into love and acceptance of who we really are, beyond the stories and expectations that get overlayered by our crazy and demanding lives. Often, there is an opportunity to be found in our own disarray and, once we find it there, it doesn’t stop giving…not ever, for the rest of our lives.
Getting to know yourself is, in my opinon, the single most important thing you ever get to do in your life...and its often a golden key to all those other unfathomables that may be "going on", such as persistent health issues. Above all, depathologising the way you were made is an essential step to discovering the sense of wholeness and peace in your life that may have so far eluded you.
Introversion, visual or non-linear thinking, social anxiety, chronic or social fatigue, autism, high sensitivity...looking at all the many, often overlapping, factors that might make writing preferable to conversation for a lot of people and considering is this wrong, of just wonderfully different?
Have you heard, there is a new name for ADHD and its VAST ("variable attention stimulus trait"). Exploring how this makes all the difference in the world and how opening the topic up is as expansive, boundless and exploratory as the acronym implies.