Category Archives: Mind/Body/Senses

A brief respite, then back to unrelenting stress

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It’s 2:50am and I have to be downtown at 9:30am for an appointment with the Employment Program that welfare set me up with.
I’m just now reading about the program, and the stress that was lifting after getting approved for welfare and getting a check today is returning again as I realize the program requires a daily commitment.

I had a panic attack this morning getting ready for my appointment. I almost decided I’d rather be homeless than go to the appointment, but luckily my roommate was there to give me a ride. The appointment was still stressful, but easier having avoided the busride or walk. During the panic attack my hearing became acute, and I could hear a dozen different sounds humming around me in the house. Not just hear them, but feel each of them provoking me in some way. There was no way I was going to be able to handle the traffic noise and people I would encounter on my way to the welfare office.
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A Kind of Agoraphobia

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Not many of my friends have seen me lately; in person that is. Those who are are online have certainly seen me posting all day long on a certain social media site. The truth is I don’t leave the house much, and as my roommates will tell you, I don’t leave my room much either. I’ve been reading about agoraphobia, and as is the case with a lot of phobias, neurosis, and disorders, I have issues with the definitions, but I see a lot of my experience reflected in this condition.

According to what I’ve been reading, agoraphobia is “an anxiety disorder defined as a morbid fear of having a panic attack or panic-like symptoms in a situation from which it is perceived to be difficult (or embarrassing) to escape.”
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On seeking a diagnosis / applying for disability

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I am applying for welfare again this week, and based on the advise of several people who are close to me, I will be declaring at that time my intention to be be considered for Person With Multiple Persistant Barriers, or Person With Disability benefits.

As I mentioned in some recent blog postings, I am a deeply sensitive person, and related to this trait I also experience depression, anxiety and migrane headaches, as well as some intense ‘twitches’, (which are not done justice by the word twitch, but are not actually convulsions, either.) that are the result of repressed emotion and compounded trauma.

I have not worked a full-time job since 2003, and have not worked at all for almost 3 years. Lately I hardly even leave the house, am in a constant state of overwhelm, and stressed out so much my muscles ache.

The good news is I have a very strong sense of self-awareness. I have a path to healing that I have a hard time staying on, but is otherwise very clear to me. If it were not for this clarity and self-awareness, I would not go anywhere near a doctor’s office to talk about these things. As is stands, I feel strong enough to get a diagnosis, yet not let that diagnosis define me or mean much to me at all, except as my ticket to being able to get onto welfare and be able to pay the rent. I’ve no ‘medical history’ of mental illness symptoms because I’ve never trusted the medical system and I’ve only talked to one doctor at a walk-in clinic about these issues.
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The abilism and discrimination of Elaine Aron’s Highly Sensitive Person concept: reshaping our own frameworks

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It’s 12:02am, January 1, 2012, and I’ve spent a quiet evening with a friend, neither of us acknowledging the fact that it was New Years Eve, but nonetheless, using the evening to process some thoughts and feelings about our path in life.

I had gone to bed at around 8pm, about 20 minutes after reading a passage from ‘The Highly Senstive Child’ that disturbed me, triggered me and required me to go deep (sleep in this case) to process the shocking revelation that had just occured.

I had written in an earlier blog post that I had been benefitting greatly from having been introduced by a friend to the concept of ‘The Highly Sensitive Person’, and how it seemed to be a step towards a new reframing of how we preceive mental illness, ADHD and other things. Since beginning to frame my experience around the concept of a higher sensitivity, a lot of things have been falling into place, and I’m feeling better about myself.
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Inquiry into the Implications of the Highly Sensitive Person concept

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Lately, as readers of my blog might have noticed, I’ve been exploring the concept of the ‘Highly Sensitive Person’ (HSP). Like a lot of my research, I’ve been collecting more questions than I have answers.

I do know that I test very high on the self tests for this trait. I know that it is a ‘trait’ and not a disorder and diagnosis. I know that the person who started this movement/coined this term is a psychologist. I know that prior to her work, there were things like Carl Jungs theory of innate sensitiveness and Dabrowski`s Over-Excitabilities, and the concept of introversion. I know that there is a lot of disagreement over whether there is such a thing or whether it means anything at all. I know that since learning about this concept I have developed a way of perceiving myself and my mental/emotional health that is much more positive and has been extremely helpful.

I’ve been researching with the following question; What is the relation to HSP with things like bipolar, ADHD, addictions, Autism, PTSD and other such disorders? Does having a greater awareness of one’s sensitivity and the skills to cope with that sensitivity help with treatment/prevention of these disorders? Is a ‘sensory processing disorder’ or high sensitivity at the root of these disorders?
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Self-care for the Highly Sensitive Activist

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If you are one of the 15-20% of the populace that “have a nervous system that is more sensitive to subtleties” (wikipedia) you might find that you have a strong sense of justice and/or are more sensitive to the suffering that happens in this world, such to the point that you’ve decided to do something about it.

And if you’re someone who feels a strong connection to nature and wildlife, compassion for people you don’t even know and are actively involved in advocating for and protecting these beings, whether you identify as highly sensitive or not, you may be either suffering, or at risk of suffering, from what some people refer to as ‘burn-out’. I can make such a blanket statement because I know lots of activists and I see it happening, and it’s something that rarely gets talked about.
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Being Sensitive to Labels and Boxes

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by Chris Johnson

Recently a friend introduced me to the term Highly Sensitive Person. While I’ve found it an extremely helpful framework with which to perceive and express my own situation, I’m not a fan of labels and boxes, especially those created by professionals (psychologists, psychiatrists, etc).

If you do a web search for Highly Sensitive Person, you’ll see that it is a book written by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D. According to wikipedia, a HSP is a person having the innate trait of high psychological sensitivity (or innate sensitiveness as Carl Jung originally coined it.)
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