I’ve always been a super sensitive person. It’s actually something that I’ve always hated about myself because the sensitivity adds so much to my battle with depression. An animal laying on the side of the road will almost instantly evoke tears. A sad picture or commercial–especially one involving animals–will bring tears and haunt me for weeks. This past winter there was a commercial that aired for the Humane Society. Every time it came on, I would have to leave the room, and my husband would still mute the television so I didn’t hear it. The problem, though, is I knew what was playing and tears would come regardless of the measures I tried to take to avoid the emotions.
Recently I saw something that has left sad images burned in my brain. I won’t go into details–they are too sad to recount. That incident, though, sent me into a downward spiral of depression. I was researching, for the millionth time, natural remedies for depression when I came across an article that discussed how many people who are introverted, like I am, an also be classified as highly sensitive. The article was like a light bulb switching on in my brain. The characteristics listed for the highly sensitive person (HSP) described me to a tee. Traits of an HSP include:
- feelings of not fitting in
- social interaction can be draining
- needs stillness
- overwhelmed easily
- takes on feelings of loved ones (yeah–I am so guilty of this with my kids difficulties)
- deep connections with nature
- forms deep bonds with animals
That last one sealed the self diagnosis for me. I literally avoid the back wall of PetSmart because the cats in the cages waiting for adoption make me so sad.
Living as a HSP is not an easy thing. I probably cry more than the average person. My heart breaks when the hearts of those I love break. When my teenagers got their heart broken, my heart broke as if I was the one hurt. I still shed tears over the loss of my beloved cat, Molly, and our dog, Yogi–both have been gone over a year. But, by far, the hardest aspect of living as an HSP is the fact that few around me really understand the depth of emotion that I bring to the table of life. Sometimes, when I think about living the rest of my years with that kind of emotion, it can cause such discouragement. For whatever reason, though, this is the way I was created so I have to continue to live. Well, I guess I don’t have to, but the alternative is frowned on.
I sometimes think about the day I enter heaven. I have always hoped that I will be able to meet the animals that I shed tears over on this earth. Bunnies, deer, squirrels, turkeys, geese, ducks, the black bear we saw on the side of a Wisconsin highway, and, of course, the pets I have lost–I hope they are all waiting for me when I finally leave the sadness of this earth and enter a land with no more tears. I want to hug and hold them all…and let them know that while some may not have cared enough to avoid hitting them or hurting them, I loved them more than most.