Being sensitive and people overload


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I haven’t blogged for awhile and I apologize, dear readers. I’ve been busy with Designing Fairy Cinema and writing my next book; not to mention adjusting to Giant Puppy’s needs. (Okay, I just mentioned it.) Actually, she’s been really good.

I wanted to write about overwhelm, which is one of the biggest issues sensitive folks encounter. I thought, why not write about the topic when I’m feeling the least overwhelmed? I’ve pretty much had gotten so used to that frantic state I miss the adrenaline rush. Back last year and half of this year I was dealing with taking care of an incontinent elderly beagle, Grad School classes, my business, and a part time job. I was stuck in the fast lane to get everything done and pretty much lived on sugar to keep my natural humming bird energy up. I loved the classes and I miss Sarah, but I’m starting to adjust to enjoy the calm, natural energy.

It’s easy to overwhelm when you are sensitive. We take in so much information at once at a deep level that it’s easy to tip that balance in the red. And if you are in a vulnerable space emotionally, it’s really easy to blow your fuse.

I remember a few years back going to an outdoor concert with a friend. I took one look at the huge crowded line in front of me and almost blew a gasket right there. My breathing quickened, and I forgot about my feet. The line was moving at a caterpillar pace to the ticket booth. We weren’t even in the stadium and I could feel panic rising. We made it in and there were lines of chairs on the lawn in front of the stage and bleachers everywhere. Thank goodness the stadium was outside otherwise I’d have felt trapped.

I asked my friend if we could sit in an aisle so I wasn’t sandwiched in and he didn’t understand and ignored my request.  I needed some air  and psychic space around me. More and more people took the seats surrounding us. I couldn’t breathe. What made things worse, was the performer wasn’t on time! So the waiting went on and on with me stuck like a sardine. This was too many damn people! All this energy around me. I could feel hopes, dreams, thoughts, issues. Yeah, sure I put up some protection, visualized a couple bubbles. But that was a lot of people.  I could even shame myself for not being able to stand firm against all these energies. Yeah, that’s realistic.

Once the concert finally started I was in better shape. Focusing on something fun really blocks out the noise. I sang, I tried to dance in my chair, but I still felt boxed in.

And then even my friend started to crowd me. My friend wanted to go in the casino afterwards. Hey, why not? Let’s see if Ronni can blow a fuse in public and explode in little pieces all over the flashing little light machines. Thank goodness for my body. I got a migraine that tried to push out all those visiting energies. I had to go home. I tried to explain, but I wasn’t being heard, so I stormed out.

grrr

Is there something wrong with me for not enjoying that? Shouldn’t I toughen up? Heck no! Part of being deliciously sensitive, is knowing yourself. If you were allergic to peanuts, would you scream and tell yourself that you needed to toughen up? No! You’d frickin’ avoid those peanuts at all costs. If I were put into that situation again, I’d do a few self care things:

  • I’d sit in aisle seat. Maybe even find an area that had lots of space around it. I’d try to make those needs met.
  • I’d allow myself to take lots of breaks where there weren’t so many people. Maybe take a few bathroom breaks. Take a breather outside the stadium if necessary.
  • I’d find a new friend to go with. Sorry, but my friends need to know me and listen to what I need to do for self care, whatever that’s about or is.
  • I’d bring ear plugs. I’d still hear the music but it would drown out the high noise.
  • I did take flower essences at the time but I think I’d need some really strong ones for protection and calm. Probably grab for Rescue Remedy.
  • It would be okay to “small” it down. What does that mean? It’s like that pie in my freezer right now. I could have some of it. I don’t have to eat the whole thing at once. I could watch half the concert if I wanted, which would be enough to enjoy, but not too much to overwhelm.

Overload happens not just in crowded situations. I can feel crowded by other people. If I have a lot of demands coming at me, I will try to please everyone around me, make them happy, do a good job, and then I can overload on that pushing energy. I will take on way more than I should.

I remember teaching book illustrating with a fellow artist at a Montessori school. The kids were so lovely, creative and open-eyed. I fell in love with them. But those teacher hours are slightly insane. There was rarely a break away from the energies of these kids who each individually demanded a great deal of attention, which I was trying to give. I hadn’t learned at that point how to know my limits and regulate my energy. I would come home at the end of the day either bursting into tears or having signs of physical overwhelm.

Now keep in mind, being sensitive doesn’t mean I can’t handle a lot or am “delicate.” That’s super important to point out. Honey, I’m stronger than most people I know. Ask my closest friends.  The amount of stuff I can handle emotionally far outweighs my physical sensitivity.

There’s nothing wrong with us. No, we shouldn’t be living in bubbles. We are what we are. We’ve got that fine-tuned nervous system brilliant for some things (and amazing gifts that come with that sensitivity, that you will notice the non-sensitive flock to for answers) but it just comes with some special care  instructions.

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A little note about upcoming classes. I will only be offering the core classes this November. The Empath Skills class now comes with a little yummy twist (a mini reading). Check out and sign up for it here. If you want to be informed about the upcoming books in the Sensitive series, do subscribe to this site (sign-up found in the right sidebar).

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