There’s a side of me that loves to be creative. Let’s call her Ms. Creative. She’s passionate about writing, poetry, and music. A passion that dips, slips, and feels into the smallest canary-lined tunnels seeking creative air to breathe.
On the other hand, there’s a side of me that’s extremely practical. Let’s call her the obvious. Ms. Practical.
She has a clipboard (old school) with a schedule and lists. There’s a list for work, home, groceries and even a writing list of ideas that she somehow starts, then stops, and pushes those ideas aside.
When Ms. Creative and Ms. Practical meet up, it’s not always pretty. Ms. Creative is flowy. However, Ms. Practical must have order. The only flow, for Ms. Practical, is in her Excel charts.
“Pies are not for eating but for graphing!”
Ms. Practical is also demanding.
“Ms. Creativity, what is your end point?”
How do we regroup psychologically and emotionally during political times where the chaos feels endless? For example, after watching the first US presidential debate, I was emotionally triggered and exhausted.
Our daily news is full, real, and intense.
Here are some strategies to help you regroup. Tryout a few and adjust these suggestions to fit your needs.
Ultimately, taking care of yourself is extremely important.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ― Audre Lorde
#1. Acknowledge you have been triggered. Don’t let anyone tell you what you are feeling is wrong, silly, childish and to ‘get over it.’ Quick fixes and denial of your emotions are shaming.
My hair is greying at the temples where my thoughts dwell in a sea of clarity. All I feel are the zeros inside of circles. Such as the seasons, time, the earth, which turn me into a Tree, I am.
Skies see me and blink in earnest, nodding as I walk my way.
I’m learning to understand who I am.
Mistakes are my wisdom. Unknowing what I thought I knew, teaches me more than pretending. Asking for help to reach what I am unable to do, isn’t weak.
Sensitivity crafts me a vessel and we sail over seas not only to think but to weep. I’m not alone when the answers are few. More have come before me. That’s why the oceans are so salty.
And so, with this bit of overthinking, I can still smile and laugh with myself which lends me to poeticness too.
Let’s turn down the sun and let’s turn up the moon. Let’s trace the stars with our eyelashes. Let’s listen to the circles together. Let’s dream a wide dream.
Because we are all intrinsically interconnected — equally belonging to the circle of loving, living and dying.
Let’s make this world more true.
There have been more days than not during the last two months, where my mind and heart have ached during COVID-19. It’s a visceral reaction.
Even my skin feels triggered from my ‘depth of processing’ which Dr. Elaine Aron, founder and researcher of highly sensitive people, (HSP) refers to as one of the four characteristics of being an HSP.
In addition to my own thoughts, I’m picking up on a collective fear, worry and grief.
My sensitivity is on high alert. I honestly didn’t think I could be anymore sensitive — but I am.
Dr. Aron, describes HSP’s as individuals who “[have] a sensitive nervous system, are aware of subtleties in [their] surroundings, and are more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.”
What’s more — how will I move forward? What will my new normal look like?
I know for sure I can’t go backwards, and that’s good.
“We need an entire lifestyle that suits our trait and a strong sense of being justified about doing what we need to do.” ~Dr. Elaine Aron
The other day when things were fine, I thought this holiday season would be easier, and then as if a storm blew in from nowhere — it wasn’t.
I wasn’t doing well.
So, I asked myself:
What happened? Why the grumpiness and extra sensitivity? Is the latter even possible? Why does even the air hurt my feelings?
I was surprised by the words I wrote in my journal in response.
As a highly sensitive person (HSP) and therapist, the holidays are often too much of everything for me. The overstimulation, overthinking, and extra feeling are all very real.
Carolyn Riker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in private practice. She is also an author of three books. Her most recent book is "My Dear, Love Hasn't Forgotten You."
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