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.
Good in the sense maybe I’ll go slower. Feel less obligated to say, ‘yes’ when I really feel a deeper, ‘no’ to activities. Therefore my commitments will be more mindful. My inner dreams will be lived. My emotional connections will be real.
Some of my current activities such as evening walks, cooking meals with love and additional opportunities for creativity are included as part of my new normal.
I want to make sure I keep wide open chunks of time so my imagination has plenty of space to write what really matters to me.
The smallest things are now bigger. Simplicity is purer.
I won’t take for granted the ease of zipping into the grocery store, or seeing friends at a café.
It’s like I’ve been given permission to putter and daydream. And I want to carry that permission slip with me into the future because it does my sensitive soul good.
There will be a continuous concern for the well-being of friends, family and strangers because ultimately human nature is about deepening our connections.
I will take this crisis and carry it with me into my tomorrows by accepting my vulnerabilities and sensitivities as a strength rather than a curse.
Right now, more than ever, being highly sensitive is my key to see, feel, and process just how fragile life is as well as to honor its resiliency.
Originally published in A Few Words: Is Your Sensitivity on High Alert?
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."