Dual Emotions, Isolation, and High Sensitivity

Although I’ve been feeling better overall, my mind has been a mix of dual emotions. Now that I’m not waking up from drinking the night before, I know it’s not alcohol affecting my feelings or moods anymore. Some days I am optimistic and content; other days, I am a mix of anger, grief, anxiety, and whatever else throws a wrench. I believe a lot of how I feel has to do with how much sleep I’ve had, how much pain I’m in, whether or not I’m hungry… or whether or not I’ve completely eliminated narcissistic assholes out of my life that have sucked me dry of joy.

On one hand, I want to be alone and feel like I’m better off alone, but on the other there are times I really feel the need for companionship. I mean, talking to my cat is fine and all, but it’s typically a one-way conversation and not exactly the adult mental stimulation I prefer. Being alone too much is unhealthy, but at the same time, I’m not going to put myself out there subjecting myself to people that aren’t out for my best interest. I feel that once I’ve fixed myself from all of this mess that I will feel safe enough to get back into the world and have better tools to handle things.

There are times when I feel like I want to be held, but at the same time, I don’t want anyone touching me. Again, until I am healed from heartbreak and boundaries being crossed, I can’t even allow myself to be put in that position. Four winters have passed without being held or touched in a good way, and it’s a reminder of all of the coldness and despair from people I’ve allowed into my life. Touch starvation is probably a factor in this, as well, especially intimate touch, even so much as a hug. At the same time, I cringe at anyone touching me unless I really want them to, and there are very few people I will allow to do that. So where does that leave me? Cuddling with my cat, because I trust him.

This is not my first time feeling this way in life.

Several years ago during my time in college, I pretty much isolated myself by moving out into the middle of nowhere in the woods. Prior to that, I was living closer to campus, but I still felt lonely by myself with a small child and no real friends. I had found it very difficult to make friends as a young, single mother, because being a single mother at that time isn’t the normal that it is now. Fast forward about seven years later, and I moved to another area in which I was kind of isolated from people. I loved where I lived, but the lack of socialization really sucked. And then I moved again across the country, further isolating myself from anything I knew, but still hopeful to make new friendships. I wasn’t necessarily trying to isolate myself from people (maybe a little bit) but mainly from noise and traffic and things that developing areas and cities offer – all things that cause anxiety for me. Probably out of reasons of loneliness, I befriended people that weren’t exactly spiritually uplifting or truthful.

During these times, it seemed the only way to socialize was to go to bars, because that’s what people my age did in the areas where I’d lived. Of course, that always involves drinking, which isn’t a good thing when you’re trying to make real friends and people that are true. But I didn’t know that at the time, because it was just the normal thing to do, and most people always seemed friendly. Had I known the reality of this, I’m sure my life would be much different today and alcohol wouldn’t have had such an effect.

Recently, I stumbled upon a documentary called Sensitive: The Untold Story. Although I’d heard titles about highly sensitive people, I’d never actually looked into what this personality trait was about. I was reading about all of the things I’d ever had issues with – things that had always made me feel that something was wrong with me, when in fact about 15-20% of the population is also this way!

Upon researching more about highly sensitive traits, I found some tests and pretty much checked every box. Sensitivity to noises, getting “hangry” easily, thinking or feeling deeply, having an imaginative inner world, and being extremely perceptive are just five of several traits I constantly experience as a highly sensitive person. All of this time, I have been trying to figure out how and why I have been this way and how to make it go away, because other people can’t handle it.

The results of these tests took me by surprise, because this is something that – if I had known about sooner – I could have used as part of my self-therapy long ago. Knowing that something isn’t wrong with me would have certainly helped with self-esteem issues and resulted in making much better decisions about my life and could have sought help in the right direction. Even after months of therapy on and off, this had never been brought to attention. Now that this has been discovered, I can use it as another healing tool towards this new journey.

Being Alone is Healing For the Soul

There have been a ton of things I’ve wanted to post but not the brain energy to do so up until now. For the first three weeks this year, I had just about every COVID-19 symptom, but no fever and all negative COVID tests. My body ached so much that I did not leave the house. All I wanted to do was sleep, and I was afraid something serious was going on. Considering that I have mostly cut out alcohol, I thought I’d be feeling a hell of a lot better. It could very well just be allergies, fibromyalgia, or simply the weather; nevertheless, it still feels like flu symptoms every single day. For now, I feel as if I’m slowly coming out of whatever funk I had, and it’s time to buckle down and get things done, including building up my immune system to the powers of Wonder Woman. 😉

Due to not feeling well, focusing on things that require brainpower has been quite the challenge. I decided to focus more on doing physical things, such as fixing up my home, so that instead of looking like an exploding art gallery, it looks more like a welcoming and cozy place where a writer can work. I’ve set some new obtainable goals, made some life-changing decisions, and started working out, losing weight, meditating, and eating properly again.

Over the past month, I’ve been antisocial, introverted, and mostly a recluse – even when I’ve felt fine. Some of my friends have been trying to get together, but I’ve been completely unavailable – mostly from not feeling well, but also extremely busy or just wanting to be alone. Except for going to the store, the doctor, or my mom’s, I managed to leave the house two other times to attend events. I’ve bought two six-packs of beer in the past 30+ days, and there are still 5 beers left in the refrigerator. Drank wine at one event last weekend and was extremely sick from it, so I have no desire to even smell alcohol at this moment.

Simply being alone helps to cut out alcohol, and now I realize that I really do like being alone more than not. By going through this healing process, being alone is the best thing for me right now; otherwise, it’s like opening old wounds that never heal and continuing unhealthy habits that further self-destruct. Being alone allows me to continue learning self-love, establish boundaries, conduct self-reflection, and get shit done for myself. Being sober and alone has taught me that being around people is physically and emotionally draining to me. I’m not even sure I have the right words, but going to those two events over the past few weeks made me feel like I had my “fix” of other humans for a while. To think that I went out several times a week over the past several years… well, no wonder I felt the need to drink just to tolerate other people’s energy. That’s how sensitive I am about energies, so until I feel that I’m healed, I need to be alone.

During self-reflection, I recognized that I had lowered myself to fit in with low-energy people around me – whether it was out of acceptance, loneliness, wanting to be loved, or just being worn down – and I had essentially been torturing myself through awful relationships and abusing my body with alcohol to numb all of the shit that has happened over several years. This is something I’m still working on, still healing from – a learning process, because taking the time to unlearn this doesn’t happen overnight.

Coming to terms with recognizing that I have essentially been an alcoholic over the past few years, if not longer, is difficult to admit. By definition, my actions were fitting the bill, even though I was telling myself it was temporary and “only a few times a week.” There came a time (a few times) that I knew things were not working for me at all due to alcohol, so I’d slowed down, but living in a tourist town with lots of drinking and friends who like to drink can make that difficult. It’s not just the temptation, but more of a social lifestyle to hit happy hour a few times a week or binge on weekends. But I don’t want to do that anymore. It’s not only boring to me, but completely unhealthy physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I am done feeling like complete and total shit in all of these aspects of my life, and getting older is probably a catalyst to that.

Besides clouding my judgment and ruining my body, I decided that alcohol has not only been a huge culprit for so much pain in my life, but the culprit for bringing people into my life that have caused tremendous pain, and I certainly don’t need that shit in my life anymore. I have way too many things going for me at the moment, and distractions such as those are exactly why I choose to be alone for now.