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.