Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Being sensitive

Have you ever been called too sensitive, too nervous, too highly strung, too many feelings, too deep, too analytical, too, too, too …?! While being sensitive has its advantages, it's also difficult being “too” sensitive. Sometimes we feel like we feel too much and we'd like to be able to switch our self off sometimes!

I switch off when I become aware and silent. In Italian, the word for sensitive is “sensibile”, which means 'to be aware of'. Being aware of others, our self, nature, music, beauty, art, being kind to our self and others, treating others as we would like to be treated is being sensitive. Being sensitive does not mean fixing everyone, being responsible for everything and everyone, absorbing others' energies, feeling depleted, feeling bad, feeling overwhelmed, feeling too much of everything and anything!

I think everyone has the capacity to be sensitive, it is a sign of emotional health to be aware of you, others and what is around you. My belief is that being highly sensitive, as it is generally understood, is, in fact, an overloaded and overwhelmed nervous system. Common signs of being considered highly sensitive are hypervigilance, anxiety, nervousness, digestive problems, restlessness, sleeplessness, anger/rage etcetera. These signs are strong indicators, not of being sensitive, but of undischarged traumatic imprints on the nervous system. Energy that the nervous system generates to deal with threat to the organism's survival, and, for whatever reason, is not able to release and discharge, becomes frozen. It is incomplete, undigested or unexperienced as Ivor Browne says. It is this frozen energy or imprint that causes these symptoms and that gives rise to people being called highly sensitive.

Image taken from Peter Levine's website: http://www.traumahealing.com/images/pptSlide01.gif

Many highly sensitive people suffer from chronic conditions like IBS, CFS, depression, anxiety, autoimmune conditions and so on because of these repressed or unconscious imprints on the nervous system. Trauma expert, Dr Robert Scaer calls these, “dis-eases of the freeze response”. A dis-ease means a lack of ease. One of the most defining characteristics of being termed highly sensitive is a lack of ease. There is a nervous energy that always seems to be humming away in the background, and which can, very easily, be triggered into a 'bigger' response. There are no reserves or what is termed resilience in the nervous system. It's all just too much and the person often feels overwhelmed by what others can usually take in their stride.

Highly sensitive people can be considered “weak” “soft” “pathetic” and “cry babies”. They are often shamed and criticised for their “over the top” responses, so they swallow and stuff many, if not all, of their needs, experiences, feelings, thoughts to keep “it all in” and contained, so as not to feel so overwhelmed or criticised by others. So, an already overloaded nervous system becomes more overwhelmed and eventually this excess undischarged energy may manifest, and usually does, as there is nowhere else for the energy to go, in dis-ease. EFT helps this frozen energy soften and move so it can be discharged from the overwhelmed nervous system. Tapping diagram.


Anonymous said...

Lovely post, and very well argued.

Noreen Barron said...

Thank you!