1. They feel more deeply. One of the hallmark characteristics of highly sensitive people is the ability to feel more deeply than their less-sensitive peers. “They like to process things on a deep level,”… “They’re very intuitive, and go very deep inside to try to figure things out.”
I suppose this was always apparent in me.
When I was a kid I used to know, intuitively, that I was supposed to love and care for every person that crossed my path.
When I was 13, I went for a 2-hour walk giving a heated speech (to no one in particular-I lived in the country and there was no one around for miles) about how homosexuals should be welcomed into society freely and without judgement. It was 1993 and I had just seen “And The Band Played On”. It infuriated me-made my blood boil. I couldn’t rest.
As if middle school wasn’t difficult enough, when I entered high school it was as if I had entered a war zone. I was completely lost.
I took every comment, every glance, every shrug, every snide remark, personally-whether, or not, it was even directed towards me.
And, as my teachers were starting to expose us to more world issues and intense literature, I found myself spiraling into a deep, dark place.
My English teacher used to tell me that I needed to learn to have “two hearts”.
He would say: “Heather, you need to learn to have two hearts. One to care for yourself and one to place all the care for the world that is constantly weighing you down.”
For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do with that advice.
I still don’t know.
I have one mind. It is me. For all its greatness and all its weakness. It is what it is.
I feel things deeply. Intensely.
I can’t really explain it. Try this: think of the deepest, most intense, moments of your life: childbirth, marriage, your most intimate sexual experience, a time you felt seething anger, moments of ecstasy, etc. and multiply it by 10.
That’s how I feel about 10-20 things every day.
A memory that rises from the recesses of my brain.
A car that cuts me off as I’m crossing the street.
A careless comment uttered by my husband.
A smile from my baby.
A scene in a tv show.
The feeling of the air as it hits my skin when I step outside.
The smell of toothpaste…
It doesn’t take much to bring me into a deep, introspective, place.
High School is known for being a tough place for everyone. But, it really did almost kill me. And this is one of the reasons why.
I was being exposed to more of life and the world, but given little help in how to process and handle it all.
And so, I have spent every day since I left that hell-hole, trying to come to grips with it all.
I still have a long way to go.