I am a highly sensitive person. I’ve been like this ever since I was a child. I remember being a little girl in elementary school, probably around six or seven-years-old. If I close my eyes I can go back to that time. Then, I feel it. My throat muscles tighten. There’s a lump lodged in my throat.
I’m small and I’m trying hard not to let the tears fall out. I want to cry. I can’t even remember the reason why I want to cry. It could be because another kid said something mean about me. I am shy. I don’t want to reveal my true feelings to anyone. They won’t understand me. They won’t know what goes on in my head or in my apartment.
I won’t cry. If I wait long enough the lump will go away. Just breathe little girl. It won’t be there forever. Hold on baby. It’s going to be okay. I miss my Mommy. She understands me. There’s no one in this school who knows who I am inside. I don’t wanna be here. I wanna go home. I’m a freak. I’m not like anyone else here. No one will ever treat me with kindness. They’ll all laugh at me and tell me I’m strange. They make fun of what I have for lunch because it looks weird. I’m weird. I’m not normal. I’m not normal. I’m not normal. I’m not normal. I want to be normal.
When I was eight-years-old I had acid reflux. It was stress-related. I would get anxious around other kids and I’d feel the bile rise from my stomach into my throat. I asked my mom what it was. I was afraid I might be dying.
“Don’t worry honey. That’s called a water flush. It’ll go away. Just drink some seltzer.”
Then there was the time that I accidentally touched glue and then touched my mouth. I told my dad I thought I might die from eating the glue.
The glue is going to kill me. I’m a horrible person. How could I do this to myself?
These intrusive thoughts continued from my entire childhood and into adolescence and I lived with the shame that I was different from everyone else. I thought about death and dying a lot. I thought:
If I make this basket in the hoop, then I’ll live after the age of 21, if I miss the basket then I’m going to die.
I missed the basket. I’m still alive.
When I turned 15 I met a boy. I fell in love with him. I told him everything. I didn’t hold back. I wanted him to love me for my freakish self. I told him my scary intrusive thoughts. I told him about being abnormal. I told him I thought I might be bisexual because I liked my friend Kristen. He loved me for a while and then decided that I was completely insane.
I told him if he broke up with me I thought I might die. He interpreted that to mean that if he dumped me I would kill myself. That’s not what I meant, but I succeeded in freaking us both out. So he stayed with me because he was afraid I was going to slit my wrists. I never had any intention of killing myself. I just felt dead inside due to an undiagnosed chemical imbalance. I had panic disorder and clinical depression and I was drowning in a sea of “I hate myself and no one understands me.”
When this boy and I broke up, I did die. A piece of my soul died. I told him everything about who I was inside. I told him my deepest darkest fears and he didn’t want to be with me. He rejected the totality of who I was as a person. I was broken and dead and I didn’t want to exist. I floated above my body and watched myself living, but I was a corpse.
To this day, I cannot reveal who I am entirely to people. I am terrified that they will kill me the way that he did. And when I make the mistake of being brutally honest with someone about how much I love them, they rip my heart out and throw it into a sea full of sharks to have for dinner. My chest is empty and I hurt. I hurt for days, weeks, months, years, centuries.
I own my sensitivity. I own that I feel intensely. It takes a lot for me to reveal my feelings to you. So if you are privileged enough to hear that I love you deeply, please accept it and don’t run away from me. It hurts more than you can possibly understand.