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.
This post is beautiful. I can relate. Rejection stings. I still feel the sting of past rejections…it still hurts.
I can’t stand it when someone says “just get over it”.
They don’t understand that it’s something we can’t “get over.” We can move past it but it’ll still affect us, still pepper the way we think and open up to future people.
I just want to give you a giant hug. I completely understand. I’m right there with you. <3
Wow. This is so intense. I think we all go through self doubt and self loathing to a certain extent, but it sounds like you were absolutely tortured by it. I’m so sorry.
As for not being normal? I think that’s great. Little Girl Sarah was tormented by it, but I hope that All Grown-up Woman Sarah sees the value in having a unique view point, a voice, and a fearless creativity.
Lean on your friends. Get help when and where you can. Don’t stop speaking your truth. It’s valuable. Telling your story will help you heal and find answers. It will help other people deal with their own inner traumas.
P.S. I’m proud of you for sharing this.
Thank you. I sharing this helps others.
Hugs my soul sister. Can’t wait to see you again!
I finally have a moment to comment…and just wanted to say that I am a HSP and my daughter is shaking out to be one as well. It can be quite intense, can’t it? I’m assuming you’ve read Elaine Aron’s book about HSPs? Helped me quite a bit, at least in the respect that I no longer feel alone. All of which to say, glad to have found your blog and another kindred spirit in this regard!
Oh yes! A friend of mine recommended this book. I need to read it
So true! I love you girl!
This needs to be shared. As adults we need to stop dismissing children’s stress as silly childish worries. We need to start providing safe places so children can begin to speak their truth and we can start to teach them coping skills at a younger age.
Thank you for writing this!
You’re a high-discloser and I believe that’s one of your gifts with your writing: honesty, even if it’s “brutal.” I for one support you 100% and I’m glad I read this piece. (PS I won’t run away, and I state that as a fellow colleague writer and a friend.)