As long as I can remember, I have been told I am “too sensitive”. I have heard all too often that I need to develop a tougher skin, to not wear my heart on my sleeve. Maybe that’s why I became addicted to alcohol. Self medicating with booze is a very accepted way to tame the emotions I feel so deeply, society heralds us for it.
I take things personally when I shouldn’t. I tell myself stories about what others thinks of me, sometimes ruminating for days about something someone said. I feel everything deeply. I am sensitive to the cruelty of others, even when it has nothing to do with me. I always feel the energy in a room and am affected by it immediately. I pick up on each person’s and animal’s energy around me, often enjoying wild animals in the vicinity when on a hike as they curiously, always benevolently, come to say hello. It seems my body, my neurological system, absorbs all the world‘s energy. This is why I do not have television in my home, or watch the news anywhere,- it destroys me. On a positive note, I also get rushes down my spine, ‘chills’, ‘God bumps’ as I like to call them, often, as I observe or hear about anything that touches me tenderly. I am profoundly affected by the state of our world, particularly the treatment of other humans, animals, and our planet.
Living inside a body that feels everything so intensely can be wildly challenging. I spent a good portion of my life trying to grow a thicker skin, trying not to care so much. I numbed out with booze so I could avoid all those emotions. I embraced the spiritual path decades ago because it gave me so much peace and well-being regardless of what was happening in my life, it was a time out from the madness, a quiet, blissful oasis. Frequently, gratitude tears cascade down my cheeks, surprising me at their plentitude, as my connection with Source holds me in an embrace filled with love. I feel this love in every cell in my body as I allow myself to surrender in thankfulness for this one beautiful, magical, incredible life I have been given.
Since I embarked on this sober journey, or more specifically, as I advanced in my recovery / detox from addiction to booze (which took about 40 days), I started feeling everything even more acutely. I watch Cesar Milan on YouTube work with an aggressive dog, and I am stirred, touched, weeping. I read about suffering anywhere, and I feel grief overcome me, I can hardly breathe. I see or hear something wonderful, and the ecstasy of joy pours out of me, more tears. It is somewhat exhausting, but I will say this: I will gladly accept being a highly sensitive person over being someone who feels nothing. I am learning to connect with my emotions instead of medicate them away. I used to run away to avoid conflict. I used to escape, by whatever method I could manage, feelings of discomfort.
I had something horrible happen to me as a little girl, and then another trauma not too long after that one. Our brains and our bodies don’t forget. I was never able to tell anyone, or heal from those traumas, until I did, 40 years later. I held in all that pain, all that shame, all that guilt, all that sadness, most of my adult life. It affected my relationships, my sense of self, my ability to perform, my outlook. I didn’t even realize it until I became brave enough, and felt safe enough, to share with my women’s circle of trusted, caring, compassionate souls. Booze was an elixir to help me bury my feelings. No wonder I was once diagnosed as Bipolar, my mood swings were my attempt at suppressing all the pain that would occasionally burst out at most inopportune times, in the most shocking ways. I experienced periods of debilitating depression and never could truly understand it. It is all so clear now. Thankfully, I had a wonderfully brilliant Therapist who assured me that not one single cell of my body was bipolar, and it was time to get off the potent medication I had been prescribed, Lamictal. I was told I would need to take that drug my entire life. Damn, I am so grateful to not be sticking mind altering drugs in my body anymore!
When I absolutely believed that I could trust the Universe, when I finally learned to forgive myself, and forgive my perpetrators, when I desired healing more than anything else, I was able to move forward with my life. That was when I made the decision to do whatever it took to get over the pain. I really thought I had done the healing I needed to do, but the step into sobriety was ultimately the missing link.
I was sharing with a friend just yesterday that because I have done decades of deep healing work, and have been seriously committed to my spiritual growth and practice, my change of direction in giving up booze has not been one of stumbling and falling as much as feeling completely free and blessed. I understand now that it has always been what I was meant to do in order to become the person I was born to be. I feel everything. I cry often. I laugh hysterically. I smile a lot because I feel joy right straight through to my heart center regularly, and I laugh at myself more than ever. No longer do I feel the need to escape, or make up stories, defend myself incessantly because I feel stupid, or less than, or wrong. I have embraced all of who I am because I have nothing to hide, no one to hide from, no secrets. Everything, all the parts of me, are laid out on the table for all the world, all of you, to see, examine, and hopefully appreciate, relate to, and perhaps feel compassion. I hope you sometimes see yourself. It is in our vulnerability that we find our strength. It is in our sharing that we find compassion. It is through our experience that we grow. I hope you feel the love pouring out to you as I write. My wish is for you to have the best life possible, and if that means slaying the booze bitch, do it with the sharpest sword you can find. And never look back.