When I think about my sensitivity, my permeability, my inability to take in an emotion and let it go, and my inability to think/feel/remember one thing without bringing up ten other feelings/thoughts/emotions, here’s how I think about it:

I imagine that many people’s brains have maps of loosely connected events. Here and there, one thing is connected to another. So something may bring up a memory, but it’s a loose connection, and it’s only one, so they remember it and move on.

But my brain? I imagine it like a tightly knotted ball of yarn. A maze of interconnected everything, so that when I hear one thing? It instantly makes me feel every single other thing it’s connected to. Every single event in my life is connected to multiple other ones, so tightly woven that it’s near impossible to just feel one thing. Or think one thing. Or remember one thing.

On my mind right now

-Am I useless? Am I accomplishing anything with my life? What purpose do I serve?

-How was there another school shooting? My heart hurts so much.

-Thoughts and emotions are flying around my soul and I can’t close off to them. It’s been a long stretch of increased permeability and it hurts.

-Am I an awful fiance/daughter/sister/friend? Because I feel like it.

-Am I responsible for everyone? Can everything be traced back to me? Do I hold the world’s suffering in my hands?

Sensitive soul

Today I feel sad.

Maybe it’s due to boredom and feelings of I-am-doing-nothing-with-these-days-and-letting-time-slip-away, which inevitably leads to guilt, and more sadness. Maybe it’s because it’s been 10 days of relaxing over winter vacation, and due to a big storm, work was cancelled for today and tomorrow also. And I’m home on my own, which would usually be appealing and inviting, but after many days of being home, sitting on the couch watching t.v. and even reading don’t seem so appealing. 

Maybe it’s because I’m feeling raw, and I have been since yesterday — where I have no filter and every thought, emotion, feeling, worry, whether mine or someone else’s, whether real or perceived or imagined, are permeating my soul and all I can do is let all that energy swirl around inside of me and ride it out.

And I know, it doesn’t totally matter why. It’s not hugely purposeful or successful to think about why I feel sad, especially when the reasons are likely tenfold and indescribable. But it’s hard to just accept it and ride it out.


THIS. Jess so eloquently put it into words (as she always does), and I want you to read it. Please.

But, in case you don’t click over, in case you don’t read it and fall in love with Jess’s writing and her family and her incredible daughter, I will happily ramble away and tell you about it.

She talks about how, when setting a goal for her daughter, she asks the question, “Is this a goal that I would set in order to help my daughter to become that fullest version of herself or is it one that I would set simply because it will help her meet societal expectation?” And THAT is what I guide my treatment on. Many of my colleagues will disagree. And those colleagues are the ones who may desperately aim to extinguish flapping, squealing, jumping, other stimming behaviors. The colleague who, during class change time, yells at my student who did a jump and a squeal. (Because, he has learned, and he knows, that class change time is actually a GREAT time to do that, and he had been holding it in all throughout class) But those behaviors? They’re the ones I ignore. That don’t bother me. That, if anything, I LOVE, because they are real and true and they are providing an outlet, for thoughts and emotions and feelings and everything that otherwise would remain trapped and distracting inside. And if it is something that is truly getting in the way of a child’s becoming, then that’s one thing. I have used Social Thinking and behavior plans and visuals and countless tools. Because there are certain behaviors that are harmful to themselves or to others, or distracting in an intolerable way.

But if it’s just a “quirk?” If, at its core, it’s simply a difference from how the majority of us are? No, I have bigger things to worry about.

And, I just want to add — we ALL have quirks. And nobody put us on behavior plans for them. Sometimes I make funny noises, say weird things, I’m plenty awkward. And I’m a fantastic speech/language pathologist, I’m well-respected, and my kids like me for being who I am. Said a 6th grade boy, with Nonverbal Language Disability: “Thank you for being weird sometimes, it makes me feel better about being weird myself.”

Everyone is weird. Everyone has quirks. Sometimes that weirdness becomes dangerous or distracting. But sometimes it’s just….fun. And then, it’s okay.

Big insight.

A hugely important realization that I was guided towards is:

When I dread going out, when I don’t want to “be social,” when the thought of being out with friends seems more than I can bear, there is a reason for it. And the reason is: because I am not showing up in my true self. When I show up with my Shadow, with the happy-go-lucky “Hi! Everything is great! How are you?!” I am not being the real me. And that’s exhausting. And quite honestly, I would imagine, unpleasant. I think I’ve done this my entire life, so I don’t even realize when I’m not being the real me.

So I am practicing showing up in my true self, and leaving my Shadow at home. And if that means saying, “I’m doing well — a little down today, not sure why,” that’s okay. I don’t have to have a reason for feeling sad. I don’t have to understand why I’m sad. I don’t have to justify it. To the people who get me, really truly love and get me, it shouldn’t matter.

I’m working on it.


I felt that sense of dread come over me tonight and didn’t know what to do about it. And a little voice in the back of my head whispered, You need to write. Why is it that I push writing away, pretend it doesn’t exist, pretend it doesn’t help, pretend it doesn’t release that feeling? Is it for the same reason that I often dreaded my weekly therapy appointments in college, not because I didn’t love my therapist, not because they didn’t help, not because I didn’t feel better after, but because the process of talking, of processing, of releasing, was emotional and draining? Is it for the same reason that during those same hard periods I avoided everything possible — my emotions, feelings, thoughts, instead of facing them?

It’s hard to be real with myself sometimes. No, not always. Actually, I’m more real with myself now than I’ve ever been. There are no huge issues that I ignore, no behaviors I try to hide, that’s not the 24-year-0ld me. That me was a hurting teenage girl and she has moved way past that. No, I’m talking just about emotions. A bad day, a bad mood, the feeling of dread I so often get, for no reason other than I’m a sensitive being and little feelings that others would feel, notice, and walk past, become crashing waves for me. And I know this about myself. It’s who I am, there aren’t many like me, and I know that and it’s okay.

Sometimes when the dread, or the gloom (of what, I will never know) comes over me, I want to ignore it. Watch tv, read, stuff it away somehow until it leaves. And sometimes that works. But other times I need to write. And I don’t want to. Because, what do I say? There’s no problem. There’s no issue. Nothing is wrong. So why should I write? What should I say? Why would anyone care or be interested?

Trying to make sense of it.

Oh, my heart hurts so much today. I woke up and instantly felt a wave of “heaviness” come across me. I feel weighted down by all of the emotions in the world, all of my thoughts. It’s hard to breathe because of what feels like fifty-pound weights sitting on my chest, on my heart. I want to curl up in a little ball, like a little child, and nap for hours under a safe, warm blanket. I’m not sure what’s behind this. Sometimes, nothing is. Sometimes, it’s just how I am, and a day like that has to happen. Sometimes, I think that I overstimulate myself with so much sensitivity–looking at images that awaken my soul, listening to music with combinations of notes, or lyrics, that put energy and radiance into every limb of my body, feel the intensity of the sun shining down on me…and those are all good things. Those are all things that I need, I crave. But maybe it’s almost like what I imagine coming down from a high, whether drug-induced, or otherwise, would be like. Maybe that “high” I felt from feeding my body all of those intense things, is over, and now I just feel…normal? Maybe it’s a delicate balance. Maybe I need to moderate it better.

Or maybe I’m just in a not-so-great mood, and over thinking it, just as I over-think everything.

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