Tuesday, June 7, 2011

HSP- Amber

I’ve been looking at the world through Highly Sensitive Person glasses lately. I can’t help it. The book I just finished reading connected with me in so many ways. But still there continued to be something I couldn’t understand or just couldn’t explain. And that was, “What does 'overarousal' LOOK like or FEEL like?

I know the after effects: wanting to take a nap, leave the scene, gritting my teeth, becoming a wallflower, unable to articulate, getting cranky, just feeling miserable, not observably miserable but when I look back I think, Hey that was what it feels like.miserable. But it still was a mystery to me-until last week.

We were with our daughter’s family, including our 3 year old-soon to be 4 grand-daughter .. She was having a hard time, well, truth be told, she was having a tantrum. My husband and I have figured out it happens when she feels left out or ignored. And it does happen a lot because she has twin brothers 18 months older than she is. But it is more than that.

Anyway last week a number of big things were going on in her life. Last Thursday was the last day in her day care where she had been with four other little girls her age and a caregiver she adored. Along with that she will be spending her summer vacation at home with her two brothers and a Nanny she didn’t know. Also, she will not be spending her special day with her Bumpa (and occasionally Grammie) on Fridays when she absolutely was the BOSS and could do anything she wanted without being challenged by her brothers. She had Bumpa to herself. She loved it.

But even more than all these things her Dad had been gone for a week while attending a family funeral and brought family members home to spend the nigh. She didn’t get to have the reunion with him she wanted. Plus the whole family stayed up past bedtime. If HSP’s can be stimulated by small things what happens when there are big things that happen?

So Thursday evening there was a graduation party for her brothers. She didn’t want to go. She didn’t want to leave her day-care. A major melt-down. She was overwhelmed.

All I had to do was take a look at her to know she had had enough. It pointed out to me that all of these events caused tremendous ‘overarousal’ but the kicker, I believe, was not enough sleep. She could not handle it all. It is sooo visible in a 3 year old. I realized that when I am over stimulated by my life, I also have a tantrum. Only it doesn’t show from the outside as much. I realize now, the feeling is one of being overwhelmed by all the small and big things in life. Overarousal creates overwhelm.

That is what it LOOKS like. That is what it FEELS like.

Soon: How to deal with it all and come out ahead.

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