Sensitivity and Your Recovery

Written by Aurelia

“Don’t be so sensitive” was advice uttered to me in many forms over the years. As though my sensitivity was something worth suppressing, hiding away, and denying. The weird thing is that it took recovery for me to see what a gift sensitivity is.

The condition hijacks sensitivity. It misinterprets this gift as a failing and an annoyance. And tries to make us believe that it is the root of all our problems. It’s not. The condition is! Recovery allows us to harness sensitivity, and to use it to our advantage to deepen our relationships and really connect to this life we are all muddling through.

Sensitivity provides us many signals, if we choose to listen instead of trying to banish it with deprivation and behaviours. It’s that spider sense the tells us when something doesn’t feel right. It’s the way we ‘just know’ that someone is out of sorts, upset, afraid, worried about something etc. It’s the supernatural ability to notice that the environment has changed- did someone move a candle? – Do I feel a tiny draught? – Isn’t the energy very welcoming here?

Sensitivity allows deeper communication. They say that communication is only 7% verbal. Supersensitive people are great at picking up on what goes unsaid. Of course the condition hijacks this and tells us that people don’t like us, are bored of us, are frustrated with us etc.  But once the condition is gone, then we are left with a pretty cool gift to pick up on the little things.

I’ve noticed that I cry 100 times more now than I did when I had ed. There was a time when I was so numb that I wouldn’t have noticed if my whole family was blown up. Now I’m a giant ball of tears. Happy tears. Sad tears. Angry tears. Grateful tears. They’re something I keep a temporary lid on in work, but once I’m out of there I’m a watery softy. There was also a time that people tried to medicate this away from me. I was told that mood stabilisers were the answer to why one minute I would be laughing, and the next I’d be crying. They didn’t do anything except make my purse empty each month. True recovery is about embracing our humanness, tears and all.

I used to curse sensitivity. Blast this ability. Blast it. I believed that recovery would bring me the ability to be a stone. A machine of productivity and success. An emotionless human. And that’s what medication did to me. I was put on numerous antidepressants over the years. I became numb and hollow, my sensitivity being stomped on. They gave me a whole host of side effects, because sensitive people need to be careful what they put in their bodies (do not misinterpret that sentence!). Now I realise that I’d rather lose a limb than lose my sensitivity. Imagine cursing the very thing that allows music speak to me? Or allows a nicely worded quote stab me in the heart?

Sensitivity is about feelings, awareness, intuition, and the heart. It makes my life worth living. I actually feel alive. And isn’t that what life is about!? Really living!?