I recently posted on my blog about my “diagnoses” of HSP & C-PTSD, and how I learned of them. In that post, I mentioned that learning of these two things is oddly what made my life easier. If you haven’t read the original post, I do highly suggest it. I also have separate posts on my definitions of C-PTSD and HSP.
When I first realized what these two things were and how they’d impacted my life, I was definitely angry. It felt at that time that no matter what I did or how my life had gone, I’d still have ended up in the state I was in. At the time, I was living with my ex, I was miserable, and my depression had a huge spike.
After I got over the initial “shock” of these two “diagnoses” in my life (I use quotations because I don’t believe HSP is actually classified as a disorder and C-PTSD is classified as a part of PTSD), I almost felt a wave of relief. My prior two diagnoses, depression and generalized anxiety disorder, didn’t come as a shock to me. As much as I “joked” about having depression, somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew that it was true but I wasn’t ready to fully admit or get help for it. The anxiety, it was only a name on what I was feeling. Maybe somewhere in my mind, I knew about that, too.
These two conditions, however, were extremely unfamiliar to me. I’d heard of being sensitive (as I’ve been called loads of times), but Highly Sensitive as a personality trait? Not at all. Learning of this trait was a similar feeling to putting on glasses for the first time. You think you’re seeing clearly, that it is just how the world looks, but the first time you put on glasses, all of a sudden everything around you has lines, definition, shape. That was the relief I found learning about HSP. The reason I felt emotions more strongly than others, why I always took other’s issues on as my own, why I could never actually be a counselor or psychologist. It explained why loud noises bothered me but not others, why crowded rooms made me uncomfortable (well, that and the anxiety), and why I always needed time to “recharge” after anything social.
The C-PTSD took a little bit longer to fully delve into. I wasn’t ready at the time to open up some old wounds, but with this diagnosis in hand, I was able to start unpacking some old baggage. I sat and thought hard about all the friendship endings that truly stuck out in my head (there weren’t too many that stuck out that much) and realized that it was because of these that I was unwilling and cautious to let anyone new in. I then realized that because of the HSP trait, I was also holding on too hard and too long to these situations.
I had to, in a matter of speaking, go back to that time; to each friendship ending. I thought them through with a new perspective, understanding more about myself and why I felt the way I did. A few of the endings, I genuinely started to understand why they ended. I didn’t necessarily agree with how things happened, but I no longer felt angry or bitter about some. I was able to start letting go of the things that plagued my thoughts when I was trying to sleep, I stopped thinking that I wasn’t good enough and started realizing that some friendships were just not meant to happen. Not everyone was able to handle the life I’d been dealt, and that was okay.
It also has allowed me to have better control over my emotions when I am in stressful or otherwise tense situations. I used to succumb to the feelings of those around me, enveloping them as my own. Now, I am able to “self-talk” myself out of it- most of the time. I tell myself on repeat that this is not my problem, this does not effect me, I am fine.
My mental health truly took a huge turn after learning and accepting these things in my life. It’s not to say that life is now perfect, that these things do not effect me, because they do. I still have difficulty opening up to new people and new situations, I do still struggle when those I’m closed to are stressed or sad, but I’m learning how to manage and cope with these things. The depression and anxiety still wait in the wings and take their chances to come out and play, but since I’ve had these for longer, I’ve learned better how to manage them.
These two conditions gave me hope. Hope that I could turn my mental health around, hope that I could change the way things effected me in the future, and hope that I would be okay. My mental health is at a (relative) high lately, and I do think I owe it all to C-PTSD and HSP.