Lemons. Lemonade.

9:58 PM Edit This 12 Comments »
I've talked about The Crazy on my blog before - how I pretty much used to live at the Psychotel and was waiting and in fact anticipating, getting locked up for good. Then, wonder of wonders - turns out I wasn't crazy, I was just an alcoholic who needed to quit drinking and find a different way to live. I'm not saying that was an easy thing to do - change everylittlethingyoueverknewaboutlife. But I am saying that putting words on what was really wrong with me was the start of being able to take the actions to make it better. There are some phrases that Carolyn uses that infuriate me and "If you can name it, you can tame it." is one of them. She knows I hate it, but it seems to work for me. If I can put words on what is going on in my head, we're well on our way to making sense of it.

Someone who is quite close to me brought a specific book and the accompanying website to my attention. Highly Sensitive Persons? What the hell is that?! And I'm far, far removed from self help books today. I used to live for them - my bookshelves were full of them at one time. So, I kind of balked at the idea of some sort of label and things to do about that label and was perhaps quite unkind when it was brought to my attention. But I did look at it - because let's face it - I kind of like this new life and if I can do something to enhance it, then I'll at least explore the possibility. And guess what? I got over 90 percent on the self test. And then I started reading and found out that I'm not that weird after all.

I don't like surprises, bright lights or loud noises. I don't like crowds and in general, life wears me out. I need to spend quite a bit of time alone in order to process daily activities or I can't sleep. And sensory overload is a huge issue - always. It's something I'm so grateful that Gay Boyfriend figured out shortly after I moved in. He recognizes the signs that I'm done. I'm just simply done and if I don't get to go downstairs and read or sleep or cook, I'm going to turn into a basketcase he doesn't want to deal with. Take for instance, our last party. Right around 10 p.m., he turned to me and said, "You're done, aren't you?" And I nodded. He said, "Let's do a few dishes and you go to bed. I'll finish up." Which is exactly what needed to happen. Any more activity, and I would come upstairs at 2 a.m., bawling because I wouldn't be able to sleep and my head would be on overdrive.

The thing about this website? It just validates what I'm already doing. I need routine. I need plenty of quiet time. I need my living space to be calm and dark at night. I need people around me who can help me calm down when I've had too much. And I need to know that it doesn't mean I'm crazy. See? I'm already doing all the things it says I should do to make life easier. And that? Is a miracle. Recovery has already given those things to me. When I talk about needing a routine? People around those tables nod their heads. When I tell someone I need to have some quiet time, they make room for me to do that without question.

I am so lucky. I am so grateful. I am so - I don't know. It was - in a way - validating - to see such a thing and know that I'm already well on my way to making good of it. It's kind of my lemonade for the day.

12 comments:

Malaise Inc said...

I am going to have to check this out. My wife's situation has taken a turn for the worse over the last few months. I am not sure if this is completely applicable to her, but I will look at it in more detail.

Jeff D'Antonio said...

I need my quiet time too. I love being active and social, but I can't function without my quiet time to regroup and process everything.

"If you can name it, you can tame it." You might hate that phrase, but Carolyn is right. Humans think in words - and when we have thoughts or feelings that we can't put into words, they tear us apart because we don't know what they are. We can't name them, so we can't understand them, because we can't think about them in the way the human brain is wired to think. It's not so much a "labeling" of our feelings as a defining of them. Once we have words for them, we can think about them rationally and figure out what they're all about. Without words we are left with a bunch of jumbled thoughts that we can't possibly make sense of. That's why, for me at least, writing is such a huge help - it forces me to come up with words to accurately describe what I feel, and then organizing those words into semi-coherent sentences helps me make sense of what they mean. Sometimes there are no words, but just the process of trying to find them can be very therapeutic.

buffalodick said...

Listening to others and sharing really is basic to keeping a clue of what is going on.

BrianAlt said...

Self-realization.

Self-awareness.

They are beautiful things.

MilesPerHour said...

Each of us has different needs. What I think happens to many of us however, is that we don't verbalize those needs to those around us and then they do not get met. By doing this I had found that I would get frustrated and many times not point that frustration in the direction of fault-me.

artemisia said...

Isn't this wonderful that you are on the best road for you?! Congrats.

GreenCanary said...

HOLY CRAP. You and I are exactly the same! I need those things, too! Only I thought that I was a nutso because I would hit a wall and be SO DONE THAT I'M GOING TO SHOOT SOMEONE, SOHELPMEGOD. That this is normal for people like us? A RELIEF. We need to caucus, you and me. Caucus.

Summer said...

I think it's great you realize what you need. BTW loud noises and bright lights send me into a Rain Man like tither. I'm not lying. Really loud televisions make me nervous. It's a shame my husband keeps the volume set on 1000. :)

Kristen said...

You mean I'm not crazy either? I'm like that too. I even get panic attacks if I stay in the mall for too long because the lights are too bright and there's just too much stuff happening.

morethananelectrician said...

The quiet time at night can be the most important time for me...I used to have a lot of it and now I can't survive without it. The amount of time depends on the issues I have going on. Good for you for recognizing you need that time and for your roommate to recognize and help you get it too.

G said...

Congrats to you for recognizing what you need when you need it.

Quiet time for me is essential if I want to get any kind of writing done. Doesn't matter where, so long as I'm not around my family.

Sparkling Red said...

I remember when I first read a book on Highly Sensitive People and recognized myself (and a lot of members of my family) in those pages. It's true that you need to have friends who will respect your limitations. Like my friend Logan, who calls me "pumpkin girl" because, like Cinderella, I have to head home before the ball is over or my coach turns into a pumpkin. I miss a lot of events because of needing to avoid crowds, but the richness I find in the smaller moments of life is worth it.