Thursday, July 20, 2017

R.I.P. Chester Bennington - 7/20/2017

It's not been a good day.

Between getting caught up on vile asexual discourse on tumblr to just feeling out of sorts and undernourished, the last thing I wanted to come my way was this bit of heart breaking news.

Chester Bennington, vocalist for beloved nu-metal band Linkin Park, committed suicide today. On Chris Cornell's birthday, of all days. No coincidence there - Chester was admittedly really broken up about Chris' suicide a few months ago.

We're losing a lot of really good people in the music industry and this bums me out, but I'm especially torn up about this death because Linkin Park got me through some of the worst years of my life. I was a huge fan as a teenager, and a lot of their lyrical content centered around feelings of self-worth, betrayal, looking for a place to belong, etc. All things I could relate to in my quest to find myself and people I could trust at that age.

Even now, I still really love throwing on Hybrid Theory and screaming along to some of Chester's gut-wrenching growls.

This has not been a good day.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Skittish Socialite - 7/12/17

I will never ever deny that as an introvert I adore spending most of my time (outside of work and necessary errands) at home, by myself, doing whatever I like. Which is usually reading, cleaning, or watching Let's Play videos on Youtube featuring my favorite gamers. (Shout out to CinnamonToastKen!)

But even a skittish cat like myself has to get out and be a little bit friendly once in a while.

So a curious thing happened about a week ago - someone I used to work with (kind of ) here at ARCH reached out to me on Facebook and asked if I'd like to meet up for drinks and chatting some time. Now, I had never had a proper conversation with this person before, so I was mightily surprised to get that friend request let alone a request for IRL company.

But I said yes, and we made plans to meet at one of the local bars in St Paul on Tuesday. It ended up being a pretty okay experience - we have a lot more in common that I had anticipated so that was kind of neat.

I have terrible self-esteem though and automatically assume I'm the world's most annoying, awkward, and unpleasant person to be around, so I was surprised when she wanted to make plans to meet up again. Am I really an okay afternoon companion?

I'm still grappling with that one.

We might meet up for sushi.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Challenge: 27 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing as an HSP.

My favorite site for introvert related articles and goodness has recently listed this interesting gem: 27 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing as an HSP. 

While not exclusively related to introversion, many Highly Sensitive People are also introverts and as I qualify as both an INFJ/P AND an HSP I figured I would give this list a go and see how many of these things I agree or disagree with.

Let's get into it:

1. When you’re in a loud, busy place — like a bar, restaurant, or party — and you shut down because you’re overwhelmed by so much sensory input.

 Yes, to the max. I tend to get really quiet and kind of withdrawn. I've been accused of being both bored and tired because I tend to find myself staring down at a table or the floor when I zone out to protect my brain.

2. When a commercial that shows abused animals comes on TV and you have to change the channel, because seeing such cruelty nearly makes you burst into tears. Likewise, you cover your eyes during a gory fight scene in a movie because the blood and violence make you feel sick to your stomach.

Well, I don't really watch much television these days - but to be honest the televised suffering of others doesn't bother me as much as it used to. Secondhand embarrassment, on the other hand, is excruciating. Cringe humor is it's own kind of torture.

3. When you have a particular bedtime or morning routine because doing things the same way each day brings you comfort. Chaos, change, and the unknown can be quite stressful and overwhelming for you.

I do have a morning routine, but it's mostly centered around making sure I'm quiet as a mouse and not waking my partner up - that's about to change though since we'll be in a different space and I'll have more working kitchen space. Daily breakfast - here I come~!

4. If your roommate or significant other walks up behind you without making noise, you jump sky-high like a frightened cat when you do notice them. Because of your sensitive nervous system, you tend to startle easily.

 I do startle easily, but honestly it's hard for most people to sneak up on me. I'm always alert and I ALWAYS hear people coming.

5. When a friend, coworker, or partner raises their voice slightly at you and you immediately become anxious. Dealing with conflict — even minor disagreements — can quickly become overstimulating. Likewise, when there is ongoing tension in a close relationship, such as with your spouse or a family member, you might feel physically unwell and have trouble sleeping.

When people raise their voice at me, even if it's just my perception that they're angry with me, it's SO HARD to not just burst into tears and make an idiot of myself over nothing. I try to keep my composure as much as possible, and then go have a cry in the bathroom. As for relationship tension - yes, sleeping difficulties and chronic pain prevail.

6. Even when people who are complete strangers are fighting (like a couple at a nearby table in a restaurant), you get uncomfortable.

Hmm...mostly I find myself empathizing with the party who's on the receiving end of a verbal onslaught. Unless they deserve it. Then I'm 100% behind the aggressor.

 7. In school, when the teacher scolded another student for something, you became anxious, even though you had nothing to do with the situation.

Not really, no.

8. When you have to finish an assignment or a task by a deadline and you become increasingly stressed out to the point where you can only think about that one task — HSPs tend to be quite sensitive to time pressure.

Sensitive to time pressure? Yes. Motivated by deadlines? Absolutely - I love deadlines, it's my best motivation for prioritizing tasks.

9. When you fall in love, you fall hard. It feels like your whole world is changing. This can be exhilarating, but so exhilarating that it’s almost overwhelming. You’re happy about this exciting change, but regardless, it’s still a change, and that can make you feel overstimulated.

I don't fall in love, so this is kind of a moot point.

10. Being a sponge that constantly absorbs the moods of the people around you. Sometimes this gets to be so overwhelming that you want to be by yourself, just so you can feel only your own feelings.

Truth. 100%. My partner always brings his bad day home with him and even if he doesn't say anything about it as first, I always pick up on it and his angry tension just invades me. It's awful. This kind of thing happens at work too, if coworkers are in a bad mood.

11. When you feel so exhausted after a busy day at work that you head straight home and lie down in a darkened, quiet room to calm your overactive senses.

Nope. My wind-down period is much more gradual. I actually try to get as much done right when I get home before all that "busy" energy wears off. Because once I'm done, I'm done.

12. When someone who is wearing very strong perfume walks into a room and you have to move away from them because the smell is overpowering to your ramped-up senses.

Dude, perfume smells often make me want to vomit. Or give me awful headaches.

13. When you refuse to eat certain foods, like seafood or berries that are very tart, because the smells/tastes cause a very strong reaction in you.

I'm a foodie - I LIKE strong reactions in food. But I can admit that I can't stand the smell of vinegar and I don't like any kind of "moldy" cheese. Like brie.

14. When you get so hungry that you can’t concentrate on what you’re doing — HSPs tend to be especially sensitive to dips and spikes in blood sugar.

Hangry is a very real thing.

15. You don’t drink coffee because caffeine has a strong effect on you. Likewise, alcohol affects you very strongly, more so than most other people.

No, I NEED my caffeine intake - I don't sleep well so the boost does me good. But if I have more than two cups on an empty stomach I get kind of nauseous and jittery. Which isn't fun. Alcohol used to affect me strongly, but years of consumption kinds of dulls it.

16. When you can pinpoint exactly what makes a room physically uncomfortable or unwelcoming — bright florescent lights, chairs with hard backs, or the way the furniture is arranged.

Yes. Feng Shui is a thing too, people. Energy flows and blocked energy is super unsettling.

17. When you have a very strong reaction to art, music, or other beautiful things. No one else seems to be as moved as you are; beautiful sounds or sights can put you into a near trance-like state.

Maybe before I developed a serious and prolonged case of depression. But being truly "moved " by something is rare these days.

18. Because you have a vivid inner world, your daydreams and nightmares are intense. Similarly, you tend to be a creative, artistic, and imaginative person.

Yes. I pretty much live in my Marvel Universe dream-world where I'm a kickass anti-hero that works under Tony Stark and occasionally dates Loki. Or whatever.

19. When you’re in pain — like a headache or an injury — you really feel it. HSPs tend to have a lower pain tolerance than non-HSPs.

Indeed. I have a bruise on my thumb from banging against the car window too hard last night and it's impossible to ignore. And migraines? I'm out, like totally out. Incapacitated even.

20. When you tell your friends that you can’t hang out tonight because you feel so overstimulated already — from a busy work day, a busy weekend, or stress in your life.

Introvert Burnout is real. Social hangovers are real. Depression Mode is real.

21. You avoid going to stores when you know there will be a lot of people there; it’s too much noise and activity for your sensitive system.

This is exactly why I prefer to do my grocery shopping at, like, 3 am. When possible.

22. When you’re sensitive to the volume of music or other things. You’re always trying to move the controls by a millimeter or two to get the level just right.

 Mostly applies to work phones - I keep the ringer volume super low because ringing phones are not only jarring to me, but also anxiety inducing.

23. When you notice little things in your surroundings, like how your friend’s mood subtlety changed when you brought up a certain topic. When you point this out, your friend is surprised that you picked up on that detail.

 .....Yeah. I'm often called psychic or intuitive for reasons like this.

24. When you don’t get enough sleep so everything feels literally awful the next day.

I have a hard time even getting out of bed on days where I had little sleep the night before. It's like moving through a fog and a headache is sure to follow.

25. At work, you end up doing a worse-than-normal job when your boss is watching and evaluating you. For HSPs, the mere presence of a person who is watching them can be overstimulating.

I HATE people watching what I do. Imagine having to train in new people at work and being SO self-conscious that your trainee starts to wonder if you know how to do your job. Heh.

26. When you feel things very strongly — sadness, anger, and joy.

When I'm angry - I'm angry. When I'm depressed - it's deep. When I'm amused - I can't stop giggling.

27.You seek meaning in everything you do, from the career you chose to the relationships you maintain to the conversations you partake in. As an HSP, you want to engage with the deeper aspects of life.

Mostly yeah.