Inside Depression

A figure walks away from the camera into the fog on a wooden path through treesIt’s been a rough spring. The clouds won’t quit. They’re damping down my everything. I replaced my SAD light bulb, but my light meter showed no change. So I waived my no-new-charges credit card policy just this once, and bought a new light, only to get the same readings. So much for the light meter. But whether the light is too weak or my SAD is too strong, I don’t need a meter to tell me it isn’t enough.

I keep up with housework, just. Since I mostly work from home, I don’t have to shower, get dressed, or go out in public. That helps. But I am impatient with my cat, snarky on social media, and racked with anxiety after the 15th of every month. Will I make the rent?? I stop buying groceries, make do with what I have on hand. It is dispiriting not to be able to afford something as basic as food. So far, things have always come together in the nick of time, but this month, I don’t see how that could happen.

I still have a part-time job, a holdover from my previous profession. Though the circumstances are about as good as a job of its type could possibly get, the contrast with my new work, which hardly seems like work at all, has made it clear just how much I hate that job, have hated it for years. It pays about 3/4 of my rent, so I can’t afford to give it up. And yet I can’t get myself to go in, putting it off until right before payday, then having to work all my hours over a short period.

Meanwhile, my business has fallen off. I’m not sure if this is due to changes in my advertising venue, or the advent of competition in a niche I previously had pretty much to myself, but most of my business these days is with previous clients. Which is gratifying in its own way, but it’s not enough to pay the bills. Why does an urgent need for self-promotion always rear its toothy head when I feel least able to put myself on display and take risks?

Not that I am completely defeated by challenges. HSP overwhelm is an emotional reaction, not true information about my abilities, I remind myself. I apply objective measures: It’s really huge that I am able to pay all of my bills each month, without adding anything to my credit card debt, for the first time in years. I have even been able to move some of the highest interest debt to lower interest cards. In the big picture, I am right on course in my long range plan.

I respond to emotional needs with common sense problem-solving. To fend off monthly funk and fear, I started tithing a percentage of every dollar earned straight to savings. This would be a great response to overspending. Unfortunately, the current problem is underearning.

I can’t seem to get much emotional mileage out of reality-checking and practical measures. They are lost in the shadow of the doldrums of today, which loom so much larger than the distant unknowable future. Depression takes the spark out of your plug. When the sun is out, to think is to act. When it’s not, the chasm between the two is impassable. All I want to do is nothing.

I have some major projects on my list. As you might imagine, they are well and truly stalled. Any tenuous flicker of interest that manages to penetrate the fog is swiftly extinguished by oversized expectations. But I’m getting past that a little, nurturing those tiny flames by not feeding them too much too soon. “Just do one thing,” I whisper to myself. And I do, and maybe a few days later, I do one more thing. After awhile, I am almost surprised when the progress is visible.

But no boost lasts long, not when another day dawns and it’s as overcast as the one before. I fear sunny weather may never kick in. We have summers like that sometimes. I’m in a holding pattern, and it’s getting really old.

Good News: People are Figuring This Out Younger

An artistic rendition of a giraffe, made up of many different colored shapes.If you are facing a crisis of livelihood | identity | values | reality orientation, check out this article: How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

It pleases me to see a 29 year-old figuring out what I didn’t figure out until 59. I kinda thought I sensed a cultural paradigm shift, but I feared that was just wishful thinking. I am reassured.

So, why is there a psychedelic giraffe in this post? I thought it was because I saw it on Pixabay today, loved it, and was too impatient to share it to wait until I wrote some post for which it is a relevant visual analogy. But maybe it’s a relevant visual analogy for THIS post after all…

Thank You for Sharing

I’m not a fan of TED Talks. What’s the point of recruiting interesting people who are experts in their field – who have highly detailed and specialized knowledge gleaned from years of intensive study – if you are going to impose an 18-minute time limit that forces them to generalize to the point of meaninglessness? No introvert thought that up, that’s for sure!

I’m similarly unenthused about “Big 5” personality trait theory, the extrovert bias of which I have ranted about elsewhere. I mention it only because one of the Big 5 traits is “agreeableness,” which is probably the inspiration for the same-named trait mentioned in this TED Talk.

Give and Take

Yes, this post is about a TED Talk, by organizational psychologist Adam Grant. Despite my skepticism about the format, his discussion of workplace sharing styles and how they relate to productivity and career success is highly relevant to my own experience.

Grant defines the sharing styles as taker, giver, and matcher. About a quarter of people are givers, a sixth are takers, and the rest are matchers. It’s interesting that a substantial majority are matchers. I’m betting most people think only in terms of givers and takers.

Go on, watch it. I can wait. You’ll love the part about the Canadian national slogan – so HSP! Continue reading

SensitiveType on Facebook

My brain is abuzz with all of the things I read and see that I want to share with you. The backlog is getting too huge to ever catch up, though, so I set up a Facebook page where I can post things that don’t make it into a SensitiveType blog post. Check it out (there’s also a link in the right sidebar).
A screenshot of the SensitiveType Facebook page

Working Title

I haven’t written much about my short-lived summer job. I meant to, but it got shuttled to the back burner by the premiere of Sensitive: The Untold Story, and other more time-sensitive topics, and by the time that was over, it was old news.

Two Roads Diverged

A sign that reads "You don't have to be crazy to work here. We'll train you."I felt a certain empathy for my boss and her issues, but eventually concluded they were impacting my life to an unacceptable degree. I was so proud of myself for figuring out that I needed to make a change before the need became urgent. This time, I’ll find another job first, I thought.

However, she must’ve sensed it, because she blew up out of nowhere over something trivial, and abruptly I was out of a job without a replacement income. The time since has been nerve-wracking. Each month, it has been a miracle that I managed to pay my rent. I’m pretty pissed at her. I was a good employee, and I deserved better.

Then I learned that she was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness two weeks after I left. I was shocked and saddened, of course, and I hope she survives. But I can see how very much that is a part of her path, and I can also see that I don’t need to go down that path with her, which would’ve been a lot harder to avoid if I was still working for her. Interesting timing, isn’t it? Continue reading

Sensitive Type

Elaine Aron, as my HSP readers may know, is the leading researcher on high sensory processing sensitivity. A year or so ago she took a look at the advancement of awareness about HSPS and decided it “wasn’t happening fast enough.” I imagine she would like to retire, but wants to ensure that the research and education is carried on.

The result was a film, Sensitive, The Untold Story, which premieres in San Francisco in September. You can see the trailer here, and buy tickets here.

Many different colored hand prints in a swirling patternI initially watched the development of this project with some trepidation, since public perception of me and every other HSP may be shaped by it for years to come. I am deeply grateful to Elaine Aron for the research that changed my life, but media savviness is not her strongest suit. However, many other people, including HSP Alanis Morissette have participated in this project (of course, with HSPs, it would be highly collaborative), so at this point, I am just curious to see what they have come up with.

I was touched by the trailer. Continue reading

Life is Weird

So, after two months of no activity whatsoever in my newly chosen career, I suddenly have two clients this week, and both seem promising – that is, both will be good to work with, and need ongoing services.

This is also a week when I’m completing a project that put me in a highly stressful construction environment for the past few months. With the jackhammers shaking the building, and constant voices of workers shouting to each other over the racket day and night, I’ve felt like I was in a war zone.

It’s great to get away from that, but there are endless closing details to manage. If I could, I’d have chosen to do nothing else this week. Instead, I’m doing everything else! I wasn’t sure I could, but I am.
Busy woman at desk with 5 arms, typing, filing, and answering the phone all at the same time
And that’s a general theme of my life lately. I’m scrambling to keep up all the time. Continue reading