I Bounce Back Like a Ton of Bricks

The Lord has helped me become more even-tempered lately, with these verses coming to mind quite often:

[a]What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? [b]Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask [c]with wrong motives, so that you may spend it [d]on your pleasures.  James 4:1-3

Keeping that truth in mind helps me not get to the point where others’ words or actions bother me to the point of that I plunge into the quicksand of my emotions.

That’s how it’s been going lately.

That is not at all how it went today.

When I woke up, I looked at my email on my phone.  (I should have had prayer time before checking my phone, but that’s not what happened.)   The first email I saw was an unnecessarily condescending work email.  An innocent bystander would not view the words in the email as condescending. The innocent bystander is also not aware of the subtext.

After reading the email, my heart immediately started beating quickly.  I was mad.  For the rest of the morning, I did not stop thinking about that email.  Instead, I chose to stew on it and nurture my anger at the person who sent it.

At work, the same person had a conversation with me – about a different topic – that was much more condescending than the email from this morning.  The tone of voice was actually on the pleasant side, but again, subtext ruled.  There was nothing I could do, except meekly acknowledge that I was in the wrong.  (I wasn’t, but it’s often best to just go with it.)

Just writing about today’s happenings brought on a much-needed cry.  It was more of a half-cry, because I got distracted.

This evening, the bulk of my mental space was used on crying out to the Lord that I hate this person.  Again, probably not the best thing to do; but I figure it’s better than saying it to the person or talking behind their back.  The rest of my mental space was used on crying out to the Lord to help me not to hate the person.

19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. Romans 7:19

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from [r]the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24-25 

This is what makes being an HSP so frustrating to me. There is absolutely no reason why I should still be upset about the email or the conversation.  These incidents are just par for the course, and are not a true reflection on me as a worker or as a human being, in general.  Yet, they still cut so deeply when they do happen. It is a longstanding battle for me not to sin in my anger or self-pity at the toxicity of this situation.

PS: I have changed the settings, so that work emails don’t come through on my phone anymore.

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Job Questionnaires

In the past, I’ve had jobs where I taught people skills they need to search for and get a job. One thing that we always taught:

Leave your personal problems at home when you go to work.

Although this was before I’d ever heard of HSP, I felt like a complete sham when teaching that to my students!!

I mean, really. You’re asking me to compartmentalize my feelings? If something is bothering me, it magically stops bothering me, just because I’ve changed my geographical coordinates?!

You’ve got the wrong person.

To be clear, I understand that a level of professionalism is needed, particularly when a job requires interaction with coworkers and/or the public. I understand that you can’t spend your working hours on the phone arguing with a boyfriend, family member, or whomever. I get it.

The problem for me is that what is in my heart and mind is also plastered across my face. There is not a lot I can do to change that – try as I might. I can (and started to) avoid discussing problems with coworkers. However, my face will reveal my problems, whether I want it to or not.

So, today, I was completing an online job application for a seasonal retail job. The application included a questionnaire that asked the same questions about 3 times each.

Easy, right? I used to teach people how to complete these questionnaires!

The difference is that I was teaching them how to answer with their personalities, not my own. So, when the questionnaire repeatedly states things like

My coworkers cannot tell what I am feeling;

I hide my feelings;

I do not become emotional at work,

What on earth am I supposed to say, to avoid looking like a lunatic?! In the interest of being honest, I put “disagree.”

Unfortunately, “disagree” is not actually honest, either. There were also options for “strongly disagree” and “completely disagree.”

So, I don’t look like a lunatic, but I did withhold the truth a bit. I did misrepresent myself.

In addition to being an HSP, I’m also pathologically honest. I don’t know too many people who are as honest as I am. I mean, I even read skim the Terms and Conditions before I check the box that says “I have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions.” This may be a bit obsessive, but it is a misrepresentation, if I assert that I read something, but didn’t even look at it.

By the same token, how can I say that I disagree that I am emotional, when I truly know that I completely, unequivocally, adamantly disagree?!

I pray that the Lord will point me to jobs that don’t ask that question!

I tried to go back into the questionnaire to change my answers, but it wouldn’t allow me to do so.

So…in order to prevent lying, what am I going to do?

I’m not going to submit the application at all.

I suppose another alternative would be to delete what I have completed of the application so far and start a fresh one. Then, they can make an informed decision as to whether or not to hire me.

Recently, I’d started writing a post about my job search. It’s been pretty limited, because I am looking for a job for which I am qualified and that won’t exacerbate my HSP tendencies. Those are few and far between, let me tell you. By “few and far between”, I mean “non-existent.”

I came upon an administrative assistant job yesterday, too. It’s not something I’d be terribly interested in, but I really need the income. There was a section that described the type of supervision this position received. It said:

Responsibilities do not usually require using independent judgement.
Requires direct supervision.

Um. To me, that basically says, “Check your brain at the door.” Honestly, I don’t see how any job doesn’t require some sort of decision making.

Job search is not easy; and being a pathologically honest, HSP extrovert, who does not do well in jobs that don’t require thought, is making it that much more difficult!

I need to trust the Lord to provide.

Happy, with a Blue Tongue

I’m feeling particularly cheerful today.  Thank you, Lord!!

This weekend, I determined that I would make a conscious effort to start nurturing the extrovert in me as much as I have been protecting the HSP in me.  

I think I’ve kind of started overdoing it, in terms of HSP care.  Since I don’t go to work until mid-afternoon, I stick around the house, doing chores, relaxing, whatever.  The idea is to coat my nerves with so much downtime salve, that they become resilient for when it’s time to face the day and go to work.  

The nature of my job allows me to complete all of my tasks with very little need for human interaction.  The nature of myself causes me to find ways to infuse human interaction into my day.  Still, the lack of interaction within my general duties is actually quite exhausting to me. 

I’ve become kind of mousy, quiet and stiff lately, too.  My previous job had a slightly more open office layout, and the job required a great deal of interaction with clients, which was energizing in itself.  My coworkers and I also had quite a bit in common, so that lent itself to more lightheartedness. Now, I’m just old and boring, it feels like.  

It seems that “en vogue” thing recently is for some (not all) introverts to trumpet the exhaustion they suffer from us energy-sucking, extroverted Nosferatus. I’m just here to report:  there are ways to drain the lifeblood from extroverts, too.  

Extroverts lose energy from isolation and lack of contact.  

It’s not superficial.

It’s not selfish. 

It’s just so.  

Back to this weekend:  I semi-spontaneously went to visit a family, on whom I hope to have a positive spiritual influence as time goes on.  While I was there, their relatives came to take them to the park.  On the spur of the moment, I decided to tag along.  

It was so refreshing to go and enjoy some spontaneous time with friends! 

Saturday was a fairly major fail, in terms of extrovert care.  I actually had a mini-panic attack as I began to think that my destiny would be perpetual isolation, save for work and required events.  (Yes. I am slightly given to extreme shifts in thought.  Go figure.) 

Today, I was out most of the day.  Near the end of the day, several members of my church went to the park for a barbecue.  What a large amount of meat have I consumed today… 

I had a few moments of inner despair, but for the most part, it was an enjoyable, relaxing evening.  

The evening ended with an ice cream truck pulling through the park and me getting a blue Screwball ice cream.  Truth be told, I do miss the red ones, but this one was pretty good.  Really, I just wanted a Mickey Mouse bar, with the chocolate-covered chocolate ears, vanilla face, and chocolate mouth and eyes.  

But being able to proceed to the supermarket as a nearly 40-year old woman, with a blue tongue, kind of made it worth it.  

Bad Nerve Day

For some reason, I did not sleep for more than 4 hours from about Saturday to Tuesday last week.   Tuesday night,  I slept a little better. I woke up feeling fresh and ready to go on Wednesday morning! There was a training at work that morning, so I needed to be there early.  During the training, we had to do one of those group activities that everyone always loves.

When we were supposed to start, people just started grabbing materials and building a contraption for our egg.  (It was the egg drop game.)  Anyway, I wanted to take a moment to look at the materials and think of how it might be good to put them together.  One teammate said, “Um, you need to help!”  I was helping.  Just not in the way “they” did.  Did this snappy remark cut me to my core?  Yes.  Even with my good night of sleep.

When I did feel ready to offer input, I apparently did it too loudly for another teammate’s taste.  She looked at me dead in the face and said, “So, you’re just gonna tell everyone our business?”  I looked and waited for her to crack a smile.  Didn’t happen.

So, I spent the rest of the training feeling like a worthless human being.  Clearly, I knew this was not the case.  In fact, I also knew that they probably forgot their remarks as soon as they left their lips.  Doesn’t work like that for HSPs.  And certainly not for this HSP.

Shortly after the training, my supervisor said she wanted to talk with me.  She was kind of asking me to justify something I had requested of her.  Though there wasn’t a need to, I started crying while talking.  Last thing I wanted to do! So, here comes the “HSP talk.”  She did understand, and it was fine.  But this, along with two rude comments had already started eating away at my nerves.  There was a very thin layer between my nerves and the harsh elements by this point.

A few minutes after this, I ran into a coworker.  She asked me if I had spoken to someone from an agency that we work with.  I hadn’t, so she explained that there had been an accident near our workplace – and it was someone affiliated with our organization.  Ripped that last little protective layer right off!!

Fortunately, there were no other such irritants that day.  I probably would have had a breakdown.

Later, we got news that the victim of the accident was in stable condition.  Lots of broken bones, but bleeding stopped.  I gave up on feeling badly about the girls’ comments during the training.  And as I said, my supervisor and I were fine before we even finished our meeting.

Do you think my body got the memo that I was okay?  Do you think it said, “Okay, she’s fine now.  Nerves, retreat.”  Of course not!!!

Later into the evening, I still felt a cloud over me.  I still had tears in my eyes.  My body didn’t receive the message until the next morning, unfortunately.

Must find a way to recoup from rapid fire nerve irritants!  This is part of what made my previous job so hard for me.  There was always some sort of stimulus.  Not enough time to recuperate.  So, when it got really stressful, I had no layers left.  Not pretty.  Of course, at that time, I had no idea about any of this highly sensitive stuff.  I just thought I was “too touchy,” and something was just wrong with me.

Neurons are not meant to be exposed to wind, rain and sunshine.  You have to do what you need to do to keep those things covered up, people.  And if they get out, go out and  stay in and find something to cover them back up!  Like rest.  And quiet time.