In today's post I am sharing a playlist of mine that is my personal healer.
In all honesty I have been in a little funk this week, and I am trying my best to take care of myself and my needs. I did not want to leave my blog hanging, so I thought I would add something different!
For many of us, music is our savior. Now, maybe it's just my introvert self, but I typically enjoy car rides, or being cozy in bed listening to ballads and letting my mind wander. I know many who listen to some of my favorite songs and say "this sounds so sad." And yes, some of them are, but that doesn't mean I stop listening. To me, they are beautiful. There is something about acoustic piano that relaxes me. Songs with the most emotion tend to make my heart feel as if it is growing bigger as I listen. Sometimes, it isn't just the sound, it's the words.
I'm one of those guilty people who listens to a sad song when I am already feeling sad. It's not always because I want to be more sad, but I am searching for something that will express my feelings better than I am able to, in that moment.
Now let's talk about crying real quick-
Sometimes you just need a good cry, even if you don't know the reason you're crying.
My mom told me that as a child I once said,
Mommy, you know when you cry like a baby and then go, "ahh that felt good!"
Little Haley, I feel you.
Is an emotional release that we all need, yet many associate this release with being a weakness.
I personally struggle to cry in front of others. It is this coping mechanism where I immediately laugh or crack a smile and convince myself and others that I am okay. Those who have seen me cry know that I'm either really comfortable with you, or I'm really hurting. Even in counseling I hardly ever let a tear fall. If I need to, I hold it in until I leave. Sometimes I wish I could put those walls down in therapy, and it is something I am working on.
music creates a safe space for me to accept my feelings in privacy.
I am attaching my own playlist below to share. Not all music is for everyone, but I wanted to share some songs that I appreciate in tough times (especially in this funk), or when I'm just extra emotional and feel-y.
I'll turn to you as well!
help me build my playlist !
Any songs that are not on this list that I (may or may not) have heard that capture your feelings?
Comment below, hit the contact tab, or reach out over social media. I love exploring music that is new to me, that is special to you!
(and down the road I will share a finding confidence, or happy playlist as well.)
A quality I have picked up on, and a fault that I have, is my sensitivity to the reactions of others.
In social situations, I easily pick up on everything, if I sense a change in a person's facial expressions or tone of voice I am quick to internalize it. "Did I say something weird? Do they think I am annoying?" "Am I bothering them?"
Though, I do have the mindfulness to know not everything is directed towards me, and from my own experience, facial expressions do not always match what a person is feeling on the inside. They may just be thinking of something else, but aren't saying so because they are trying to be attentive.
Picking up on social clues can be a gift at times. I am aware of subtleties that others miss. I reflect deeply on what I observe. These can be referred to as "healing" qualities, so I feel good about that.
The majority of the time, I forget to think of this as a "superpower." I find it damaging to my self esteem and I assume the negative from these subtleties. Only, towards me.
"How long have you been doing this for?"
As long as I can remember. I was very sensitive to the emotions, reactions of others. As a 4 year old I remember being hard on myself, always assuming I did something wrong.
"Growing up did your parents praise you enough? Did you hear "good job, Haley?" "Do you believe your parents are proud of you?"
Yes, and I know they are.
Did something happen in your early years where you felt overly embarrassed, humiliated, after making a mistake? Something that might have contributed to this?
No..I don't think so.
With a psychological perspective, there is a reason for everything. People may expect these things are self-taught from an initial experience. Maybe it was, but there is also the chance that this quality of mine is inborn. And that- isn't considered to be "normal." It's not that it is abnormal, only it is hard for some to understand.
An article on FactHacker states:
You are not alone, but you are in the minority. There is a specific gene related to sensitivity carried by 15 to 20 percent of people. Also referred to as “empaths,” highly sensitive people often carry a big load of emotions and it can be tough for them. Really tough. If this is you, it does not mean you are a mess. It just means you are highly sensitive.
"That's interesting." my campus counselor said, after trying to find connections.
It was weird talking about these things because they have always been a part of my life, but It's not something I talk about. I think for moment I felt uncomfortable, it made me feel different. I know enough sensitive folk to tell me I'm not alone, but in today's world it's hard to find people who think that way. Many just don't talk about it, or normalize it, and that makes sensitivity feel like a weakness.
Now sharing the fun *sarcasm* piece of my past Monday:
After opening up about this self esteem fault, and intuitive sensitivity, I found myself absorbed in anxiety. Of course, it didn't hit me until after I left counseling. (my life)
My roommate walked in to find me having a breakdown that had been going on for almost an hour. Chest pounding, body shaking, and just waiting for the feeling to subside.
It wasn't that the appointment went badly. I don't think my body (I) liked being that vulnerable. I don't think I liked to admit how I can get overwhelmed easily, and often worry what others think of me.
I spoke of it using a lot of humor and sarcasm and made light of it, and I realize now how much of that was me coping. I suppose I left, and my body went, "ok, so can we throw the walls down..now?"
decisions, decisions part 2
I recently purchased this book, and it has been everything I have needed lately. The author is an INFJ herself, and in this book she explains what it means to be an empathic INFJ, techniques to apply to everyday living, and how to help you cope when life feels overwhelming. And much much more!
Sometimes I get confused. Is this me being depressed? Is this a chemical imbalance? Or is this just my empathic self who overwhelms easily in this fast paced world?
This book has been a little friend of mine, and a little toolkit to remind me what I need, and what I already have.
In my last post I wrote about overwhelming feelings I was having, and difficult decision-making.
I can now share that I have been accepted, and offered a position with City Year Orlando.
I am proud to have been offered a position in being a part of the AmeriCorps and the wonderful impact they make each year.
At the same time, it is a lot to think about.
If I accept the position, I will leave this July for Orlando. I will be finding roommates, a place to live for the year, and then begin training. Once the school year begins I will be commuting each morning to serve students in an Orlando city school. It will be long days, and hard work, and all worthwhile in the end. I will have holidays off, but ultimately will be in Orlando until I graduate the service year June 2018. With that, I will be taking a gap year, a service year. I have never taken a year off of classes, and though I know a lot of people do, it scares me. I like being on track. I know what I want to do, I know what classes I need to take, and I plan on receiving a degree in 2020 so I can go to grad school.
City Year will be an amazing experience- especially for me wanting to be a social worker. I know I will be challenged, and will grow from the experience.
But, of course, I am also feeling stuck. I see the pros and cons, and I have no gut feeling in either direction of my options. I am overthinking, yes, but I also have never had to make a decision like this before. The distance doesn't scare me. I chose Orlando as my top choice location. If accepted, I wanted to get as much out of it as I possibly could, and I want to experience living somewhere new.
I am scared I will have anxiety attacks, and that I'll want to come home. I am not a quitter. I have reached milestones this past year, but I still overwhelm easily with social phobia, and I do not appear outgoing and in-charge off the bat. City Year will help me become a leader, but the process to get there- scares me. I have made close friendships this year, I have supports when I need them, and I guess it scares me to have a year without those people by my side. I logically know I can do it, but the unknown is scary. Life is full of change and the unknowns and I am aware this will not be the last time I will ever feel this "stuck" with a choice.
My other option:
Continue my courses next year, (maybe) study abroad Spring 2018 or Summer 2018. I will still have counseling each week or every other week with a new counselor. (I don't know who yet)
I was also offered a position with the Samaritans after my interview. By next school year I can be volunteering with them (with training first) to be a part of their crisis-call/text center.
ALSO a good experience for someone who wants to be a social worker, and wants to do something to contribute to suicide prevention.
I am lucky to have been placed in Intro to Social Work my first year. I have gotten the ball rolling and that means next year I can really dive into my major. If I take a year off, I am putting all that on hold.
Last week I was, how to I put this- a mess. I am better now, but I have been moving forward and once I think back to making a decision I will probably panic again.
I have papers galore coming for the end of the semester, and with that I have been personal-writing less and less. This isn't a problem "for my blog" but a problem for me, who writes as a coping mechanism.
WITH THAT: I am committing to scheduled posts from now on. I may write other days of the week too, (like right now, Sunday) but I will always promise a post on a Wednesday short or long, informative, or venting- depending on the week.
my attempt at making this official and expressing my love for my new plant socks.
I have so many different routes I could be taking, and yet, I am overwhelmed having to choose one.
I want experience. I want to travel, get new perspectives, learn things I wouldn't have thought of myself.
I want to get out there and connect with people, and do the uncomfortable, so I can be a better person and social worker.
- I nailed an interview at a suicide prevention/crisis center. Once I get a schedule, I can begin training either next Fall, or next January.
- I have been looking into jobs for this summer. I so desperately want to be anywhere but home this summer. I was looking into working on the Vineyard, but I know my mom wants me to work around home so I can still go on our family vacation.
It's confusing being a college student. You're a young adult now and you are independent and can make your own decisions, but when you leave campus on breaks you realize everything isn't just be your call.
- I am also awaiting an acceptance to a program (I won't say what until it is official) where if I am accepted, I will be leaving mid July 2017 thru June 2018.
There is a reason why I applied, and I know it will be a great experience for personal growth, but I am also terrified.
Gone a year? I will miss my sophomore year completely- right after I have adjusted to this routine and these friends, and this school. With that..what if I won't graduate on time? I know it isn't that big of a deal to take a year off to do something else, but I like being on track.
If that happens- the volunteer crisis center, and the summer job are off the table and so is my sophomore year in Boston.
On another note- a mental health note- my year with my college counselor is coming to an end.
She is an intern, so after this year she's done at my school, and I will be working with someone else next year (If I stay.)
I knew this was coming, but now the spring semester is flying by and I have so few meetings left with her.
The good thing is- she is trying to set it up so I will not be placed with another intern again. She understands how difficult it would be to switch off from intern to intern and having them leave as we get connected and supported. I feel good about that, because I have become used to waving goodbye to my supports as my life takes a new route, and it is hard to re-tell your story to someone fresh each time.
I had a meeting with her yesterday and at the last few minutes I could feel myself shutting down. My vision was blurry, it was harder to fake looking "okay" and it felt like I had tunnel vision. My head felt heavy, and she picked up on the signs and asked me if I was okay. I smiled a little, nodded, and said "yeah" quietly. She then asked if I was overwhelmed and I said "yeah." I wasn't sure why, and that was the truth. It was just so many things at once. When I left, she said she was putting it in her notes to check in with me next week, so I should try and think what might have caused me to feel overwhelmed. I left muttering frustrated statements to myself down the hall. I got back to my dorm, pulled out my laptop and tried to write about what it might have been but I just started crying.
Was it that I had a few minutes left and I wanted it to last longer?
Was I worried about next week's appointment where she was going to be talking about the routine for ending the year with her?
Was I worried that I would cry?
It's weird to talk about, and I shake my head at myself, but I get attached to my support.
I remember when I was leaving for college and my therapist had said, "You won't be my client anymore" and I got back in my car and sobbed, completely misunderstanding what she meant.
It isn't just counselors. Teachers, friends that are older than I, nurses from my childhood memories. I look up to people. It feels so good when someone understands you, accepts you, enjoys your company. I have this weird need to be cared for, nurtured, held when this happens. Maybe not literally, but in a way. It doesn't make much sense to me. I have a loving family, it's not like I have never been nurtured. I am scared of being alone, but that makes no sense because I have so many people behind me, I know that.
I am scared to cry in front of her next week like I had with my therapist before, because I shouldn't. I shouldn't cry because that's just how it goes. So, she'll know I have a heart, and I'm human, and I care about her, and that's great, but that is just how the process works and I just need to keep moving forward.
You see, I know I am doing well, and I am not in the place I was a year ago where I must have counseling. I do like it though. It helps me to feel secure, and I crave that feeling I get when someone notices my strengths, and helps me to work thru and/or accept my weaknesses.
If I join the program next year, I won't have counseling at all.
aye yai yai
You can see why I am overwhelmed.
I struggle to make decisions because I see 8 sides to everything.
Whatever happens, I know it will work out in the end. I know that for sure. It always ends up being okay. I always end up being okay.
I've already established on here how I feel everything so deeply. Right now I have a mix of fearing too much, and loving/caring too much.
No, it isn't the worst thing, but I still need help managing these feelings so I don't end up so overwhelmed.
Any empaths, HSP, INFJ, etc : how do you manage big emotions? What helps you prevent getting overwhelmed by your feelings?
I posted this on March 3rd.
On March 6th TheMightySite reached out and asked my permission for them to post it on their account. One year ago I would still be in the hospital fist bumping the mental health workers as they told me I shouldn't worry, and I'd be out soon enough because I was working hard, participating in group, and doing what I was told.
The amount of comments I have received on both of my accounts have been overwhelming. Strangers from other blog accounts, people I went to high school with, people that are still in high school, people I am now in college with- all reaching out with a message or a commented heart emoji.
It is overwhelming to me. People from various ages and backgrounds. I appreciate how people see the good and the worth in it over all the craziness.
I received an email last night from a girl from Canada, who will be celebrating her "1 year" in October 2017. She was surprised at how much she related to myINFJ post and wondered if I had brought it up to a counselor/therapist because the "type is prone to depression."
I thought about it. It seems complicated, and difficult to understand. Of course, I put in the effort to decipher what exactly those letters mean and how they affect me. How do I help someone else understand though? At the same time, there is no need to be ashamed of who I am, so finding ways to manage its weaknesses wouldn't be such a bad thing. We all have our own.
"Prone to depression" shouldn't mean I will just be depressed, because my personality type says as an empath I overwhelm and burn out easily. It is a "heads up" so I can work on these things so I: do not get burnt out, I can learn self care young, and so I can do a field perfect for me, like social work.
As a kid, my happiest times were when my head was in the clouds.
I guess I was different. I wasn't commonly seen having friends over playing basketball or braiding each other's hair. I liked being with friends, but sometimes I just couldn't wait to be home. I loved to be outside, in the woods, alone. Maybe it was considered "weird" to have the woods as your best company. Maybe it was weird to pretend a certain open space was your home and picturing where your bedroom would be and what it would look like there. Maybe it was weird to talk to yourself as you wandered.
All I know is that when I think back, I remember being very happy.
I grew up, I had bigger things to focus on, and I spent less time daydreaming.
The me that I know best, craves the outdoors, craves alone time, and craves wide open spaces to sing in. I have been working on bringing that back into my life. While home on spring break I asked my step-sister to go hiking with me. She looked at me like I was crazy. "Hiking?" "It's 34 degrees out.."
I told her I was going with or without her. I had to promise her a hot chocolate to get her to come, but I was happy with the company.
I just remember thinking..I should do this more. My childhood home was so convenient for me. If I got mad or sad I could just walk straight through my backyard into the woods and that was what I needed to walk back in with a smile again.
That is my new goal: Spend more time in nature.
I have officially reached a full year of personal growth, and I can not explain the feeling.
Before spring break I met with my campus counselor one last time. We talked about my confidence and where the self doubt comes from. Maybe there isn't a particular reason for where it came from, but I do know it'll be great to have someone guide me as I work on accepting my (sensitive, old) soul, whatever you call it.
She's going to push me a bit, but I'm ready. All of this time I have been learning how to manage the anxiety and the depression, the family issues and such. The root of my mental health struggles has always been my self esteem even as a 4 year old in preschool. I guess I didn't think "confidence" was the biggest issue of mine to bring up in therapy. Now that things have dialed down, I can go back to working on the piece of me that has always been there deep inside.
I left that appointment so happy, I called my mom. I was so proud of myself, and I had to tell her that. I was proud that I brought it up. It was in writing, but it still opened a conversation. I pushed past my fear that it wasn't important or it was stupid or other crazy thoughts I had about it. Finally I could walk out with a smile and comfort knowing the next time I go back I will have some hope.
When I was in the hospital, they saw me differently than the other kids. I had dreams, I wanted a future. I spoke of wanting to be a social worker and they could see that I had good qualities. I remember the one thing they said brought me to that place.. my confidence. I was scared, and I didn't think I could do it.
Now that I know I can, I can take steps back and work on digging through the beliefs I have planted inside me.
A Boston social work student, using writing for healing. Sharing the peaks and valleys of an empath's mental health journey.