Category Archives: Emotional Sensitivity

Loving the Inner Child

I have been aware of the need to love the inner child for many years , through my own reading and research on how to overcome my childhood issues. It is only in the last few months that I have really noticed a difference in the way I have related to this part of myself in a more loving, nurturing way.

About a month ago, I purchased some new piano music to try after streaming the album online. I picked a few pieces and found them to be extremely difficult. I usually pride myself on spending lots of time working through difficult pieces to improve my playing, but these were so difficult as to not really provide much pleasure in even small improvements. At first I found myself exceptionally angry and frustrated.

“I should be able to play it!”

“Why can’t I play it?!”

“I must be a lot worse at piano than I thought!”

“I’m so rubbish. I’ll never be good enough.” (Notice how this then became a generalisation to my whole self!)

By this point I was really grumpy and about to let the frustration spoil my evening, so I decided to take myself off into our bedroom to meditate, to see if I could work through this.

Well, very quickly after relaxing into meditation I became aware of the barking voice of my old deputy headmistress from my primary school-

“You stupid child, why can’t you do it? Everybody else can do it, why can’t you? Are you an idiot?”

These words were never directed at me, but there were a certain few classmates who bore the brunt of the abuse over the years. She was an absolute dragon! I’d honestly forgotten about her, but during this meditation I realised my inner child hadn’t! She was still absolutely terrified of her, and had taken on the belief that she must be absolutely flawless to avoid this type of verbal attack. She was devastated for her classmates, but also just terrified by the insane rage of this woman. My inner child thought that this was normal and what was deserved. She didn’t know that this kind of verbal attack was abusive, and cruel, and that the only one in the wrong was the headmistress.

I honestly felt true compassion for my inner child in that moment. I wanted to protect her and shout back at the headmistress. I knew I was capable of being just as fierce! I wanted to pick up little Rachel, and comfort her. So in my mind I did. I told her that she was in no way deserving of this kind of bullying, that she was loved and protected, she had done absolutely nothing wrong, and the headmistress was a cruel human being who would probably lose her job now. The primary school was a very strict Catholic school and was big on the shaming approach. You will go to hell if you’re disobedient- that kind of thing. That seriously screws you up when you’re so young, sensitive, and vulnerable. There were also incidents of teachers smacking misbehaving kids over their knee in front of the whole class. I remember this clearly. We were only 4 or 5.

This might sound trivial to some people, but being such a highly sensitive individual, and so desperate to please everybody, I was extremely affected. No wonder I always want to be so bloody perfect at art and music, and life in general. The headmistress’s bullying voice became my own bullying voice, in a bid to protect myself from public shaming. If I could bully myself into the desired behaviour/performance/achievement, then I would get there before the she would- hence avoiding a verbal assault in front of my peers.

Anyway, after soothing my inner child whilst in meditation, I did start to feel much more loved, calmer, and I cared much less about the difficult piano pieces. Insanely difficult. I was expecting too much, and reminded myself of the other hard pieces I had learned, and how much I loved playing them. Loving playing is the most important part.

I was proud of myself for noticing my anger that evening, and for having the presence of mind to stop myself, and say “hey, let’s sort this out before it ruins the whole evening. What is going on here that is making me feel so angry? How am I treating myself?”

I am grateful that some higher guidance hooked me up with a very good reason why I was feeling so much fear, and that I was able to soothe my inner child. To begin to feel this kind of protectiveness for her, this love and compassion, is quite a breakthrough for me, so I am very thankful! I’m sure there will be much more work with her to come!

Emerging Shadow Aspects of the Soul

Working with shadow parts is always something that makes me feel apprehensive, even though I know it shouldn’t as it is just the lower vibrational aspects of our soul arising to be released.

It is scary when I find out things about myself that I really don’t like. Knowing that they need love and healing helps a little. Also observing them rather than attaching to them helps to quell any judgement of myself that naturally stirs.

Just because we know how we don’t want to feel or be, doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t feel those things or have those aspects in our personalities.

Recently I’ve been noticing cowardly parts of myself. Actually that’s quite a judgemental word, I think I prefer fearful. I’ve noticed that I am far too happy to stay indoors and away from people in light of the current coronavirus outbreak. Things have just ramped up a notch here in the UK, and we’re now told to only go out for essential purposes.

At the moment this hasn’t bothered me one bit. I love being at home, it’s peaceful to me, and in my current recovery from Coeliacs Disease I still have little energy (an earlier boost a few weeks ago has unfortunately subsided). I am an introvert at heart, but one who needs and loves being around people in small doses.

The new imposed limits in contact have awoken in me a realisation that I am greatly relieved to have an excuse not to socialise. Like seriously relieved! This really surprised me. I’ve always been aware that I’m very socially anxious, but I didn’t realise by how much, or how much it has been affecting me.

What scares me so much about socialising with other people?

I find it all too intense. Other people’s energy seems very “loud” if that makes any sense to you? I feel very overwhelmed by it very quickly. At some point I even questioned if I have Aspergers. I certainly fit some of the criteria, but not enough for a diagnosis I don’t think.

The overwhelm doesn’t just come from the other people, but also the environment we are in: noise, visuals, other energies around us.

But even in a peaceful environment, one-on-one with a friend, I can only manage a small amount of time before I feel overstimulated.

I am constantly aware of how the other person sees me, perceives, judges. I am constantly monitoring myself and them for signs of doing something socially inappropriate or upsetting to someone.

No wonder I get so overstimulated, and fearful also. I put myself under a microscope and am super-conscious of everything I do.

Exploring my fear has helped me judge myself less. I almost feel I am observing a frightened child, one who hasn’t managed to learn how to accommodate her sensitivities, and judges herself harshly for not fitting in, and not wanting to socialise. It feels easier to be kinder and compassionate towards her.

I find online friendships helpful. They create a little bit of distance and I like that I can reply in writing, which I can take more time over, and am not in a situation I find pressurising.

This social anxiety has greatly impacted my ability to hold down a regular job, coupled with bipolar. I think when the anxiety is all the time, everyday at a job, and I am constantly exhausted from it, that is when the mood swings kick in and bipolar cycles begin and escalate.

I wonder if part of me, maybe part of my ancestral karma, is extremely judgemental of mental illness. It shocks me to think so, but I feel emotional at this realisation, which makes me think there is some truth in it.

It’s slightly horrifying seeing as mental health conditions are so rife in my family.

Perhaps we have ancestors or past lives that involve severe judgement or abuse of the mentally ill. Of course I seriously hope not, but there is definitely part of me that judges myself harshly for not being “normal” (I don’t see others’ mental health issues in this way at all) and sometimes I think I do bully myself. I feel ashamed that I’ve always found adulthood extremely difficult- dealing with a job, plus housework, cooking, washing etc. In fact the last three alone I find challenging enough.

I feel ashamed when people ask me “so what do you do Rachel?”. I never know what to say really. I don’t have a job. At the moment I don’t use my time very wisely either- too much TV and internet, not enough writing, art, piano and flute. I think I do try and bully myself into doing them, which inevitably makes me not want to do them. I’m extremely judgemental of myself when I do participate and am a perfectionist. Not much fun!

Then on top of all that I feel like I’m putting myself into a position of powerlessness by attaching to beliefs about being a victim.

I just can’t win! 😂

So, it would appear I need to do a whole lot of release of judgement, and a whole lot of forgiveness. I know these things take time, and it happens in baby steps. I’ve identified the problem, so now I can do something about it by being much more compassionate with myself, much kinder and gentler. One step at a time.

It’s funny. I asked my husband once what he most loved about me and he said that I am kind and caring. Not to myself it would seem, but hopefully I will be able to turn those qualities inwards.

N.B It has occurred to me that just by acknowledging and accepting our shadow qualities, we are being courageous.

Empaths

Learn more about Empaths- are you intensely sensitive?

 

Related Posts

The Empath: Extreme Sensitivity

Bipolar: Your Mood May Not Be Your Own

Absorbing Other’s Energy

Divine Light Meditation– use this meditation to clear and ground your energy.

Resources

The Empath’s Survival Guide by Judith Orloff

 

The Empath: Extreme Sensitivity

ID-100126946A few years ago I wrote a guest post about Bipolar Disorder and High Sensitivity for the website Mental Health Talk.

It’s been interesting to read it back to myself. I realise I’ve changed my views slightly since then- mainly that I no longer see bipolar disorder as an illness:

“From here onwards in my blog I am going to use the term “Bipolar Disorder” only to describe behaviours that have been grouped accordingly by psychiatrists. So the term will henceforth appear in italics. I no longer believe I have Bipolar Disorder, but am a completely whole individual, 100% healthy, but who just requires a different lifestyle to maintain balance.”

From my blog post Abraham Hicks Part 1: Bipolar Disorder

I believe I was diagnosed as bipolar due to the fact that I am extremely sensitive and it is this which has caused major life challenges for me, coupled with reaction to chronic trauma throughout my infancy through to adulthood.

I definitely relate to Elaine Aron’s perception of the Highly Sensitive Person: somebody who is more sensitive to stimulation from environmental cues, as well as more easily overwhelmed. For more in depth discussion on this, please see my article Bipolar Disorder and High Sensitivity.

But I’ve also never felt that this fully describes the deeper extreme sensitivity that I feel. The only term I’ve ever found to explain this is Empath.


PeacockEmpaths: Energy Sensitivity.

My understanding of the term Empath is a person who is extremely sensitive to the emotions and energy of other people and the environment.

Being a Highly Sensitive Person or HSP, has never explained how I can become overwhelmed by somebody else’s sadness or joy. I don’t just imagine it, I feel it. It’s as if I can merge myself with them and actually feel the emotion they are going through.

Without an awareness of this, therefore no skills or training in managing this energy sensitivity, it is no wonder that I got diagnosed as having bipolar disorder as my emotions were all over the place!! I could take on suicidal depressions, raging anger, irritability- any emotion and it probably didn’t originate from me!

It is not just being around an angry person that may cause me to feel their anger- which I often experience as a very fearful defence. Anger or any emotions can hang around in the environment. For example- if work colleagues in a meeting have just had a heated discussion about an issue that has generated frustration and anger- the anger and intense emotions can hang about as a cloud of energy in the room. So when I enter the room I immediately feel the intensity and chaos of emotion- it’s like the molecules in the air change. That’s how it feels to me.

Learning to defend myself against these energies and protect myself is a massive ongoing project. A big part of this is clearing my energy so that I release any energy that does not belong to me. It’s kind of like an energetic shower! Since working on these skills, I have noticed a definite improvement in my mood changes and ability to remain balanced and peaceful.

In my opinion there are many people out there who experience energies in this way who have no idea that they are being affected massively by other people’s emotions. They turn up in doctor’s offices with depression and anxiety that could be cleared and managed on an energetic level. It is empowering to realise you can take back control of your emotional experiences, rather than experiencing your emotions as out of control and running away with you.

Empathy as a GiftID-10023748

Once on the road to managing and balancing energetic sensitivity, it is possible to use this skill in a way that helps other people. Being able to feel how somebody else is feeling, but also being able to clear it away when necessary, can help you relate to somebody else’s experience and help you develop as an effective counsellor.

But it can be taken further to a psychic level.

As well as experiencing the energy of other people, you may be able to read their aura. It is possible to get a sense of what they like, what is going on in their life, what they spend their time thinking about etc. You may receive visual images or words in your mind, or feel a sense of what they are like as a person.

This is not only possible with living people, but we also pick up on energy of beings in spirit. We may receive images/thoughts/feelings from spirits who may be trying to communicate with us, or again, they may leave an environment in a cloud of feeling, like anger or fear. Think of visiting an old haunted house- any feelings of the place being creepy and unnerving are completely valid, as the spirit is likely to be fearful or angry.

As well as more negative energies, we can also communicate with higher energies- those in spirit who are peaceful and loving, as well as guides, and angel energies. This is such a beautiful experience and so worth developing and spending time on. I’ll definitely write more this in future as it is an important part of my life now. There are many benefits to connecting with loved ones in spirit, as well as guides- you receive so much love and support, as well as guidance and wisdom. To know we are not alone and are always supported and championed is so comforting and uplifting!

We learn to control who we interact with through intention. I always have the intention to work with the higher energies only. This can lead us to become really great healers.

But again, if you have been picking up on the energies of spirits as well as the living- no wonder your emotions are rocked around tumultuously!

ButterflyIs an Empath born or made?

I don’t know for sure!

My understanding is that we can be born highly sensitive. Due to that sensitivity we may be more likely to experience events and daily living (that other people cope with easily) as traumatic, or experience extreme trauma. Trauma would then increase our sensitivity as we are always ‘switched on’, scanning the environment for potential trouble so that we are able to control what we can in order to avoid any threat- for example, conflict. This is called hypervigilance. We are so tuned in to other people’s wellbeing, emotions, and our environment that we are basically practicing being even more sensitive without realising. We become so good at it that we enter the realms of being an empath.

So basically I think that Highly Sensitive People are born, and that trauma can create an empath from a Highly Sensitive Person.

This is just a theory that feels right to me.

To me it explains why I have found it so difficult to function in the world. Everybody else seems to get along with life so easily, whilst I have felt tossed about by every little thing in the environment. But knowing that I can have mastery over this energy sensitivity is so empowering. I can take back control and learn to use this as something positive in my life.

Being labelled as bipolar is so disempowering, that suddenly realising that actually you are experiencing energies as an empath can feel very exciting! Due to our sensitivity it could trigger a burst of positive high vibration energy, which is important to manage through your awareness of it, by staying grounded, and working on staying peaceful and centred. More on this in a future post!

It is easy to see being an empath as something quite special, which it is, but it does not mean we are in any way better than anybody else. Some people are good at carpentry, some at sport, we’re good at being empaths!

There is so much more to this topic which I’d like to explore in future!

Related Posts

Bipolar Disorder and High Sensitivity – my guest blog post on Mental Health Talk.

Bipolar: Your Mood May Not Be Your Own – guest post on Mental Health Talk.

Absorbing Others’ Energy – a fascinating and very useful video by Ralph Smart.

You’re So Sensitive

Hypomania and Grounding

Depression and Grounding

Grounding for Emotional Wellbeing – a video featuring a meditation exercise to help you to ground yourself.

 

 

 

 

Grounding for Emotional Wellbeing

Related Posts

Depression and Grounding

Hypomania and Grounding

External Sites

Why Grounding is Difficult for Highly Sensitive People

 

 

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Please sign up for Emerging Proud: Coming Out of the Spiritual Closet.

Related Posts

Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening

Bipolar Disorder: A Spiritual Perspective for 2013

Bipolar Disorder and Highly Sensitive People- My guest post on Mental Health Talk

What is Bipolar Disorder: Abraham Hicks- A Conversation

 

Highly Intuitive People

Highly Intuitive People- CoverMy mind feels almost as slow as my body today, but I still managed to get some interesting reading done: Highly Intuitive People by Heidi Sawyer, which I feel I really relate to.

I think those of us who are highly intuitive-sensitive types are probably more prone to bipolar disorder symptoms. (Please see my guest post for Mental Health Talk: Bipolar Disorder and High Sensitivity for more on this topic).

Jiva

The chapter “Cope With Others and Their Power Struggles” has some interesting thoughts about how we use our energy.

Sawyer talks about us having an aura, the energetic carrier of all that we are as a human soul- our Jiva (sanskrit word for the immortal essence of a living thing).

As our true essence, Jiva can be weak or strong depending on how much we are in connection to our true selves/our own identity. It builds confidence and self-esteem.

Building Jiva increases our emotional strength and healing capacity- surely a strong tool in coping with bipolar disorder or mental dis-ease of any kind.

We can strengthen Jiva by releasing negativity and anything else that drains us energetically. We can do the things we truly love, which light us up and connect us with who we truly are.

By strengthening our Jiva, we have a stronger sense of self, of our own identity, and need less the approval of others. We are less likely to take on others’ cares and worries on an energetic level to please them or make them ‘feel better’. We are also less likely to be rocked by criticism and disapproval in general. We approve of ourselves and that’s all we need.

59267cezgcextwlThe Need to Please Others- Narcissistic Families

Many of us may feel we have to please others (see People-Pleasing), and pressure ourselves into adjusting our behaviour to feel we are approved of by whoever we are with.

This is how we’ve been taught to behave throughout our childhood, often within a narcissistic family. We learn to walk on eggshells and keep the peace- this became our identity, a strong part of which was to ignore and neglect our own needs. Survival of the family- which is inherently damaged through various traumas- becomes priority, even over being true to ourselves and our own identity.

Our Jiva has become weak through our developmental stages. We let people walk all over us, give too much energy to others, make others more important than ourselves- this is how we have learnt to survive. It is not our fault.

ID-10046699Creating a Happy Life

But we can change things. We can have a happier life where we feel in control of what is happening to us, of how our life pans out. We’ve been taught that we aren’t worthy of a happy life. But we are!

We can create our own life! We don’t need the approval of others’, it is safe for us now to be our true selves.

We lived in a family system where the only means of survival was to submit our identities to become what our parents’ wanted us to be. We could not have emotions or needs- because they were too inconvenient to our parents, or caused significant anxiety. We could be emotional caretakers and counsellors, best friends, even to some extent surrogate spouses. We gave up our energy, our true selves. We did it to survive. (Because as a small child, it really is about survival- who will take care of your needs if you are abandoned by your family?)

We don’t need to do this anymore.

MoonThe Terror of Being Our True Selves

You’d think it would be easy to overcome this- once we realise it is safe to live the life we want to create. But I’ve found many challenges already- mainly fears of stepping away from the safety of the identity I was given.

To me it feels terrifying to identify and take care of my needs- it goes against everything I was taught, everything that is my current identity, everything that has helped me to survive a narcissistic family system. It sounds silly, but I still feel extremely anxious if I sit down and draw- “I’m being too selfish”, “I should be spending my time helping other people”, “it’s a childish pastime”.

Releasing these beliefs that have kept me alive within my family is terrifying! We still have that belief deeply ingrained that we must be that which we’ve been moulded into, in order to survive.

But it’s worth it!

When we can do the things in life that light us up- for me drawing, writing, painting, walking in nature, taking care of myself nutritionally, being with my loved ones and my dog- we strengthen our jiva. We are doing things that make us happy!

Strong Jiva will keep us energised. We will not feel the need to give others our time and energy. We will not be manipulated by others. We can identify our own needs and put ourselves first. Our health will improve.

ID-10095922In relation to bipolar disorder.

So part of me wonders if my current downward swing into very low energy is because I’ve been giving too much energy to others, denying myself who I truly am, and denying my emotions. I haven’t been taking care of my needs. I think this is very likely the case and perhaps is the pattern of bipolar disorder as a set of symptoms?

We find our creativity, our true self, become highly energised by this- perhaps to a hypomanic/manic state. We enter a frenzy of creativity/spirituality/ideas, but deny anything that may be anxiety-provoking. We keep busy-busy-busy to push any fears that arise as far away as possible. The upward spiral continues. But this is exhausting and the inevitable energy slump hits hard. We then experience all the emotions we were denying- guilt, shame, fear, and become deeply depressed. We have betrayed our ‘false self’ which kept us alive. This feels devastating at a soul level.

It’s just a theory- but it makes some sense to me at the moment, and I think it could be a part of helping me to understand how I can improve things for myself.

 

Related Articles

People- Pleasing 

Bipolar Disorder and Highly Sensitive People– Guest post on Mental Health Talk.

Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening

Absorbing Others’ Energy

The Narcissistic Family

Was Part of Your Childhood Deprived by Emotional Incest?

Confessions of an Ex-Narcissist

Book: Highly Intuitive People by Heidi Sawyer

 

 

The Light Sanctuary

ID-10023748Visit the new sister site of Emotional Wellness, The Light Sanctuary– a website dedicated to spirituality.

Spirituality and working with energy have helped me so much to manage my Bipolar symptoms and high sensitivity that I wanted to dedicate a completely new blog to the topic.

 

Blog For Mental Health 2014

In the spirit of contributing to mental health awareness and lessening stigma, I would like to take part in this year’s Blog For Mental Health campaign as initiated by A Canvas of The Mind.

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”  

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Panic Disorder in 1998 at the age of 18, when I left home for university. Since then I’ve been through many ups and horrendous downs, but I am less inclined to call myself Bipolar, as I believe the symptoms I’ve experienced have been, in part due to my innate extreme sensitivity, as well as a reaction to life events, beliefs, and choices I’ve made which have taken me away from being my true self. I also believe that I am getting more and more healthy and that a diagnosis is NOT a life sentence.

Through learning to love and accept myself increasingly for who I am, and putting my own needs first, I am moving forward in life. The aim of my blog is to share insights and wellness tools which work for me, in the hopes that they will help others. Many of these tools are of a spiritual and energetic basis through meditation and the consistent use of Bach Flower Remedies (in addition to my medication), as well as through personal development which is ongoing and includes reframing beliefs, thoughts and perception of life.

For more information please see my posts:

Bipolar Disorder: A Spiritual Perspective for 2013.

Bipolar Disorder As Spiritual Awakening

Twilight Fantasy

Twilight Fantasy- Copyright Rachel Miller.
To view more of my artwork, please click on the category at the top of the page.

For more information about , please see my blog posts:

Bipolar and Sensitivity: Guest Post on Mental Health Talk

High Sensitivity

Managing High Sensitivity

You’re So Sensitive

More posts are accessible by using the search facility and entering “High Sensitivity” or through the “High Sensitivity” category.