Colour Sensitivity – Late Autumn – All Laid Bare!

tree laid bare

Hi,

I haven’t blogged much this year as life has been so crazy that I just didn’t know where to start!

In the last year and a half my life has been turned upside down and it all started when I realised I have a very strange experience of seeing colour and seasonal light change.  And just to make things a whole lot more complicated my son, who is 11,  has something similar but even more extreme!

Essentially we don’t seem to be seeing a balanced spectrum and when we don’t see a particular frequency well we can’t enjoy looking at a colour that has that frequency in it. For instance we have blue curtains in our lounge and they look OK to me in the summer when I can see clearly blue and green in the light. However in the winter I see less blue and so they appear more green. This imbalance sets off all sorts of nervous system symptoms that I am just not in control of.

The more I have unraveled this conundrum the more amazed and scared I have been. How do I live in the world when I can’t always engage with colour? ‘I must find solutions’ has been my constant thinking. I can dress according to the light and eat food according to the light. This has helped a lot. Then I have sorted out cupboards and drawers and nearly exhausted Ikea’s supply of Sockerbit white boxes! If I can’t see it, my heart can’t grieve over it! And finally we are neutralising our house and not leaving one stone unturned. I am even replacing 32 sockets (well, someone is!) with sockets that have no red on the switches. Our home isn’t going to be bland though. I still need the colours of wood and a few paintings but I need a lot of white – as long as it is the right white – and I can’t see blue, green or grey in it and my son can’t see red in it!

We don’t yet know how all of this will change our lives but every time something dark leaves our house and this week it was fourteen 60’s brown doors (!) I see my son look a little lighter and I feel a little lighter too. I used to find solace in a lot of colour and pattern. I thought I found it comforting but how wrong was I?

Comfort comes from being in the ‘right’ place with the ‘right’ things and the ‘right’ people. Transforming our home is going to be a big change but I think I am happy to relinquish the clutter and be laid bare!

Highly Sensitive People – An Appearance of Anxiety – A Confession!

 

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How frustrating it must be for people who aren’t highly sensitive to watch and try to interpret the behaviours of the highly sensitive!

My husband and I are always having a discussion about when is anxiety really anxiety when it comes to high sensitivity.

To discuss this here lets first define anxiety

A definition I found:-

“a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.”

I would add that when we are anxious we experience physiological changes in our bodies causing us to feel and think in a certain way.

A Story

The other day we took our son aplaca walking.  I knew I was allergic to horses so don’t go horse riding but I thought I would test out alpacas to see if I was ok with them.  I felt pretty good walking them so assumed I had no serious allergy. Then when we went back to the farm to return the alpacas, there was a horse standing between me and the alpaca enclosure! My first thought was “Oh if I get near the horse, it will nullify my alpaca allergy test.”  So I stopped in my tracks and expressed my concern. I didn’t feel I had much time so I knew I would need to send some anxiety signals to people. This is quite simple. I just make my movements jerky and my eyes big. Inside I was as calm as a cucumber but nobody knew! Having deliberately moved 4 paces back from the horse I then calmly suggested to my husband he go and enjoy his cup of tea while I sit in the car.

I often use this anxiety signal trick. I use it when my husband says he is going to clean the bathroom sink with caustic soda! He says it has no smell but he clearly doesn’t have my brain! I have to alert him quickly that there is a problem and get him to take it seriously. My son uses this trick and probably learnt it from me. If a window is open and my son feels a fly may come in, he feels he has very little time to get the desired result of me closing the window. He has to react now and it has to be dramatic. “Oh no, the window – close it!” he squeals at the top of his voice. Or “Just get that crust off my plate!” He knows the crust won’t hurt him but something about it makes him uncomfortable so he has to send a signal.  I know essentially he is calm because two seconds later he is smiling and chatty.

So my secret is out!! Me and my son turn up the drama deliberately to get our needs met. I don’t think this is dishonest though. It comes from a place of desperation, a sense of knowing just how hard it is for us to live in the world with all the sensory stimuli around us. And it saves us lots of explanations and lots of words and lots of time.

So next time you see a highly sensitive person seemingly over-react,  look deep into their soul. Are they really anxious or are they just sending an anxiety signal to get the help they need?

 

What is Really at the Heart of Adult Separation Anxiety?

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I have always suffered with separation anxiety and still do as an adult but slowly slowly I am finding my way through the complex maze that is this condition.

For me the anxiety is that bad that I haven’t wanted my husband to go out to the corner shop or the doctors without me. I have trailed along here, there and everywhere because I have been too afraid to be by myself. 

I have wanted to change but just haven’t been able to make that first step. 

But this year I decided to have a play with the anxiety, to try to test its boundaries and get inside it to find its heart. 

The first thing I decided to do was to make sure my husband recognises it as a real problem. If we run out of onions and he says “I could always go up the corner shop  but there again you probably won’t let me out.” then we have lost before we have started.  In the same way if he goes out and comes back 10 minutes later and I say I struggled and he laughs because to him it is funny to miss someone in such a short time, then we have no where to go from here. I feel humiliated and guilty and the pattern starts once more.  I must say at this point that my husband is possibly the kindest man on the planet so if he has misunderstood my needs I know it is because he is human.

So . . I explained to my husband that the anxiety is obviously a problem, otherwise we would have had a very different lifestyle a long time ago. 

Next I decided on a realistic step. When I look out of my work room at home I can see into the next street (a gap between some houses) and by road this a 10 minute walk from our house. I thought it would be fun if my husband walked to that spot and then waves at me. We tried to add the fun of the tracker on his phone but unfortunately we couldn’t get this to work. My husband left the house, I timed 10 minutes and then sure enough there he was waving at me from our chosen spot. 

How did I feel in those 10 minutes? Empowered, confident, happy!

Where do I go from here? I don’t know yet? I gave up guilt when I admitted I had the condition and so there is no standard to achieve for me to feel good enough. We will go where the adventure takes us.

The important elements in taking that first step were HONESTY, SINCERITY, KNOWING AND ASKING FOR MY NEEDS, PLAYFULNESS . . . AND BEING PREPARED TO MOVE FORWARDS ONE STEP AT A TIME!

So . . what is at the heart of separation anxiety . . . . I think, a feeling that you are silly because you don’t like being by yourself!

 

Who Shall I be? ME – just ME!

flowerI have always wanted to BE something. I thought if I could just BE something then I would feel ok about myself and others would be happy with me.

So what should I be? Shall I be the music teacher as I have a musical gift? Should I be the artist as I have a desire to express my childlike spirit? Should I be a healer so I can feel part of other people’s positive change? What shall I be?

ME – just ME!  The person who gets up in the morning and says to God “What shall I do today?” The person who looks out of the window and gets carried away with seeing a flock of crows perched on the branches of our big tree or the pounding of the rain on our driveway . . .the person who may pick up a musical instrument only if it feels ok to feel the strings, sense the rhythm and hear the tones TODAY  . . .the person who is looking for a hug and kind words by 10:00 in the morning . . . the person who finds the green of the grass too bright some days, doesn’t like crowds or parties and loves chocolate truffles . . the person who likes to scoot around the park wearing her purple coat and summer beanie. . . the person who loves to help others when her own world is calm and organised enough for her to do so . . . 

Who should I be? – ME – just ME!