*To be clear, I do not believe in normal. What is normal?
Through the years, as a means to survive, I’ve sculpted my social-media so that I don’t have to listen to a lot of otherwise very offensive stuff about the experience of those of us with extreme sensitivities, and iatrogenic and chronic illness. Still, because I care about some of the folks who continue to say insensitive, ignorant things about us, I do encounter it from time to time. In fact we cannot hide from the ignorance in the world about our experience and still live in the world and so I’m entering a phase of healing and learning that is helping me re-enter the world. That means facing such insults daily. Microaggressions against us is the norm. I plan to learn to be in this world and so I need to learn to metabolize such violent communication. Below I share my first attempt to do this with some clarity. I’m responding to someone I actually love very much who has been part of my social media scene for many years. He posted a status update dissecting those of us with chronic illnesses and hypersensitivities that included calling our experience hypochondriacal.
My response (this is a very early attempt, I intend to develop this mode of communication and SO MUCH is left out of this brief response…please feel free to add your own discoveries in the comments):
Calling these issues simple hypochondria is oversimplifying as well as making it clear you do not understand what is happening at all. These are gut and nervous system issues in general that take on many different flavors in different people that have very real physical underpinnings.
Oversensitivity and hypersensitivity is a real phenomena with too much data coming into our systems. Managing input becomes extremely important. For example (because he spoke to food issues in particular ): We discover that food and digestion cause overstimulation (along with all other inputs of daily living) and we further discover that certain foods cause more stimulation than others (having profound gut impairments do that). Most of us are not aware of the details because the overwhelm is daunting. Food is relatively easy to control as opposed to most other inputs. We become afraid and given professionals across the board do not know how to help us and we are told we are hypochondriacs, for example, the fear gets pretty bad. It helps somewhat to control input we discover and so we do. Sometimes it helps a lot. It doesn’t really matter how we control it once we start controlling it certain aspects of the experience calm down. The edges, so to speak.
We do become aware of phenomena on a finer level than most people. Of course there is so much din and cacophony that we also misinterpret some of our experience. We are no different from the rest of the human species in this way misinterpretation of experience is the norm.
Food is the easiest thing to control. And indeed we find there are differences between foods and how they interact with the gut and therefore make us feel. The gut hypersensitivity is real.
Anyway that is just a wee bit primer. I won’t be sharing all the other insights I’ve gleaned over the years in a forum that has framed the issue in an overtly hostile fashion. Whether or not you did that intentionally it’s the case. We have to deal with this kind of disrespect everywhere we go. I’m happy to discuss with you one-on-one what I have discovered if you are actually interested in hearing about it. There’s not very many places to discuss this openly even among those who are suffering because most of us don’t have the privilege to navel gaze for 10 years like I have so that this level of detail feels simply like another layer of chaos we cannot take in. That privilege of navel gazing has not been enjoyable however it has been extraordinarily revealing and has indeed lead to healing as well.
The sensitivity is real we all learn to manage it differently and have varying degrees of consciousness about exactly what’s going on. Many of us certainly have more of it than you do in this paragraph but there are very few places to share what we’ve come to understood even among ourselves.
Update: these are holistic broad-spectrum issues. EVERYTHING matters...and that includes trauma and early life experience etc. I stayed very small for the purposes of this response to this one man.
Update number two: my comments fell on deaf ears. This was heartbreaking as I considered this man a dear friend. Not exactly a close friend as he’s a social media friend but he has been for many years and I love him. This sort of thing is a blow to any of us. And it certainly didn’t make me feel good about my capacity to express myself when sharing with someone I care about so much. I offered to speak to this person I believed was my friend and there wasn’t even an interest in following up at all. It’s very sad.
More on hypersensitivy
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