Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sugar Addiction and the Sensitive

This morning I checked Yahoo news to see what was up in the world. There was a local article about 1000, yes that was the number, 1000 trees that were going to be taken out to make room for a new overpass here in Portland. 1000 lives, 1000 homes for critters, 1000 sources of oxygen for all other living creatures, all lost so traffic can move a little more smoothly. I don’t know for sure but I suspect no one in the Oregon Dept of Transportation sees those as lives. I began to weep.
I’ve known for decades that I am a sensitive, someone who feels things more strongly, my own emotions, those of others, the suffering of the world. And for more than five decades I’ve used sugar, and then alcohol, and then sugar again to put a buffer between me and those feelings. As my heart ached for those trees, I felt a surge of panic. How am I now to buffer myself against all the suffering?
From clinical studies done, an estimate 15% of people are sensitives; some believe we are born this way, others that it is the result of early trauma. Either could be true in my case. I’ve met lots of sensitives—they’re often in recovery from drugs or alcohol, they’re often spiritual seekers, they’re often artists or other creatives. We’re loners because the world gets to be too much for us; we avoid conflict and anger because it paralyzes us; we’re highly observant of details and small changes that go right by other people; we sometimes feel raw and exposed and battered by the world. No wonder we seek comfort in substances.

I wrote in my journal about this for a while, then went to the gym, came home to breakfast and a shower, started my work day. But I was just putting off my feelings. I tried to sit with it, to really feel my anguish but it became more than I could handle and so I got busy again. I didn’t eat, but I’m not sure whether that’s a victory or not. I’ll see my spiritual director tomorrow and we will have much to talk about it.

3 comments:

Jan Shannon said...

Boy, can I relate to this. I know my own sensitivity is the reason I began using drugs and alcohol at age 11. I seemed to be the only one in my family feeling anything, so I felt for all of us.

And TREES...oh my god...once I had a landlord that had a tree cut in my front yard. The impact shook the whole house, and I sobbed hysterically for an hour. And there are more tree stories. I completely get it.

Sending you love and comfort...may a balm of peace lay upon your heart.

Amy L Livingstone, M.A. said...

Thank you, Jill from all we sensitives. I've been told there is an actual name or category for us. HSP or hyper-sensitve persons. Perhaps we should start a group! You have been in my thoughts and prayers as you journey through this time of letting go of the sugar. I see in you your strength, too and know you can do this. Your soul is asking you to take this pilgrimage home to your true self which is one of grace and beauty--and pure love. You are sensitive to our beloved earth and all her creatures because you love that deeply. You are blessed and held by so many of us including the great mother of us all, Mother Earth. aho. Love, Amy

Phoebe said...

I can totally identify with this. Sometimes, I curse my empathic nature. Yet it is my nature. I've spent years trying to numb myself, to deny and ignore my feelings. All the while still feeling them, still trying to reach out to other beings, if only with my mind and heart.

I see this same tendency now in one of my nieces, and I know I need to learn to treat myself better. She needs a positive example. No one else in my family seems to "get it."

For me, salty and fried foods are my poison. I stay away from alcohol because I see the dangers, but it wasn't always that way.

Wishing you well on your journey, Jill.