Being a blogger sharing women empowering stories makes me feel extremely blessed when I come across women like Sammy I met Sammy on Instagram was really impressed by her posts on women empowerment. I was taken aback when I got to know about the painful story she has behind her. Samira is just 20 years old. She is a graphic
designer. She loves of all kinds of arts including music and loves to spend her time in nature. She describes herself as a diverse thinker, a goodwill empath and a dreamer with a fierce approach to life. Read her extremely inspiring and heart-breaking story here in own words.
Being Sensitive is not an Insult
Content warning: Mention of abuse and topics surrounding suicide.
Hi, my name is Sammy and I am a highly sensitive woman (aka HSP = Highly Sensitive Person). I survived prolonged trauma of a turbulent home and abuse which resulted in my complex mental illnesses. This is my story and what I learned from all of this.
First I will tell you about the negative parts of my life as an HSP:
The very first memory I have is feeling helplessly overwhelmed by my highly sensitive experience of the world and it’s reality. I have suffered unbearable strong emotions since I can remember. I was a very self-conscious person right from the beginning. Already as a child, I knew how much of a struggle being alive is, but I always did my very best as much as I possibly could. The difference from my child self to my adult self is simply that back then I didn’t have the words to describe all of it.
One of my first ever memories of being social with other humans is being misunderstood in anything and everything I said, did and tried to express. A situation I remember clearly, during pre-school playgroup, is how one of these kids told me that I’m “weird” and that they don’t want to play with me. This is a word that people used to describe me, again and again, countless times my whole life.
People might say that I overreacted and that I’m “just sensitive”.. and they’re not wrong. I am highly sensitive and my head always paints a very dramatic image in my head of everything I experience. But I didn’t choose to be this way… I truly can’t help it. Words cause me high emotional pain and hurt me physically. Even if I don’t care for the person being mean to me their words will make me tense up so badly that my whole body hurts afterward. I can get headaches, dizziness, coughing, joint pain, and many other physical symptoms just from emotional pain. It was always hard for me to socialize.
For the sake of my struggle to explain myself I had my parents, teachers, friends, … repeatedly invalidating me ’cause of being overwhelmed with me and my, to the outside seemingly melodramatic, mental breakdowns. No one including me knew what being a “highly sensitive person” means. To me being misunderstood and being told I’m “mean”, “evil”, “weak”, “lazy”, … when I’m just always trying my best to communicate my unbearable emotions caused me the most intense pain imaginable.
All of these overwhelming strong experiences caused me to build up an emotional wall as a way to shield myself.. a wall but not in a good way. It made me dissociate and die inside. This made me develop more and more inability to control my emotions. I was only either losing all control, over bottling up too much pain and feeling everything intensively or being stone cold and dead inside from building this wall.
All of this pain would’ve been manageable for me if I didn’t have to endure trauma on top of it. I will now tell you about one of these traumas, please be careful with reading it because it can be
- Triggering to sexual abuse survivors (skip to “These are the positive parts of my life as an HSP” if you don’t want to read it)
One of my first traumatic memories is sexual abuse. I was 6 / 7 years old. In kindergarten, there was this kid that would try to befriend everyone, especially girls. This kid would try hard to make me laugh at his jokes and make me trust him. And since I was very naive back then when it comes to trusting people I believed the things he said without a doubt. Soon he would start manipulating me (guilt-tripping was one of his methods) into doing sexual things with him I didn’t want to do.
Many times stuff like this would happen, but one occasion stuck with me the most: when I was invited over to his house he would pressure and guilt trip me into exposing myself to him (being naked) and touching his private parts… I won’t go into detail on what else happened after that since It is very graphic. He was a person I highly trusted and he took advantage of that. That evening is the first clear memory I have of wanting to die.. to actually die, not just the pain to stop.
Fortunately, I had enough strength to tell my parents about this even though he threatened to beat me up.
These are the positive parts of my life as an HSP:
I now may have problematic mechanisms because of sexual abuse, but I’ve also gotten a lot stronger. I understand other fellow survivors and I can help them. I am able to recognize the symptoms of an abused person and I may even be able to help the earlier before they get too broken.
And my high sensitivity makes me an empath and therefore a good ear to talk to. I have absolutely no problem understanding and feeling with other people. And a huge plus is that now, after knowing what having hard times are like, I can use my experience to understand people’s problems even better.
Also, since I feel negative emotions very strongly, I feel positive emotions also a lot stronger. I can feel euphoric the whole day just from seeing a cute dog on the street. My good memories are also very clear and strongly printed into my head. I’m able to remember every single detail from an event. It’s almost like a 6 senses cinema in my head.
And this is what I learned from all of this:
Often I hear people using “you’re so sensitive” as an insult when the right word would be ‘overreacting’. Society tells us that being sensitive is ‘weak’– but every HSP will tell you that it has nothing to do with being weak. Being sensitive is not something people can choose to be and it is very hard to deal with it. And these are not signs of weakness.
It is not weak to have emotions. It is not weak to admit to having emotions. It is not weak, to be honest about these emotions. It is not weak to show these emotions.
Being sensitive is not a bad thing – it’s the exact opposite. Crying is also not a sign of weakness but rather one of too much built-up stress and tension. Crying is a healthy way to release said tension.
When people tell you that you’re weak for showing emotion just try to remember that: Real weakness is when people bottle up emotions without trying their best and trying to deal with them. When they ignore their emotions too much and then destroy themselves or others around them in the process.
Because you can’t repress emotions without consequences – your body will take over control and you will leash out. Either against yourself or other people. Just like I was dealing with my emotions in an unhealthy manner.
Learning to reflect on yourself and your emotions is the way to get better. Simply realizing that you feel emotions is already a huge step. Try to sometimes throughout the day take your time to be aware of how you’re feeling at the moment. Doing that often until you’re doing it all the time will make your body and brain get used to it. It will become an automatic action your brain does at any given moment. The more you understand and know yourself the more you will be able to learn how to control your emotions.
I hope that someday people will educate themselves and understand what an HSP is so they stop using “sensitive” as an insult.