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Demember 10, 2006: The Season of Sensory Overload

         Robert recently left a comment on an old blog entry (see "Psychic Attacks") which made me think it was time to approach the subject of sensory overload again.

         We live in difficult times and our lives are filled with internal and external stresses. Holidays and large functions only exasperate these stresses. This is true for everyone. If you are an introvert, a highly sensitive person, or psychic, accept that the environment outside yourself will probably have a larger impact on your sense of well-being than on the people swirling and jostling around you.

          To be idealistic---times of stress are precisely when you need to be the most careful to get adequate sleep, eat well, exercise, and find ways to keep balance in your life. How many times do we read articles or hear speakers give this advice? I remember my response when I had three boys at home---get real. These recommendations by perky motivational speakers (who must be noted were highly extroverted people) were so unrealistic to my lifestyle that I could only be appalled by their confidence. How could they keep insisting anyone could follow through on their suggestions, thus guaranteeing unlimited energy and harmony?  I was more inclined to believe the energy experts were living in some strange La-La Land. As a single parent with limited funds, I knew I was not in position to even knock on the front door of their orchestrated life scheme.

         Being an introvert, I have never been able think of shopping as entertainment (though Randy says I must enjoy grocery shopping since I get lost in supermarkets, examining all the labels and prices). If I shop in malls, I have a definite goal in mind and head right for the specific stores, get what I need, and get out. If I need to wander (as in looking for stocking stuffers) I’ve learned to recognize the signs of fatigue, at which point I call it quits for the day.

          When the kids were little, I dreaded shopping in a crowded mall: my own shopping issues were compounded by maneuvering a baby stroller through crowds while keeping track of two younger kids (both, with any momentary lapse of my focus on their immediate location, turned into free-ranging entities). Let’s not talk about the time I sat one kid down to try on shoes and his brother disappeared back into the mall because he was bored; or the time I mentioned we would work our way towards Santa, stopped to reorient packages on the stroller, and discovered when I straightened up that the eldest had disappeared from sight (he was sure he could find the Mall Santa on his own). Nothing creates more of a parental paranoidal panic than looking for their lost little lamb in a sea of shifting shoppers. To add to the shopping woes, I had one child who was highly sensitive and easily reduced to an emotional basket-case if subjected to more than a half hour of crowded confusion. How I dreaded Christmas shopping at malls.

          My sister solved her problems with a ‘shop-til-you-drop’ spree in early November, spending two very full days at an outlet mall until all Christmas gifts were bought. It’s become an annual event for a group of relatives; allowing them to wrap and ship packages in November, which in turn frees up time in December.  I have never asked to be included---the idea of shopping (even as an adult without kids) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., two days in a row, would be subjecting myself to seemingly unending torment, wandering the depths of Hell. It would take me a month to recover my sanity.

         I learned the joy and necessity of catalog shopping at home. For this introvert, catologs and the internet remain a relaxed and simple way of shopping, as long as I start in fall to search out possibilities. I start ordering in November. Last minute shopping in December is minimal and thereby, less hectic.

         If you are a highly sensitive type, you will find the emotions and tensions of the crowd can press in on you any time you are not high on your own enthusiasm. The son I mentioned earlier, who was highly sensitive as a child, required a slow building up of his resistence (because I really did have to get out to pick up supplies). I had to keep my own emotional energy fields tight and high-powered, and that seemed to give him better control. I started out with short trips and gave him plenty of quiet time at home afterwards, to regain his emotional stability before tackling the next shopping excursion.

         As he got older, I continually reminded my son that he was sensitive and could pick up other people’s emotions. He had to learn how to find his own emotional center of balance, then continually recenter himself when in crowds. Any time he found negative emotions or thoughts building inside, he needed to step back, reconnect to his own sense of self, and then decide if he was truly upset by a personal issue, or if he was picking up on someone else’s frustration.

         If you are sensitive, avoid crowds when you are tired, hungry, or stressed. It will only make you more susceptible. If you must be in crowds, keep reminding yourself that emotional upset can come from internal and external factors. Deal with it. If really pushed, I can sometimes get by for short periods with caffeine or sugar boosts to increase my energy level, but i suggest you be kind to yourself. Learn when enough is enough and make a graceful exit. If you've been through unusually stressed excursions (such as losing a kid in the crowd), it helps to find quiet time at home to recenter your energy and rebuild a strong sense of well being. This may remove a lingering vulnerablity to sensory overload caused by a weakened or stressed aura.

           If you are psychic, even in the highest energy state and the most focused on your own center, you may pick up stray thoughts of others. Most psychics learn to ignore these thoughts. It may be harder to deal with turbulent auras of some highly stressed shoppers, and again, I would stress keeping your focus on your own center, your own mission. This does tend to block out most outside impressions.

          If, as in Robert’s case, you are being hit with negative thoughts over longer periods, you need to take action: please take the problem seriously. Thoughts picked up from others are short-lived. If you are psychic, don’t be so fast to believe every thought running through your mind is a personal creation. Think through the logic, and compare specific thoughts to your current life situation. That often stops a foreign thought in its tracts.

          More commonly, negative emotions picked up from others can create a non-specific sense of anxiety. Human nature is not comfortable with free-flowing anxiety and tends to start inventing reasons and statements to justify the emotions. If you accept the resulting thought patterns as valid, you may find yourself worked into an unnecessary frenzy.

          Again, I suggest that before you start blaming problems on other dimensions, look first to your own state of  emotional balance. If you have any internal issues that have not been resolved, the additional stress of crowds and holidays can turn into the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Do not be afraid to seek out a counselor, a cleric or a friend, who may help you work through personal issues and find perspective. Writing in diaries and connecting through the internet also can help you clarify problems because it forces you to organize and explain your thought patterns.

           If you are psychic or sensitive it becomes even more essential than for the general public that you not leave old issues buried. That doesn’t mean telling off your boss or that annoying relative, but you have to work through the emotions. The quality of your psychic impressions (positive versus negative) will improve as you heal old emotional wounds and resolve internal conflicts.

         Try to avoid a lifestyle that weakens your own aura. Drinking, drugs, loud and aggressive music may offer a temporary distraction, but in the long run I see these things leaving you more vulnerable to future attacks. Look into physical fatigue, biochemical imbalances, and internal stresses arising from your own psyche. Are you eating a balanced, healthy diet? Most psychics and sensitives I’ve known tend to burn up more than the usual amount of B Vitamins and function better on a supplement. Test it out.  You’ll either see a difference or you’ll decide it's a waste of money. Never take supplements just to be taking them, but check out how you feel on and off the supplement.

         Confession time---it seems out-of-place to be giving advice when I am faced with some type of holiday stress year after year. I've found no magical way to make the holidays stressless; what relieves one stress area only seems to open up time and space to other last-minute obligations.

         This year I had a major rush to complete shopping and get Christmas set up so it could be celebrated with my family before Thanksgiving (my oldest is shipping out for Japan this week and only had leave in mid-November).  We had a second Thanksgiving in Chicago with Randy's family, which seriously altered diet, exercise and sleeping. It was a wonderful family gathering, but I was frequent chilled because I hadn't brought enough warm clothes for their large home. All of this was worked into the middle of an unusually heavy hospital schedule extending over a six-week period (hospital weeks are always more draining than regular lab work).  I came back from Chicago and jumped into working on Christmas cards (with a traditional  long letter), which I wanted to get out early to make sure everyone had the new name and address.

         As soon as the main rush (and my hospital rotations) were over, I collapsed with a terrific head & chest cold. A few days of forced bed rest, lots of herbal and over-the counter cold remedies, and I’m finally back on my feet. The days off were spent quietly at home, taking care of myself, getting the house decorated, and Christmas cards finished up for mailing. I have to admit it is wonderful now to spend December without the usual pressures, since so much was handled earlier.

          Yet, it seems to me--despite a rare holiday season this year that seems quiet and more in keeping with the ideals of the season--most years, I still fall into the rut of trying to make the holidays special by running myself ragged.  Will I ever get to the point where peace and harmony are a routine part of December, or is falling back into the rut of physical, emotional and/or sensory overload just part of being a mother who loves to keep the traditions and memories alive?

Posted on Sunday, December 10, 2006 at 09:37AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | Comments2 Comments

Reader Comments (2)

Hi there

I love the way you write in your blogs. It's so grounded and paractical, honest and refreshing! The experience and personal understanidng you share relating to psychics picking up others thoughts is so true...as is the need to work through our own stuff. I have noticed whilst i was embarked on shovelling up the deepest of my own sh*t that other people with similar sh*t tended to magnify my own and I eneded up working through half of theirs as well as my own me thinks! Learning to discern and let go of thoughts is tres useful in my book! Learning to understand what's theirs and what's mine is not an easy task at times though!

Thanks for making me think xxx
June 2, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterK
whats up everyone


just registered and put on my todo list


hopefully this is just what im looking for looks like i have a lot to read.
July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterrelaAlemaelig

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