I have always been perceived by others as quiet, calm and, as my mom puts it, may sariling mundo. While I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, I find the most pleasure in my alone time. It is during this time that I can take it slow and just be silent.
No television. No loud music. Just peace and quiet.
This is why it was quite a shock, even to myself, that I married such a loud man. Opposites do attract, eh? Unlike me, Arjay cannot stay put for a long time. He has to always do something…anything! His music needs to be loud. He talks a lot. Otherwise, he’d go crazy.
Although his thing isn’t my thing, we don’t try to control each other because when we do, it only sparks a really, really bad argument. So I let him listen to his music. I allow him to put the telly’s volume to the max. In return, he let’s me have some quiet time in our bedroom while he looks after the kids or he encourages me to have a spa day so I can relax.
It’s different with the minis though. I noticed that I snap so quickly when the minis scream or cry or whine at the same time. As in it feels like my brain will explode! When this happens, I usually find myself toning down music in the background or turning off the telly if it’s on. You can’t just tell kids to shut up or to leave you alone for a minute so I just tone down whatever I can tone down when they’re being loud. Then, I ask them to calm down. They listen to my request sometimes, but most of the time, they push me to my limits. You know how kids are.
For some time I questioned my ability as a mother. Why do I get overwhelmed so quickly in situations when there are so many things happening at the same time? Why do high or low pitched noises make me feel like bumping my head on a wall? Do I have a psychological problem? Oh my gosh, am I crazy?!
I started to research on what I thought were symptoms of a psychological issue. I seriously prepared myself for what I may find out and already thought of how I can tell my husband that I need medical intervention. Hehe!
I eventually came upon an article that described me perfectly…and it’s written by a mom! I gave a sigh of relief when I read that I’m not the only person experiencing what’s happening to me.
Apparently, I’m a highly sensitive person. According to Abundant Mama’s article, the common traits of a highly sensitive person include:
- Overwhelmed easily
- Aware of subtle changes in environment
- Sensitive to pain, noise, smells and touch
- Desire to withdraw into solitude often
- Overwhelmed by light and sounds
- Extremely conscientious to the point of being insecure
- Easily annoyed and frustrated
- Avoid violence and confrontation, including on TV and news
- Changes and transitions are very challenging and anxiety-inducing
- Easily overwhelmed by too many options or choices
Guess what? I have 10 out of the 10 traits listed above!
I am aware that I cannot control these traits so I just found ways to keep myself calm every day. I’ve been asked countless of times what my secret is to “surviving” this crazy thing called motherhood (and I’d add, married life). If you are highly sensitive person like me…or just going through a super crazy time, here are some of the things I’ve tried that have worked well in keeping me collected:
1. Wake Up Early
People are amazed by the fact that I wake up at 4 in the morning. Yes folks, I’m up that early! It gives me time to meditate, do some chores and work. By the time my three housemates wake up, I’m already done with my morning routine and have prepared my mind for whatever the day may bring.
2. Make Time for ‘Alone Time’
At the end of each week, I’ve made it a habit to spend some time with myself. If I don’t have the budget for an out-of-the-house activity, I just stay inside our bedroom while my husband and kids are in the living room. That’s when I take the time to read a book or write or just lie down quietly. If I do have some cash to spare, I usually treat myself to a spa day.
I’ve been observing the minis lately, too, and noticed that my daughter seems to be showing signs of being a highly sensitive person. Yep, she’s always telling her brother to tone down or asking her dad to lower the telly’s volume! #MiniMe :D When she gets overwhelmed, I take her to a quiet room, bring out her paint set and let her paint until she calms down. Sometimes, I give her a massage while I play soft music in the background. Recently, she has been my companion during my spa days…which she absolutely loves so she’s been asking me to make it a regular every Friday!
But I prefer one-on-one coffee, lunch or dinner dates. Going out with a large group only gets me even more overwhelmed and exhausted. Most of the time, I just go out on a date with my husband.
4. Talk To Your Family About Your High Sensitivity
For some time, my husband thought I was overreacting every time I walked out on him and the minis when they get too loud. However, when I told him about me being a highly sensitive person, he became more understanding. Now he just doesn’t say “Let them be” when the minis are getting too hyperactive because he knows that I just can’t let them be. When he notices that I’m beginning to reach my limit, he takes over the household and let’s me take a few minutes’ break.
Are you a highly sensitive person too? How do you handle it?