I am a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Seriously, it’s a thing. Though when I’m in the throws of my HSP-ness, it helps to think of it as Has Some Problems. While everybody else sees life through a lens of relative normalcy, we HSP’s see life through a supersized, NASA-grade microscope.
For example, when my husband is driving and I’m in the passenger’s seat, he sees cars. In the other lane. On the other side of the striped line. I see intergalactic space aliens attacking from every direction, ready to kill me dead. This is why I duck and gasp and white-knuckle the armrest and squeeze my eyes closed. Because, seriously. Who wants to watch themselves die?
Some husbands might get offended at such behavior, and think their wives don’t trust their driving. My dear husband simply reminds himself of my Has-Some-Problems status and keeps going. Sometimes, he even hums the 1988 hit, She Drives Me Crazy. It makes him feel better, and I’m too busy dodging the asteroids to care.
Normal people can go to the grocery store, or a concert, or any other public place and enjoy the experience. But we HSP’s tend to soak in every mood, every tone, every vibe of the place we’re in. This is why we hate crowds. It’s like we’re hooked up to the electric chair every time we walk into Wal-Mart. This is also why I prefer to do my Christmas shopping online. If it doesn’t fit, you can take it back to the mall.
Through the years, I’ve learned some helpful tips and tricks for HSP’s:
If you’re a woman, wear waterproof mascara, or don’t wear any at all. Unless you want to be mistaken for an extra from The Walking Dead. To each her own. Carry earplugs. These are magical. You can just plug them in, and poof! Instant peace. This is also a great tip for anyone with teenagers. In a pinch, bathroom stalls are a great place to decompress. But you may want to keep a mini traveler’s-sized can of Lysol with you for such occasions. Trust me. I’ve often wondered why in the heck God would make me like this. What was He thinking? Was He texting someone at the time? Was He caught up in the newest episode of This is Us, and forgot to pay attention to the wiring?
But then I remember, God doesn’t make mistakes. Which brings about a whole new set of questions and anxieties and general freaked-out-ness until He whispers, Hush, child. I knew what I was doing. And then I remember He made me exactly the way He wanted me, so I could fulfill a specific purpose on this planet. It is quite possible we will get attacked by intergalactic space aliens one day, and I will be called upon to save the universe. And I totally can, because of all the practice I’ve had deflecting the interplanetary missiles.
Or maybe He wants me to use my superpowers to find people who are hurting or anxious or afraid, and assure them God loves them, God has good things in store for them, and it will be okay. That works, too.
But just between you and me, I wonder if they offer concealed carry licenses for laser guns.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.