How I deal with my high sensitivity

over sensitivity how I deal with

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I consider myself as a highly sensitive person.

I don’t so much think of it as a bad thing anymore – actually I think of it as one of my strengths. It’s one of the things that makes me me. It allows me to experience certain things differently. It allows me to have powerful feelings. It pushes me to express myself better and most of all it challenges me, making me even stronger than I am.

But obviously, it’s not always fun. Sometimes you just wish you could turn it off. Sometimes you wish you could be like the others – that you could just sit there and listen. Just listen – not look through the words and hear every thought that’s ever thought.

Not to talk about your thoughts. There’s just so many, sometimes. The small good things do feel good, but the small bad things feel twice as bad.

Luckily, over time, I have learned to control those things. And embrace my sensitivity. One day I wrote these five things that help me deal with a bad day and my sensitivity. They’ve been in my drafts long enough so it’s time to share them. Maybe some of you will find them helpful.

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How I deal with my over sensitivity – 5 ways to deal with over sensitivity

Find an outlet for your feelings.

Find the best way to express your feelings through art, writing, music, cooking or whatever it is you enjoy or what works the best for you. I have several things I do, but the biggest help for me is writing. When I write down my worries they disappear from my mind and sometimes seem so tiny and ridiculous I’m happy that I have such small problems. Or other times a quick run outside clears my mind.

Let someone know what goes on your head.

It’s easy to get caught up in your own head. But trust me: everything is worse in there. As soon as you translate it in to words, it becomes better. You don’t necessarily have to really get into it, because it can also be overwhelming to the person trying to understand you. The most important thing is to just let someone know what’s going on. A simple “I’m feeling sad today” or “I’m having a lot on my plate right now”  is perfect, without going too much into the details.

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Tire your body and relaxation will follow.

Go for a run, swim or whatever sporty activity you like. Sweat it out. Sometimes you just want a break from the constant work your brain is doing, right? Let your body muscles handle this one. When I’m lifting heavy weights or running as fast as I can, the least of my worries is my brain. After the workout you’re likely to feel better (or relieved that it’s over) – and tired, so you’ll get a good night’s sleep. I think exercising is one of the most important things for mental health. Even if you hated sports and exercising, you should find something you can tolerate, just for your brain.

Distract yourself.

Distraction is not necessary cheating, but it’s giving yourself a bit more time before tackling the subject you’re thinking about. For me horror movies are a great distraction – I find myself lost in the horror movie, hiding from the monsters and screaming every time a sudden move is made (Needless to say I’m not a fun company for horror movies, unless you like your hands to be squeezed to death every time a monster is shown in the TV).

Accept your sensitivity and embrace it.

It might come as a surprise, but there are a ton more people like you – not exactly your image, but people, who are like you and who get you. I remember the first time I read an article about over sensitivity and being so amazed at it being a thing. I mean you don’t have to label yourself, because none of us really fit into a box. But it’s nice to know there are people who understand you, even for just a little bit. We all breathe, laugh and cry. We’re all just trying to survive this thing called life. It’s only fun that we’re all different and unique.

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Do you think of yourself as a sensitive person?

Living with the monster

wellbeing eating disorder

It’s not always easy living with that monster sitting on your shoulder.

That monster being an eating disorder. Funny thing about that is, that you can get rid of it, but it will never actually leave you. It’s kind of like a friend, who doesn’t want to be left out and will poke it’s head out every once in a while: Remember me? Wanna hang out?

Nope, never again. I’d rather drown you by eating myself fat – though that is impossible and will never happen (one of the courtesies of my friend).

But I used to. I had an eating disorder. Or two.

It’s not easy to admit that, and at the time I didn’t even realize it. I was super young, only eleven years old (maybe younger, it’s hard to remember). It wasn’t as bad as it could be – it didn’t lead me to not even drinking water and eventually to a hospital. That happened to another girl on my class, the one who was too tired to even speak. Understanding that two girls in my class both suffered from this – and that is only that I know of – makes me super sad. It also tells me, that this is a common problem and there are probably too many of you too reading this, relating to the story.

charlotta eve

Despite my problem being a tiny one, it still left it’s marks. I remember it once controlling my life, keeping me in chains. It’s something so horrible, that just thinking about it makes me physically sick. It ruined many nice afternoons and it ruined my school camp.

For being able to leave that monster behind, and being almost worry-free about it, is like being able to breathe again. Food is present in our lives daily, many times per day, so for being able to enjoy that is a beautiful thing. And for me, it’s another thing to be grateful for. I’ve thought about eating and food so much, I don’t want to have to overthink it. Overthinking it makes me anxious. Any changes I make to my diet have a huge impact on me – last summer when my acne forced me to limit my diet more, I was super stressed about it. It wasn’t about it being actually hard to leave dairy, wheat or sugar off, it was mostly the stress of having to think about my eating more – and as I did have some foods I was not supposed to eat, eating them made me very anxious. But the fact, that I can get through things like this with “just” stress and not get sick again, not to let the monster have all the power, is a miracle, really.

eating disorder

I want to say, that I’ve been able to shake off the monster completely. That it’s gone. But there are still some things, that remind me of it and one of the biggest things is this: how I see myself, when I look in the mirror.

I realized this once again, when I went through the photos of yet another photoshoot (these photos here as well). I looked at the photos of myself and was a bit shocked. Was that me in the photos? Am I that small? Do I look that slender?

I know I’m quite slender and I know I’m not fat – but in my head – I’m bigger. Always. There’s always a bigger version of Charlotta and that is the Charlotta I see, when I see myself. It’s super hard to explain, but it’s super super hard to fix something, that got so broken once. I’m sure anyone who’s experienced this, knows what I’m talking about. I talked about this with my sister and she said “Yeah, ain’t that funny. It’s no use in being skinny, when you can’t enjoy it.” And even though that sounds a bit harsh, it’s totally true.

eating disorder

It’s funny how human brain works. How your brain might not be able to keep up with the big changes. How people who used to be fat, still think they look fat even after losing all the weight. Or how people with anorexia are always gonna have those goggles on, which make them see themselves differently than what others see.

I know I’ve come a long way to accept my body and to see it as something else, than just an aesthetic thing. I know my mirror might always add a few kilos to my waist, but I’m starting to care less.

I might even add a big nose to the monster, dress it in funny clothes and make it my friend. After all, it’s gonna sit there anyway. Only this time – it’s just watching.

For anyone reading this and relating to the story: no matter how big the monster is, it can always get smaller. Small progress is progress too. And in case no one told you today: you are beautiful, just the way you are. And you can.

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Photos & hair –  Susanna Pomèll / Healthyhair