As many of you know I live on the Big Island of Hawaii. My cottage is nestled in a semi-tame jungle area not far from Kona. Despite the homestead I share being at 1,000 ft elevation, it is still brutally hot during the summer. Therefore the doors to my little abode must be left open anytime I’m there, at least until late evening. My savvy landlady has put hanging screens in place that one must pull open to walk in and out. I fashioned some nifty lead fishing weights to hang on the bottoms of the screens so no creatures find their way in through the gaps.
Two of my adjacent neighbors have cats. Peet, the big male bruiser established his territory at my house long ago. He comically pushes in the weighted screen with his face and often insists on sharing my dinner. Mochi, a more meek smaller female, found her way in recently, adopting a more ladylike delicate pawing the screens aside, and then slides in announcing her arrival continuously. These two cats hate each other. They have fought badly and injured each other at times. With both my front and back doors open, there is always the potential for each cat to enter the cottage and find the other there. The sound of two cats fighting sends my highly sensitive heart into orbit. I am airborne in a millisecond and though I might be able to abort their wild screams quickly, my heart is already in overdrive.
It used to take hours for my heart to stop palpitating at such moments. If it happened later in the evening, my sleep would be disturbed. Nowadays it only takes a minute for me to be kinder to myself with my reactions. I remind myself that I know why my vulnerable body-mind is reacting. Having Sensory Processing Sensitivity renders my heart defenseless when hearing the horrendous sound of cats fighting. When loving both cats, the potential for them hurting each other due to wanting to visit with me, makes it that much worse. My senses are on high alert for the potential wild-banshee screams in my normally ultra serene home.
However, the message of these blogs is often similar, be kinder to yourself when your sensory sensitivities have been hijacked. By understanding deeply what is taking place, I no longer add insult to injury by beating myself up for such extreme reactions. I now know to breathe deeply and continue to calm myself, and this alone can soothe my system in 30 minutes rather than 3 hours. More importantly is to forgive myself. Why? Because I am a Highly Sensitive Person with highly sensitive sensory processing. And that is absolutely okay.