I have been thinking about trauma in my own history these past few weeks and I now see I have suffered a number of traumatic experiences that I did not originally recognize as such. I think this can be attributed to two personal factors. One is that I have always been a “highly sensitive person” and the second is my numerous head injuries in the past 15 years.
I assume most of you have heard of the term highly sensitive, but these are the traits I relate to personally:
- Overly sensitive to emotional and physical violence
- Naturally experiencing the emotions of those around me
- Often feel overstimulated
- Often need to withdraw because of overstimulation
- Startle very easily
- Enjoy a rich inner life
- Feel deeply moved by beauty
- Deeply emotional and compassionate
- Unable to deal with even moderate amounts of criticism
- Usually feel different and alone
- Easily overthink and worry way too much
- Very intuitive
- Often feel tired and emotionally overwhelmed
I guess you can see why someone like me can be more easily traumatized. Then when I experienced a traumatic brain injury in 2008, my ability to deal with others, especially when they are angry or even just mean to me was multiplied by one hundred percent. And with this most recent serious concussion I find I am so easily drained after simple exchanges with others, and I can only socialize for an hour or two with anyone.
Luckily I found a life partner who is also quite sensitive and therefore understands exactly how much I can take from others. And yet, even with him I need to withdraw regularly into my quiet little world where nobody can reach me. I simply feel safest alone in very quiet places. I guess I am a true introvert now.