Sensitivity

A Highly Sensitive Person's Health Issues


Intro
Because of inherent sensitivity to stress and many traumatic experiences, I have had to deal with different forms of mental illness over the course of many years throughout my life. Keep in mind that those with mental disorders are less dangerous than the general population that gullibly absorbs entertainment stereotypes and thus unwittingly serves dehumanizing and prejudicial perception. "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." — Ghandi


Unstable Beginnings
In 1990, I was seven years old when my biological father and mother divorced. I blamed myself, thinking I had done something wrong to cause him to leave. I suffered and cried for years under this self-imposed guilt and depression. It wasn't until later adolescent years that I realized I wasn't to blame.

During my elementary years, I distinctly remember having a great deal of confusion in school. I tried to write out a story for English class, but couldn't come to a conclusion. I spent the entire recess just working on the story, writing a whole page.

A few years later, I think in 1993-'95, TA stepped onto the scene, as a step-father. I witnessed him and my mom having sex. Being sensitive and hearing my mother moan, I believed she was in pain. I was traumatized, as, in my mind, I had witnessed my own mother being raped. It may not have been the real thing, but it still had the same effect on me. Since then, physical closeness with potential mates has brought up extreme fear and and pain, sometimes to the point of my mind shrinking away from all sensory input. I freeze when this happens, sensing nothing. It's almost gone, though.

Later on, I went on a ski trip with the youth group from Friendship Bapist Church, now called Friendship Community. I hit a tree with my shoulder, then had amnesia for about 5 minutes. I couldn't recall anything, except how to talk.

As time progressed, the house became more and more violent, first in communication, then action, a background which TA also came from. I once witnessed TA try to choke my brother on the stairs, as I stood below them. He's not like that anymore, though.

In adulthood, while working in construction, under ZA, TA's relative, ZA drove up in something like a telescopic boom lift. I was afraid of him, as he had just threatened me with "If you ever screw up, I'll make your life a living hell." I was in the way, and he was currently quitting smoking, so he proceeded to scream at me. This caused me to start crying out of sheer fear. I stopped having lunch for the rest of The Brentwood Bay Resort and Spa project.

In 2006, while working on The Railyards, ZA came to our site, which he was not working at. He wanted to speak with me. I walked up to him, and he started unloading his anger on me. I felt so much fear that I left my body, seeing it from the outside, motionless. Others may have seen my with my arms crossed, staring, yet unseeing, but thank God I was protected by depersonalization.

Some time later, in the summer, it was so hot at work that I drank so much water that I had little to no salt left in my body. This happens when you sweat out most of your salts, not replacing them sufficiently. As a result, I ended up going crazy from the stress, temporarily, at home. While there, I yelled "I'm trying to sleep!" as I couldn't figure out why I couldn't. Because of that, TA came running down the stairs to where I was, and pushed me out the door to the back lawn. I started shaking my head, and couldn't keep my eyes from flitting from side to side. I don't have a clear memory of it all, and it's called hyponatremia.

In 2008, I had just lost my construction job, under stressful circumstances. Before being let go, I was having nightmares about traumatic memories from my then current boss, ZA, harassing me at work. I was so stressed out that I had lost a bunch of weight and could barely talk.

During that same year, I went to Camp Pringle for the first time. While at the camp, I was stressed from previous events and a lack of sleep. The sleep problem was because of snoring in my room, then people walking around in the hall where I escaped to. I was startled and had such a bad panic attack that I wet my pants without realizing it.

During the summer of 2010, I went to Camp Pringle with my church again. I tried sleeping in my room, in which the other person was snoring. I couldn't get one bit of sleep in, so I slept at the bottom of the stairs. This proved to be mildly better, as people were up at odd hours. The stress of lack of sleep caused me to become psychotic, and I couldn't control my thoughts or actions much at all. I decided to never again put myself in a situation that I would lose sleep.

While living with a roommate, NB, in the summer of 2011, I started becoming depressed about having too much fat. I decided to go without food, until all excess fat was gone. After a while, I started becoming stressed out, from lack of food along with lack of sleep, due to NB fooling aruond with her then boyfriend at the time all night. At one point, I became so angry at her not letting me sleep that I scared both of them out the door. I told all this to my psychiatrist at the time, Dr. Shrikhande. Thankfully, he put me in the Royal Jubilee Hospital to recover from psychosis.

During the summer of 2014, I was staying at my grandparent's place. I started losing my mind. My grandmother was constantly taking a negative view on things. This contributed to, but was not the cause of my psychosis. I had started lifting weights 6-8 hours every day, to try and put on muscle, which only caused me to lose more and more of my size. I wanted to attract the affection of a woman I really liked at the time, but this grew into an obsessive activity. I was so stressed out that at one point, I was laughing and crying at the same time. I was soon admitted to The Royal Jubilee hospital for psychosis recovery. I also had delusions at the time, a twisting of reality.

Then, in the summer of 2016, I had a psychotic episode, in which my belief system was shaken to the core. During this time, I was trying to resolve this thing that was really bothering me, but that led to obsession for a time. I don't think much about what I can't control, now.

Lastly, in 2017, I started having delusions, unfortunately based on reading into things online during a particularly painful time, that RG was, albeit indirectly, trying to let me know that she liked me, despite never having met in person. This was during a time when I was stewing over all the rejection I had gone through in the past, and this distorted my thinking and caused a powerful skewing of my interpretation of small details, which I rarely notice when well. It was merely an episode, but a very confusingly painful one nonetheless.

I hold no unforgiveness towards anyone.


The Consequences
Although I was officially diagnosed with Schizophrenia, based on all previous experiences, I have Schizoaffective Disorder, as symptoms have typically gone undetected for months at a time, gradually growing into psychosis. I also have situational communication anxiety disorder, commonly known as selective mutism. Despite what it sounds like, there is little selection involved, which is why I call it the first of the 2. I've had it off and on around 3 people because of acute panic attacks I've had around them at least once. I also have other related disabilities which make it extremely difficult for me to properly express or interpret body language, which conveys emotion in communication, the most important part. It is therefore best to not pay much attention to my body language, but rely on conversation.

My subconscious sometimes blocks out people and/or situations that are reminiscent of past trauma, sometimes becoming motionless, to the point of losing all sensory input momentarily, essentially losing consciousness, while frozen. Sometimes, when this fails, my brain releases a surge of dopamine, which can lead to blurring of distinctions between memories and thoughts, connecting them with details even slightly similar and/or metaphorically comparable. This blurring comes in handy during creative endeavours, when limited. Because I'm on medication which blocks receptors of dopamine, my brain adapts by growing new receptors, which makes my brain overly sensitive. This leads to a slow cycle of episodes of psychosis, then medication dosage increases. Another thing to consider is that I do have Central Auditory Processing Disorder, which means I can't properly understand rapid speech rapid or if it's made in a noisy environment. I also have autistic tendencies, which have more to do with my thinking processes.

As a result of all this, it can take many long-duration sessions for me to become comfortable around anyone I have had a bad panic attack around, or any woman that I'm romantically interested in. Another thing to consider is that I have a very difficult time interpreting indirect meanings, and always have, because of the autistic tendencies. I also rarely recognize interest/disinterest from females, so I always assume disinterest. Breaking through this assumption requires concise and direct communication regarding romantic interest on the part of any interested female. I have been in situations where I was dating and didn't even realize it, and so became startled when it was realized, and I ran away out of fear from being suddenly surprised - so please, be upfront and directly honest.

Some panic attacks in the past have triggered psychosis due to the extreme stress caused. Instead of believing what the media portrays as far as psychosis, realize that people in such mental states have delicate minds, are easily influenced and therefore less aggressive than the general population. Repetitive bouts of psychosis causes cumulative and irreversible brain damage.

If conversing with, approaching or near and my eyes are averted downward or upward and away, I appear shaky or communicate in a defensive way, this may indicate psychological discomfort from blocking out and/or my brain anticipating a panic attack, or just generally accumulated psychological stress. Let me know if you notice these signs, as it's often very difficult for me to read myself, considering my difficulty with body language. Then smile so I feel less threatened, give me a bit more physical distance to help, and wait until it ceases so we can continue interacting.


Going Forward
Thanks to Yah, support from family and the government and stress avoidance, symptoms and episodes have virtually disappeared, aside from extreme difficulty with making inferences and interpreting body language, or therefore realizing when my gaze is too long and scary. Don't be afraid to let me know when I'm staring and scaring, as I don't blink often, rarely realize, and mean nothing by it. I do it to listen, as I realize I don't notice subtle things.

Andrew M. Roberts © 2017-present
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