One of the big reasons why I’m not cut out for dating

Several days ago, I read an article titled “12 Secrets About Dating a Highly Sensitive Person” and I resonated a lot with number 2. It says:

“2. Give your HSP a little more time to adjust to changes.
Changes can be hard for anyone, but HSPs process things more deeply than others do. That means that even positive changes, like starting a new relationship, can be really overwhelming… As a result, HSPs take relationships slowly, especially at the beginning. Don’t be surprised if your HSP needs time to themselves or seems “lukewarm” at first. They’re doing what they’ve learned they need to do to protect their heart (and their stress level).”

I’ve ended relationships before they’ve even started because the other person was too overwhelming for me. They were wanting to talk every day, calling me pet names before we’d even gone on a date and other things that were way too much for me.

I was trying to decide if I was willing to push past the uncomfortable and overwhelming bits to crack open the door for this person while it felt like they wanted to burst through the door.

I’ve told a close friend before that I am like a skittish deer when it came to dating – come too close or make any sudden movements and I’ll flee.

Since discovering there are other people out there like me and that there wasn’t something wrong with me for being highly sensitive, I haven’t figured out how to mention it to people when a situation or they themselves are overwhelming.

And the way the dating world is today, almost everything about it is overwhelming for me. And it’s easier just to avoid it.

Maybe I’m simply not cut out for dating.

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Fear affects our decisions

Fear. It’s something everyone lives with. Despite whether they admit it or not.

There are people who have tangible fears – spiders, snakes, heights, flying, small spaces, large crowds, germs, etc.

And then there are the more imperceptible ones, which I believe are more of a driving force in people’s decisions. Fear of commitment. Fear of intimacy. Fear of not being liked. Fear of being alone. Fear of death. Fear of change. Fear of being judged. Fear of losing the ones they love. Fear of ________ (fill in the blank).

Many people aren’t even aware that they have these fears until they’re confronted by them and even then, some people don’t realize the fear driving their decisions.

Yesterday, I was confronted by something I’m slightly afraid of and realized one of the main fears behind it. Part of the fear is how I will react to something when it comes up because it most likely will. This fear has caused me to avoid it, sometimes coming up with any excuse that I can make sound reasonable to avoid it. And now that I’m aware of the fear, I’m not sure what to do with it.

I know people in my life who would say I should face it head on, or pray about it. But it’s not easy to face some fears head on and some fears are healthy. As far as the praying about it, I am doing that but God doesn’t often work in simply taking away the fear and doesn’t audibly give me an answer to if I should avoid it again or if this is the chance to go for it.

Fears are sometimes agonizing. We want to fight them but don’t think we can or our fear of what is going to happen is stronger than our desire to fight it. And we have to decide if our fear is a healthy one that helps us avoid danger or if it’s an unhealthy one that should be fought. Is it keeping us safe or keeping us in a box?

In today’s culture, I am a racist and you probably are too

These days you hear a lot about race, especially in the United States. Everything involving a minority is racially charged. If you’re a white person who dislikes someone who is a different skin color, you’re automatically labeled as racist. If you’re someone who isn’t white and a white person says something you don’t like, our culture wants you to believe it’s because they’re racist. It’s easy to be a racist and to accuse someone else of being racist in today’s culture.

You can be racist no matter what color your skin is. It’s not a white only thing. It’s easy to group people together and stereotype them because that is what our nature does. We base things on our experience. It’s ingrained in us.

If a kid gets bit by a dog, they tend to believe that all dogs will bite them when that’s not the case. If you had bad service at a restaurant the first time you went, how likely would you be to go back to that same restaurant, even though you’d most likely have different servers? What if you do go back and it happens again? How many times would you go back before you write off the entire staff?

I am a racist.

I don’t want to be but I catch myself reacting to certain groups of people based on past experiences and what I’ve subconsciously been taught.

In societies past, I wouldn’t be considered a racist because I don’t have a hatred for a group of people or refuse to associate or help people who are of the race I have preconceived ideas of. But in today’s society, racism isn’t as cut and dried anymore.

You calling me a racist or telling me to stop being racist isn’t going to change anything.

I have to do that. I have to be aware of when I’m judging someone based on the color of their skin or which country they’re from and work to change that in myself.

I’m sure there’s at least one group of people you judge based on their skin color or ethnic background. Start by becoming more aware of when you paint everyone of a certain group with the same brush. You can’t change your thoughts if you’re not aware of them and only accuse others of their racism.

Stretch your comfort zone

As an adult, my comfort zone has increased but is set. I don’t go outside of it very often anymore. When I was younger and in college, I was forced outside of it which was scary, horrible, and stretching.

In the past couple of years, people have asked me to do things that I would have said no to – sharing my mental health story in front of people I grew up around, sharing my testimony in front of my new church, basically anything involved with speaking in front of people. But I didn’t say no these times. I gave myself time to think about it and question why my first inclination was to say no. So I ended up saying yes.

Speaking in front of people is not as bad as it once was and it’s easier to say yes now when those opportunities come up.

But the other day, I was asked to join a group of teenage girls for a slumber party, and my anxiety went into overdrive. I don’t really know the girls and I’ve generally felt more comfortable around guys because I grew up with four brothers and I’ve never been a girly girl. But also the age group makes me anxious. I’ve also questioned whether or not I could stay up that late.

After debating with myself for a little while, I decided to jump in. I’ve decided to force myself outside my comfort zone because after learning how to deal with certain aspects of my social anxiety, I’ve discovered that the times I step outside my comfort zone are opportunities for growth and are often the memories that stick in my mind.

In sharing this, I want to encourage you that if opportunities pop up that you normally say no to, that you would take at least a day or two to think about it and think about why you normally say no. Is the reason because it scares you? Or because you don’t think you’ll be good enough? Maybe if you say yes, you’ll discover you are good at it and enjoy it. Or it may just be an opportunity for you to stretch yourself. Just because something makes you uncomfortable doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing.

Dreading the summer heat

I live in Manitoba which is known for its cold and long winters and over the last several weeks, I’ve had several people ask me if I was looking forward to summer – to the warmer weather. I often answered with the response I knew they were expecting or gave a somewhat vague answer. But truthfully, I was not looking forward to summer.

For a really long time, I’ve been aware that I don’t handle heat well. And that was how I worded it when I would talk to people about it.

When temperatures rise too much, I feel like my energy is being sucked out of me. I get lightheaded and have more trouble breathing. I’ve had to stop exercising, cleaning, and other things because I would get too hot and lightheaded – even in winter.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had episodes of blackening vision when getting up, especially in the morning. They were mild enough that I could keep walking or stop for a few seconds for them to pass. In the past several years, they had gotten worse in that I noticed my muscles started spasming when it got bad enough and I had to try to hold myself within a doorway waiting for it to pass and trying not to fall. They seemingly came at sporadic times and sometimes came during colder months. I had always assumed it came from my low blood pressure but the few times I mentioned it to doctors they didn’t do anything about it because my blood pressure appeared normal while I was in their office.

The episode that scared me

Blood pressure readings the two days after fainting

Last summer, I ended up on the floor in my apartment not remembering how I got there. I had badly sprained my ankle a month and a half before and as I became conscious, I was in immense pain from my muscles spasming in my ankle. Even though I was painfully aware of it, I couldn’t do anything to stop the spasming. My vision eventually cleared and the spasming stopped.

My mind at first brushed it off as another one of my dizzy moments due to my blood pressure. But as the situation and what might have happened dawned on me, I became very concerned and somewhat scared. I didn’t remember anything beforehand. I didn’t remember feeling dizzy after getting up. I didn’t remember if I had tried grabbing onto something before collapsing. What if I had hit my head on the corner of the counter. Did I have a seizure?

Being the anxious person I am, I searched up if it was possible to have a seizure from low blood pressure and found out it was possible but rare.

I ended up telling my doctor about it and even though it seemed like she didn’t think much of it, she offered to send me to a neurologist to get it checked out.

Even though I didn’t think it had to do with my brain, I said yes and the neurologist took some tests. The tests all appeared normal and from the blood pressure measurements, he got me to take in the mornings before I got out of bed and after I stood up, he told me it was related to my blood pressure and recommended wearing compression socks and staying hydrated.

Trying to figure out a way to regulate my blood pressure

I bought a few compression socks from a pharmacy but the compression level wasn’t enough to do much.

I’ve been dreading the summer this year because I hadn’t gotten to the point where I felt comfortable with knowing how to manage my blood pressure. Heat always makes my blood pressure worse and the last few weeks, I had been feeling the light-headedness often already and the heat wasn’t too bad yet.

Almost three weeks ago, I was seeing my doctor for a different issue and I asked her if I could get a prescription for compression stockings so I could get coverage with my insurance and get the proper amount (compression stockings aren’t cheap). With my prescription in hand, I went to a medical store and got measured and had them ordered in. I picked them up last Friday and have been wearing them for not quite a week.

And it’s been the best part of my week. They work! On the weekend, I didn’t notice much difference because I was fairly sedentary but at work on Monday, I was shifting books and had to do a lot of crouching down and getting up. Before I would have to stop after only doing a few shelves because I would have to pause to wait for the light-headedness pass and I just couldn’t handle doing too much. But on Monday, after doing more than twice as much as I could handle the week before, I realized I hadn’t felt lightheaded once. The compression stockings were doing what I had hoped they would do.

They do make my legs and feet warmer than they normally would be but I’ll take it over feeling lightheaded.

For the first time in a long time, I am not completely dreading the heat. I won’t say I love the heat now, because I still don’t, but because of my compression stockings I’ll be able to tolerate it a little more.

We are like broken books

I work in a library and the other day I was repairing books that had pages falling out, the spine/cover was no longer attached, etc. As I was sitting there ripping pages from the spine so I could repair the book better, my mind went to how similar that was to my story.

There was a point in my life where I was broken – my pages were becoming unattached, but they were still hanging on.

Quick fixes weren’t working. My pages would just keep separating from the spine. They helped temporarily but didn’t last long before I would need to be repaired again.

Eventually, it got to the point where my pages had to be ripped out so they could be glued in properly.

But like with some books, if you looked from the top, you could see that I had been glued back together. The pages were securely attached but the scars remained.

In a way, we’re all like books. We have different covers and contain different stories and information. Some of us are paperbacks and are more fragile to breakage. Others are hardcovers – longer lasting but when they do need fixing, it’s a major one. Some brokenness is easy to see and others you only see once you open the cover. Some problems are easy to fix, others are more of a process. Some have scars from being fixed, others are hardly noticeable. Some are loved by many and others are cherished by a few.

But regardless of which one we are, we were created for a purpose and none of us will last forever. Even if our stories remain, the book itself does not. But we’ll always have a special place in the author’s heart.

I won’t spend money trying to get pregnant

There is a really good chance that I will struggle with infertility. I’ve known that for several years so I’ve had time to wrestle with it, although it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother so when I first read about the probability of having trouble getting pregnant relating to my PCOS (read last week’s post for more information on that), I really struggled with it. I would burst into tears railing at God and questioning if trying to find the man who would become the father of my children was even worth it if there was a chance I wouldn’t be able to have children.

I know several people who have gone through fertility treatments to try to get pregnant and have heard stories from many more. I have heard success stories and ones that weren’t.

Through wrestling with the possibility of struggling getting pregnant, I made a decision that as far as I know is not a common one. I will not spend money on fertility treatments.

I want to adopt and/or foster children. There are lots of children already out there and who will come into this world needing a loving home and I want to do my part to make that happen.

This decision was solidified about a year and a half ago when I first started volunteering with a kids program. One of the boys in my group ended up being removed from his home and placed into foster care and stopped coming to our program. Even though I only knew him for two months, I still think about him every so often.

If I’m going to spend money to have children, I’m going to spend it towards adoption.