Curiosity, Wholistic Healing, and a Mental Health Diagnosis by Rayne Dowell

Highly Sensitives, a Mental Health Diagnosis, Curiosity and Wholistic Healing

Is it PTSD?

Or Anxiety?

Or Depression?

Or could the depression and anxiety be a by-product of the PTSD?

These are the questions I’ve been asking myself as I’m learning more about how my HSP Trait works for me and adjusting my life in a way where I limit environmental input and give more time and care to “how” I live my life.

This comes with the understanding that how I experience the world is different than about 80% of the rest of the population.

And as I’ve been chatting with HSP friends and learning about their challenges it’s been helping me figure out what my challenges are because I’m learning, as an HSP, how to navigate and create my life in a way that’s fulfilling and meaningful for me.

And while I’m doing this I feel something underneath it all and I know something else is going on, something that I need to address. Something that the mental health care system may offer me clues about. Whether I can marry wholistic healing methods with a mental health diagnosis is something I’m curious about.

But that means I have to be open to a mental health diagnosis.

Something I haven’t been open to in the past. But there’s a good reason why.

About eight years ago I was given my first mental health diagnosis, some type of psychosis, which scared the crap out of me.

But since then I’ve concluded that diagnosis was simply one person’s perception, at a certain point in time, of what I was experiencing.

One person who happened to be wearing a white coat who only offered me prescription drugs as a solution.

But white coats don’t seem to hold the same weight for me anymore, especially since learning that most white coats haven’t heard of the HSP Trait.

You see, now I don’t believe a mental health diagnosis is a life sentence, nor do I believe that a first diagnosis is the best one to go with.

Mental health diagnoses are just a trained professional’s tentative grasp at understanding what could be happening for another person so the health care provider can diagnose and come up with a treatment plan.

No different than when you receive a physician’s opinion on a physical ailment. It’s a good idea to get a second and third opinion.

Instead, now I feel pulled to ask myself questions like—so what does having the HSP Trait as well as PTSD mean in terms of how I can figure out how to work with both to the point where the effects of PTSD gradually fade away?

But what’s been more helpful for me as an HSP is that with a better understanding of what the HSP Trait is and how my particular brand of HSP trait works for me; it’s opening up choices and with those choices there are decisions and understandings that as an HSP, my mental health is an integral part of me.

To give the same care and attention to my mental health is as important as the care and attention I give to my physical, spiritual and emotional health.

What have I learned so far about the mental health system in Canada right now?

Well, mostly I’m learning that pills are the go-to solution for mental health professionals and trying to explain that I’m an HSP and don’t require a strong dosage seems to get me confused looks (cue annoyance), looks that mean I have to explain, again, what the HSP Trait is.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been open to trying new things. My curiosity takes me places that give me amazing growth opportunities. So I’m trying a bunch of new things, one by one, so I can gauge the effects.

For example, I tried an antianxiety med, something I never would have tried before. I even tried an antidepressant.  Did they work for me? Well, the antianxiety worked for about 3 months then it didn’t. The antidepressant didn’t work at all. Instead it caused more problems (more anxiety, sleep interruptions, etc.).

That basically ended my foray into “the quick fix” solution for now. Now I’m focusing on solutions that’ll work for me in the long run. Wholistic solutions.

One solution includes finding a therapist who is willing to learn about the HSP Trait somewhat, at least to be open to learning a bit about it. This has been a much more difficult challenge than one would think.

It means I’m now on a waiting list in the mental health care system for at least a year to find a therapist and there’s no guarantee that therapist will be open to understanding what the HSP Trait is. At which point I’ll have to begin another search.

Does that mean I give up? Nope. Instead I search for clues and answers everywhere. Because they are everywhere.

I just finished reading a book called, Wholistic Healing for the Highly Sensitive Person BY Daniel J. Benor, MD, ABIHM, and what I really appreciate about this book are the different wholistic healing modalities the author explains, as well as his thoughts, experiences and understandings of “energy”.

Not many North American MD’s openly write about psychic intuition, psychokinesis, psychic healing, spirituality or collective consciousness, let alone accept that some people experience these things. How refreshing, an MD who wouldn’t suggest a funny white coat in a rubber room.

I particularly resonated with the EFT Tapping technique, locating blocked meridians and learning ways to release the blocks.

What I’m learning is that the main thing I need to be aware of is my HSP Trait and how it works for me and work with my trait. Then look for solutions to underlying clues, which can come in the form of a mental health diagnosis, that are inviting me to unearth them, to acknowledge and dance with them while at the same time looking at wholistic healing methods as solutions.

Mental health diagnoses aren’t to be feared. Fear can paralyze a person, cause them to stop growing. Cause them to stop looking for clues.

Instead, these clues have names like PTSD, depression and anxiety and these clues aren’t life sentences. These clues are there to show me that there are things I can change, actions I can take to improve my well-being.

Are there barriers to going this route?

Absolutely. Especially as a female.

There’s a constant outside pressure to “pretend”, to cover up, to “just be like everyone else”. To use prescriptions drugs as a fix-all solution. Or to accept a mental health label as a life sentence and agree to pop pills for the rest of my life. ” Go with the fake positivity thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for encouraging positivity, but not at the expense of my well-being. And the fact is I’m not like everyone else. I’m for sure not like about 80% of the rest of the population and I’m not sure how many HSPs have PTSD.

All I know is these labels are giving me clues. Clues that are helping me more clearly define what I need and what will work for me in the long run. Clues that’ll show me how to navigate and create my life in a way that’s even more fulfilling and meaningful for me.

Clues that cause me to be so thankful for my curiosity.

How about you? Is your mental health as important to you as your physical health?


Pic credit via susannp4

Rayne is one of the Content Creators for HSP World. She's a curious traveler, yup an HSS too, who loves reading, writing, spending time outdoors, and playing in new projects.

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