I find it sad that we live in a society where being deemed a ‘sensitive’ soul is usually meant as a somewhat derogatory term. In the same way as my natural introversion is often considered somehow ‘less than’ in our outspoken extravert-based world, so too can my sensitivity to life appear as a distinct lack of gumption on my part, rather than simply being a psychological difference between myself and the bulk of the population.
I sometimes wonder if the western world was to become different, if culturally it became perfectly acceptable to be quiet and contemplative, if it were considered the norm to feel overwhelmed by overstimulation and sensory overload, would I still have the sense of struggling so much in life? Would I still suffer from feeling ‘not good enough’? In fact, taking that train of thought to the extreme, would I still feel quite so depressed so often?
I remember saying to my last-but-one therapist that to me being depressed feels like I’m literally being de-pressed, pushed down on, having the life squashed out of me in order to shape myself into something I’m not, and that inevitably leaves me feeling that the ‘real’ me is simply not good enough. And it seems like the more I feel that I don’t ‘fit in’ – the wider the gap between being truly myself and being what is culturally and societally expected – the more depressed I become…
So I can’t help questioning whether part (but by no means all) of my long-term dalliance with depression is actually a perfectly understandable emotional reaction to two very normal personal traits (introversion and high sensitivity) being deemed culturally unacceptable?
Is at least some of the constant jarring of my inherent square-peg-ness not fitting comfortably into society’s culturally-normative round hole perhaps as much a fault with society’s narrow expectation as an inherent flaw within me?
I remember reading one of those little inspirational sayings years ago that read: ‘Better to be a first class you than to spend your life trying to be a second class somebody else’. Yet another says: ‘Be yourself, you can’t go wrong’. I most definitely agree with those ideal sentiments expressed, however I feel that the reality is summed up more accurately with this one: