Feeling fatigued, irritable, sad or hypersensitive, which I refer to as FISH, isn't all in your head. Well, it is, but not the way you think and, certainly, not the way others mean when they tell you such things.
So, as long as your doctor has given you a clean bill of health, you can stop believing people when they say things like, "It's all in your mind." or "Act as if (even when you feel terrible or are in pain)." or "Just push through it."
Being a Highly Sensitive Person isn't your fault. In fact, it isn't a fault at all and once you understand this you'll be on your way to managing stress and all of it's many symptoms.
What, Exactly, Are Your Inner Fish?
Your inner fish are your amygdalae, the two, small, ancient, amphibious organs in your emotional processing center, located about ear level in the back half of your brain, which are in tune with your thoughts, feelings and emotions at every moment of your life, even when you are sleeping.
Your brain is like a computer with many files. One of these files is your fear file. Every single thing you have ever been stressed over or frightened of, even while you were still in the womb, goes into this file. This is a good thing. Your inner fish remember these moments to keep you safe and they prepare your body to ‘fight, fly or freeze’ whenever you are faced with something stressful. Well, more accurately, it is the job of one of them. I'll get to that in a minute. But, here's the thing. The amygdalae haven't evolved much since the time of the dinosaur and can overreact to living in the hustle and bustle of today's world. this applies to everyone to a degree, but if you are a Highly Sensitive Person it's a given. When you are under stress for too long or too traumatically it is also a given.
One of your amygdalae, the left amygdala, when stimulated, can cause, both, happy and unpleasant emotions. It tends to resolve issues with thought more than action (a more female approach), while the right amygdala produces only negative emotions when stimulated, such as sadness and fear and prefers to take an active approach (more male) by telling the brain to release certain hormones to get you to fight like mad, run like hell or freeze. And, the urgency to do so is the result of the message being received loudly and clearly by the rest of your brain. It is this particular inner fish that can overreact to stress.
Here's how it works.
Among the genes you inherit, there are two specific genes, one from your mother and one from your father, which determines how strongly your amygdalae are wired to the rest of your brain.
If you are lucky enough to get two long gene variants (long fish tails), you are hardwired soundly. You'll be able to bounce back from stress relatively easily.
If you get one long and one short fish tail, you have a 50/50 chance of being wired soundly or not. You could end up a Highly Sensitive Person.
But, if you have two short gene variants (two short fish tails), you come up weakly connected and you'll be born as a Highly Sensitive Person. Meaning, your innerfish are too weakly linked to the rest of your brain parts, which creates hypersensitivity. Is this a deformity? I don't believe so. I believe it's just nature's way of making sure there are those who notice things that others don't for the sake of the tribe, but that's another story. The main point here is that two short gene variants nearly always guarantee experiencing fatigue, sadness, irritability and hypersensitivity more than others do, as well as experiencing an anxiety or panic disorder at some point in your life. In fact, with two short variant genes you may never have been able to get your brain properly set up and, eventually, your sensitivities will become noticeable in some way, because, basically, you were born way more sensitive to stimuli (what you see, hear, taste, smell, and feel, both, physically and energetically).
When you are a Highly Sensitive Person (an HSP) and overwhelmed your body’s physical reaction to these hormones can be very dramatic. And, when you don’t necessarily associate your symptoms with stress and understand why you feel the way you do can be downright alarming.
50% of stress and its resulting symptoms are due to what's going on in your physical body and your environment. Your temperament, heredity and genes have everything to do with how you react to stress (and life in general) and your environment determines the reaction of your inner fish (your amygdalae) to stress.
Ryan Scott Patton from the Khan Academy explains this extremely well in the 9-minute Temperament, Heredity & Genes video below. Of course, he doesn't speak about inner fish. That's something I do. But, I encourage you to view it for a better understanding of how you became who you are, why you have the temperament you do, and the role your environment plays in all that you feel, think and do, genetically speaking.
So, How Do You Calm Your Inner Fish?
Emotions are actually physical bits of energy molecules that float around looking for receptors they match with, latch onto, and set up house with in parts of your body. They can actually be seen with the right equipment.
Positive emotions feel great, don’t they? When we fall in love, get a great test score, buy that brand new outfit and look great in it or finally purchase that classic truck we always wanted we can actually feel our stomachs relaxing, our lips curving upward up in a smile, and we can breathe a sigh of relief that floods our body with calm. We don’t mind when positive emotions set up house.
Negative emotions, not so much. That argument with the spouse, that dirty look from your co-worker when she thought you weren’t looking, or flunking an exam can give you a stomach ache, frown wrinkles and a night of poor sleep. You can either deal with these emotions by working them out through communication, understanding and acceptance or you can try to ignore them, which makes them can hang around and make you ill at ease, which I call dis-ease.
Talk To Your Inner Fish
Try talking to your innerfish as you would a small child. Tell it that it is fine and that you appreciate the warnings it is giving you (the anxiety, panic attacks, etc.), but that there is nothing to be afraid of, that, both, you and you and ‘it’ are just fine.
This may sound or make you feel ridiculous, but if your focus is on fear, rather than calming words, your inner ifsh won't believe you. In the middle of a panic attack, it may be hard to talk to your inner fish as you are sweating and feeling as though you are going to pass out, but do it anyway. Reassure it as you would a friend.
Talking with your inner fish when you calm and relaxed can prevent future panic attacks. Your fish believes everything you say, even lies. So, instead of feeding it lies, like, “I’m going to die!” tell your inner fish “I am fine. I’m OK.”
If you are you involved in situations or relationships that constantly drain your energy your inner fish is seeing this as a sign that you are always in danger. After all, it is the job of your inner fish to alert you to any possible threat to your 'self'. This means that if you get into a disagreement or feel your rights have been ignored your inner fish may react a couple of hours later, the next day, or even the next time you are around that person or situation by having presenting you with a panic attack.
By telling your inner fish you have a plan, that you are OK, and that you are working on making things better it will begin to calm down. Sometimes, your innerfish just needs to know that you acknowledge something that is inimical to your very being.
You've probably heard about the Inner Child, Inner Parent, an Inner Adult. Your inner fish is also your inner child’s pet, by the way. When your inner child is afraid your inner fish (your amygdalae) gets defensive and aggressive, like a piranha.
Natural Old World Remedies for Anxiety, Depression, Panic & Phobia
Here, at The Captains Lady, you'll learn how to naturally relieve fatigue, irritability, sadness and hypersensitivity without prescription or over-the-counter drugs, prepackaged meals, bars or shakes, expensive supplements or exercise equipment, or having to sit in weekly therapy each sessions.
You can start saying goodbye to fatigue, irritability, sadness and hypersensitivity. Hypersensitivity includes feeling ill and experiencing ache and pain on a regular basis, by the way. Say hello to calm, confidence and positive energy, so you can live your life according to your very own unique individuality, with motivation and enthusiasm.
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