I learned recently I am a person who most likely falls into the highly sensitive category , also known as HSP. It hasn’t always been so noticeable, but over the last 15 years I began to notice it more, and in the last 2 years it’s become so evident I actually began seeking out information on it. Most of the traits fit me to a tee! I am also so glad to find out I am not alone.
I am not super sensitive to everything, but to some specific things–then I am extremely sensitive. Anything to do with children that doesn’t involve a happy ending, I avoid. My husband doesn’t even play around with it anymore. At the first sign of a news article, or tv segment, etc. that involves something tragic with a child he turns it immediately. If there’s a hint of despair coming, he turns the channel. I can’t watch the news. I tend to read news online so I can click off quickly if I run across something. I hide people on my Facebook that tend to post sad articles or links. I can’t watch movies that involve children even though I know its only a movie. Horror movies and violence I can only take in small doses. I literally avoid it at all costs. I feel such empathy at an unusual level that its so overwhelming I can’t handle it. I don’t feel that for adults. I only feel this way for children. I thought maybe I was traumatized somehow when I was young and its only coming to the surface now, and that’s why I am so sensitive to the well being of children–which was the catalyst leading me to research it. I found a lot of information on the Highly Sensitive Person.
I am writing about it because I was shopping at Safeway a week or so ago. I saw a family begging at the entrance. It was a young couple with 2 babies. One infant and the other a toddler. I literally froze. I knew I couldn’t walk by them. The toddler was crying and wanting to get out of her stroller. The father was holding a sign that said he had no income and a family who needed help. First, I am so sad any child would be put in this situation. I realize people have hard times. I have had them myself. I know what its like to have twenty dollars for the week, and be creative with my pasta to make it more interesting for the third time that week. I have been there. I was a single mother for 8 years with an ex husband who didn’t pay child support regularly. But, I did have a roof over our head, and heat and basic needs met. If I didn’t I was out there finding a way. I have cleaned houses to have gas money for the week. So, I know what its like to struggle. But, I would NEVER subject my children to the streets and beg. Its emotionally abusive, and cruel. It was after 8 pm at night and freezing outside. Those babies needed to be inside.
Here is my issue.. 1. If that is the only choice they had then they are need of much more help than any gift card is going to fix. They need someone to intervene. Basic needs have to be met. 2. If food was all they needed then the wife needed to stay home with the children and he could go out and beg for help. Which leads me back to 1. If a parent is willing to subject two babies to those conditions then there is more wrong with the situation then just needing some food– that takes it to another level that is cruel to those children.
I just began to cry, and I couldn’t stop. I talked to the Manager of the store, and he said, “I will tell them to move” and I said, “No, that isn’t what I want to see happen. IF they move that doesn’t solve anything”. He said he wouldn’t call the police, because his conscious wouldn’t allow that. I replied, “But, your conscious will allow two babies to be subjected to this weather and strapped into a stroller screaming? These children need a welfare check. Do they have a home, and they are just panhandling with the kids for sympathy? Are they living in a car? How much help do these babies need? I am not just giving a twenty a walking away! These babies will be back out tomorrow. As I was crying I was surprised a few other women noticed and instinctively knew I was discussing the couple outside. A woman agreed with me. She said she works at the hospital and she believes the police should check on these babies as well. I was glad I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. Others were willing to step up and back what I was saying, no one was willing to take the first step to say it.
I called the police, and the other woman said she was going to her car and doing the same. I mentioned to the dispatcher I don’t care what the adults do. I have no issue with them asking for money or food. I have an issue those babies are now involved and I can’t go about my business without knowing I tried to look after their welfare somehow. I was a wreck for about 3 hours afterwards.
I realized I needed to do something. Maybe if I get involved with the solution I could handle my emotions better. I emailed the local homeless family shelter. I offered to tutor, give haircuts (I am a licensed Cosmetologist), help with office work, etc. I am volunteering in a few weeks to help serve lunch in the kitchen and see how that goes. In helping these families maybe I will help myself. I hope I feel better and not more sad.