3 thoughts on “Dr. Tracy Cooper Monthly Meetings for Highly Sensitive Men!

  1. My own experience has revealed that notable adverse childhood experience trauma resulting from a highly sensitive existence — especially when its effect is amplified by an accompanying autism spectrum disorder — can readily lead an adolescent to a substance (ab)use disorder. This, of course, can also lead to an adulthood of debilitating self-medicating.

    The greater the drug-induced euphoria or escape one attains from its use, the more one wants to repeat the experience; and the more intolerable one finds their sober reality, the more pleasurable that escape should be perceived. By extension, the greater one’s mental pain or trauma while sober, the greater the need for escape from reality, thus the more addictive the euphoric escape-form will likely be. Especially as a highly sensitive person, both the drug-induced euphoria and, conversely, the come-down effect or return to their burdensome reality will be heightened thus making the substance-use more addictive.

    As a highly sensitive child, teenager and adult with ASD—an official condition with which I greatly struggled yet of which I was not even aware until I was a half-century old—compounded by a high ACE score, I largely learned this for myself from my own substance (ab)use experience. The self-medicating method I utilized during most of my pre-teen years, however, was eating.

    As a highly sensitive heterosexual male, over half a century in age, I belatedly read Tom Falkenstein’s The Highly Sensitive Man (2019). Near the beginning of Chapter 1, he writes:

    “You only have to open a magazine or newspaper, turn on your TV, or open your browser to discover an ever-growing interest in stories about being a father, being a man, or how to balance a career with a family. Many of these articles have started talking about an apparent ‘crisis of masculinity.’ The headlines for these articles attempt to address male identity, but often fall into the trap of sounding ironic and sometimes even sarcastic and critical: ‘Men in Crisis: Time to Pull Yourselves Together,’ ‘The Weaker Sex,’ ‘Crisis in Masculinity: Who is the Stronger Sex?’ and ‘Search for Identity: Super-Dads or Vain Peacocks’ are just a few examples. They all seem to agree to some extent that there is a crisis. But reading these articles one gets the impression that no one really knows how to even start dealing with the problem, let alone what a solution to it might look like. One also gets the impression from these articles that we need to keep any genuine sympathy for these “poor men” in check: the patriarchy is still just too dominant to allow ourselves that luxury. …”

    I have a lot more to read on the topic. But what I’ve noticed, though perhaps not surprising, is that I’ve yet to find a blog that delves into (what I refer to as) my kind of very problematic perfect storm of sensory overload, psychological and emotional disorder.

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    1. Thank you for the comment. Tom Falkenstein is a psychologist who has worked with a number of highly sensitive men, the basis for his book from the counseling point of view, but does not maintain a blog as such. It is likely that the complex combination of emotional and psychological challenges prove to be fodder for which blog posts may be inadequate, since sussing out the various bits and forming a context in which healing may take place is better done under the careful eye of a truly skilled clinician with long experience.

      My work focuses on educating highly sensitive men and highly sensitive people to raise awareness of their trait and begin to understand it accurately so that they might contextualize their lived experiences to date and chart a different path in the future that, hopefully, is less about adapting ourselves to life than adapting life to our needs. I also focus on providing experiences where sensitive people have an opportunity to meet other sensitives and share their experiences, which can be powerfully cathartic as we as healing.

      As an educator and advocate for sensory processing sensitivity I know my parameters and leave the clinician work to those who have taken up that charge. I would suggest seeking out an HSP-knowledgable therapist if your desire is to begin addressing your concerns. You may find a list of HSP-knowledgeable professionals at https://hsperson.com/therapists/seeking-an-hsp-knowledgeable-therapist/.

      Thank you for sharing

      Tracy

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  2. Thank you for your informative reply; it is appreciated. As far as accessing professional counselling goes, to date I couldn’t find anything other than the usual going rate of anywhere between $150 – $200 per hour/session, which I cannot afford. Nonetheless, I’ll continue looking.

    I believe that mental health-care needs to generate as much societal concern — and government funding — as does physical health, even though psychological illness/dysfunction typically is not immediately visually observable.

    Since so much of our mental health comes from our childhood experiences, I would like to see child-development science curriculum implemented for secondary high school; and, ideally, it would include some psychology and neurodiversity lessons, albeit not overly complicated. It would be mandatory course material, however, and considerably more detailed than what’s already covered by home economics, etcetera, curriculum: e.g. diaper changing, baby feeding and so forth. I don’t think the latter is anywhere near sufficient (at least not how I experienced it) when it comes to the proper development of a child’s mind.

    For one thing, the curriculum could/would make available to students potentially valuable/useful knowledge about their own psyches and why they are the way they are.
    And besides their own nature, students can also learn about the natures of their peers, which might foster greater tolerance for atypical personalities.

    If nothing else, the curriculum could offer students an idea/clue as to whether they’re emotionally suited for the immense responsibility and strains of parenthood. I believe the wellbeing of all children — and not just what other parents’ children might/will cost us as future criminals or costly cases of government care, etcetera — should be of great importance to us all.
    A psychologically and emotionally sound (as well as a physically healthy) future should be ALL children’s foremost right — which includes a societally functional education, religious or not — especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter.

    Thanks again for your article and information, and thanks for letting me speak.

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