Not a good moment when the pet groomer says, “fleas.”  We thought our dog’s scratching was a case of allergies.  Our vet had warned us that Bichon Frise poodles have that tendency and we had changed her food and given her the recommended medication.  Now we know another factor is also at work.

The remedy includes a medication that apparently enters the bloodstream and stops the little vampires in their tracks.  Permanently.

A physical allergic reaction to fleas is not so different from the emotional suffering of hypersensitive people.  Remarks and perceived slights by others can cause the hyper sensitive person to feel injured and to withdraw from social contact altogether.  Feelings of low self worth and depression can follow. This sensitivity can afflict all ages and present with physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive problems, and even itching!

There is no way to ban the world of fleas.  There is no way to insure that people will treat each other with kindness and consideration.  The best treatment for hypersensitivity is identifying the issue and establishing a less porous filter that does not let in every possible hurt or offense.  A less porous filter can involve consulting a trusted friend or therapist to  interpret issues accurately rather than jumping to the conclusion that  ill will has been intended.  With support, this pattern and the pain can be greatly helped.

Sometimes the injury felt by a sensitive person is very real.  While working in a research study on schizophrenia, I remember a patient  reporting to me that he was being made fun of on the bus and did not want to go to work because of this.  Paranoia is associated with schizophrenia.  Nevertheless, I asked this client if he would like for me to ride the bus with him to his location and give him feedback.  We boarded the bus and before the first stop, the heckling began.  He was accurate in his assessment of the situation.  Our work was to affirm him and not dismiss it as paranoia, but to work on building up a filter to ignore rather than internalize.

Our sensitivity is part of self protection and protection of others.  Its effectiveness depends, as most things do, on balance.