Q. A friend of mine gave me one of her parrots for my birthday. A big parrot. Over the past three years I’ve enjoyed it in some ways but its screeching is beginning to wear on me. I’ve developed a sort of hypersensitive, unable to relax, wondering when it is going to cut loose next. My sensory preference is kinesthetic (not auditory) so this puzzles me. My friend says there must be something wrong with my brain and suggested I take anti-anxiety medication. What do you think?
A. I think your brain can develop a type of hypersensitivity because it never knows when the parrot will let loose and so it is in a constant state of stress-readiness and stress-alertness. Taking anti-anxiety medication would be a band-aide approach and would likely not provide much relief over time. In addition, every cell in your body would be impacted by the medication.
Stress research has shown that chronic unpredictable stressors can be a huge problem for the brain. As a kinesthetic, the screeching reaches your brain via your ears but also via your skin (your largest body organ) as the sound waves beat against it. Kinesthetics are often much more sensitive to sensory stimuli than non-kinesthetics. This means the screeching may bother you more than it would a visual or an auditory.
You may want to donate the parrot to an aviary where it is in a much larger space and can fly around and be with other kindred feathered folks. Parrots are wild creatures and undoubtedly were never intended to live in a small space. If it would make you feel better, tell your friend that the parrot no longer works for your brain and give her the option to have it back. (Is there a chance she gave it to you because its screeching was getting to her?) If she doesn’t want it back, donate it to an aviary or give it to a pet store to sell.
Remember, just because someone gives you a gift (no matter whether they’re trying to be kind or just wanting to unload something that isn’t working for them) you are under no obligation to take it, use it, or retain it.