View Full Version : Highly Sensitive People


ezridax
01-28-13, 05:54 AM
I've been reading up on Highly Sensitive People this evening and oh my gosh! It's me!

This. Explains. Everything.

I would type more (a lot more), but it's the middle of the night and I am afraid of waking my boys with the noise of my rapid typing, and taking it slow to be more quiet would be too painstaking. But no doubt I will be back in the morning to write my novella ;)

GeordieDave
01-28-13, 07:07 AM
Haha welcome tot he club!

sarek
01-28-13, 07:33 AM
HSP was the first stage of the convoluted journey of discovery which brought me here.

ezridax
01-28-13, 12:31 PM
I'm baaaack....I'm just going to start rambling k?

As a child, I was extremely sensitive to the emotions of others, to the point of it sometimes being almost physically painful. I remember crying when one of my siblings got punished. I felt sad when I witnessed a peer being bullied, though I wasn't bold enough to do anything about it. My empathy as a teen had me reaching out in writing to a few acquaintances, a couple of which later became good friends and I was (I hope) able to help them through some difficult times.

A particular friend gave me a note after school one day and I went home and read it, and he was having terrible struggles at the time. After reading the note, I began to shake uncontrollably and had to pray for my friend and pray for strength before it stopped.

As an adult, though, I feel-- sadly-- that I have been somehow desensitized. That is, I think I still am very empathetic, but in a subconscious attempt to battle the accompanying pain, I find myself withdrawing from emotional situations rather than engaging, because I just can't handle it if I get too involved.

I am also extremely physically sensitive. Even sights and sounds evoke strong physical reactions in me. For instance, I can't stand the sound (or sight, but the sound is worse) of balloons rubbing; every time I hear it I can physically feel the balloon rubbing against my skin and it is terribly unpleasant for me. If I hear nails on a chalkboard, I shudder because it feels like it's my own nails being dragged across the board.

Last night as I lay in bed, the image flashed in my mind of my finger touching a pot on the stove and for a moment I actually felt the shock of it. I have experienced other physical sensations while lying in bed, often after just awaking from an intense dream. Once as a youth I dreamed I got bit on the arm by a dog; I woke up, and for a few seconds after waking I actually felt like I had been bitten, like there was a pressure clamping down on my arm.

In order to sleep, conditions have to be just right. Particularly the temperature of the room. But no matter how warm it is, I also have to have at least a sheet covering the bottom half of my body and a heavier blanket covering my feet for the weight. Even a tiny pinprick of light from an electronic device is enough to keep me from being able to fall asleep; sounds also keep me awake; I will kick my husband and tell him to roll over if he starts to snore.

I absolutely love our Simmons Beautyrest mattress, it's been perfect for me; I immediately started sleeping better once we got that mattress. All the time growing up, in college, and the first year of our marriage I always struggled to get comfortable in bed, because I always had an old or cheap mattress to sleep on and it just didn't feel right. Whenever we travel now I have the same problem; every other bed is inferior to my bed at home. I also discovered during my first pregnancy that I sleep better with a pillow between my legs, so now I always have to have a pillow between my legs or I can't get to sleep.

The list goes on, but this is enough for a beginning.

ezridax
01-28-13, 05:44 PM
When it comes to sensations of touch, I seem to react either with intense pleasure or intense displeasure. Rarely is physical touch met with a neutral response. I am easily "touched-out" after a day of dealing with a physically-aggressive toddler and a nursing baby, DH will come home from work and try to caress me and it takes all my willpower not to cringe. Even though I really love my husband and I don't want him to think I'm repulsed by him because I'm not generally speaking. When I'm in the right mood, I enjoy our physical intimacy immensely.

I tend to overreact to minor inflictions of pain. I'll stub my toe, for instance, and cry out at the top of my lungs, afterward to realize that I didn't even really stub it that hard...I have the same reaction when I accidentally inflict pain on a loved one: I always yelp "ouch!" when I hurt someone, even though I personally am not hurt.

So anyway, I can easily see how all this hypersensitivity has led me to anxiety and avoidant behaviors.

Blue_E46
02-25-13, 01:14 PM
I'm baaaack....I'm just going to start rambling k?

As a child, I was extremely sensitive to the emotions of others, to the point of it sometimes being almost physically painful. I remember crying when one of my siblings got punished. I felt sad when I witnessed a peer being bullied, though I wasn't bold enough to do anything about it. My empathy as a teen had me reaching out in writing to a few acquaintances, a couple of which later became good friends and I was (I hope) able to help them through some difficult times.

A particular friend gave me a note after school one day and I went home and read it, and he was having terrible struggles at the time. After reading the note, I began to shake uncontrollably and had to pray for my friend and pray for strength before it stopped.

As an adult, though, I feel-- sadly-- that I have been somehow desensitized. That is, I think I still am very empathetic, but in a subconscious attempt to battle the accompanying pain, I find myself withdrawing from emotional situations rather than engaging, because I just can't handle it if I get too involved.

I am also extremely physically sensitive. Even sights and sounds evoke strong physical reactions in me. For instance, I can't stand the sound (or sight, but the sound is worse) of balloons rubbing; every time I hear it I can physically feel the balloon rubbing against my skin and it is terribly unpleasant for me. If I hear nails on a chalkboard, I shudder because it feels like it's my own nails being dragged across the board.

Last night as I lay in bed, the image flashed in my mind of my finger touching a pot on the stove and for a moment I actually felt the shock of it. I have experienced other physical sensations while lying in bed, often after just awaking from an intense dream. Once as a youth I dreamed I got bit on the arm by a dog; I woke up, and for a few seconds after waking I actually felt like I had been bitten, like there was a pressure clamping down on my arm.

In order to sleep, conditions have to be just right. Particularly the temperature of the room. But no matter how warm it is, I also have to have at least a sheet covering the bottom half of my body and a heavier blanket covering my feet for the weight. Even a tiny pinprick of light from an electronic device is enough to keep me from being able to fall asleep; sounds also keep me awake; I will kick my husband and tell him to roll over if he starts to snore.

I absolutely love our Simmons Beautyrest mattress, it's been perfect for me; I immediately started sleeping better once we got that mattress. All the time growing up, in college, and the first year of our marriage I always struggled to get comfortable in bed, because I always had an old or cheap mattress to sleep on and it just didn't feel right. Whenever we travel now I have the same problem; every other bed is inferior to my bed at home. I also discovered during my first pregnancy that I sleep better with a pillow between my legs, so now I always have to have a pillow between my legs or I can't get to sleep.

The list goes on, but this is enough for a beginning.

:goodpost:

As GeordieDave joked, being highly sensitive is a big part of ADHD. I believe one of the reasons new members have their posts reviewed by moderators before being published is because it's highly common for a person with ADHD to impulsively speak (or in this case post) without taking the feelings of others into consideration. Here the moderators do a good job of making sure everyone is polite before "taking off the training wheels"; it's one of the reasons I love this forum: flaming isn't tolerated. :)

I was able to start reading The Highly Sensitive Person before having to return it to the library due to it's popularity. I also checked most of the boxes on the self-test and I can relate to most if not all of the experiences you've posted; especially the sleeping conditions... I actually keep an indoor temperature gauge with humidity level on my night stand. I find if the room temperature rises above 80F or the humidity rises about about 50% in the summer, I will have trouble sleeping.

In addition, I can also easily be awoken by dreams (both good and bad) then have trouble falling back to sleep. The good news for me is that I'm single with no kids, so if a dream wakes me up I can do whatever I want without having to worry about disturbing anyone.

I've had the following diagnoses in my life:

Cerebral Palsy (age 18 months)
Anxiety Disorder (age 19)
Chronic Depression (age 21)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (age 29)
ADHD-PI (age 36)

I'm now 39, and I can tell you the two things I have for sure are the Cerebral Palsy and ADHD. The anxiety and depression may or may not simply be by products of living life with Cerebral Palsy and ADHD. To complicate matters, a lot of the symptoms of OCD are the identical to ADHD. I may not even have OCD as I don't suffer from the rituals that plague many with OCD (e.g. repeated hand washing); although I do often have obsessive thoughts, which could actually be hyperfocus caused by ADHD.

In addition to Dr. Aron's The Highly Sensitive Person, I would also recommend reading Dr. Edward Hallowell's Driven To Distraction, as it gives tips on coping with sensitivity as well.

Also, even though you don't have ADHD according to your signature, you may want to consider being re-tested. Especially if you can also relate to any of the stories in Driven To Distraction.

Many women and girls with ADHD have gone undiagnosed because up until the 1990's, one had to be hyperactive to be diagnosed with ADHD, a trait most women and girls with the disorder don't have.

My ADHD was initially missed when tested for. When I was in elementary school back in the early 1980's, if you weren't hyperactive, you didn't have ADHD. I'm ADHD-PI (predominantly inattentive), which is why my diagnosis was missed and why I struggled so hard throughout my primary and secondary education as well as into college.

Thanks for the post, it's always nice to hear from others familiar with Dr. Aron's work. :)

aylaah
02-26-13, 01:03 AM
Ohhhhh that is me me me me meeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!! Your explanation - could have my name under it (or on top of it, on here lol).

SquarePeg
02-26-13, 03:56 AM
I have never considered whether I am highly sensitive before. I cannot deal with death, if I see a bereaved person and i know I need to offer a few words, I just burst into tears. Not because of the dead person but for the people left behind. I am absolutely useless.

If anyone cries I feel like crying, even if I donīt know them!

I can meet a stranger and "feel" their emotional pain instantly (even if they are unaware of it, in fact the more they are unaware the more I can feel it).

I have to stay away from people or limit my time with them because I am affected by their moods (unless they are happy people).

If I think of something painful, or watch a you tube vid of a kid falling off a skateboard, I can feel a jolt of pain (I think lots of other people do).
I like being in semi darkness even to read and I hate loud noises, I prefer silence. Jazz really disturbs me, itīs too unstructured (to my ears).

MadArtist
02-26-13, 05:20 AM
That'd be me to a T. My Psychiatrist blames it on me having a very "limited world" because I don't have a huge circle of friends or more social hobbies or a more social job, so he says because there's so little contained in my world when something happens it's like setting off a bomb in a tiny room.

Others' emotions overwhelm me, especially if I'm around my very loud and active 8 year old cousin. All that energy and noise sends me into an anxiety attack (I have anxiety) and I have to leave the house entirely and walk around the block so I can absorb the quiet and calm down.

I find animals effect me as well but that's because I grew up surrounded by cats and relatives' animals so I'm just as sensitive if they're hurt or unhappy or what-have-you. It's actually why I quit the last job I had. I was an animal caretaker at the city shelter and they were notorious for poor conditions and killing animals just because they needed the room. I saw so many suffering animals that I ended up unable to function and quit an hour before my first day was over. Cried for weeks after because I kept feeling their pain and seeing the looks of fear.

Blue_E46
02-26-13, 12:31 PM
Pretty much everything everyone has posted I can relate to... Sometimes my senses are so over stimulated that I feel that I might be autistic as well, as some do have both Cerebral Palsy and Autism; however, I know that's not the case. I'm just more sensitive because of the ADHD and as I've seen others point out in this forum, that's not such a bad thing.

Imagine how much more enjoyable the world would be if things like hate and fear were to be banned in advertising? There's a reason political and religious debates are forbidden here: on an emotional level they always lead to fear and hate, which does no one any good.

One of the benefits to having ADHD is because we are so sensitive, we can take steps to teach others to be more civil simply by acknowledging the disorder and explaining it.

If someone starts an argument with you, don't be afraid to tell them you cannot continue because you're over stimulated; if they persist, warn them ADHD is a disability and that their insistence on over stimulating you is (at least in the U.S.) a hate crime and against federal law.

Sadly, we cannot completely block out the hate and fear that causes us to become over stimulated; however, we can takes steps to minimize it. In addition to openly telling people when their actions are over stimulating me, I avoid over stimulation by not checking email or Facebook after 7:00 PM, as I know if I'm over stimulated too late in the evening, I won't sleep well.

Don't feel bad about acknowledging your over stimulated state to yourself and others when it happens. This goes double for men, as our egos and society's labels often insist we never back down, as that's not the "manly" thing to do.

Our sensitivity is a good thing as it allows us to see not only the bad, but the good things in life in a way others cannot fathom. Don't be afraid to acknowledge and share the positive side of being highly sensitive :)

Blanched Dubois
05-05-13, 10:02 AM
I've been reading up on Highly Sensitive People this evening and oh my gosh! It's me!

This. Explains. Everything.

I would type more (a lot more), but it's the middle of the night and I am afraid of waking my boys with the noise of my rapid typing, and taking it slow to be more quiet would be too painstaking. But no doubt I will be back in the morning to write my novella ;)

Would you mind sharing your source? - link ?

thanks

this subject like SOOOOOOOOOOO many is personal and a broad umbrella of 'symptoms' that professionals so called and a few brilliant minds and learned medical folk/scientists still can't get a real handle on....cus in my experience unless the WHOLE person is treated
it's all panacea

*pay no attention to this jaded but hopeful old bunch of labels behind the screen - i don't believe anyone or anything until i have proven for myself if it's 'right' or 'wrong' ...in my experience and nothing I'd ever shove down anyone else's throats....never gonna invalidate ya if i can help it....just wishing for a time when the best of east and west can really meet and affordably
heh

Blanched Dubois
05-05-13, 10:06 AM
:goodpost:

As GeordieDave joked, being highly sensitive is a big part of ADHD. I believe one of the reasons new members have their posts reviewed by moderators before being published is because it's highly common for a person with ADHD to impulsively speak (or in this case post) without taking the feelings of others into consideration. Here the moderators do a good job of making sure everyone is polite before "taking off the training wheels"; it's one of the reasons I love this forum: flaming isn't tolerated. :)

I was able to start reading The Highly Sensitive Person before having to return it to the library due to it's popularity. I also checked most of the boxes on the self-test and I can relate to most if not all of the experiences you've posted; especially the sleeping conditions... I actually keep an indoor temperature gauge with humidity level on my night stand. I find if the room temperature rises above 80F or the humidity rises about about 50% in the summer, I will have trouble sleeping.

In addition, I can also easily be awoken by dreams (both good and bad) then have trouble falling back to sleep. The good news for me is that I'm single with no kids, so if a dream wakes me up I can do whatever I want without having to worry about disturbing anyone.

I've had the following diagnoses in my life:

Cerebral Palsy (age 18 months)
Anxiety Disorder (age 19)
Chronic Depression (age 21)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (age 29)
ADHD-PI (age 36)

I'm now 39, and I can tell you the two things I have for sure are the Cerebral Palsy and ADHD. The anxiety and depression may or may not simply be by products of living life with Cerebral Palsy and ADHD. To complicate matters, a lot of the symptoms of OCD are the identical to ADHD. I may not even have OCD as I don't suffer from the rituals that plague many with OCD (e.g. repeated hand washing); although I do often have obsessive thoughts, which could actually be hyperfocus caused by ADHD.

In addition to Dr. Aron's The Highly Sensitive Person, I would also recommend reading Dr. Edward Hallowell's Driven To Distraction, as it gives tips on coping with sensitivity as well.

Also, even though you don't have ADHD according to your signature, you may want to consider being re-tested. Especially if you can also relate to any of the stories in Driven To Distraction.

Many women and girls with ADHD have gone undiagnosed because up until the 1990's, one had to be hyperactive to be diagnosed with ADHD, a trait most women and girls with the disorder don't have.

My ADHD was initially missed when tested for. When I was in elementary school back in the early 1980's, if you weren't hyperactive, you didn't have ADHD. I'm ADHD-PI (predominantly inattentive), which is why my diagnosis was missed and why I struggled so hard throughout my primary and secondary education as well as into college.

Thanks for the post, it's always nice to hear from others familiar with Dr. Aron's work. :)

ok got your sources, checking out doc aaron - read driven to distraction - good one....and i don't need verification as I've always been a HSP...i just call it something else....which doesn't matter.

thanks

midnightstar
05-05-13, 10:30 AM
Oh wow so I'm not the only hypersensitive person around - I thought it was me being a wimp because that's how I believe I was percieved as a child because I'd feel everyone's pain and be desperate to make everything better for them (I'm still like it now)

Blanched Dubois
05-05-13, 10:35 AM
In another galaxy in another universe in another forum far far away........

is the H S P aka many other labels that may or may not be accurate without a full assessment by reputable source.....! the journey is bearable by not being preached to or advised much but led by the trails of bread crumbs somebody left somewhere.......?

dresser
05-18-13, 02:32 PM
AAAA just when I thaught I woz all better, LOLOLO. really this info dose allow for me to remove Itchy spots in my emotional N mental make up (no not the lipstick kind). because I can relate to the discriptions, therefore Im not alone, cookoo or different. and its been some time since Ive seen this good, open, old fashioned helpful experience based posts. I thank yoozz for showing me yoozz N being open enough to describe N there for put a name to the "not right feeling" I don't want to be different, I thaught I was different and yet felt uncomfortable. Admitting to this post because it fits me N the people doing the writing finally make me "part of" it shows Im not different or alone. this post came to my eyes at the correct time in my life so thanks to all of yoozz for makin it possible for me part of AN
US