Highly Sensitive Me

I decided to listen to the audio book The Highly Sensitive Person because I knew I was sensitive, extremely sensitive, so I thought maybe it would give me some insight. I never expected it to explain almost all of my serious issues.

As a kid I was very shy, to the point so much that people often forget I was even in the room. If someone said something mean to me I’d either burst into tears or get really sick to my stomach. All my life I’ve been referred to as sensitive or emotional. I even had one friend tell me the song I’m Sensitive by Jewel to remind her of me. Come to think of it the other song I’ve had someone say makes them think of me is Maryjane by Alanis. Yeah, those songs couldn’t be anymore telling.

Maryjane:

What’s the matter Mary Jane, you had a hard day
As you place the don’t disturb sign on the door
You lost your place in line again, what a pity
You never seem to want to dance anymore

I’m Sensitive:

‘Cause anyone can start a conflict
it’s harder yet to disregard it
I’d rather see the world from another angle
We are everyday angels
Be careful with me ’cause I’d like to stay that way

I’ve always felt bad about it, like my sensitivity was a burden and too much for most people to deal with. I suppose knowing what it really is doesn’t mean it’s not a burden, some people deal with me easier than others do.

Things that I now realize about me that are a part of being Highly Sensitive (or easily over stimulated) are the following:

  • Insomnia (being too frazzled).
  • Having a faster heartrate normally, doctors are always surprised that when they check my heartrate that it’s really fast.
  • Avoiding situations that would cause anxiety such as left turns or busy/crowded places.
  • Feeling things in situations that aren’t out in the open ie. intuition.
  • Feelings things really intensely like music, sometimes it makes me cry and not just because of lyrics, sometimes because the notes or whatever just effect me strongly.
  • Being very aware of my inner emotional state, which can be good and bad.
  • Creativity, I’ve often said that the part of me that sometimes makes life really difficult can bring out my creativity.
  • I tend to have a lot of empathy to the point I’ll be brought to tears for someone else.
  • I get easily overwhelmed sometimes to the point I want to cry or just hide, this explains why once when I smoked pot I begged people to put me in the closet.
  • Needing a lot of space so much that everyday after work I require 1 hour to be left alone just so I can relax. I often only make plans for 1 day on the weekend if any just because I can’t handle anymore of that.
  • Cutting people out of your life is an HSP trait, one I’ve done many times. Usually people that cause me to get over-sensitive way too often.
  • I spend a lot of time at home.

My whole life I’ve been criticised for this, to this day I still am. I’m either too emotional or I’m overly-dramatic. In truth, I just feel things more intensely than other people and it can cause me to panic or shut down. I think that’s why I watch so much tv, it grounds me and calms me like not much else can. Listening to audiobooks in my car helps me not get overwhelmed by all the traffic.

It’s a relief to learn about this and know that 20% of the population is HSP, so I’m not as weird and fucked up as I thought I was. I’ve always thought that a lot of my sensitivity was a good thing but the being over-stimulated part can be draining and embarrassing. So from now on when someone tells me I’m too sensitive I’ll just tell them “yes, so please stop making it worse.”


  • Alissa M

    I know we talked about this…I can relate all too well, and that’s really friggin crazy because I, too, used to relate to those songs. I had those two on repeat. No joke! I’m glad I’m not a lone. It’s very difficult being a HSP. I used to be so shy that when teachers would call on me in class (at random) I would just start crying. It was awful. I think I need to read this book…does it offer any coping skills? Or does it just explain the nature of the HSP?

    • http://lifeisnotamovie.net Robin

      It does offer coping skills although I’m only at the beginning of the book still. Can’t hurt to read it. I started to tell my mom about HSP and I think she just thinks it’s another one of those madeup things I read about. She just doesn’t think like I do, everything is what it is but I need to understand things. At least knowing what t his is helps me feel less out-of-control and less bizarre.

  • http://twitter.com/elizabethbarone Liz

    I’ve highly sensitive, too. I’ve been criticized for it and even ridiculed for it all my life, but it mostly doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ve embraced it: 
    http://elizabethbarone.net/2011/10/01/how-my-depression-made-me-a-better-person/  and http://elizabethbarone.net/2011/12/18/how-i-changed-and-yet-stayed-the-same/ I still have to be careful with a lot of things. For example, there are certain songs I can’t listen to while driving, because they make me tear up for no reason. Most movies make me cry, even if they’re not sad. Disney movies almost always make me cry. “It’s so happy,” I’ll think as I bawl my eyes out during Belle’s “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere” song in Beauty and the Beast. It’s pretty amusing to me now. I used to try to hide it but now I’m just like, “Whatever. If someone doesn’t like it, fuck ‘em.” On the other hand, though, people’s angry or nervous energy rubs right off on me, so I have to be careful with whom I spend my time with. I feel everything.

    I always thought I was some kind of freak, too… until I discovered the internet. I really, really love this place of ours.

    xo

    • http://lifeisnotamovie.net Robin

      Sunday night one of my FAVORITE shows (see recent post) had a really tragic ending, it was just the season finale. I found out that 2 more (1 left last season) of the characters are leaving. I went to bed sobbing because I felt like I was losing them and they brought so much joy to my life. Luckily my husband understands where this is coming from and doesn’t think I’m a freak. Also, my friend and I have a term called “A Pina Colada Moment” because once I burst into tears in the car listening to the Pina Colada Song.


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