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Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” ~Benjamin Spock

I used to believe that I was my thoughts. I really believed that everything happened well because I had analyzed and planned and prepared. I didn’t even know that I was doing this. I didn’t know there was any more to me than my thoughts.

I also used to believe that there was something seriously wrong with me, so thinking about how to fix myself was my main pastime.

All my life people told me, “You’re too sensitive,” “so intense,” “you’re just so emotional.”

I told this to myself, and plenty of other people told it to me too, both directly and indirectly.

I didn’t know how to live. I had an analysis of life rather than an experience of life when I was with others. When alone, my life was deep and vivid and rich. I felt it all. Little did I know then, no one knows how to live. We do it.

It only felt safe to feel it all alone. I’d get sideswiped by inexplicable emotion at inconvenient times. So, I just tried to keep it all under wraps, keep it all under conscious control.

I didn’t trust myself at all. I didn’t trust my body. I didn’t trust anything other than my thoughts. My body was so unpredictable and confusing, this sensitivity was so out of control.

Then, when I was 25 and married, after just graduating with my Master’s degree as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I couldn’t do it anymore. It all fell apart. I realized that there was more to me, and the life I was living was a fake, a construction based on my thoughts.

I got divorced. I quit my job. I moved. I dropped it all. Realizing how much of my life was a lie and how directly I could connect with and trust my body made me see that I couldn’t keep living that life. It was a beautiful break down.

It was then that I started studying hypnosis in depth and I came in direct contact with my subconscious.

It was a funny paradox that it was so hard for me to relax because it was hard for me to let things be easy. I thought that every thing took a lot of effort.

I couldn’t believe that I could have such immediate and powerful results from a seemingly simple process of listening to my sensations and using them to give my body what it wanted.

Many times what my body wanted surprised me, or seemed hilarious. My subconscious seemed like this alien that was living in me; it was not the “me” that I identified with, yet it seemed to be living in me, generating these images and emotions and ideas that “I” did not create.

And this was the time that I learned about the genetic trait of sensory sensitivity.

I found the work of psychologist and researcher Dr. Elaine Aron about the “Highly Sensitive Person” (HSP). It was the culmination of much personal study I had done on genetic sensitivity.

I had found out about being genetically sensitive to gluten (protein in wheat), genetically more susceptible to rumination (analyzing), and many other clues that pointed to me having a very different physical makeup related to loads of autoimmune disorders I experienced.

Finding this work on HSPs brought it all together. Understanding that I had a more highly sensitive nervous system that I was born with really helped it all click into place.

I learned that life is easier than I think it is. Thinking about life is hard. But, life already is. It’s already happening. That’s easy.

I discovered that highly sensitive people seem to develop backwards compared to traditional theories. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that in order to develop as people, we must meet certain needs in a certain order, starting with physiological needs.

Well, I find that HSPs actually start at the top with transcendence needs and work down to the physiological needs last.

As a highly sensitive person, I am starting out with all this raw sensation at the transcendent level. It is up to me to self-actualize it and bring it into my body to feel it there, then bring it to thought and belief, and on down the levels to get a physiological manifestation.

And, it is so easy to just stay at the top, to stay in my head with it.

What a revelation to realize that there is nothing “wrong” with me, and all my thinking. It’s just the way I am built. And, I just hadn’t gone far enough with what I was sensing. I don’t start out at the physiological level, and I am not meant to!

In all my personal work and my work with highly sensitive clients, I have learned a few tricks at working better with sensitivity that I want to share with you. And, even if you are not genetically highly sensitive with a sensory sensitive nervous system, you are sensitive.

All human beings can sense, it just may not be what you start with if you are not highly sensitive.

What is sensitivity?

Sensitivity is your ability to pick up on sensory information with your nervous system. It is neutral. It’s like a sensitive microphone; it picks up on subtle sounds. Not good or bad.

What kinds of sensory things can you pick up on?

Your sensitive nervous system can pick up on other people’s emotions, the weather, lighting, sounds, smells, and more. I think of the human body like a vessel for receiving information, and your nervous system is your antennae bringing in that information. You can then process it in your body with your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions.

Why do we so often think of sensitivity as weakness?

We often think of sensitivity as weakness for three main reasons: it is out of our logical control, it makes us vulnerable, and we don’t know what to do with it, which means that we suppress and judge it—so it has manifested in weakness.

What can I do now to start to experience my sensitivity with greater strength? 

1. Understand the difference between a sensation and an emotion. 

A sensation is neutral sensory information in your body (butterflies in stomach, tension in shoulders, pit in stomach). An emotion is a personal response to a sensation (I personally feel scared about this).

2. Allow yourself to feel your sensations neutrally and engage with them.

For example, “I feel my body shaking right now, and that is okay. I can shake.” Rather than judging it by saying, “Why am I shaky right now? What’s wrong with me? I shouldn’t be nervous now!”

3. Remind your self that you are a participant in life, not just an observer.

I liken this to being on the chessboard of life rather than just looking at it from above. Allow yourself to notice what you feel in response to the position you are in. There are actual energetic dynamics that you will feel based on where you are physically in your life. Ask yourself “What would feel better right now?” and then just let that come to you. 

You really can trust yourself; your body knows more than you think. Your nervous system is getting a lot. Trust it. Trust is a practice. It’s a work out. Start where you are and take a step in the direction of trusting your body and what it is telling you.

That is how you strengthen the connection with your body. The present is here for you to unwrap in each surprising moment.

Photo by Helga Weber

Avatar of Ane Axford

About Ane Axford

Ane Axford is a highly sensitive person & licensed psychotherapist who's leading the Sensitive Revolution to change the way that we use sensitivity. She is the creator of sensitive + thriving where she teaches Sensitive Leadership, has a live weekly show, an Atlas full of sensitive resources, and a lot more.

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  • Layla

    I am pretty sure I’m sensitive (I get overwhelmed easily, people’s moods affect me more than they affect many of my friends) but I don’t cry easily. I suspect that’s something I trained myself to do.

    “thinking about how to fix myself was my main pastime.”
    This is very timely for me, because I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I always assume others know things better than me (I’ve never even articulated it, but there’s this assumption that other people deserve to get their dream job, have close friends, have interesting relationships, travel… but I don’t know what I’m doing so I will have to catch up and be less awkward and be more perfect).

    I think I’ll check out your website.

  • cutupbunyy

    I never heard of “HSP” before it was interesting and helpful to read about it. Thank you for writing this.

  • Lauren Douglas

    I’ve heard of HSP before but I’ve never read more into it.
    I’m the most sensitive person I know. Almost everything you described here could have been written by me. I am completely amazed. (I totally typed amazing at first, haha.)
    Maybe I need to see if I am genetically sensitive to anything as well. Because even when I eat well, it just does not seem to help that part of me.
    Thanks so much for this. I’m saving it in my bookmarks!!!

  • http://glorisurban.com/ Glori Surban

    I just had to read this post. When I saw it was about HSP, I immediately assumed it was about introverts like myself. Susan Cain in her book, Quiet, seems to interchangeably use the the terms introverts and HSP.

    I think it’s because introverts shy away from crowds and too much noise because too much of it and too much socializing drains our energy I didn’t actually think there was a physiological aspect to it. Interesting….

  • Jaclyn

    I am a HSP and feel less alone in the world after reading this. Thank you for doing this work.

  • Ane Axford

    So glad to hear this Jaclyn! Glad to be connected. This work is my passion. And bringing HSPs together through Sensitive Leadership is my love.

  • Ane Axford

    Glori, introversion and high sensitivity are different. But, it can be tricky to tell apart. About 70% of HSPs are introverts, but there are some highly sensitive extraverts. High sensitivity is about what your nervous system picks up, introversion is about where you go to recharge. Introverts go within and extraverts go out. The balance between being “in” and “out” is always a tricky one for HSPs because they do need alone time to process what their sensitivity has picked up on…so that can make them all look like introverts. Susan Cain does talk about high sensitivity in her book too. It is helpful to know all these pieces and pull them apart for yourself because understanding our personalities, therefore what works for us and why, can make a huge world of difference. Though, teasing out all these characteristics can be tricky ;)

  • Ane Axford

    Sorry, don’t know why my picture didn’t post before.

  • Ane Axford

    You are amazing too :) And, yes, understanding what foods work with a sensitivity body can make such a big difference to so much of your life (mental and emotional health as well as physical symptoms). Going gluten-free changed everything for me. For others, going dairy-free was big. This post may be helpful to you as you start that process :: http://sensitiveandthriving.com/2011/05/highly-sensitive-physical-health-the-motherload.html

  • Ane Axford

    You are very welcome! Glad it was helpful. I think that the more of us that can understand about this, the better off we all are. Thanks for reading.

  • Ree

    I have found that as I got older I started to get plain ol’ wore out and in a way that has helped me because instead of trying to analyze, predict, and control any discomfort that might arise, I have to let life happen. And as it happens organically I find that the sky doesn’t fall, I will get through any discomfort when it rears its ugly head, and everything will eventually be alright.

  • Ane Axford

    That assumption is a big one! I used to feel that way too. That others were just more important than me, more of a person than me. It can be easy to sit on the sidelines when you are highly sensitive. I have lots of resources at my site to help you start understanding this trait better. It is a whole world-view shift to understand yourself as a HSP. It’s like realizing that you ARE an alien. So educating yourself is the very important first step. Then it gets easier to put your life in perspective for you, how you do things, and define success on your own terms. Then you can lead with your sensitivity and it feels good. Much love on your journey and I am glad to be connected :)

  • Ane Axford

    Love that! Keeping yourself engaged and busy with life is a great strategy for that. It was a really powerful realization for me to see that the sky didn’t fall when I let go…even though I didn’t want to let go at first.

  • http://lifeisnotamovie.net Robin

    I’m HSP and reading about others with it always helps. I have it in control most of the time but certain situations make it worse so I try to learn to deal with it. Sitting by myself and calming down helps. Taking an ativan can help in extreme situations. The hardest part is that many of my friends still don’t “get” it and get frustrated by it but I try to explain it to them when I can, that helps a little.

  • Ane Axford

    Robin, yes, it can be very overwhelming at times. But, there are definitely ways to use it on purpose, and then it really can be a super power. It is a big learning process, lots of trial and error. And yeah, friends and family who don’t get it is always tough. It feels like you just want to explain it and have them get it and treat you differently. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. I have found that it’s actually better NOT to talk with friends and family especially when you are first exploring the trait for yourself. They may just fight you on it and if you are just figuring it out and validating your way of being for the first time, that may be too tender of a time to have that fight. I find that once you start experimenting and living your life in a way that works for you, then they start to notice and then you can have a more productive conversation when they come to you about what’s new. Much love to you. You can do it, and it gets better and better. It seems that it can make the first part of our lives very difficult and the last part amazing. We seem to live backwards in every way possible.

  • Mandy

    This is me, I always knew I was. I just thought I was crazy. I could read a whole book on this. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel like I just opened a very heavy door and light is pouring in.

  • Maria

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    So much in here makes sense…even the autoimmune conditions and the break down of life as I knew it.

    I am more in tune with my body now than I have ever been and still at it!

  • Katie

    I think this article just changed my life. Thank you. I am so excited to hear that this is a genetic thing and not something “wrong” with me. All my life my mom has told me I am “too sensitive” which just made me feel worse. In therapy for Depression & Anxiety, part of which has been accepting my sensitivity. To think that the sensitivity is the catalist for the depression/anxiety though and not the other way around, this could be a huge game change! Just called my doctor to talk about HSP and Dr. Aron. I am just so excited about this and the possibility of finally getting control of my life!

  • Sally Brown

    I, too, have always been a HSP. Thank you for writing this article and for reminding me that I can separate the information from my feelings.

  • Ane Axford

    Sally, you are so welcome!! Understanding the difference between sensory info and emotions was epic for me.

  • Ane Axford

    You are so welcome, Maria. It is a lifelong process, I imagine. I learn so much every day. It’s great to be connected to other HSPs and share insights.

  • Ane Axford

    YAY! Katie, awesome. You are welcome. I love to see HSPs liberated and empowered. Understanding this changes everything. Much love to you as you learn to live in a way that works for YOU.

  • Ane Axford

    Mandy, I am working on a book now about my story and my work, which I am very excited about. But, Dr. Elaine Aron has a number of books on the trait itself. You may find one or more of them helpful. Understanding is key, I am so glad to hear that the light is coming in now. Much love <3

  • hulagirl18

    This is a wonderful article..Thank you for taking the time to write & share! I personally connect with almost everything to what you described as traits in HSP. I have often been described as ” too sensitive” as young as I could remember. I internalized these messages and perceived this trait to be a negative in myself..along came the self-judgment, closing myself off in fear of being vulnerable (further judged), and rumination over every conversation-analyzing what I said, what I should have said, replaying what the person looked like..exhausting! I am now a practicing therapist and find my career to be a perfect fit for my personality style. My empathetic & sensitive nature has found a home. I work with many clients who are HSP as well. My own therapy has helped me to understand & accept my biology and my therapist had recommend the book, “Quiet” as well. I still ruminate on conversations/situations from time to time..but I don’t fight it now..the fighting makes my sensitivity louder. I choose to accept it- and yes engage (as you said) or talk gently to the sensation. You spoke about gluten sensitivity…and ironically I scheduled an appointment for an food allergy sensitivity test..I have a sensitive stomach & sensitive skin. I often wondered if it was something in my diet that could be aggravating my already sensitive biology. I have my appointment is a couple weeks~ I am really looking forward to it, and will share the results. As much as HSP can be exhausting, it has many gifts to. I encourage all of you to find the gifts in it :) Cheers.

  • http://twitter.com/AlannahRose Alannah Rose

    I first discovered I was an HSP last year when Bridget (from Intuitive Bridge) linked to your site on Twitter. I spent the rest of the day reading through your site and I bought Dr. Aron’s book that same day. Nothing I have ever discovered about myself has helped me as much as finding out I was an HSP has. I’m so appreciative of your work and your site is fantastic. I also follow you on Facebook and enjoy your posts. Thank you for making a “home” for us HSPs online! Much love.

  • Ane Axford

    Wow, thanks Alannah! Much love to you. It’s great that we are all coming together in understanding and empowerment.

  • Ane Axford

    You are most welcome! Yes, many therapists are highly sensitive. That was my original training as well. And, that was one of the main reasons I do what I do now, so many clients were highly sensitive. It made me realize that there is more to understand than just learn to cope with. Good luck with your allergy test. Reactions happening in the gut can affect your liver and lead to skin reactions as well. They are very linked. Simple diet changes can make a huge difference. But do note that allergies are different than food sensitivities and intolerances, some tests won’t help you see that. Keep going until you find a resolution, sometimes docs don’t know what to look for. Glad to be connected and grateful for the work you are doing. It is a gift indeed :)

  • Barbara Newsham

    I am an HSP as well! When is your show scheduled? Do you know of any HSP psycotherapists in Houston Texas??

  • Sharon Meyer

    Ane, I am so thankful you posted this. While reading, it honestly felt like I was reading my own words and experiences and even observations that I had not yet put into words. I am doing research on further reading on your website and might even do your program because lately, I have not known where to turn to because I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what was wrong. I know I have been analyzing life instead of experiencing it, and getting “sideswiped by inexplicable emotions at inconvenient times” could be the title of my memoir! I feel so full of hope right now because I think I may be on the right track to figuring out how to thrive (instead of “fix” myself, the way I have been trying to). Thank you Ane :)

  • Andie

    Hi there, Discovering that I am an HSP, reading both Dr. Aron’s books, and learning to honour and protect my sensitivity was the key to healing myself from a chronic health condition which was diagnosedas fibromyalgia.

    The tool I used, rather than hypnosis, was EFT (or ‘Meridian
    Tapping’) and I’m indebted to Rue Hass, a US EFT Master who specialises
    in EFT for the Highly Sensitive Temperament. Of all the people I have
    encountered with chronic fatigue, the vast majority consider themselves
    to have this temperament. It is not coincidence. Our busy, modern,
    harsh world is not a good fit with our needs and our bodies try to keep
    us safe. I share this in the hope that others for whom this triggers
    recognition (for themselves or for a family member, friend or child)
    might learn more about this recognised temperament and begin the journey
    towards celebrating it rather than feeling there’s something wrong with
    you/them.

    As a mum of young children I also have a particularly good radar for highly sensitive children I encounter and, when I hear them being labelled as
    shy/clingy/fussy/whatever, I often gently recommend the HSC book. I’ve
    loaned my copy to a number of parents who often say it has helped
    them understand their child better. Some have even admitted they’ve
    stopped trying to change their child’s nature to fit in with what
    society expects children to be/do. This ‘moulding’ is often done with the best
    intentions of ‘toughening them up’ or preparing them for ‘the real
    world’ but sends a devastating message to the child that they aren’t
    loved exactly as they are (and because they are so sensitive they can
    pick up on the most subtle signs and cues). I’m doing my little bit but hope to set up as an EFT practitioner here in the UK this year to make more of a difference. Reading your article has helped me clarify my passion for working with HSPs. Thank you. <3

  • Toni from Down Under

    This is well timed! Coming up to Christmas my already sensitive senses really go to town! I felt like I was reading about myself, and I can relate to most of the other comments here. Really pleased to hear you have a website, Will be heading there now. I have suspected for some time that I fall under the category HSP and like many others I have been told “you are too sensitive” and of course being a woman there are also the comments about hormones and the likes. I have also been trying to “fix myself” for many years now. “There is something wrong with me” and “Why am I not normal like other people” are common statements in conversations with myself. There is an upside of course, some examples of what I see as “normal” can be rather undesirable :) and I also am pretty good at picking up on things before other people, sometimes I can’t even articulate how I have picked up on it. I am sure others here can relate. Thank you for your touching article. And hello to all the other HSP folk :)

  • Andrea

    Oh my god. I’d never heard of this until reading this article, and it made me wonder if I could be HSP. So I took a look at your website, and realized I am. I have been fighting this since I was a child, forcing my sensitivity so deep down that I don’t even feel my true emotions underneath my thick exterior shell. If I allow myself to feel those inner feelings, I realize I’m in a lot of pain, but I feel completely fine on the surface and I didn’t understand it at all. Now I finally found the answer. I can be myself and be ok. This is going to take some work, but I’m so relieved to be able to start on this path. Thank you so much for this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/parkyoungsun1 박영선

    tran”s”cendence! plz check typos….

  • Elizabeth

    I’m thinking I’m either this, or have Borderline Personality Disorder, which also sounds completely like me. Do you think there would be any correlation there? I know that as a child I was definitely very shy and intense (my father used to use the word “introspective” to describe me when I was 9), but once I hit college, my shyness dissipated a bit, while depression and anxiety took over. I think now I align more closely with BPD, but as a child-throughout high school, I definitely aligned way more with being a HSP. Regardless, I do feel ‘crazy,’ and that I ‘think too much’, ‘have no personality’, etc (unfortunately those are all things people in my life have told me). Being unaware of what exactly is going on with me or the root cause (BPD, HSP, depression, anxiety), I’m not sure where that leaves me now to treat things? I want to start getting my life in order, and I want to feel like a real person. Some days I feel like I never will, but I hope that that’s not the case.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1524931542 Christina Walker

    I started out reading your post as something to do at 3 am when I can’t sleep since my mind was racing, tummy was protesting, and sleep was alluding me. I expected to read a post describing my adopted mom. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to see myself in your writing. I am pretty mind blown right now.

    I had never heard of HSP. I fully plan to look into it more now. At 35 I have been trying harder and harder to find my truth. The truth instead is finding me. Thank you for sharing this. It has opened up this girls eyes!

  • Dolcevita

    Please can you clarify: Do you mean ‘neutral trait’ or ‘neural trait’? Thank you,

  • Sridevi

    ‘I also used to believe that there was something seriously wrong with me, so thinking about how to fix myself was my main pastime.’ Thats just me..always wondering whats wrong with me..

  • Ane Axford

    It may seem paradoxical, but the best thing I did was learn to focus on pleasure NOT perfection. What I want instead of what will fix me. As you can see with the hierarchy of needs, you have to meet your aesthetic needs before you can move any further down. That means what you see as beautiful, desirable, and pleasurable. For help with that, you can check out my sensitive services :: http://sensitiveandthriving.com/services

  • Ane Axford

    I mean neutral, like having brown hair is neutral. It’s not good or bad. It is also very much neurological though too.

  • Ane Axford

    I am SO glad to hear that Christina! And, I definitely understand and relate to being awake at 3am with a racing mind. It gets better. Much love as you let your truth in :)

  • Ane Axford

    Elizabeth, this is an important question, I think. It is in my opinion that many people struggling with mental health issues are highly sensitive and they have not gotten their needs met. High sensitivity is different than disorder and is not a disorder, but disorders may form if you are highly sensitive and are in traumatic or under-served situations. Highly sensitive people are more responsive to learning from their environments on deep levels. So, I find that it is important to work with a therapist who understands sensitivity to resolve some of these issues. Also, it is common that high sensitivity is misdiagnosed as all kinds of disorders. I recommend educating your self about the trait so that you can start to release some of the shame and judgment about it and know what is a healthy part of being a highly sensitive person and what areas are not healthy that you may want to work with moving through. If you join my newsletter I always announce new service offerings and you can also see about current service offerings at my website :: http://www.sensitiveandthriving.com

  • Ane Axford

    Thanks for the reminder :)

  • Ane Axford

    You are welcome Andrea! Yes, it is a path to connect that inner and outer world, but it can be done and it is so worth it. The world needs what’s in you.

  • Ane Axford

    You are welcome :) Glad this resonated Toni and glad to be connected! Yes, there are lots of resources on my site. There is a lot to being highly sensitive, it’s a whole lifestyle. And reframing your worldview is so important. Big first step. And I still find funny hang ups about ways I am still seeing myself through the perceived dominant culture, and then I have to reframe once again. It is important to understand that it is not a weakness or disorder, but rather has it’s own benefits and precautions…just like anything else. Understanding what those are and navigating them brings it all out of shame and into more practical steps.

  • Ane Axford

    Andie, I love connecting with other people working with HSPs! Thank you for your work. Yes, EFT can be SOOOO helpful. And HS children are so misunderstood. What a champion you are and I am so glad to be connected. Fibromyalgia is something I experienced as well, and is common for HSPs. Or rather, many with fibro are HSPs. There are specific reasons I have found for that, this article may be helpful for what you are doing :: http://sensitiveandthriving.com/2011/05/highly-sensitive-physical-health-the-motherload.html

  • Ane Axford

    You can see my most recent show here and also sign up to get notified about others :: https://new.livestream.com/accounts/2082677/events/1713476

    It is always 12 ET on Sunday, but you can watch the recording for up to a month. I don’t know of any HSP therapists there, but am working on putting a network together. So make sure you are signed up for my newsletter to hear about that when it’s ready. You can do that at my website :: http://www.sensitiveandthriving.com

  • Ane Axford

    Sharon, that’s wonderful! You are so welcome and I am so glad to hear this. It’s been a process for me, but I can definitely so how I am living more now than ever and that it is so possible and so worth it. Much love on your journey.

  • Ane Axford

    Also, to further clarify, it means that it is not a disorder or disease. It’s not a malfunction. It’s neutral.

  • Ane Axford

    Elizabeth, sorry, I thought I responded to this. But, I don’t see my response. So you may get a double response. Yes, I do think there is a correlation. I think that many people struggling with disorder are highly sensitive people who have either been through trauma or in some way not had their needs met. HSPs are more responsive to both traumatic stimuli as well as resourceful stimuli. So, things can affect HSPs in a way that they would not others…and things that are mildly traumatic for others can be intensely traumatic for HSPs. I want to clarify though, that the trait itself is not a disorder. It is a neutral genetic trait that predisposes you to take things in deeper. Many people who have been diagnosed with disorders are actually just highly sensitive and not experiencing disorder. SO, it is important to learn about the trait and tease apart the things that are a natural, healthy aspect of being highly sensitive and the things that are unhealthy. A highly sensitive therapist can help with that. I am hoping to have more resources that can direct you to such therapists in the future, for now you can check out the services I have :: http://www.sensitiveandthriving.com/services

  • Joel

    After reading your post, your website, and Dr Aron’s website I think I’m a HSM. What really hit home with me was the feeling that this world isn’t built for me, the feeling of being an alien/weird. I’ve taken a lot of personality tests that have all come up as intp which admittedly fits me pretty close but still felt off. I won’t lie I’ve been fighting against my nature for a very long time now and taking the possibility of being a HSP and a male into consideration I may have been doing it far longer than I’ve realized. I’ve also pretty sure that at least for the past decade or so I’ve been operating in the shadow modes of both. I try not to put labels on myself so as not to rely on excuses but I hope that through more research I might can understand myself better.

    Thank you for your post.

  • Ane Axford

    Joel, that is a big deal. Highly sensitive men have their own unique situation to deal with. I have been working with more and more men lately and hope to be able to create more of a community for men like you. I always say that the only value in a label is the unique cause that it supports. Never to be used as an excuse, only as a platform and source of empowerment to your own unique life. And, in this case, our culture has a lot to come to terms with in regards to the word/label “sensitivity”. I think it is very important that it no longer be used to mean weakness, especially in the hopes that neutralizing it might allow men to be open to their sensitivity. There are other men in a similar boat who I have had the pleasure of getting to know and care for dearly. Glad to be connected to you and that my work could be of service. Much love on your journey to understanding.

  • Em

    This makes sense… as a child and teenager i closed myself up and always quite happy to be on own. Sensitive to noise (light sleeper), lights (needed to sleep pitch black) and as an adult have lactose intolerance and certain foods upset my stomach. Always felt misunderstood and never felt anyone understood me. I one day realized maybe i didn’t understand myself which is why others couldn’t. Also i didn’t know how to show my true self without being hurt…but also married, then had a child now a year separated from ex, knowing i had always been living my life based on others ideals i worked through the barriers of my own anxieties and insecurities holding me back…yoga, reading, writing have all been apart of my growth…now am true to myself and always striving to be better and hoping that my experience and knowledge is helpful to empower others. Now i have wonderful friends that i have never felt so grateful for… once you have a stronger connection with your inner self, finding happiness comes from within.. greater connections just happen and you keep learning more about yourself from others, which is always interesting! :)

  • Em

    Also have always felt energies etc in environments and with people as you were talking about…i am more aware of what drains me and what can be blocked or what i need to do to balance my own energies out…and over the years have learnt these so i guess its up to the individual to figure out how to keep some sort of balance, how to heal from them if you do let them through and well basically how to protect self from what you do not need.

  • tarjani

    i really cnt undrstnd wd exactly r u tryng to sae…….i dnt mean to offend u at al…bt m tlkn to u wd a expectatn dt u might atleast undrstnd me..evrthngs confusng me!…………… didn’t know how to live. I had an analysis of life rather than an experience of life when I was with others….n did breakng up wd people u luv d mst hlp u……..??????wn thngs didnt wrk out…n u n d wrld knoes ders no mistake of urs..,……..bt dn too u r d victim….wd to do dn….i mean u jst cnt run away evry time………

  • tarjani

    i really cnt undrstnd wd exactly r u tryng to sae…….i dnt mean to offend u at al…bt m tlkn to u wd a expectatn dt u might atleast undrstnd me..evrthngs confusng me!…………… didn’t know how to live. I had an analysis of life rather than an experience of life when I was with others….n did breakng up wd people u luv d mst hlp u……..??????wn thngs didnt wrk out…n u n d wrld knoes ders no mistake of urs..,……..bt dn too u r d victim….wd to do dn….i mean u jst cnt run away evry time………
    w8tng fuh ur rply:)

  • C Quismorio

    This really opened my eyes. Seeing the Maslows Pyramid, really broke it down for me. Thank you! I really am interested in learning more about HSP .. and reading up on it now, Thank you!

  • Pauline

    Thank you! You made me feel better about myself. I guess I’m a HSP. I’ve an introspective personality and just discovered that I over do it… I pick up more information than what I can handle and I’m just staying with it all Vs pouring it to the outside world, living. I need more tips & tools. I’ll definitely follow you.

  • Ryan

    Use vowels, it helps people understand what you’re saying. Seriously, I’m not being mean, but if you really want help, speak in the same language as others

  • Luke Lucas

    A lttle late to the party, but I just want to say that this really opened my eyes. I’ve spent most of my life fighting my feelings instead of just trusting myself. I still find it a little off putting that more guys havent chimed in.

  • B

    HSM here. And man does it make growing up so difficult and confusing.! 25 years old now and I have never looked at Maslows hierarchy in that way and it is eye opening. In some ways ‘action’ even feels alien sometimes. On those tests I’ve come up as injp. I have learnt extroverted masking to get through life but it drains me and feels ingenuine mostly. History of anxiety too. We need to be easy on ourselves that’s for sure, a bit of CBT can help halt the ‘living in the head’ circles . Great article thanks

  • Sandra Pawula

    I’ve read a fair amount about high sensitivity, but still am intrigued by the ideas you have shared in this post. Does high sensitivity actually have a genetic connection to gluten sensitivity and auto-immune disorders? I was intrigued by how you turned Maslow’s hierarchy on its head! I can relate to that. It’s interesting that the antidote to sensitivity is to open to sensations!

  • Wright

    Hi and thank you so much for this. I’ve much long dismissed my own sensitivity (and I’m quite the one too I checked 24 out of the 27 in the self test), but have since found more answers. I think we’ve been in the same boat that I’ve tried to neutralize my emotions by constant bouts of reason, but I just can’t seem to do so when it bubbles up and I could no longer concentrate I have to just vent it out on something. Thank you very much, and I think it’s also made me trust my senses on shifting to another career this early.

  • tarjani

    okay thanks for rplyn…………but i am tired of people taking out my faults…..i am not talkin about you here………but in general…….i just dont understand……..feels as if i am burden on everyone………..there are so many problems around…….i am messing evythng up……….not able to cope up …tired of trying bng positiv……….it is jst not working for me:(:(:(:

  • http://twitter.com/PennieNotPenny PennieNotPenny

    Hmm. Intriguing.

    Where can I learn more?

  • mauve

    I cannot believe how closely this fits.
    thank you
    I thought I was borderline maybe because I couldnt explain what was going on, but this just makes so much sense. The biggest thing is how I always felt other people were IN life and I was watching it happen. I thought this was the “empty feeling” of BPD but that never really sat right.
    I worry all the time too in ways that doesnt even seem like worrying so its hard to catch. I just drive myself crazy with thoughts on how Im doing or not doing and how everyone else is functioning ok.
    Im still a little upset though because I feel like Ive been held back and others didnt have to deal with this. I dont know how to stop all these emotions of anger, regret and disapointment.

  • mauve

    One of the worst things that was happening was I was trying to voice to my parents how I feel weird or like something is wrong with me and my dad would always say “enjoy your life, youre young! you have nothing to worry about! no one is judging you! be happy!”
    that made me feel worse!!

    I have a question: do HSP experience difficulty in their friendships sometimes? Shutting down when not knowing what to do, not feeling like you belong or over attention to detail of fights etc? for example, I sometimes could not let things go and felt that if I let the situation go I was being “wronged” and they were getting away with something and it wasnt fair.
    or I go on a trip with friends and somehow feel left out and then it just spirals out of control from there

  • Derek Caldwell

    hope all is going good tarjani. Keep your head up and stay strong and know god does indeed love you. You are special.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scholley Austin Scholl

    Ditto Jaclyn. This article is a huge relief.

  • turtle

    I have struggled with this since this birt and have clear memories from as early as 3 yrs old; a long time for I am now 58!!! It has affected every part of my life beit work, family, friends and marriage. The price I have paid and the pain I still endure is sometimes unbearable. My first husband thought my dad should commit my mom and he should commit me?! I have been called or told I have no social skills, you must be lesbian, you play victom, selfish, high strung, you’re wound too tigh, your a drama queen, incompitant, unable, lack the skills and still this week …. incompitant, unable, don’t have the skills, are playing victom, not trustworth, we don’t trust you, you are loosing it, you are nuts.
    I HAVE FELT DIFFERENT FROM NORMAL PEOPLE MY WHOLE LIFE … psychotherapy made me realize although I was clinically depressed I wasn’t insane. I left my husband after he had an affair …. I have lived consciously since 1998 … I see dysfunction and enabling crystal clear when it presents itself … but people in denial choosing to keep their heads in the sand make life almost unbearable… I am not depressed or suicidal but know I only will be at peace when I die … for it feels like only then will this excrutiating pain seize. My HSP mom, sisters and friends GET IT and VALIDATE MY FEELINGS AND UNDERSTAND.
    It is like being in the middle of the Nile River with a look of panic on your face … you have no paddle for your canoe, no motor for your boat, no lifeboat or lifejacket yet you clearly send messages for help and specifically explain the imminent danger … people who hear your call for help pretty much respond “what are you talking about yu are clearly standing on land still” … people who see your panic stricken face and are hold ing a life ring or paddle say “what can Ido to help, you clearly don’t need to wear a life ring while standing on shore but leave without it and when I watch you drowning I’ll bury my head in the sand and mark the spot with the life ring so at the off chance you swim to safety despite clearly drowning you’ll be able to find my head and come save me” reallity is I have clearly taken in way too much water, you are aware o the imminent danger but refuse to STILL NOT REACT BUT AGAIN DO NOTHING” (by the way, the river I am drawning in is called Denial not The Nile) is I am fighting for my life (trying to stay sane) while no one throw me a life jacket, brings a paddle, … they do nothing and watch me take in more and more and
    It feels like an overheated engine, a machine that has blown a gasket or a volcano that has errupted. and the rest of the world says the repairman has been called (their is no date given). there were no signs that volcano was going to erupt but since you see it has; here is a teaspoon for you to scoop the lava off and then carry up the moutain without a bucket. RELAX … its not a big job … and when you are done … find a cork big enough to make sure without a doubt that volcano never blows again.
    I know my hot buttons and know who and when they are pushed… sometimes too many buttons are pushed and way too often and that engine has now been oever heating for years .. yet I am still told “yeah but the requisition was filed and the situation is under my control not yours just keep cleaning up the spill and stop worrying”. I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR ISSUE IS, RELAX, STOP BRINGING THE PROBLEM UP!!!!!!!”
    My heart can’t take this constant pressure… holding the

  • turtle

    forgot to mentin that I am also dyslexic, and my current HSPhusband ADD, depressed and an enabling partner with his exwife to keep their children attacked at the hip financially, immature, irresponsible and not accountable for their behaviour. SUCKS TO BE HSP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but he clearly believes it is me who has issues with his ex and kids (who happen to be 22,25 and 28 and when not on their own run home to mommy or call cash for life dad to bail them out once again

  • jay

    i ws also a HSP earlier but for the past 1 yr i have been doing Sudarshan kriya n meditation daily…n now i feel completly changed

  • Shakthi

    I can definitely associate my self with being highly sensitive, too intense. I feel like i can breath after reading your article. Thank you very much for giving me this eye opener.

  • Shonna

    Hi Ane,

    I have recently started Hypnotherapy and found out–not surprisingly–that I am a HSP. I am currently at a transitional stage in life, and am considering going to University next year. I studied Theatre at College (which would be called Community College in the States) but am overcome with the fear of having to work in customer service for the rest of my life if I don’t study something else.
    I am very moved by nature and adore writing–I would love to travel the world and indulge my love of the auditory and visual–but that is obviously not a way to make money, unless I can manage to document it as a bestseller.
    I hate being stuck in work, especially customer service or anything where I’m not allowed to be creative. I am an intelligent person, with great potential as a visual artist, writer, performer and with an interest in climate and sustainability–but I often get the inconvenient urge to chase butterflies when I’m supposed to be in a stuffy building. It might sound like I am trying to cheat and have you make my life choices for me, but my inquiry is only in hopes of helping to strain my already full idea pool and potentially rebalance some of my pro/cons. My question for you is whether there are certain types of careers that a HSP might flourish in, and if so: which ones?

  • sandy

    It’s funny; I’ve struggled with being an “highly sensitive person” my whole life and it was only until I underwent Hypnotherapy that I started experiencing what it’s like to be ‘relaxed’ in your body all the time. I’ve had a variety of psychological and even skin maladies, but through hypnosis I’ve been able to start re-connecting with my body and many of my ills, physical and emotional, have either disappeared or dropped considerably. So cool to hear that someone else found hypnosis to be the key as well.

  • Abhee

    I am sensitive to gluten. When I started scouring the website for any relief from being ‘moody’, being very sensitive and being aware that people around me found it chafing, I found this article.
    This is the first time my family has come across a (food) sensitivity like this. That’s why for them to fully grasp what it can result to is difficult and I can say the same for myself.
    I was diagnosed with it when I was studying for my post grad. It has been 3 years since and though I know it has different outcomes, I was still ignorant of what it could do to your personality.
    I have fights over trivial issues and feel absolutely alone, because no one could literally understand what I was ranting on about. I stopped being proactive for the fear of going wrong.
    I indeed did start this article, thinking it is gonna fix me maybe. Thank you so much. Think I am gonna start trusting my body better and wish to come unscathed out of this.

  • Kay

    Thank you so much for this article! I am at the beginning of my journey of realizing I am a HSP-even though I am close to 40 at the end of my undergraduate degree in Sociology and Psychology. I came across this article when I was researching career paths for the HSP because I am at a loss as to what I can do with my life without feeling too overwhelmed and stimulated (I have to choose a career!!). I am very sensitive, physically and emotionally, and empathic to a fault, feeling other people’s pain to the point where I just feel like hiding away–alone in silence. I have so much to give however, I love to share my knowledge in a more peaceful way. I have been told that I light up when I teach another what I know one on one (yoga, or advice on health and psychology). Would you have any suggestions for career paths for a soft HSP? I was debating on going into criminology, but I think it might torture me. Thank you Ane! :)

  • kay

    Thank you so much for this article! I am at the beginning of my journey of realizing I am a HSP-even though I am close to 40 at the end of my undergraduate degree in Sociology and Psychology. I came across this article when I was researching career paths for the HSP because I am at a loss as to what I can do with my life without feeling too overwhelmed and stimulated (I have to choose a career!!). I am very sensitive, physically and emotionally, and empathic to a fault, feeling other people’s pain to the point where I just feel like hiding away–alone in silence. I have so much to give however, I love to share my knowledge in a more peaceful way. I have been told that I light up when I teach another what I know one on one (yoga, or advice on health and psychology). Would you have any suggestions for career paths for a soft HSP? I was debating on going into criminology, but I think it might torture me. Thank you Ane! :)

  • maritza

    I am 16 and I do get sensitive and unwanted emotions(depressed &etc). I think it is from my moms pregnancy with me. She told me she was very sad and easily hurt. It was from my dad cheating on her. She told me shes sorry for not eating and crying all the time with me in her belly. I do think that shaped who I am and im stuck with it. My sister are the total opposite of me. Even when I was a mindless child I wanted to play by my self. One time my mom through me a big party for my 5th birthday and I just wanted to sit alone. What can I do to change my self ?

  • Harmony

    I am a HSP and it recently proved to be something “bad”. My boyfriend suffers from atypical depression and he’s very bad organized. I often reached a point when I feel totally stressed out because of his difficult situation and had to end the relationship for my own sanity. I just lost my bestfriend and it makes me very sad :-(

  • samuel jenks

    you are loved beyond measure, tarjani. every atom in this universe is yours and you are made of the same stuff of it. you are not separate from us, though your mind thinks you are separate. seek the end of suffering.

  • samuel jenks

    this.

  • sam

    I am very sensitive. ive always wondered why my basic function was and is to put others before myself; without even trying. its effortless sometimes i dont even think im doing anything wrong, im just constantly micromanaging trying to make everything perfect.

    Ive suffered abuse in school, lots of ostricization from social interactions. being judged for no good reason other than im different. ive done all this. it hurts and it never stops hurting but ive never stopped believing that i can make it better if i just keep reading, meditating and putting others before myself. reading this back to me it sounds neurotic and probably close minded. i find it very hard to make true connection with people and i barely keep in contact with my friends. i just wish all the highly sensitive people could get together and live in the same suburban area maybe it would be easier then, but thats a pipe dream.

    im 19 now and seriously considering taking up buddhist practice. I seriously want to drop all the cards and seek the end of suffering. if you’ve read this then remember that bliss, light, happiness, love, joy, experience…. all that would be meaningless if there was no perceived opposite. everything is putty in our hands and yet were not satisfied.

    great metta to you all and thanks for reading my struggle.

  • Alejandro

    Very interesting. It feels kinda relieving to know there are people out there who feel the same as me in many ways. I’ve recently started reading about introversion and sensibility as a result of desperation. I started studying at university not so long ago and there i realized how different i was, everyone else would just easily find people to hang out with, looking so happy… heck, i even get asked to join people but runing out things to say (or disliking smalltalk) and being judged as “too quiet” or “too shy” is imminent and annoying. Why is my perspective of everything so different? why is it so hard to feel comfortable? Now things start to make sense for me, step by step i build my self esteem (even though is pretty hard, even when in my mind im a bit arrogant :P) and things start to “get a form”, and its mainly thanks to articles like this ( and reflection and decision making), anyway thanks for sharing your knowledge, Ane. Greetings from Colombia, and i also want to say thanks for the inspiration.

  • Ross

    I found your article and i felt less alone in the world. I always feel different from the rest and I have come to believe that HSP could be a good desciption to my nature. ( A lot of times I think it might even be a disorder, a rectifiable one). I have been fighting my nature for as long as I know. It’s hard to escape the intense emotions (sensations) produced by my thoughts (mind story) and vice versa. They endlessly feed of each other and lead to a sort of panic quite often. Sometimes I end up as a spectator in the destructive ruminations of the mind. Such thoughts are so intrusive sometimes, I can’t get myself to talk to another person without giving away what a dilemma I am actually in. This is especially troublesome at work. Sometimes I have to resort to thought blocking to save myself the trouble. What do you do when you are bombarded by different thoughts incessantly and it brings one sensation after another? I mean it is difficult to not resist it, when you have tasted what peace from a thoughtless mind is really like. When I get up in the morning, its a tad worse, because being in sleep is so peaceful and you have to deal with this dynamic all over again. I am tired! What has consistently worked for you?

  • Lil

    Hey! I completely relate to everything in this, especially the part about only trusting my thoughts, all my life i’ve been like this and tried to repress it to cope, usually trying to get lost in my thoughts helps but it’s so bad at the moment that I can’t even think, do you have any tips for calming down?

  • MinaBlahBlahAnimeFan

    Thank you! I started crying half way though this. Now I now what’s wrong with me! Now I know why I’m so different. I used to cry every single day, I hated the sent of mint and threw up when I smelt it, my mom called me a wimp and I hide in the closet. I hated bright lights and got nawses going up hills. Thank you, thank you so much. I’m twelve and I am a HSP. Thanks for this and sorry for any misspelling.

  • prakash prabhu

    Really these are beautiful & motivational comments. But I experienced some sites which are great, take undue advantage of these comments, so I don,t like to write anything on any sites. My wishes to those sites, those who are really helping these people, who are sensitive, anxuios or depressed,because of these reasons a person get agitated, & write something which the sites make bad use of it or tolerate them.

  • Dev Arbikshe

    I felt like I was reading about myself, Ane.

  • nick w.

    OMG THANK YOU. Nick

  • Michelle

    As an HSP, whenever I’m talking to someone (either face-to-face or over the phone) about sensitive/vulnerable topics about myself, I always feel my eyes tearing up. Sometimes I’m able to stop myself from crying but my voice still gets shaky and I’m pretty sure it’s noticeable. This hinders my ability to continue explaining my concerns and it’s really frustrating. I’m afraid people won’t take me seriously when they notice this and will assume that I’m overly-emotional/childish, and then disregard my concerns because I’m “overreacting.”

    I’m wondering if this crying is an emotion or sensation?

  • Alice

    Thank you so much. You write so lucidly on a subject that is so very difficult to explicate, even for a highly sensitive person who analyses every detail!

    Would you say that being a HSP has made you more perceptive and empathetic to other people? People seem to seek me out and at times, I find it overwhelming, especially when I feel like I’m reliving their experiences.

    And do you think that striving for transcendence makes HSPs incomprehensible to some people? Sometimes people try to analyse me. It frustrates me because they’ve gotten everything wrong yet they’ve convinced me (probably because I don’t trust myself) and then I’m not sure what I am or what I feel anymore.

  • Cats Cats

    I am too i have many problems really can I contact u and how Please i think u cn help me

  • Saravan

    Ane is so vain she must post her picture on EVERY post. :D

  • Julia

    Just read about this today and suddenly everything makes sense. I’ve often considered myself weird and wondered what was wrong with me, but then today I remembered that one of my singing teachers had suggested that I might be highly sensitive, and decided to google it. It was really a revelation reading about it and it has completely changed my perspective. Your article has definitely provided me with some interesting food for thought and I’ll really try to use this newfound knowledge. Thank you very much for an interesting article.

  • Nicole

    This just helped me SO MUCH, I was starting to think I was crazy because people kept telling me I was over analyzing everything…but this just explained everything and gave me so much relief. Thank you so much for this. Everything I do has a reason, because everything happens for a reason.

  • Nicole

    I also sometimes think I can hear peoples thoughts, I just never saying anything because I don’t want to look crazy and I’m never sure if I’m really hearing what I think I am.

  • Brittany

    Thank you. I just had a revelation with this article. It explained so much about me to me and helped me so much. Thank you thank you thank you

  • Laurie

    This is the best sentence I have ever read that speaks to my emotional experience. ” I’d get sideswiped by inexplicable emotion at inconvenient times.” Thank you for putting it into words.

  • Larissa Ann Dalton

    I realize this article was from like a year ago but I am so happy I found it. I am completely blown away at how much everything in this post accurately describes my life. I actually was coming from a conversation that went bad quickly and that was bothering me so much and I was analyzing it like crazy. And the person I was having the convo with pointed out (again!) that I was too emotionally attached and overwhelmed. I decided to start doing some research because I am certain that there had to be something to explain the life I have lived so far and how excruciating it has been. I first googled “overstimulation in adults” because I had mentioned it to someone before that I felt overstimulated by a lot of things including even simple conversations.

    And that led to my finding all of this information about the highly sensitive person. It was like a light bulb turned on in my head and I suddenly woke up. It makes everything click. I can look back at my life and all of the difficulties with trying to tell people how I was really feeling and yet not really understanding at all what was going on inside me. I couldn’t explain it because I didn’t understand what it was. I checked off 24 out of 27 of the questions on Elaine Aron’s website. I find so much relief and solace in the fact that there isn’t actually something “wrong” with me. It is just about the way I function.

    I remember EVERYTHING! Sights, smells, sounds, touches, expressions, how people look. And I analyze conversations down to the very smallest detail. (haha in fact I am also analyzing this posting to make sure it sounds ok!) It’s crazy. I have also always felt like I noticed things that most other people don’t notice. Especially expressions and peoples moods. But also things in nature, music, even television. And so many things move me and make me cry and make me empathize with people. It is like everything in my life is in high-definition. But I often feel like I need to retreat and just block out all the sensory things that are coming in because it is just too much. I have always thought I was a bit crazy and also very much an introvert. Although this makes so much more sense. Because I do actually really enjoy being around people that I like and I get lonely very easily.I usually need a lot of time to process things. And I am very slow to make decisions about anything. This is just the beginning of a long and may I say beautiful journey ahead. I can see it.

    I also read an excellent article in Psychology Today about HSP’s and it was so incredibly insighful. It explained everything about me that I was never able to explain to myself or others. It was also well-researched and based off of relevant research and studies done by licensed psychologists. I also ordered Elaine Aron’s books and can’t wait to get them in the mail today. I’m going to devour them in just a few days I know it. I am so hungry for information and understanding of this. Thank you so much for this article. I feel like it saved my life.

  • Trevor

    Hi Ane,

    This is a great resource both for developing self-awareness as well as compassion for others. Thanks for writing this up. How would you suggest sharing this with people who might derive benefit from this type of reflection, in a non-threatening or -suggestive way?

    Thanks,
    Trevor

  • Tracy Morgan

    I really enjoyed this, thank you.

  • Seewhoiam

    What I read seems helpful to someone not really frustrated with the truth of how hard it is to not SEE what others ARE. To be a HSP seems more to me, in this blog, to be someone that cries and gets frustrated when they are presented with a situation they have not felt before. I was looking for an answer to why I can see inside others. I am frustrated by being able to read others and doing so I am always treated with the self realization “I don’t want to know”. This is not an emotional confrontation, but a real life observation that has always been 100% correct. I want to know why I am able to do this. I have not been able to see the good in being able to see into another persons soul. I have wished this away since I was a child. I just want to make it go away and be a normal person!

  • Daniel Luttrell

    At first glance it was hard to read this without assuming that you’re being arrogant or have an inflated sense of self worth. But to take a step away, you may be having trouble because you’re very intelligent and have a hard time relating to the vast majority of folks (esp. them to you). Intelligence can be especially isolating if you’re above a certain threshold. Have you had trouble with authority figures too?

  • Daniel Luttrell

    That’s how I felt also.

  • Lys

    Great post!! Younger until now I’m 30 I was used to close myself up. Until I met my ex last year… I was having many changes in my life and got really stressed out and overwhelmed by all kind of emotions. I tend to overanalyse everything and i’ve been called too emotional so many times. Especially by my dad which i suspect to be the same as me. Really introvert and doesn’t speak much. He is sometimes able to imagine what’s in mind. My ex was able to do the same and he was very sensitive himself. He was going through some hard times, possibly a depression. I got really scared about my emotions but still tried to find a way to manage the things in my life. Unfortunately neither of us were emotionaly available. I was so focus on myself and my senses and didn’t know how to find my balance. I felt all his energy and they were not positive. He found me too emotional. I was feeling even more stressed. It was as if I lost myself, i was drowning completely. Also I felt like I was getting his energy and I found myself transformed but not in a good way. I was getting more depressed and anxious like him. I wasn’t myself anymore. Often, I was in my head, talking to my friends or family but felt out of space. At times I felt like I was blocking myself from what i was feeling and couldn’t feel anything. I felt like i was living in a dream. Weird isn’t it?! Anyhow, people around me doesn’t seem to understand except one friend. They tend to find me introvert and secretive. Or sometimes sociable but shy. They try to analyze me and I don’t like it. I’ve started a psychotherapy not so long ago and hopefully will find my purpose in life. Need to get back on track now. Thanks again for your post!! Happy too see that other people feel the same way :)

  • Dorie

    I’m 31 years old and I have just come across the HSP designation, so to speak. It explains EVERYTHING. Why so many environmental things bother me… Why I am so reactive… Why I need perfect darkness and silence to sleep… Why I am so anxious…. Why I blow seemingly minor things out of proportion.. Why some people’s energy paralyzes me… Why I have felt alone all my life… It is reassuring that there are so many people like me out there and that there is nothing “wrong” with me.