on being HSP -pt1

I promised I’d write about being HSP today… and so here I am. I think I will do this in stages for it is a healthily long subject to discuss. This installment, I will deal with “What it is”.

The website sensitiveperson.com lists the symptoms of being HSP as thus:

Emotionally, Highly Sensitive People (HSP) are seen as shy, introverted and socially inhibited. They are often acutely aware of other’s emotions. Sensitive people learn early in life to mask their wonderful attributes of sensitivity, intuition and creativity.

Physically, HSPs may have low tolerance to noise, glaring lights, strong odors, clutter and/or chaos. They tend to have more body awareness of themselves and know instinctually when the environment they are in is not working for them.

Socially, they may feel like misfits. They actually enjoy their own company and are totally comfortable being alone.

Psychologically, HSPs compensate for their sensitivity by either protecting themselves by being alone too much, or, by trying to be ‘normal’ or sociable which then over-stimulates them into stress.

Work and career is particularly challenging for HSPs. They are often overlooked for promotions even though they are usually the most conscientious employees. They are excellent project oriented employees because they are responsible and thorough in their work.

Relationships can be difficult. In relationships they may be confronted with their unresolved personal issues. They can however, offer their partner the gifts of their intuitive insights.

Culturally, HSPs do not fit the tough, stoic and outgoing ideals of modern society and what is portrayed in the entertainment media.

Childhood wounds have a more devastating effect on HSPs. It is important for them to heal their past hurts because they cannot just forget them and go on in denial.

Spiritually, sensitive people have a greater capacity for inner searching. This is one of their greatest blessings.

Nutritionally, HSPs may need more simplicity in their diet. They may be vitally aware of the effects of food on the health of their body and their emotional stability.

My own path of discovery has been frought with difficulty.

It started with a debilitating depression that would not go away. I would shirk my daily responsibilities, lay in front of the TV for hours, smoking and losing myself in what was on. I used to be one to get out more – I would play pool, hang out with “friends” and try to be as involved in the “social scene” as possible. Inevitably, I always felt apart from the action. Like I didn’t fit in. I just thought at the time, that it was because I was an only child – unused to crowds and social scenes. After a while, it just became tiring – emotionally and physically – to try and fit in and I lost interest in everything.

My doctor at the time put me on anti-depressants, and I was able to function better. Show up at work more often and early, actually get household chores done and socialize fairly normally. Then I started to read…

I stumbled on HSPism quite by accident. And I haven’t been the same since. Now I shun all I used to do – crowds, public places, noise, alcohol… Now, I stay home more often than not. Some might think and say (and indeed some *have* said to me) that it is an empty existence… but I am renewed and can better able to deal with the world “out there”. I am off anti-depressants. I still battle with the debilitating mood swings, but I can lift myself out of it more often now *and* MOST IMPORTANTLY – I understand myself better.

To me, being HSP is all about feeling and connecting. And I spend much of my time now paying attention to my feelings and observations… for they guide me.

Discovering I am HSP has been a life-saving experience for me.

Next post, I will talk about my unique experiences with being HSP. And controversial they will be – so prepare yourselves. :-)