Do you feel like the only HSP in the World?

I know that I can feel very lonely and isolated in my day-to-day life.

Sometimes, I can be feeling quite happy and at ease, but I can also often feel incredibly anxious, paranoid, drained of energy and in need of a big strong hug and a reassuring, ‘It’s okay. Everything will be alright. Just hang in there. You are doing well’.

On the bad days though, when I am stuck at work (in my corporate office job) those hugs and kind words aren’t usually forthcoming.

I can feel very lost, like a child desperately looking for their parent in the School yard. I feel vulnerable, like I’m pretending to be an adult. I am a tall kid, wearing a suit and tie. I am an imposter. ‘Nobody else feels like this …’ I think.

But, as I have previously stated, Dr. Elaine Aron (the expert on this stuff) says that 15-20% of the World’s population are Highly Sensitive. On her website that promotes the film ‘Sensitive The Movie’, there is a claim that 1.4 people are HSPs.

While this claim is obviously an estimate, it’s probably pretty close.

Which can be relieving to know, but also seemingly impossible.

Because you cannot see that people are Highly Sensitive, unless you are very observant or spend a lot of time with them. Most likely though, you are focusing on yourself 90% of the time. And so are the others. Isn’t it funny to think the others probably assume you are an extrovert, or Non-HSP?

Do you know where your work colleagues go for their lunch? Do you notice the other people leaving the office by themselves? Are they heading off to meet a friend or do they just need to get some breathing space? What about that person in the corner of the lunch hall with a book? Maybe they are like you.

P.S. Don’t you hate when someone tries to start a conversation with you when you are reading a book?

“What’cha reading there?”

(*Thinks* GO AWAY)

“Oh, erm … it’s a book about … well, it’s a romance. It’s a lovely little novel about someone getting disciplined by a fella called Christian Grey. It outsold Harry Potter.”

It actually outsold Harry Potter. Oh dear!

So, while you will continue to have days where you feel weak and need picking up, try to keep a rational perspective. Some people are good at blending in with the crowd and go unnoticed. Others are good at acting and go home exhausted afterwards.

There is nothing wrong with being a HSP.

In fact, much of the traits that are a part of being Highly Sensitive are wonderful. Things like honesty, integrity and kindness. Creativity and appreciation for the arts. The lack of desire for superficial material possessions. The spiritual connection to animals and people. Real, deep connections instead of shallow or even ‘fake’ friendships. Thinking about the people in need, instead of just caring about your own desires and stepping over anyone who is in your way.

I don’t mean to make this an ‘Us Vs. Them’ thing. I just want to remind you that this isn’t a curse. And I also don’t want to give the impression that I think everyone who isn’t Highly Sensitive is a heartless, cruel, two-faced bastard. I’m merely saying that HSPs are – in my opinion – never those things.

Thank you for joining me in another post.

I will speak to you again soon. Until then, take care of yourself and remember YOU ARE AWESOME.

~ Alex.

 

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Traits of a Highly Sensitive Person.

As this blog has only just started, it makes sense to touch base with the basics of being a HSP.

So, what kind of boxes do you need to tick off in order to establish that you are, in fact, a Highly Sensitive Person?

If you relate to a lot of the below, and would have done if I had of asked the same a year ago (meaning you are not just going through a rough patch), the chances are likely that you are a HSP like me! Welcome to the club if so. Have a badge. (Reminder to self: Get some badges for the people!)

One other note before we begin. I am an introvert. Most HSPs are, but Elaine Aron (who I mentioned in my first post) estimates around 30% to be extroverted. I apologise if some of the below seems directed more towards introverts, but I am speaking from my own experiences.

I also apologise if you think apologise should be spelled with a ‘Z’. You are wrong, my American friends!

Let’s go through a few questions to see if you are officially Highly Sensitive …

P.S. THE LIST IS LONG!

  • Do you startle easily, such as when a loud noise comes on suddenly? (BEEP! BEEP!)
  • When you were younger, were you often regarded as ‘Shy’ or ‘Very Quiet’?
  • Would you struggle to cope under pressure or while being watched? (‘Oh no! My fingers appear to have turned into Jelly .. Let me just try and type that sentence again … Oops. This must be happening because you are WATCHING MY EVERY MOVE!!’)
  • Do you become exhausted if you are unable to get away by yourself for a while?
  • Do you have a deep connection with nature and animals?
  • Do you appreciate art and lean towards creativity?
  • Does an open office look a lot like HELL to you?
  • Do you overthink things and worry more than what might be considered ‘normal’?
  • Do you find yourself overwhelmed with sadness when you hear of bad and tragic news? Is it hard for you to let go of that sadness?
  • Would your ideal day be sitting outside in your garden with a book, as opposed to drinking in a bar full of people or shopping in a Mall?
  • Do other people’s moods affect you? I.e. does their anger make you feel really awkward and uncomfortable?
  • Does small talk just seem like a complete waste of time to you?!
  • Do you often come home from work and retreat to your bedroom, drawing the curtains?
  • Are you very self-aware?
  • Are you unable to tolerate caffeine and other stimulants? Will coffee make you feel anxious and jittery? Does alcohol affect you quickly and leave you feeling a shambles the next day if you have more than a few drinks?
  • Do you get stressed when you are forced to multi-task?
  • Do you try hard to avoid making mistakes?
  • Are you hard on yourself? Perfectionist, much?
  • Is it impossible for you to shut out irritating noises, such as a ticking clock? (TICK, TOCK. TICK, TOCK. ‘Oh, God! It’s counting down the seconds until I cease to exist!’)
  • Do you spend much of your time reflecting on things inside your head instead of looking at the World around you?
  • Do you feel like you are lagging behind everyone else?
  • Do you enjoy quiet and solitude, particularly late at night?
  • Do you sometimes struggle with insomnia and poor sleep?
  • Are you sensitive to hunger? I.e. ‘I am going to commit atrocities if I don’t eat something! It’s been like 3 hours since I ate!!’
  • Does change make you feel uncomfortable and are you slow to adjust to new people and environments?

That’s my list I put together with a bit of thought. I think that just about covers it.

I know some HSPs are sensitive to violent films and TV shows, but I personally enjoy watching horror films and crime shows. Although, perhaps they are more stimulating to me than for those usual folk.

Can you relate to the above? Did I miss anything?

I would love to hear about YOUR experiences as a HSP.

Until we meet again, take care of yourself and dream big.

~ Alex.