Highly Sensitive People

I know, I know, I have been absent for too long… I’m just so busy with school and exam preparation at the moment, so at least I have an excuse.

To make up for it I’d like to write about something rather personal today and that would be the fact that I am an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). You’d probably haven’t had heard about this unless you are concerned by this yourself.

And honestly I am not sure if this „label“ is in fact helpful, but in our society we have this need to label each and every little discrepancy and call it an illness or a syndrom (and here we go again, another label). Being highly sensitive is not neither a physical not a mental illness, it is more like a personal characteristic. HSP simply have a nervous system that is more sensitive compared to that of a „normal“ person.

I, for example, register a lot more of what is going on around me and am most of the time unable to block out loud noises, strong smells, bright lights, people talking, pain, emotions, well lets say the environment in general. But what’s worse is that I even register things that other people don’t, like a very faint smell of perfume or sweat… I register the ticking of my wrist watch or hear the breathing of the person sitting next to me on the train. Once registered, it becomes the centre of attention, there’s no way of getting rid of it. It’s like a parasite, the more I try to shake it off, the less it is likely to disappear. And I assure you, if this happens to you in the exam room, you are literally screwed… unless you know how to deal with it. Unfortunately there’s no manual on how to deal with it, because every HSP is different, so everyone has to find out individually what works for them and what doesn’t. I haven’t finished figured it all out yet…

Apart from all these influences from the outside effecting me in everyday life, there’s also the fact that I am having trouble to establish relationships. Mostly I crawl back into the safety of my own company to avoid stressful situations. I have been told that I seem distant, indifferent, shy, anxious, hard to talk to and people around me start to think that I just want to keep to myself (but that’s not how I feel). That is probably what made me an easy target for mobbing in primary school.

Today I am not being mobbed, but I find it extremly hard to socialize. I am working on it though… sometimes it takes up all my strengths to not slide back into old habits, but I have to keep going and know my limits at the same time.

I was completely unaware of this phenomenon until I’ve read about it for the first time a couple of years ago. It was a relief to see that I am not alone and that there are so many others out there dealing with these seemingly irrational episodes. It is supposed that about 20% of the population worldwide are highly sensitive, but only a fraction of these actually know it. Most of them probably just think that something is wrong with them like I did ever since I can remember.

Know that I know that I am not just weird I can learn how to handle it and also see that it is not all bad. The world needs sensitive people, we can’t all be like robots!


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