I have recently become aware of a type of personality that makes up about 20% of the human population called Highly Sensitive People (HSP) the qualities that appear to describe me. This is no disorder or disability, but is a healthy genetic natural personality which comes with its own challenges and abilities. The HSP has an over-sensitive nervous system that reacts at a higher sensitivity and intensity than most people. The HSP is on a type of sensitivity spectrum, and there are those at the top 1% who have serious sensory problems, such as me.
I shall describe five traits of a HSP person:
The senses of the body such as taste, hearing and balance. Some of the issues I have include:
- a dislike of loud noise or high-pitched sounds.
- inability to wear jewellery; have tight wet clothes; wear sun cream .
- an adverse reaction to being uncomfortable and pain.
- dislike of swimming; extreme temperatures; swinging/roundabouts.
- being in crowds, and fast-moving situations.
- dislike of being touched roughly and unexpectedly.
- inability to handle spicy foods, and lots of bad reactions to food.
I feel emotions with intensity which impair my choices and actions. If I am aware of the suffering of children or an animal, this triggers immediate and intense set of emotions that make me feel distressed and ill. I try to avoid horror movies, and anything that depicts suffering of animal or person, because of how badly I react to it, and it can cause me to self-harm or do something stupid. I feel the suffering of others in my own body.
Adverse reactions to negative events
Rejection, confrontation, criticism, house-moves, exams and deaths are some of the events of life that has a massive impact upon HSP’s like me. Whilst most people get over a criticism, I will ruminate and it will take ages to get over it. Emotional melt-downs and angry reactions is common and normal for a HSP to even minor set-backs. The chances of an emotional melt-down is much higher: if I am ill; lack of sleep; hungry; uncomfortable, such as cold and wet; under stress such as deadlines and too many demands at the same time; over-stimulating environment.
Adverse reactions to stimulants
Small doses of caffeine, alcohol or a drug can cause an immediate and overwhelming reaction. I keep away from alcohol and all drugs such as cannabis because I know that my already over-sensitive nervous system would be pushed over the edge with such stimulants that could put me and others at risk.
Being overwhelmed is a common experience with a HSP like me, with constant bombardment of emotional and sensory activity in my body via my nervous system. Avoiding situations such as being in a crowded and noisy space, having an opportunity to be alone, having downtime, and being in nature is vital, otherwise I will have an emotional meltdown, start self-harming or risk mental illness.
It is how it is
There is no point telling me to stop being sensitive, pull myself together, be a man, be in control. To be able to meet the expectations of others means to suppress the experience of sensory and emotional activity in the body, which won’t vanish, it will manifest as self-harm, sickness and bad choices/actions that hurt self and others. For the HSP it is about accepting these qualities as natural, and working with these traits in a positive way. Thus it means avoiding certain situations, foods and stimulants. It means providing opportunities to be alone, to have downtime, to use calming positive music and surroundings such as nature to calm the nervous system down. It may seem weak, vulnerable and hard to accept being a HSP person, and working with HSP qualities, but, to do so will mean a happy, positive and fulfilling life to one of misery and suffering.
Autism and ADD/ADHD
The HSP qualities are common to those with autism and ADD/ADHD conditions, there is also a chance that a HSP individual could be wrong misdiagnosed and then medicated for a condition they never had, which will make matters worse for them.
A refocus from confrontation to creativity
In recent months my ability to control my HSP-like qualities has been lost, and thus I have had to seriously rethink my life choices and situation. One issue concerns my campaigning against the Satan Hunters such as Sabine McNeill or Becki Percy, whose actions and the results of those actions is making me so distressed that I feel it would be better I stop campaigning against them.
It is my thinking that if I stopped fighting predators like Becki Percy, but instead refocus upon creating something such as an AI that would curb these monsters, then I would be indulging in something positive, creative and where I have a passion, without having to deal with so many negative feelings in my body. It’s just that I am unable to cope with the toxic feelings, so this refocusing of my attention to something creative rather than confrontational is best for everyone, but also for my own mental health.