On the Highly Sensitive Person

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Actions for a HSP such as me, such as walking in nature, is vital to calm down an over-sensitive nervous system.

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:

Sensory issues

The senses of the body such as taste, hearing and balance.  Some of the issues I have include:

  1. a dislike of loud noise or high-pitched sounds.
  2. inability to wear jewellery; have tight wet clothes; wear sun cream .
  3. an adverse reaction to being uncomfortable and pain.
  4. dislike of swimming; extreme temperatures; swinging/roundabouts.
  5. being in crowds, and fast-moving situations.
  6. dislike of being touched roughly and unexpectedly.
  7. inability to handle spicy foods, and lots of bad reactions to food.

Emotional issues

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

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.

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On empathy and compassion

question-everything

Important to question the self when there is a demand to show compassion for another, if the self has an authentic empathy for that person, if they have the resources and ability to offer relief to the suffering of another without harm to self.

Cycling late at night through my local city centre I passed a young female sitting in the cold darkness in a shop doorway, homeless.  Our eyes met, and I was troubled at what I was seeing, how this person could be there now, my many different feelings I had at that moment.  Like a ghost, I moved on into the night, another face to her, and she another face of the many homeless I encounter each day.

 

Despite being in a period of prosperity my country of the UK, like many nations, hides the dark truth that all our public services, including welfare, have been cut to the bone, and those in the most need have fallen into homelessness and poverty in numbers not seen according to some for decades.

Both the Left Hand Path and the Right Hand Path worldviews talk about the concepts of empathy and compassion, but what does this mean in the context of that homeless person? Empathy is both a skill and quality of being able to understand the feelings and experiences of others.  Compassion proceeds from empathy by having the ability to act to help another person, especially one who is suffering.

Those of the LHP are harsh in examining our own feelings and intentions so that we avoid falling into delusion and fakery that most of the human population fall into.  My empathy was limited to seeing a vulnerable young female, and it reminded me of the many times of my own vulnerability, when I was cast out into the streets as a kid.  My empathy did not run deeper than that because I did not have any previous or other interaction with that person.

Could I have compassion for this homeless person, to act to alleviate their suffering?  No.  Firstly, all my own personal resources are tied up in my own personal crisis at this moment.  Secondly, to become involved with another person entails a high risk of becoming entangled with the many challenges of that person as this homeless person has, such as if they have bad associates or a mental illness, issues that I was not in a position to deal with.  Thirdly, I did not have the political power or influence to change the policies and attitudes that caused and maintains the suffering of this homeless person, such as welfare, high rates and property prices, lack of housing, or the lack of mental health and other social support this homeless person would need.

Because I choose to be Left Hand Path, I choose to be authentic, and I won’t act out of morality or because I feel bad. I do so in the light of understanding my limits and my true feelings.  This homeless person reminded me of my own vulnerability, it motivates me to act to alleviate their suffering, for I see in some manner that my help to that homeless person, also gives relief to me.  However, I recognised I could do nothing for this homeless person, I did not have the personal resources, or the power to influence anything, or the ability to cope with the predictable problems of getting involved with this person.  So I did nothing.  I hit my limits, and I recognise my limits.

Society is built on the process of exploitation of everything for the end goal of consumerism.  There is a risk that in helping others the individual becomes exploited and consumed, so in my opinion the individual always acts from a position of power of only acting in compassion with those they trust, and where they have the resources and ability to alleviate suffering without harm to themselves.

The individual is daily bombarded by calls upon themselves to alleviate the suffering of others, but 99% of these calls the individual can do nothing about, and if the individual does so, they risk exploitation and being drained of their resources to the extent the individual suffers harm.

It may seem cruel, but in most cases the individual does not have the resources or ability to do anything about it without suffering personal harm, it is better to not become involved.

On Satanic love and relationships

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Until recently I was a pure misanthrope who hated humanity, and thus placing relationships low on my list of priorities.  Then my cat died of cancer, and having been tricked by this cat into an experience of loving this cat, and it loving me in return, my worldview was ripped apart. 

Love and relationships suddenly became a high priority.  For years I had rejected the whole concept of friendship, everyone was considered an associate, never a friend.  I told a number of people they were not my friend, which must have hurt them a great deal.  Today, I made amends to one of those people, met them in a coffee shop, and corrected my error, saying they are my friend, which for them meant a lot.

Quality relationships according to scientific studies are the single most important thing to have for good health and a long life.  Quality relationships, which they say should be at least three or more relationships, is about face-to-face relationships rather than internet versions, encouraging the production of health-giving hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin in the body.

I identify with the philosophy of Epicureanism, which was popular 300 years either side of the reign of Roman Emperor Augustus, approx 600 years in total.  The only issue that stopped me from adopting Epicureanism was over relationships.  Epicureans considered the ideal state was “ataraxia” that is, a tranquil contented mind, with an emphasis on quality relationships.  My recently deceased cat practiced the art of seeking ataraxia every day of its life, it seems pleasure-seeking cats have a lot they can teach humanity.

Some people wrongly think Epicureanism is about hedonism, getting roaring drunk with mates at the local bar on a Friday night, rather it has more in common with talking with a friend about personal challenges of day-to-day living over a coffee in a coffee shop.

Wishing my readers an amazing 2018

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Have an amazing 2018.

This blog will be back in action over the next couple of months, but slowly at first, as demands in the real world restricts my time to blog.

One goal this year, do ten amazing things each day that benefit me.

If strategy is focussed on increasing options and opportunities with each deed, avoiding the opposite, the individual will be half way there to having a successful year.

I wish everyone an amazing 2018.

On tribalism

Gary Markstein / Cagle Cartoons

Trump and North Korea is an example of the interaction of tribalism caused by oxytocin.

Human beings are social animals, they are designed to live in small groups rather than anonymous large populations.  Studies show that the individual is most happy with regular interaction with small intimate communities.  The hormone oxytocin is behind the identification, bonding and relationships between people, and is the foundation upon which tribalism comes about.

As an individual I identify emotionally with the Left Hand Path, and I react strongly against anything that seeks to harm those of my tribal identification.  These feelings I have of identification, and hostility towards that which threatens my tribe, is down to the impact of oxytocin.

A complaint about the ancient Welsh people was their constant infighting over land, power and wealth, in which they quite happily murdered their own brother and father.  Yet, if an outsider killed their brother whom they had a quarrel with, the Welshman was quick to anger and determination to avenge the death through blood feud.  Although oxytocin fails to keep brother from killing brother, it surges if an outsider kills the brother.

Interestingly, when the Satan Hunters, those promoting a Satanic Ritual Abuse fiction in London, had one of their number known as Rupert Wilson Quaintance IV jailed for nine months for stalking and harassing children and their families he considered were Satanists, the backlash was intense.  Usually these Satan Hunters spend most of their time fighting each other, but as a tribe with shared values, the fall of one of their number resulted in a collective unified backlash against those they consider their enemy.  The backlash is the result of the oxytocin hormone, the tribe pushing back against a situation that threatens them.

It is worth learning about oxytocin since it has a wide and significant impact on human history, society and reactivity.

On gaining passion and focus

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How to use the dopamine reward system to succeed in life.

All human activity is caused by a biological process; I discuss here passion and focus, caused by hormone dopamine.

Dopamine and ADD

I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) caused by lack of dopamine.  Two qualities of ADD is lack of motivation and focus. A contrasting quality of ADD is hyperfocus, where the individual is totally focused and motivated on an activity they are interested in to the exclusion of all else.

The biological process of dopamine

Dopamine is a hunting hormone, which encourages the brain to hunt and explore.  Dopamine degrades into hormone noradrenalin, which causes alertness or focus.  Noradrenaline further degrades into hormone adrenaline, which prepares the body for physical activity.  Motivation and focus are hormonally closely related, no motivation, then no focus.

Manipulate hormones such as dopamine

Understand the biological process, the individual can manipulate hormones, and the qualities associated with those hormones.

Dopamine rewards the hunt never the goal

Dopamine as a hunting hormone, rewards the process towards the goal, rather than the achievement of the goal.

The brain has no concept of reality

The brain considers reality and fantasy as the same thing, imagine a terrifying situation, note the body goes into a state of anxiety as the adrenaline hormone is produced, because the brain thinks the fantasy is real and the individual is in danger.

Why people underachieve or fail in their goals

If the individual imagines achievement of the goal, regardless if it is sex, business, study or the dream job, the brain thinks this is real, will think the goal has been achieved.  Because the brain thinks the goal is achieved, no dopamine is produced, because dopamine rewards the process of the hunt rather than the achievement of the goal, thus the individual has no motivation or focus, and underachieves or fails in the attainment of the goal.  This conclusion is confirmed by numerous studies.

Dopamine is a hunter-gatherer hormone

Dopamine in the biological process encourages the animal to hunt for food, learn about its environment and hunt for a mate.  Dopamine is a hunter-gatherer hormone, target seeking, and danger avoiding.  Dopamine encourages the individual to avoid painful experiences, but seek pleasurable experiences.  Motivation and focus rises and falls based upon amount of dopamine in play in any situation.

How to gamify the process towards a goal

Avoid the goal, focus on the process.  Look at the steps towards the goal, break them down into a list of to-do’s.  Map the road towards the goal with detailed achievable steps which are ticked off as each is achieved.  Once the brain is aware of the map and steps, it will dump out dopamine as each step is achieved in the process, the brain will become motivated and focussed on the process rather than the goal, it might achieve a type of addiction to the process.  The process can be gamified into a type of game.  Addiction to a process game such as the mundane Farmville or the more complicated Warcraft plays on the dopamine biological process by encouraging production of dopamine by a process of steps and little rewards when steps are achieved

Write the road map down, reward achievement of steps

The brain is designed to react to patterns, when the road map is locked into memory by the brain, it will know when to dump out dopamine at each step.  The brain is designed for sensory experience, so use those senses when mapping out the road map, avoid the computer which only uses eyes.  Write down the road map on paper, this uses eyes and tactile senses, the more senses used, the better the brain locks in on the road map.  Computer games encourages addiction to play with rewards as each step is achieved, such as winning a magical item or leveling up in Warcraft, so mark each step achieved with a reward that signifies progress that the brain easily associates with the step.  Children love their badges, which are associated with progress in their activities, but it is harder to associate ice cream or holidays with progress because the brain is unable to relate this to the process.  It is easy for the brain to associate achievement of a step in Warcraft to leveling up of a character to level 1 through to 50 because it can see the connection, and so a creative way of gamification might incorporate a theme of a progress bar and badges on a wall.

Focus on the process as a way of life with new goal-processes

Once a goal is achieved, especially a hard goal, there can become a corresponding crash in dopamine, followed by loss of motivation and focus, then depression.  The game of life and mental wellbeing is about the process, never the goal, so always have a new goal-process in place before the existing goal-process ends.

How to enjoy paying money to the tax man

In closing, I owe the taxman perhaps £400.00, I gamified this into 400 points.  So when I pay say £100 against this debt, it falls to 300 points, rather like fighting a 400 hit point monster, which is now down to 300 hit points.  It has become fun and motivating to pay money to the taxman, I get dopamine every time I pay the tax man.  I love paying money to the tax man.  Crazy, but thats how the gamification of a biological process works.