I planned on making a sequel to my last blog “What do you gain when you lose”. The problem is I made an exciting breakthrough yesterday and although this belongs in the list of things I have “gained”, I feel like it deserves an entire blog for several reasons.
So yesterday I was in session with my therapist and as we were talking she said something to the effect of “well that’s due to your “hypersensitive personality”…. I didn’t know the definition of that phrase so this is what I heard….
“Chill out woman. You are too sensitive. You care too much about what people think of you. You take everything everyone says way too personally. You cry too easily and your life would be a-okay of you weren’t all of these things. It’s your fault you are unhappy”
Based on the context of our conversation and what I have learned since our session, that is NOT what she meant at all. Here is a list of signs that point to hypersensitivity. Can you answer yes to any of these questions?
- Can you hear things others sometimes can’t, especially high-pitched sounds? Or before they do? I can’t count on one hand how many times I have turned the radio down in the car because I thought I heard sirens, while my passenger looks at me weird, and as soon I turn the radio back up and we get back to our chat, we are at a dead stop so an ambulance can pass.
- What about smells? Do you notice them in the same way as sound or maybe they overwhelm you but your friends hardly notice the smell? Smell has always been a significant part of my life. Pleasant or unpleasant, I notice! I know that sounds weird but it’s true. Certain smells trigger an emotion, based on an event I’m sure. But not the memory just the emotion. I can tell when one of my friend’s changes perfume/cologne. I’m very sensitive to unpleasant smells for sure. You can’t PAY me to cook ground turkey in my house. Can’t and won’t do it. I smell every bite of food that I put in my mouth, ESPECIALLY if it’s a new food or if I didn’t cook it myself. My family has always made fun of me for that one…
- Do you get “overwhelmed” with joy when you experience true beauty? No I am not talking about Ryan Gosling. I am talking about an overwhelming joyful feeling about a beautiful experience. A sunset, a great song or musical performance,… Everyone in my life knows I would probably stop breathing without music. No joke! They say you can tell what kind of mood someone is in by the music they are listening to. That is not true at all for me. Sometimes I can download a song, listen to it 100 times and I still can’t tell you what the artist is singing about. I just haven’t paid as much attention to the words as I have that piano in the background, tone/soul in the voice, beat of the drums…etc. I can not relate at all to the song “Stay with me” by Sam Smith. But that song makes me cry every time I hear it. And sometimes it’s just the opposite. The music in the background doesn’t move me but those lyrics are so poetic and thought-provoking I can’t stop listening to it.
- Do you know what other people need before they ask? How often does someone jokingly ask if you are a mind reader? For me, it’s often. I am not referring to an obvious need like when a 3-year-old is dancing around holding their crotch. It doesn’t take a psychic to know they probably need to go potty. I mean like when PC walks in the room and I remind him that he left his car keys on his computer desk and he says “How did you know that’s what I was looking for?”.
- Do you feel uneasy or threatened in big crowds or cities? A lot of people have a problem with crowds and while many of them have a totally different reason for their anxiety, I am sure some of them feel this way because of their hypersensitivity. For the latter, it can be the sound that comes from big crowds. Whether it be the volume or the variety of noises, it can be overwhelming. Intuition also plays a part in this one. If you suddenly get that feeling in your gut that you should step out from under the bleachers, by all means DO IT! It could also be the smells. All of your senses are on high alert in these situations and can easily become overwhelming. For me, this one depends on the activity and location. I didn’t even notice there were other people around me while I was at the P!NK concert with my cousin. It was just me, my cousin and P!NK… 🙂
- Do you have an “emotional” radar? Are you the only one at the party that noticed Jane Doe get upset when her husband grabbed another beer? She didn’t say a word or roll her eyes or even sigh out loud. Somehow you could just tell? And in some hypersensitive people they are now angry at him too. Have you walked into a room and immediately felt tension? Some people can’t!!!! I did not know this! I swear I thought this tension everyone talks about was OBVIOUS to everyone. Not just some but to everyone. So if I tie this into my life, so many things make sense now! That text from my family member I mentioned a couple of blogs ago….It was not an obvious “below the belt” comment to HIM! It sure was to me but not to him. My anger towards that situation literally disappeared when I realized this…
- Do you have allergies, eczema or asthma? I have not always experienced any of these in an extreme way. never had asthma or eczema. I used to have severe migraines as a child and never got an answer about why. The older I get the more I react to allergens in the air but not in an extreme way. My skin has changed dramatically as well but I attributed that to age and hormones. I still wanted to mention this one because it is important to remember that stress can express itself in physical ways. These are the most common in my opinion.
- Is a peaceful environment important to you? Do you feel more stressed when your house is a mess? I have a hard time sleeping when my bedroom is a wreck. Personally I can handle organized and crowded. However, if it’s UNorganized and crowded, I am too uncomfy to fall asleep.
- How often do you want to rip off your bra during the day? I don’t mean as soon as you walk through your door at home. That could be attributed to habit. I mean while at work or running an errand. Are you counting down the minutes until you get home? This one can have another explanation for me as well. My girls are not exactly small and manageable. I believe it is impossible to create a comfy bra in my size, I have tried so many. This sign is just an example of an extreme sensitivity to touch. Maybe it’s not your bra but your tags. For me it’s my hair. I always have a rubber band around my wrist (in my purse and in my car) because I have to put my hair in a pony when the hair on my neck gets too uncomfortable but soon after doing so, my head is so uncomfortable (specifically where the pony is) I have to take it out.
- Does the sun make you sneeze? This is another one my family has always made fun of me for. Almost every time I get out of my air-conditioned car I have the urge to sneeze. I live in the toasty state of Texas so I believe going from cold car to hot outdoors causes the urge. Either way, All I have to do is stare at the sun for 2 seconds and there ya go. This also works indoors though. I have used the fluorescent light in my kitchen to force a stubborn sneeze out.
So here is the bottom line. Anything that is absorbed by the body or psyche may cause havoc to anyone. But, to the HSP (highly sensitive person), the risk is much higher. Energies associated with touch, noise, scent, light, etc. are often too quickly or deeply absorbed. Hypersensitivity is also associated with a heightened sense of awareness and intuition. It is a gift as well as a curse but as with anything, knowing is the most important part. Once you know this is your personality, or at least consider it, you are able to “gain” some more of that wonderful perspective. I am grateful to my therapist for explaining this to me.
Much Love to all!