Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Highly Sensitive Person

I've known for years that I'm extremely sensitive - hyper sensitive as I always called it. When I was a kid, I would cry at the smallest things. One example I love to use is if a rock got kicked around (especially if it was my pet rock), I would cry or feel extremely sad. While most people hardly see this as something of significance, many things around me in nature and the world have always taken on a different meaning and significance to me.

Friends have nicknamed me "space cowboy" because I just picked up on things and sensed things. At first, I wasn't too happy about the nickname but then I began to look at all that I do pick up. Often times, I could not verbally tell you in detail what that is but I truly sense and feel so much. For such a long time, I thought everyone could do that but I am learning that most people are not even aware of it. And I pick all kinds of things up around me in all kinds of different ways.

For example, if I walk into a building, I can tell the "energy" or "mood" of the building. It is usually instant for me and has a lot to do with the people in the building but sometimes it seems like it is the building itself. If I'm around people especially in close proximity to them, I pick up their mood, their attitudes and its almost like I feel like I'm feeling or sensing or living through what they are in their lives. Sometimes I hear sounds that are so faint, no one around me hears. I'll hear delivery trucks or people walking on the street when I'm so far removed from them it would be difficult for ears to pick up. I sometimes smell the slightest scents from a distance and sometimes I can smell individual scents as well.

One of the things for me though is I cannot take much loud music at all. Even what some would consider to be a normal level is often way to loud for me. It gets in the way of all that I hear and pick up and just causes confusion as well as me feeling overwhelmed. I look for quiet places and enjoy the quiet surroundings. Just hearing the sounds of nature can be more than enough for me and better than any symphony that could be performed.

While I enjoy being around people, I have to have my down time away from everyone. I need my space and I need my quiet peaceful moments. Being around too many people especially in close proximity can be very overwhelming for me and the only way I can do this is to find a quiet place to retreat. While I can talk to people, I do tend to be on the shy side until I get to know someone. Actually more often than not, I am more content watching people in crowds or social situations and their interactions than to have the desire of really wanting to interact with them. I do keep my distance from people.

There are many times that I've been in study or discussion groups and picked up stomach problems, headaches, pains and different physical conditions. Often there is much more that I pick up and the more I go through my own healing in my life, the more this intensifies.


Animals are one thing I've always been connected to and sometimes, I feel as if I pick up what they are feeling, thinking or experiencing. It feels to me that I can almost talk to them and listen to them. It is like they understand me and I understand them. Often in life, I've felt more at home with animals than people and much more understood by animals than people.

Bright lights or intense sounds or flashing lights affect me in a big way. In my vehicle, I have a rear view mirror that auto dims at night when bright lights are behind me. Actually I had this added on to the vehicle when I bought it because otherwise, driving at night is just too difficult for me. Flashing strobe lights on TV or even with an emergency vehicle are almost painful for me to view. They almost hurt my eyes and I try to avoid looking at them.

I just became aware of a website and a book about Highly Sensitive People and I've got to read this book. For years, it has felt like a curse to be so sensitive and to take in all that I do. Some days, it is too much and I long to just escape all of it. Some days, I almost have to shut down just to deal with it and to be honest, it is frightening at times. I don't completely understand it or why I am the way I am. I know that trauma in my past has had a lot to do with how my brain developed but being sensitive in our world is not always regarded as positive.

If you want to take a self test, the link is

Here's a few things that Elaine Aron shares on her website,

--Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?

--Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?

--Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?

--Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?

--Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?

--Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?

--Do you have a rich and complex inner life?

--When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?

Here's the link to one of the books that Elaine Aron has written that I'm ordering and going to read. I'll keep you updated on the book as I read it.

Please feel free to comment or leave me a message if you're a highly sensitive person. I'd love to know that I'm not the only one out there.

*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog


  1. Hi Don. I came across your blog and wanted you to know that I really like it. Yes there are more of us out there.:) From another highly sensitive person and empathic spirit, Elaine

  2. Thank you Elaine and I appreciate the lovely comments.