Highly Sensitive? How do I know?
HIGHLY SENSITIVE: HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM?
I’d always known that I was a bit “sensitive” and I struggled to understand why I was different from most my other friends, why I struggled to fit in and keep up with life, why I hated noise and busy places, why I couldn’t handle any hobbies and why I’d get overwhelmed and meltdown easily. It became more obvious when my daughter started to display the same traits as me.
It took a year or two of research and life-time of trial and error and lots of self discovery before I got to the bottom of it.
The answers to my despair about “what was wrong with me?” came as a questionnaire in a book by Dr Elaine Aron.
The questionnaire is based upon years of her research and really simplifies the process of discovering if you or your child is Highly Sensitive or not.
If you can relate to most of these statements below, taken from her website (hsperson), then I would recommend seeking out the questionnaire. Both the adult and the child questionnaires can be found on her website hsperson dot com
– startles easily.
– complains about scratchy clothing, seams in socks, or labels against his/her skin.
– doesn’t usually enjoy big surprises.
– learns better from a gentle correction than strong punishment.
– seems to read my mind.
– uses big words for his/her age.
– notices the slightest unusual odor.
– has a clever sense of humor.
– seems very intuitive.
– is hard to get to sleep after an exciting day.
– doesn’t do well with big changes.
– wants to change clothes if wet or sandy.
– asks lots of questions.
– is a perfectionist.
– notices the distress of others.
– prefers quiet play.
– asks deep, thought-provoking questions.
– is very sensitive to pain.
– is bothered by noisy places.
– notices subtleties (something that’s been moved, a change in a person’s appearance, etc.)
– considers if it is safe before climbing high.
– performs best when strangers aren’t present.
– feels things deeply.
Dr Elaine Aron suggests that 15-20% of the population are said to be Highly Sensitive and its a personality trait, not a disorder or illness. I can’t tell you the relief I felt when I realised I was Highly Sensitive and my daughter was also Highly Sensitive (although in completely different way to me!) Just knowing this took a huge weight off my shoulders and I was able to almost forgive myself – I wasn’t mental after all, I didn’t have something wrong with me and neither did my daughter.
And its that feeling that I want other people to have – the relief, the sheer and utter relief of being able to identify with something that wasn’t a mental/emotional disorder. That I wasn’t damaged in someway and neither was my daughter. That we were completely normal – albeit Highly Sensitive normal people!
Please keep a look out of my next video post which will explain what the term highly sensitive person means, and how these amazing individuals are different from non-sensitives.