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Highly Sensitive Person. Are you?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by MWsunin12, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've been reading Steve Ozanich's book "The Great Pain Deception." I'm about halfway through and came to the section where he describes "Highly Sensitive People" and how they are very often TMS'rs.

    I got pretty shamed as a young child for being too "sensitive" but I just went underground about it all, nothing changed, I was still highly sensitive. I still read the room for what other's are feeling. Even in public I will see the one "sad" or "homeless" person in a crowd. It's like I am drawn to what is upsetting.

    Steve writes that HSP are more sensitive to medications, to pain, more hyper in medical environments and can't ignore the shadowy presence of suffering, are afraid to hear other people's symptoms/illnesses because we are impressionable and will take them on and more likely to develop stress related illness.

    This felt very true to me and I read on, hoping he had a thought or solution of advice for a HSP. None. But, I guess that's an individual thing.

    I was a very healthy and outdoorsy kid. My weird symptoms thing didn't start up until I was 22.

    I'm wondering if others on this forum consider themselves HSP?
    Sensitive, CGP and danielle like this.
  2. Bunneh

    Bunneh Peer Supporter

    Yes to everything you wrote. Don't have a clue what to do about it. Throuought my life I've heard from dozens (if not hundreds) of people things like:
    "You take everything too personally."
    "Why are you crying? Chill the fuck out !"
    "You want to tell me that the sight of a stray dog ruined your day? "
    "No, I don't think that the customer suggested you're incompetent and hopeless."
    One thing's for sure: Being a HSP took its toll on my mental (depression, panic attcks, health anxiety) and physical health (pain, eczema, allergies).
    You're not alone. :)
  3. 3rdCoast

    3rdCoast Peer Supporter

    The HSP section resonated with me as well. From my view, when HSP types see suffering, they feel guilty. Either because they can’t fix the situation (adopt the stray dog) or they’re not suffering in the same way (they have a home). The point is, it’s actually OK to live for yourself and not feel bad about it in any way.

    Sensitive types are pros at bending over backwards tending to everyone else’s needs, trying to fix all problems, at the expense of their own dreams and desires. For me, realizing you never think of yourself first is crushingly sad. But it allows for new possibilities and change. Maybe the next time you see something sad to focus on, offer that time and attention to yourself.

    I think the quote from the author’s book or interview was “You are not the person you are pretending to be.” Ending the pretending is what our true selves yearn for. We can get stuck in a lifetime of absorbing other’s pain and sadness. We forget how to be present and flow more naturally in this life. But we all have the ability to change. How? I wish I had the simple answer. I believe understanding that a different way is possible plants the seed of change. We can’t will change to happen, but we can choose to believe it’s possible. And maybe that’s all it takes.
  4. Simplicity

    Simplicity Guest

    I'm also a highly sensitive person and I know that others on the forum are as well. Elaine Aron's book is great if you want to learn more about being a HSP, to understand that you're not alone and that you're OK.

    I've been wondering if my anxiety made me more sensitive and I've come to the conclusion that being sensitive is something you cannot change - you have to accept it and learn to live with it. Self-compassion will help with this, learning how to be more understanding and accepting of yourself - setting boundaries, learning how to say no, understanding that how other people treat you says more about them than you, etc. I also think it's important to be conscious about needing to rest, giving yourself time to be for yourself and to slow down if you're feeling overwhelmed.

    ... and as @David88 once said to me:
    I fully agree with this - learn to see it as a strength. It's wonderful that you care deeply about other living things, but you have to learn how to care for yourself as well and I think that has been the tricky part for me. Working with the part of you that's self-critical will help, to be aware of how you relate to yourself and to disengage from the inner critic.

    I recommend watching: Sensitive - The Untold Story.

    Click here to view this on Vimeo

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2016
  5. giantsfan

    giantsfan Well known member

    Thanks for ruining it. I'm not there yet!!! Just kidding :joyful: ;)

    Practice. For me it takes practice to just say, think or do things with less care than I would've before. Of course there are some people who are flat out abusive so I just rid of seeing them altogether, but as for the little jabs here and there I guess part of me is just too happy with the progress I've made so far to care anymore. So that begs the question of sensitivity and symptoms. What came first, the chicken or the egg?

    Dr Seuss: "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." I say this to myself a lot. :)

    Sensitive, skhs and MWsunin12 like this.
  6. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have Elaine Aron's book and have read about half of it. I started it ages ago and kept putting it down and picking it up. Meanwhile I finished Susan Cain's book, Quiet, and decided I was just an introvert so somewhat sensitive but not highly sensitive. I've had this HSP concept on my mind a lot lately and have begun to notice just how sensitive I actually am. When Aron talks about babies and children, I cannot recall enough to relate myself at that age as an HSP. I keep thinking about my elder daughter as a baby/toddler and as an adult and believe her to be an HSP yet she is very much an extrovert thrill seeker. I listened to a podcast over the weekend that mentioned this category of people and how difficult it is for them to mix their desire for an adrenaline rush while at the same time being susceptible to overwhelm. I don't know how one would reconcile this - it may be easier for introverts to devise strategies for coping with overwhelm, establishing boundaries, etc. I'll continue my reflections as my HSP persona is really coming to the fore.
  7. danielle

    danielle Peer Supporter

    Hello from a fellow HSP. Not much to say now but resonating with what y'all are talking about. It's not easy. :( but nice to know I'm not alone. Thanks for being there everyone. wavea
    Bunneh likes this.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Danielle. I have always known I am a very sensitive guy. I'm like a Corsican Brother who can feel everyone else's physical or emotional pain.
    Everyone is my brother. But thanks to TMS knowledge, I've learned, or am still learning, that we may try to be "Our brother's keeper," but ultimately each person has to be his own keeper. And also, we need a strong belief that God is our keeper.

    "Quiet" is one of my favorite things. I haven't read that book, but love quiet. It's so great to do twice daily 20 minute meditation, with eyes closed and the mind at rest. Here's my favorite meditation technique...

    Meditation is a time-honored way of relaxing the mind and relieving anxiety, mental stress, headaches, and even physical pain. There are many ways to practice meditation but I have found the most successful to be a technique called the Relaxation Response.

    A TMS psychiatrist says about it: “It is so good, so well established. I taught this approach to stressed out teachers, with success! It is simple, not "spiritual," and readily available. This is important: It is the practice, and becoming a habit that is powerful.”

    It is done 20 minutes once or twice a day, before a meal and works best if not practiced within two hours after a meal.

    Just sit, close your eyes, don’t listen to any music, try to avoid outside noises. Let your mind think of a word such as "One " which has no real meaning or association. Say the word silently over and over. At the end of the 20 minutes, picture and feel yourself as you were when you felt your best, and in a place where you felt that way.

    Follow the technique below and see how fast you calm. It is similar to Transcendental Meditation but unlike that technique which many consider to be a religion or cult, and that costs $1,000 from a trained TM coach. The Relaxation Response is not a religion or cult and costs nothing.

    Here is an article about the Relaxation Response and how to practice it:

    Herbert Benson, M.D. documented benefits experienced through traditional forms of Christian and Jewish prayer. Benson published his Relaxation Response” method of stress reduction without the mysticism associated with TM. Short structured rest periods provide health benefits.
    Herbert Benson, M.D.
    Associate Professor of Medicine
    Harvard Medical School
    and founder of the

    Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine
    824 Boylston St.
    Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-2508

    Phone: (617) 991-0102 Toll free: (866) 509-0732

    The following is the technique reprinted with permission from Dr. Herbert Benson's book
    The Relaxation Response pages 162-163

    1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
    2. Close your eyes.
    3. Deeply relax all your muscles,
    beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face.
    Keep them relaxed.

    4. Breathe through your nose.
    Become aware of your breathing.
    As you breathe out, say the word, "one"*,
    silently to yourself. For example,
    breathe in ... out, "one",- in .. out, "one", etc.
    Breathe easily and naturally.

    5. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes.
    You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm.
    When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes,
    at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened.
    Do not stand up for a few minutes.

    6. Do not worry about whether you are successful
    in achieving a deep level of relaxation.
    Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace.
    When distracting thoughts occur,
    try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them
    and return to repeating "one."

    With practice, the response should come with little effort.
    Practice the technique once or twice daily,
    but not within two hours after any meal,

    since the digestive processes seem to interfere with
    the elicitation of the Relaxation Response.
  9. Bunneh

    Bunneh Peer Supporter

    Thank you, Walt. I will check it out. Your responses are always so compassionate and helpful. Have a good one. :)
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks, Bunneh. We sensitive people are among the best. I know some people who are so inside themselves nothing reaches them.
    Or at least it seems so. But I think even stoics have feelings. I could never reach my brother's inner side.
    Bunneh likes this.
  11. danielle

    danielle Peer Supporter

    Hi Walt, thanks for your words. I have tried many techniques and methods to try and get that relaxation response over the years. It's pretty difficult due to being so tense. I tend to have a hard time with the instructions to deeply relax then to stay relaxed. It just seems beyond my control at this point. It helps me to reach the emotions and thoughts which are causing the muscles to be so tight, but I can't control whether I'm able to do that or not either. I still try to do some regular practice every day, and I'd probably be more tense without it. I just can't find something that will reliably easily get me to the RR state.

  12. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Danielle, I too have the same challenge. My head zooms one thought after another. I do walking meditations where I repeat comforting thoughts or mantras to myself. The activity seems to keep me on the positive thoughts.
    danielle likes this.
  13. danielle

    danielle Peer Supporter

    Thanks, I've done walking meditation in the past and I think it's probably good to try it again. I will do that. :)
  14. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Hi, I am a highly sensitive person too.

    My dentist - who is very kind and spiritual - tells me my antennae are too far out there and that I should pull them in.
    I have meditated on the return of bladder pain but when the symptoms occur they bring such fear to the surface. I had so many invasive and traumatic treatments for so-called IC that when I focus on the returning symptoms I feel such despair. It's hard to be neutral, kind, even after years of meditation practice.
    The bladder symtoms arose triggered by late night stress - which was the story of my infancy - and it is back and wanting attention.
    I think perhaps some EMDR would be helpful. I have done the work so many times. I do not expect that I should be symptom free forever... BUT I have slowly tapered off the daytime dose of an anti-anxiety medication three weeks ago. I am aware of lots of anxiety.
    I don't want to go back on the medication. I want to work with this Sarno-style.
    I may just be too sensitive.
    Anyone else have stories to share of staying off meds or going back on?

    I am not anti-medication. Would just rather be free of it. I want greater resiliency. Off to exercise. Thanks for reading!
  15. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    This topic can get complex. It depends on fear, perception and stillness of mind, and has been debated to be part of the emotions passed from mother to child. If you listen to the yogis they also believe fear and sensitivity can come through the food. More highly evolved animals know greater fear.

    No doubt some people are much more sensitive to many things, light, sounds, situations, etc. I know from my own experience that I became more highly sensitized when I was experiencing trauma. It's a survival mechanism. The Self sees danger at every turn and so it's on high alert, as someone above said "the antennae are out too often."

    When we fear less the body becomes less sensitized. At that point it opens up a new universe.

    Lotus, CGP, Lunarlass66 and 3 others like this.
  16. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    Me to a tee.. Always being told I'm "over-reacting" or too emotional. After so many years of this, it creates a constant cycle of self-loathing and simply wishing you can "be like everyone else."

    It's nice to know I'm not the only one who's at the mercy of my feelings.. Sooo frustrating sometimes and of course making me prone to tms and stress-related ailments and symptoms.. Aghhh!
  17. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    I have no doubt I have always been more sensitive than my friends. Just very obvious things such as sound. I need to put my fingers in my ears when nobody else seems to care. Sound is possibly the biggest trigger for me. I was also told 'youre too sensitive for your own good' a lot because I was affected emotionally by everything! Which resulted in two nervous breakdowns by the time I was 27!

    I never thought it was as simple as being just an introvert or an extrovert and I'm not sure Jung ever meant it to be so polarised. I have qualities of both, but it is better for my sensitive nervous system to keep a bit quieter and less stimulated.
    Lunarlass66 likes this.
  18. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    And if we choose this may be a sensual and pleasurable universe bonded by love, connection and intimacy. Sensitivity is a beautiful gift when you send those feelers into playful, juicy, cheeky, kind, nourishing places. We have this choice. We do not need to feel so fraught and fragile. We could restate the soothe-to-rage ratio as the pleasure-to-rage balance.

    An excellent way of grounding and channelling sensitivity is to get your hands dirty; preparing food, making love, gardening, drawing with pastels and charcoal, painting, cuddling beloved pets, there are endless ways of physically engaging with life that sensually satisfy and bring their own healing. As children we played naturally like this and there is a magic in such spirit that the grown-up world forgets. The soul is fed when we touch, hold, caress and cherish.

    @Steve Ozanich, thank you for introducing me to Abraham-Hicks. Some of their rampages on sensuality, passion and love have helped my healing dramatically because they have helped me learn to expand my emotional states, to trust my good feelings and embrace my sensitivity in exquisite fashion.
    Lunarlass66 likes this.

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