I have gone through so many ups and downs in my life so far and I have always felt extremely emotional. My emotions rules almost every aspect of my life. I knew this was not normal because people don’t cry as easily as I do or get so emotional over things. People called me sensitive (and they meant it in negative way), weak, and that I take things too personally. I always knew I was more emotional and sensitive than others, but I didn’t know why. I still don’t know why exactly, but now I actually have a term for it.
This past week, some stuff happened that really pushed me over the edge into the world of sadness and despair. I won’t bother to rehash the events, but through it, I found out that I can be classified as a Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP. I proceeded to join a HSP group on Facebook and there I was reading posts by other members where I realized that there are people like me that feels so vulnerable in this world. We generally feel other people’s emotions, and our emotions gets magnified. Everyone one has feelings, but for some reason, our feelings are magnified greatly.
For me, my emotions are primarily what makes me a HSP. There are also others that are sensitive to light and sound. I only have a little of this as I’ve also learned that I’ve grown to adapt myself to things. For example, I have always enjoyed a dim room when I am alone. I’m not sensitive to sound, except that certain “music” is noise to me. But I still use sound as a coping mechanism. For example, I like turning up the volume of the tv up higher than “normal” because I can drown out the other things. However, I cannot study or write with music on.
Anyway, upon discovery of this, I have written on Facebook to let friends and family know about this. Here is what I wrote:
To anyone that has been following my posts recently, I have been mentioned this thing called “HSP” or Highly Sensitive Person. I am an HSP. I am writing this now because I think the most important thing you can do (for me) is to learn what it is (also because I may not be the only one you know).
First and foremost, it is not a mental illness. It is a temperament. We’re also not all the same either. For example, I’m not the HSP that is overly sensitive to lights, sounds, scents, or tastes <–physical HSP. (But I am more sensitive than the “normal” person, but have grown to avoid or live with it…and worst of all, thought this was normal, but apparently most people do not like to be alone in a dim room….)
I’m very sensitive to what people feel just by listening to people talk or say. This makes me overthink, anxious, and what may be a little stress to you is a lot to me. It becomes overwhelming for me, one of the reasons why I don’t look at people in the face when I talk (I don’t need more stimulation from facial expressions either, my way of self-adaptation). I also prefer sms/whatsapp/emails so I don’t have to listen to your “tone”, but I may get hung up on one or two words you use because I pick up nuances like that and becomes a big deal to me (when it’s not for you). But this all also means I can feel very happy when you are happy, so it’s not all dark and grey. smile emoticon
I’m not exactly empathic though. I think with emotions and I may feel your emotions too, but what troubles me most are my own overempowering emotions.
Finally, this does not mean you have to be “walking on eggshells” with me. It doesn’t mean if you are sad, you should stay away from me because you don’t want me to feel your sadness. I’m not frail and weak and going to start bawling my eyes out or stab you with a fork if you said something “mean” during eating time. (oh gawds, lol) Despite my often seriousness, I am a very funny person too. And most importantly, I am probably much stronger than any of you (this is not arrogance) because I live with all these overpowering emotions and still have managed to do so much and hold on. I do break from time to time and more often than the average/normal person, but I always get up in the end. It takes someone very strong to be able to pick themselves up over and over and over again.
I wrote that because I want people to know about this thing called HSP. I was afraid that people would start treating me different, which was also why I wrote about the eggshells bit. I have always felt that knowing and understanding is a way to acceptance. I wrote it for others, but I also wrote it for me.
However, nothing ever works out exactly the way we imagine or want, right? So whereas I thought this would help people understand and we can just move on, there is a pit in my path. So, I think I have been getting support (though no one is showing it), there are also people feeling frustrated about it… at least one I know and felt already. I won’t point out who, and it’s possible there are more, but I believe the frustration the person is feeling stems largely on the fact that they just don’t know how to act around me anymore. Perhaps they even see me as someone playing a victim and that I’m going to start using “HSP” as a title which entitles me to act like a “brat” (or victim).
This is ABSOLUTELY NOT the case. The reason is firstly, if I could trade all this sensitivity and vulnerability just to be ordinary, I would. I didn’t ask to be a HSP, but I was born this way. I don’t want all the drama my life has been through so far and I definitely wish I didn’t cry so easily. On the other hand, as I’m still new to this, I’m trying to learn to embrace who I am, accept that I do cry and with knowing how I am, I hope to avoid drama as much as possible.
And how to act around me? Just as you used to. But I know this is easier said than done. It’s just like when someone says, “Don’t think of a pink elephant”, you’re thinking of one. So now that I have announced “I am a Highly Sensitive Person”, how could you not feel different around me. So I understand and I just hope that with time, it will all pass and things will go back to the way they were. I really want to just say I know how it is…after all, I can feel it. I’m not angry, just a “little” hurt… and that’s not to make anyone feel bad, I’m just very truthful with how I feel.
Anyway, I’m going to add a new category to this blog now called “HSP”. This way, I can start journaling my “adventures”. I’ve been a HSP since I was born, but now I am discovering it is who I am, so the real journey begins as I’m trying to learn to deal with the world with these new pair of eyes, metaphorically.