Highly Sensitive People

Highly Sensitive People
A while ago I wrote an article about Highly Sensitive People, who they are and what it means to be Highly Sensitive – not as a term of reproach or criticism (such as ‘why are you so sensitive?’ or perhaps worse, “why MUST you be so sensitive?”), but as a relatively new term to describe sensory sensitivity, rather than being particularly emotionally vulnerable.

People described as Highly Sensitive often find the world around them, and their environment, overwhelming. Light can seem too bright, sound too loud, movement too violent, tastes too strong. Items of clothing can feel restricting, and fabric too rough in texture. Groups of people can feel like crowds, all speaking at once, and questions can become invasive. They often feel too hot or too cold. People who are Highly Sensitive need lots of ‘time out’, when they are able to be quiet, on their own, in an environment which feels comfortable for them, so that they have a chance to re-centre themselves.

It is important for people who are Highly Sensitive to be understood, since having their needs diminished as ‘making a fuss’ can then turn them into being emotionally vulnerable to criticism, and they develop feelings of shame and self hatred for being what they are.

People who are Highly Sensitive often find it difficult to ‘fit in’ and they can also be described as ‘insular’ and introverted, leaving a tendency to think that these are negative characteristics or traits. They can be accused of being self centred, when really all they are is acutely aware, which can often be acutely uncomfortable for them. They try to get their needs met by being protective of themselves, but often keep quiet about the difficulties they encounter or about what their needs are.

It can be difficult to seek psychological help when there is a sense that you are self indulgent just by being ‘you’. But it is just that very need to be able to accept yourself as a Highly Sensitive Person which therapy can help with.

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