I'm curious as to how many of you have heard of highly sensitive people (HSPs). Even though I have never had a professional deem me as a HSP, I have the hunch I am one of these folks. Even though I don't seem to have some of the traits that many HSPs have--such as food allergies, aversions to strong-tasting foods, repulsion towards violent movies and games and graphic images, sensitivity to pain--I definitely have other traits that HSPs are said to have:
*I'm bothered by many noises that others aren't.
I hate noises that are "disorganized." I've always felt tense whenever I am in a noisy auditorium or cafeteria. And part of the reason why I hate night clubs is that it's hard to discern different noises, and there never seems to be a moment of silence that would allow me to "relax" my ears. I can't stand trying to sleep with the T.V. on or with music playing; I find myself unable to relax and drift to sleep. And I don't like it when people play their radios or T.V.s loudly; the sound becomes overwhelming.
*Certain smells are very overpowering.
I sneeze like crazy when someone puts on a ton of perfume or uses air freshener heavily. I feel a bit nauseous after being in a Bath & Body Works, Yankee Candle Shop, or any perfume store for a prolonged period of time. The smell of fresh asphalt, burning brakes, wet dogs, or bacon easily gives me a headache. And, usually, if I'm in a group, I'll be the first person to detect a smell. On the other hand, "earthy" smells that many people dislike are quite pleasant to me.
*I'm incredibly intuitive.
Often, I can figure out what someone is going to say next in a conversation or I can figure out how someone is going to react in a given situation. And if I'm given enough time to familiarize myself with a certain environment, I can easily spot patterns and ways in which things are arranged.
*I seem to be a "conductor" of others emotions.
My mood seems largely affected by the moods of those around me. For example, if I'm surrounded by folks who are stressing out about something, then I start to feel stressed out, too...and it can get to the point that I feel incredibly overwhelmed, and wish for everyone else to calm down.
*I can't stay inside for too long.
On days in which I've been inside for a long time, I start to feel anxious and my judgment becomes cloudy, and sometimes, I feel a tad headachy. I find that these "symptoms" seem more drastic when I'm in windowless rooms as opposed to rooms with windows.
*I have problems with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
I definitely find myself becoming depressed during the winter months, and I know it's not due to the cold or snow. (I like both of those things!--Thank goodness I don't seem to have SAD during the summer...The heat makes me cranky as it is.)
*I dread performing tasks when I'm being observed.
I become incredibly nervous when someone is actively watching me do something, regardless if it's something I do well or not. In these instances, if I must do whatever I doing (and I'm not allowed to stop whatever I'm doing until I'm no longer being watched), I tend to do whatever I do poorly.
*I can't stand having a lot going on at once.
I'm not one of those people who thrives on stress or drama, and I rather take my time doing something, or else I'll be incredibly unpleased with the end result (irregardless of any praise I may receive). I find that I seem to need more time to rest than other folks after doing something physically and/or emotionally taxing.
*I need a lot of time to myself.
If I'm around people constantly, I feel drained. For that matter, I often times feel more alone when I'm in a group than when I'm by myself.
*I have a great appreciation for the arts.
Even though I'm pursing a profession in science, I greatly enjoy the arts. I love going to art museums and spending hours in them. I also like going to plays. Whenever I'm listing to music with complex arrangements, I enjoy "dissecting" the different layers of the compositions and listening for particular harmonies or instruments. (I've never understood my friends who say that classical music puts them to sleep--and not in a negative way, either. I'm way too busy listening to all of the different parts of the music to fall asleep! :D ) I like listening to music that has meaningful lyrics, not necessarily to music that is "catchy" or "fun."
*I am conscientious.
I don't like to jump into things without mulling them over first. I try to be careful for the most part. Though, most of all, I'm very thorough.
Even though the concept and existence of HSPs are still being contested, it bothers me how there are folks who see traits that are associated with HSPs as being problematic, psychopathological, and something in need of eradication or treatment. (And on a semi-related subject, it bothers me how introverts are seen as being flawed by the general public.) I get tired of people thinking how everyone should fit a certain mold...no wonder why folks with these symptoms are prone to depression and anxiety!