I Am a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)
I’m a highly sensitive person. I can experience emotions, smells, and energies that even I can’t describe. Sometimes my sensitive, emotional experiences overwhelm me and I can’t understand them.
I’ve been told many times not to “complicate life so much.” In fact, I’ve heard it so many times that I thought there was something wrong with me. I thought that I was exaggerating, that I was different, that I was making things difficult, and that if I was suffering it was because I was seeking it out. It’s been hard not having anyone I could share this with; I’ve felt so embarrassed and trapped by having to pretend.
Our skin is the barrier that separates our interior from our exterior; it’s our layer of protection. However, HSPs have very porous skin. Our protective layer is very thin, which means external energies can penetrate the barrier very easily.
Hypersensitivity is a breeding ground for many illnesses. We’re not always able to release or process our feelings. When we can’t do that, we start to develop physical symptoms, like skin or digestive problems.
I can also suffer from depression if I don’t channel my emotions well, because not understanding myself implies that I don’t accept myself and I don’t know how to love myself. And in this world, it’s not easy for people like me to be recognized or acknowledged. However, since I discovered that I’m an HSP, since I know that I’m not sick, I’ve been able to relax and feel better about myself.
I’m not afraid of it, but sometimes I have to create a shield for myself or else I won’t be able to survive. Remember, we’re taught not to be sensitive; we’re actually taught to hide our sensitivities. For this reason, there are times that I have to hide myself or seek solitude to feel my emotions fully and to know that I’m still myself in a world that doesn’t understand me.
My brain and my nervous system are connected in such a way that I’m more in tune with my own emotions, with other people, and with the world. When you tell me that you’re suffering, I also suffer intensely. When you tell me how happy you are, I feel that happiness, too.
Being exceptionally emotional is not the only thing that characterizes me. I’m highly sensitive in many aspects; even sounds and smells can be too intense for me. I can feel the energy that floats through the air that many other people don’t perceive.
There’s a false belief about highly sensitive people that I’d like to correct: they say that we’re neurotic, sad, and introverted, but this is false. HSPs aren’t people with problems, they’re just people who are different, and who feel and think intensely, which can sometimes lead to depression and anxiety.
People like me are skilled at putting on masks. We do that because we have no other choice, because it’s very hard to organize our thoughts and feelings in a world that’s not suited to us.
Many people would define me as a happy, smiling, peppy person. However, my interior world, the reality that I live, is very different. Sometimes I drown in my emotions. My surroundings sometimes overwhelm me and my mood gets worse.
Then there are the expectations that people have for you, as well as what you expect of others and what you believe you can give them. You can give 150% to someone, understand them, and feel for them, which may overwhelm you, but you’re there for them and you won’t leave them.When this happens you expect to be reciprocated somehow, to establish a connection with others that leads them to understand you, but this doesn’t happen. This is frustrating and disheartening.
Sometimes, when a thought or emotion crosses me that surprises others, I feel a little discriminated against. Feeling like others don’t understand or accept your emotions is very hard. There is a huge lack of empathy in this world.
In the face of adversity, I’ve felt small, weak, and vulnerable. But now that I know that I’m an HSP I want to reclaim my place in the world and improve myself.
There are times when I don’t feel like I can handle the anxiety that I feel. I have suffered through life more than I have enjoyed it. But I’ve realized that it’s a privilege, and I’ve decided that rather than feeling like a stranger in my own body, I should be happy. Through my weakness, I’ve gotten stronger.
They say that HSPs are peaceful people, that we want to live calmly and that we believe in the good in people. I can now feel proud of this gift that I have. I’m an HSP, and maybe you are, too. Don’t be afraid of it.
This is my reality, and it might also be yours. If you feel like a weirdo, like you don’t fit in, like you’re small in an enormous world, maybe this is the message you needed to hear to really start valuing yourself. We can’t change our past, but it’s always possible to write a new ending for ourselves.
Main image courtesy of Shadesofeleven