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So yesterday my mind was frantic. I learned that I was an HSP, but I was very skeptical about it, about the theory, about its usefulness in my life. I wrote a new thread on the 4 forum about it to try to elicit some answers, but I still wanted more. I wanted to understand it fully.

I knew there was a book that talks extensively about it (was from the "discoverer" of the temperament), but I was turned off by what seemed like a sappy title "The Highly Sensitivie Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You". Yet, last night...I was craving to understand it, so I started to look at amazon's previews of the book. Turns out it previewed A LOT of the book. I was reading for what seemed like hours. And I was pleasantly surprised at how insightful and smart it sounded.

Granted, there are some very emotional aspects that she brings up looking into your past, looking at how you were nurtured, and how she often warns that if "great feelings" are brought up in you, you should seek professional help. These things...I don't know if they would apply to everyone. I don't understand these points quite fully myself actually. But I relate to her sensitive feelings, I could imagine the author being like an INFP or INFJ from the way she sounds in the book and the things she describes as being "different" about her. She sounds very NF and since I am an NF, I could understand her views.

But anyways, I wanted to explore WHAT symptoms I saw in myself that makes me think I am an HSP.

When I was a child in kindergarten, I remember that my teacher celebrated the student's birthdays by having that student take a needle and pop a balloon. That sound, I couldn't stand. I was easily startled and so everyday when it was someone's birthday, I would plug my ears during the balloon popping time, while all the other kids laughed and clapped. I also began to dread my own birthday from coming up. I didn't want to pop a balloon! I had forgotten about this memory. I never thought it was so important. But in terms of HSP, that seems very relevant!

Also when I was in kindergarten, we would have "movie time" and all the students had the opportunity to bring their favorite shows/movies. I was an avid movie lover by that age and loved many Disney and Don Bluth cartoons, but I found myself really embarrassed if I knew there were any "lovey dovey" moments and I would have to watch it with the class who would all go "ewwwww!" I had made it a habit to always bring Barney vids to class and those were always popular, so I spared myself from that embarrassment. But one day, when the class decided to watch something else, like Fern Gully, I think I cried and told the teacher that I wanted to sit outside. I really hated watching movies with kissing scenes with my classmates. haha. Now I wonder if part of the reason was the screams of "ewwww" that my classmates made which made me so uncomfortable?

When I got older I remember being very depressed when I moved to a new high school and never felt comfortable. Also, during that time I was sharing my room with my younger sister who was going to elementary. My mom, is quite a loud person, and so would yell at my sister to wake up and my sister, also can be loud, would yell back, whine loudly, and sometimes cry (if my mom spanked her with a pillow to wake up). I remember feeling so bad in the mornings. I talked to my aunt and she suggested that it was time for me to have my own room. This worked out better for me. My sister still had temper tantrums throughout the day which made my irritable dad and mom lose their tempers and I would find myself really upset over it. I really over-analyzed it and thought this was just a sign that my family was really messed up and became so depressed. I would end up crying and my parents would shout at me or sometimes when it got really bad, my mom would also start crying because I was so upset...I had to talk to a counselor about it and I found someone so awesome. She taught me ways to relax and cope with their stress, often telling me to find a quieter place to relax in when I need to. She also revealed that my mom would feel so much more "relieved" if I didn't cry when my sister did, which turned my attention away from myself and towards wanting to be healthier for my mom. I learned to suppress some of my initial reactions of wanting to cry or took it out on a stess ball and soon was able to tolerate their yelling much better without me falling to pieces.

Now, looking back on it. I see that as an HSP, I was probably over stimulated by all their yelling. When I first learned about MBTI, I attributed that low time to be because I was an ENFJ with a strong Fe. Then when I learned about enneagram, I attributed that low time to being a sensitive type 4. Now I see it was that, but perhaps more importantly, I was an HSP who is over-stimulated.

It makes sense now to know that there really is a physiological response that I have when I hear yelling or even just someone being demanding (I could pick up the subtle angry tones in their voice and it would just magnify). I thought I was really weak or something because I literally would feel tense all throughout my body, I think my heart would start skipping beats, and I just felt sooo crappy. I would try to rationalize and keep a level-head, think positive thoughts, but I just couldn't! I felt so drained. I felt so defeated and frustrated with myself for being such a flower.

Yet now I know the truth. I know that I have a sensitive nervous system and that I have to take care of myself. Now, I was at first, VERY worried about learning this. Does this mean, I need to lock myself in my room forever to be healthy????!!!! Here is why I am so glad I read some pages from the HSP book. It turns out people are at their best when they aren't overstimulated, nor UNDER-stimulated. Everyone needs to find a balance in between, even HSPs. She warns that if HSPs lock themselves out too much, they can even become MORE sensitive to things. There needs to be a balance and she says that overtime HSPs can learn to desensitize themselves to things that have over-stimulated them in the past. I really think this is true, once I sort of get comfortable and familiarize myself with like a new place/work environment (though it may take a while longer than others), I am fine.

Learning to drive a car was horribly embarrassing for me. I reacted to everything and was so overwhelmed. But nowadays, I'm doing a lot better due to practice and being more familiar with how things look (on the streets, in my mirrors, etc). I am filtering out things that I don't need to pay so much attention to (I literally became transfixed to my speedometer the first time I drove...worried about going too fast or too slow and therefore I was not paying attention to the street! And even worrying about the cars on the opposite side of the center divider!). Now, I realize I don't have to be so hard on myself. HSPs process a lot! More so than others, so they can get more overwhelmed by situations others wouldn't find so overwhelming.

I think for me, I realize I just have to keep exposing myself to such situations and familiarize myself with it, while taking much needed breaks to recharge, and soon I will find the situations more manageable.

I also realize why I am so sensitive to caffeine. I can drink one boba milk tea and have horrible insomnia that night. Or even develop the shakiness (with just one or two cups of tea). And insomnia is actually common among HSPs too who tend to over think at night. So being HSP explains why its harder for me to fall asleep than others or why I often feel I NEED more sleep than others. Several times, when I have the chance to sleep as long as I want, I find that 9 hours of sleep seems to be my ideal! I discovered this last month and was worried that I seemed to need more hours of sleep, but now, knowing I am an HSP, it makes sense. I also tend to have very vivid dreams, which is common in HSPs too.

And my last year with rotations, not being able to sleep well, dealing with demanding preceptors and customers, and changing work environments every 6 weeks (with no break in between), no wonder I started getting depressed, even though I swore to myself that I would NEVER get depressed like how I did back in high school. And it's true, I didn't repeat exactly how I was like in high school, but I was close to.

Yeah, so learning about being an HSP has really opened up my eyes. I didn't think my eyes could open any wider after learning about mbti and enneagram and instinctual variants, but it did! I wonder if now, my knowledge about myself is complete? lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Correction: I am an ISFP. I guess my self-knowledge wasn't so complete.
 

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Double correction: I think I am an INTJ all along.
 
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