I’m reposting this older article to help people.
Dr. Elaine Aron’s research in the 1990s found that 15-20% of the population have nervous systems which function slightly differently from the rest.
Such individuals notice subtleties: in the environment, differences and relationships between people and/or objects. Dr Aron named this trait ‘Highly Sensitive Person’.
Some features are:
• People’s moods and the ‘atmosphere’ in a room affect you
• You need time alone to process your experiences
• You have a rich inner life with a vivid imagination
• It is hard to function when you are very hungry or tired
Do any of these sound familiar?
In the West, being Highly Sensitive means you are in a minority and minorities can experience misunderstanding. The fashion at present is to be assertive; work long hours; keep going no matter what; be extrovert. Not the opposite.
So if we grow up in the West, is it any wonder that our Highly Sensitive trait becomes a source of shame and disappointment? Such a sense of isolation can lead to thinking we are ‘not good enough’ and/or feeling depressed.
However, do not think depression is inevitable. Being Highly Sensitive has great benefits:
• You are highly aware of dangers, so can often prevent them.
• Your awareness of ‘atmospheres’ gives you an ability to build bridges between people.
• Your inner life means you spend much time thinking and can devise resourceful solutions.
• Your empathy means you are very good at creating intimacy with others.
I am not suggesting that everyone’s depression is caused by being Highly Sensitive. However, those with this trait comprehend experiences far more profoundly and see the consequences of events far more clearly. Such deep processing can lead to worrying and anxiety: this combined with feeling isolated and ‘not normal’ can produce depression.
However, it IS normal to be Highly Sensitive, because up to 20% of the population is the same.
Look around. Put ‘Highly Sensitive Person’ into a search engine. Notice shy people- are they Highly Sensitive? With some effort could they become good friends? Now I know I am Highly Sensitive I seek out others and am gradually building a network of supportive friends.
Elaine Aron’s site: http://www.hsperson.com/
That was a summary of my article. Read the entire one here: Catherine Chisnall at Wikinut
Buy Elaine’s book from Amazon: