I think I’ve been sensitive from precisely the nanosecond I was conceived. And according to some psychologists, that’s because it’s embedded in my DNA.
As a child, I remember being perpetually terrified. I was always biting my lip or sucking my thumb. I remember crying my eyes out on the doorstep of my kindergarten class, and my teacher insisting that she wouldn’t let me out for recess until I stopped.
I didn’t eat recess that day.
The Out Loud team take the quiz that will tell you whether or not you are a highly sensitive person:
If you think about it, life is pretty intense. There are lots of people and noises and smells. Every single person experiences a complex web of thoughts and feelings that I have no chance of fully understanding. Life, in short, is complete chaos.
For anyone who has ever been told they are “too sensitive” or “shy” – you are not alone.
You might just be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) . Yep – it has capital letters because it’s absolutely a real thing.
The terms HSP or SPS (sensory processing sensitivity) were coined in the mid 1990s, and refer to "hypersensitivity to external stimuli" due to the nature of their central nervous system. It is also characterised by particuarly high emotion and a greater depth of cognitive processing. Some psychologists predict that 15-20 per cent of the population process data with heightened sensitivity.
To be clear, HSP or SPS is not considered a disorder, but rather a personality trait that has both positive and negative outcomes. Here are some of the features;