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  1. #1
    Senior Member IndyGhost's Avatar
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    Default HSP's--Highly Sensitive Persons

    I was just flipping through Marie Claire magazine, and in the health section there was an article about HSP's or Highly Sensitive Persons.
    http://www.marieclaire.com/health-fi...nsitive-people

    My whole life, my parents always said I was overly sensitive, and so I was curious... there was even a quiz with the article with 24 true/false questions... and if you answered true to 12 or more, that you should consider yourself amongst this group of people. I answered true to 20, with 2 kinda iffy between the two. http://www.marieclaire.com/health-fi...rsonality-quiz

    It describes highly sensitive people as being sensitive to their environment, overanalyzing situations, and often being closed off as children.

    Honestly, I thought these were just characteristics of me being an introverted feeler.

    So, what do you guys think about highly sensitive persons?
    "I don't know a perfect person.
    I only know flawed people who are still worth loving."
    -John Green

  2. #2
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    I score uber HSP on that test. I said Yes to all the questions except for two of them. I do identify with HSP to some extent but I don't think I'm *that* HSP. The problem is the questionnaire had no "sometimes" option. As a result, any question that applies to me some of the time ended up being answered as Yes.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member IndyGhost's Avatar
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    ^agreed about the quiz.

    i suppose i kind of left the opening of the thread a bit too open.

    there was also a small debate as to whether this should be considered a real illness or not. an illness!?

    i've always considered myself highly sensitive... though less so as i get older... but i never considered this to be an illness, or something that would require me to seek help or medical attention. i just assumed, i was different... and sensitive. end of story.

    The article:
    Elaine Aron, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist based in San Francisco and author of The Highly Sensitive Person, first identified what she calls the "Highly Sensitive Personality" in an academic paper in the early '90s. She spent the next two decades getting her message out. According to Aron, what all HSPs share is an uncommon ability to pick up on subtleties that others might miss — a look, a feeling, a message embedded in a seemingly straightforward statement. "It's like they're wearing an extra pair of glasses," she says.

    HSPs are hardwired differently than the rest of the population. Researchers from Stony Brook University in New York and Southwest University in China have found that people with the trait take longer to make decisions, need more time alone to think, and are generally more conscientious about things like remembering birthdays. Their study, recently published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, also found that HSP subjects undergoing an MRI have greater activity in areas of the brain concerned with high-order visual processing, with participants spending longer examining photographs given to them while they underwent the test, and in general paying closer attention to detail than non-HSPs. What's more, a significant percentage of other species — including dogs, fish, and various primates — also display this sensitivity trait.

    Once upon a time, HSPs might have been written off as shy or even neurotic, but Aron believes these labels are demeaning and inaccurate. Shyness, she says, is a learned response; HSPs are born with a heightened sensitivity meter. She also points out that there are a lot of us (it's estimated that 15 to 20 percent of the population suffers from the condition, a percentage split equally between men and women). The trait shows up early on, with infants and children exhibiting signs — a possible explanation for why some babies tend to cry more than others.

    I should confess that when I first heard about HSP, it reminded me of the first time I learned about ODD (oppositional defiance disorder), which I felt was just another way of saying "bratty child." This time, my thinking went something like, "They're trying to turn those irritating people who force others to walk on eggshells into bona fide victims." What does being an HSP entitle you to? Instant upgrades on airplanes? The corner office? Extra-kind report cards?

    But I kept reading, and the more I read, the more I began to think that the HSP label explained a lot — about me, about my siblings, and about many of my friends. Aron's argument is that there are a lot of us whose feelings get hurt easily, and that this huge sector of the population is mistakenly being written off as weak and thin-skinned. But as with ADD (attention deficit disorder) and even ODD, sooner or later society catches up with science and accepts that these terms are more than a fashionable excuse for being difficult or neurotic. Though not currently classified as a disorder, HSP will, I suspect, soon become a part of the psychological lexicon.

    Still, not everyone is buying. My personal physician, Dr. Martin Scurr, whose busy medical and psychological practice in London is filled with self-identified HSPs, is opposed to the new label. "It takes all sorts," he says. "Why should we have to label everyone who doesn't fit like clones into the mainstream? How do we define 'abnormality' or 'disorder' anyway? How many new words can we come up with for good old anxiety?"

    Certainly anxiety is a big component of the HSP's experience. According to experts, HSPs suffer from what is called sensory-processing sensitivity and are more susceptible than ordinary people to both internal and external stimuli. "They have an innate tendency to process things more carefully," says Aron, who has devised a test to gauge where one falls on the sensitivity continuum (see her quiz on p. 228). "They tend to be aware of subtleties and are therefore easily overwhelmed by their feelings." An HSP doesn't just cry while watching a film like The Notebook — she experiences actual grief symptoms. She also reacts strongly to things such as noise and light, and is particularly sensitive to stimulants such as coffee. Typically an HSP demonstrates greater caution and reluctance than the non-HSP population with things such as taking risks, trying new experiences
    , meeting new people, even venturing to unfamiliar places. Then there is the other extreme — roughly 30 percent of HSPs are thought to be extroverts and sensation seekers.

    Ted Zeff, Ph.D., an HSP expert based in California and author of the recently published The Strong, Sensitive Boy, says the trait was previously linked with leadership. "Wild animals with HSP picked up the energy around them and headed for the hills, becoming the leaders of the pack. It's just in America where sensitivity is not valued and where we think of it as a weakness," he says.

    Though HSPs are often intuitive and conscientious, the trait can come at a cost. Jill Capobianco, an art dealer living outside New York, recalls that when she was as young as 3, "I had trouble sleeping because I was always thinking about things. And because I was so sensitive to hurt, I closed off easily." As a result, her childhood was a lonely one. "I was never one of the gang," she says. Today, she acknowledges, her "brain is always looking for rejection." And, because she fears being "herself," relationships have proved difficult.

    To protect themselves, HSPs often withdraw or attack. According to Aron, they have six main methods of self-protection: minimizing, blaming, overachieving, inflating, projecting, and choosing not to compete. All of these behaviors are defensive in nature and tend to exacerbate the condition further, as they often lead to an HSP's getting wounded twice — first when she feels the pain of a perceived slight (prompting her defensive response), and again when the other person responds aggressively to that reaction. "HSPs should carry a warning card," says Capobianco.

    But HSPs are not just people who get their feelings hurt easily. Part of the condition is having a complex inner life and an active imagination. Viktor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning, found that during the Holocaust, sensitive people tended to fare better than their outwardly tougher counterparts. He writes, "Sensitive people ... may have suffered much pain (they were often of a delicate constitution) — but the damage to the inner self was less. How else to explain the paradox that prisoners of less hardy makeup were often able to survive life in the camps, whereas those of a more robust nature were not?" Given this, it's not surprising that HSPs tend to be creatively gifted, and that a large percentage have become famous because of their particular talents (many HSPs consider creative types as diverse as Michael Jackson, Johnny Depp, and Winona Ryder to be one of their kind). And given how beautifully they describe the pain that comes with feeling so intensely, both Marcel Proust and Virginia Woolf were almost certainly HSPs.

    But the message that Aron is intent on sending to all HSPs is to "stop trying to pretend you're not an HSP." At times, of course, pretending not to feel so much may be necessary. But by being selective with our surroundings, minimizing stress, managing our nervous systems through things like yoga and exercise, and by carefully choosing whom we spend time with, HSPs can play to their strengths. Cognitive behavioral therapy (where you challenge your negative thoughts with logic), as well as antidepressants, can also help. What's more, when an incident occurs that you find hurtful, Aron suggests clearing the air by sharing your reaction.

    Fifty thousand years ago, an HSP would have been happily cocooned in her comfortably appointed cave (from which she ventured only when the coast was clear). Contemporary life, however, is all about being forced out of our caves, which means exposure to the elements. As a psychotherapist friend remarked to me recently, "Once upon a time, HSPs would have been the safest people on the planet, and now they have to see someone like me to deal with modern society."
    "I don't know a perfect person.
    I only know flawed people who are still worth loving."
    -John Green

  4. #4
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    I dunno. I relate to the quiz questions, probably almost all of them, actually, but I kinda feel like anyone who's claiming it's a disorder needs to toughen up a little. Maybe I am not an HSP.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  5. #5
    Starcrossed Seafarer Aquarelle's Avatar
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    Default

    Weird.... The questions and description don't really make it sound like a "disorder" to me... what's wrong with being moved by art and music, or having a rich inner life? It does sound a lot like being an introverted feeler. I identified with about 13 of the questions, so I guess I could be borderline HSP. Interesting article.
    Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member IndyGhost's Avatar
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    ^i don't think there's anything wrong with it. it just sounds like Fi's normal life to me... and i don't think Fi should be considered an illness. haha.
    "I don't know a perfect person.
    I only know flawed people who are still worth loving."
    -John Green

  7. #7
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I fit into it fairly well (not everything but the majority) although I'm not anywhere near a feeler in most ways. I think labelling it a "disorder" or as a problem is pretty silly, though.

    Though, the bad aspects of it might be related (at least in my case) to things like social anxiety. Certainly some of it describes introversion and a bit of intuition. I don't really see any specific trait saying Fi although it does seem the stereotype of an IxFP for some reason. Maybe just the overall idea that Fi doms are often very sensitive, I guess.


    edit:

    Are You Highly Sensitive? A Self-Test

    Copyright, Elaine N. Aron, 1996

    • I am easily overwhelmed by strong sensory input. Strong

    • I seem to be aware of subtleties in my environment. Sometimes

    • Other people’s moods affect me. Strong

    • I tend to be very sensitive to pain. Strong to moderate (I think, but it's subjective)

    • I find myself needing to withdraw during busy days, into bed or into a darkened room or any place where I can have some privacy and relief from stimulation. Very Strong

    • I am particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine. Strong

    • I am easily overwhelmed by things like bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens close by. Strong

    • I have a rich, complex inner life. Weak to none

    • I am made uncomfortable by loud noises. Strong

    • I am deeply moved by the arts or music. Strong (sometimes)

    • My nervous system sometimes feels so frazzled that I just have to go off by myself. Strong

    • I am conscientious. Moderate (some areas)

    • I startle easily. Very strong! lol, I have a reputation for this.

    • I get rattled when I have a lot to do in a short amount of time. Very strong

    • When people are uncomfortable in a physical environment I tend to know what needs to be done to make it more comfortable (like changing the lighting or the seating). Moderate to weak

    • I am annoyed when people try to get me to do too many things at once. Strong

    • I try hard to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things. Well strong, but it doesn't work well sooo

    • I make a point to avoid violent movies and TV shows. Moderate (only the needlessly gory ones and horror movies)

    • I become unpleasantly aroused when a lot is going on around me. Strong

    • Being very hungry creates a strong reaction in me, disrupting my concentration or mood. Very strong - I literally can't think about anything else

    • Changes in my life shake me up. Strong to moderate

    • I notice and enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, works of art. Moderate to weak

    • I find it unpleasant to have a lot going on at once. Strong

    • I make it a high priority to arrange my life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations. Strong to moderate

    • I am bothered by intense stimuli, like loud noises or chaotic scenes. Strong

    • When I must compete or be observed while performing a task, I become so nervous or shaky that I do much worse than I would otherwise. Very strong

    • When I was a child, my parents or teachers seemed to see me as sensitive or shy. Very strong
    -end of thread-

  8. #8
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    This topic has been discussed a couple of times before...

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...ve-people.html

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...n-you-hsp.html

    I see this as related to Dabrowski's theory of Positive Disintegration and what he calls Overexcitability.
    The most evident aspect of developmental potential is overexcitability (OE), a heightened physiological experience of stimuli resulting from increased neuronal sensitivities. The greater the OE, the more intense are the day-to-day experiences of life. Dąbrowski outlined five forms of OE: psychomotor, sensual, imaginational, intellectual and emotional. These overexcitabilities, especially the latter three, often cause a person to experience daily life more intensely and to feel the extremes of the joys and sorrows of life profoundly. Dąbrowski studied human exemplars and found that heightened overexcitability was a key part of their developmental and life experience. These people are steered and driven by their value "rudder", their sense of emotional OE. Combined with imaginational and intellectual OE, these people have a powerful perception of the world.
    It's not a disorder, but it is a trial. He calls it a "tragic gift" (how Fi is that?)

    ETA. I just read the article. I'm not happy about being associated with people who experience "actual grief" when watching The Notebook!
    (Not that kind of grief, anyway)
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    I'm definitely HSP but I have the most problems with sensory overload. Sounds that other people don't even notice make me feel like I'm being tortured, the lights are too bright and the wrong color, rough seams or textures on fabric hurt, etc etc.

  10. #10
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    I get a 12 but don't think this is a disorder.

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