Understanding myself being High Sensitive.
I had quite some trouble writing this. Mostly because I find it very hard to describe how it works for me. Second, since English is not my native language but I want to write everything normally, it takes a little more time. Pleas feel free to give me some feedback! I really appreciate it.
What is High sensitivity?
I remember reading something about high sensitivity 2 years ago in a newspaper when I was in my academic period. I felt very attracted by this topic because it was like the writer described me and the way I always felt. I started looking online for more info and guess what?
Things kind of started to make sense …
But being busy at that time, I forgot to do more research. While the rest of my life was moving on and I was finishing my thesis, I felt like I drowned in my emotions. And I realized I just really had to work on this part of me, in order to live a normal and relaxt life. Because not only in stressful situations like writing a thesis, but also while watching movies, playing games, having conversations or hearing loud noises. All of this made me feel like I was about to cry, breakdown, or hide myself underneath my blankets.
4 weeks ago. I had a conversation with someone at work. This lady is specialized in occupational health.
She asked after having a conversation for a while: “But Kim, don’t you think you are a high-sensitive person?”. And all I could think about was. “Ah that’s the thing I wanted to figure out!” But before saying it out loud, we talked about what makes a person HSP and I did a test.
Of course I got the highscore, it was not a surprise. And this is where the snowball started rolling. And I found myself spending hours , reading about it. All I did was shaking my head and feeling like I finally found the reason why I feel stressed, tired and grumpy (most of the time). But without sounding so negative … it also gives you a lot of good stuff but I will talk about that later on.
I am lucky to follow a course about HSP at the moment, my team manager allowed me to. And I finally feel like I’m understanding my personality and allergy to loud noises, intense smells, and feeling overwhelmed by someone else energy more. Also my love for perfume finally has some kind of logic. Because I always wondered why I am so intrigued by scents and smell in general.
What is a HSP?
I found a very helpful article from the UK telegraph. I will quote some parts because it is explained so well, I cannot do it better in my own words.
Rather than just being a personality type, like being shy or outgoing, being a HSP is defined as having a hypersensitive nervous system. As well as being easily overwhelmed by emotional things (they tend to have incredible empathy and get upset very easily), HSPs also have a Princess and The Pea-like sensitivity to physical things like lights, sounds, temperatures and even scratchy labels or certain fabrics.
All the above is definitely true. But I will try to explain how it feels for me. Because being a HSP is different for everyone.
(I need quite a lot of alone time)
- I get very nervous when I feel someone is looking at me with a certain kind of face.
- I cannot stand anything loud, busy, or stressful.
- My mood is influenced by scents.
- When the light in a room is to bright / white I feel like I want to live under a rock.
- I cannot stand hot weather.
- Textures can creep my out. For example, a terracotta flower pot … or the sound of a marker on a whiteboard.
- When I’m a large group of people, I feel exhausted afterwards and need time for myself.
- Art or music can make me cry very easily.
- So do very sad movies, or anything that has to do with animal abusement.
- Sometimes I feel like my skin hurts, (when I feel very stressed).
- I’d like to do one thing at a time.
- I cannot be in a messy or dirty room.
- I take things a lot more serious.
- When someone is hurt, I feel their pain.
The good part about being HSP.
Of course, every cloud has a silver lining. Being HSP has also brought me a lot of good stuff in life. You guys know I love bullet points so here is another list.
- I can easily see if someone is feeling well or not. I feel some kind of energy / aura around them.
- I have a good nose, and taste.
- I really appreciate nature and arts. Everything feels more intense.
- I can communicate very easily with people, because I feel what I can say and cannot.
- I am a very helpful person.
- I see more details. So the world is a little more interesting.
- I know what I like and what I don’t like. I have a strong opinion because of the feeling in my guts that tell me what is ok.
- Most people feel at ease around me.
- I can totally lose myself in writing, paining, creating ….
HSP and Fragrance lovers
InStyle magazine posted a very insightful article. I will quite a part of it below. You can read the full article here: click
It turns out our radically different perceptions of scent weren’t all that unusual. “We all exist on a sensory spectrum,” says Dr. Ted Zeff, author of The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide “About 20 percent of the population has a very sensitive nervous system. These are the people who feel things more deeply, and that often includes scent. In my research I found many of them struggle with synthetic fragrances.” Natural essential oils are often easier to take in and process, he says. And many have beneficial effects: “Consider something like lavender. If you are an HSP [highly sensitive person] and you inhale that, it can calm you down. It’s the same with chamomile and rose. These oils all reduce stress.”
Dr. Zeff says that whenever he—a self-diagnosed HSP—sits next to someone wearing a synthetic perfume on an airplane, he gets a headache. It should be noted that there are a variety of other reasons—including allergies and asthma—someone might become highly reactive to perfume. But in many cases, Dr. Zeff believes, it can simply be chalked up to an overactive sensory system. Sometimes the fragrance doesn’t have to be particularly strong or even unnatural to elicit a nasty reaction. “I once had a fragrance that I loved,” explained a colleague of mine. “But then someone I disliked asked me what it was and started to wear it every day. Now I can’t even smell that fragrance without getting in a bad mood.” To an average person, this story might sound a little crazy. But as Dr. Zeff notes, highly sensitive people feel everything more intensely, and that often includes not just the aroma of the scent but the emotions generated by it.
Like Dr.Zeff says in the part above this, perfume is not only aroma but also generated by emotions for me. A scent that contains a lot of animalic notes, makes me feel very sick and stressful from the inside. For example: Amouage Myths I recently reviewed.
How I use HSP to review scents and choose what to buy and what not.
Most of the time, when I make decisions I try to use my gut-feeling. But with fragrance it’s a little difference. When I sample a perfume and wear it for a day, I try to really connect to myself and find out what it does to me. This is helpful because I now know that there are a few notes I just really cannot stand and make me feel negative. The effect a perfume has on myself makes me want to buy it or not. I have a few fragrances that really make me feel positive and happy. But I also have some very dark ones, that take me to a place in my mind I don’t want to be. *I still appreciate these scents*.
Also, I really think being HSP helps me to recognize notes more and separate them from each other while reviewing. Many scents also have memories for me. I immediately think about a situation in my life when someone walks by me and wears Sun by Jil Sander. This reaction goes so fast, I don’t even have to think about it.
Using my nose, has become a savior for me. It goes so naturally that I just think it’s my super power. Like some people can really taste well, or listen very good. It’s my quality.
Using qualities als a HSP.
One of the things I learned during my course, is that we should focus on our qualities as a HSP. We all have them, and it’s only a matter of time to find out which ones that are yours. I just know, that I’m a good smeller.
And that’s something to put on my CV and to be proud of.
Thank you for reading.