Why High Sensitivity Is Not A Disease, But A Strength. Life on a merry-go-round, without a stop button: this is what high sensitivity can feel like. Everything flies by, you get faster and faster, you can pick up snippets of conversations, the impressions add up, nothing can be properly sorted out, and an inner restlessness spreads.
Highly sensitive is a characteristic. Not a disease, not a symptom, and not an excuse.
Yes, it can be like that, but it doesn’t have to be, because high sensitivity is as individual as every single person who has this characteristic.
Why do I call it a trait? Being highly sensitive is not a disease, a symptom, or an excuse. It is something that distinguishes you from some, but just not from all. Basically, it means: I am like you, only different. And aren’t we all somehow?!
High sensitivity is as individual as every single person who has this characteristic.
I am who I am and I am highly sensitive, but until I got to the point where I accepted and embraced it, some time would pass. And I’m not talking about the point where I knew it, because knowing it explained a lot for me, but only accepting it can really lead to lasting and positive change.
Why High Sensitivity Is Not A Disease, But A Strength
Why am I writing about this now?
I would like to say to all of you who have only felt a little bit like me: It’s not so bad. Dare to live as you are.
And to all those who do not have a merry-go-round in their head and for whom high sensitivity does not play a personal role with regard to their own person, I would like to help them understand why a person who is highly sensitive is the way he or she is.
Every one of us has certainly experienced sensory overload at some point. In today’s multitasking society, this is no big deal. If it all adds up and makes us physically ill, we call it burnout.
It’s sad that we talk so casually about an increasingly serious problem, because overstimulation and the resulting stress can, in the worst case, make us seriously ill over time. Physically, mentally and emotionally.
Always being in the fast lane is so insanely exhausting and not particularly desirable. Where is the pleasure, the relaxation, the joy of the moment when we fly past everything?
But now please imagine that this sensory overload hits you non-stop, every day, without a break. Does that sound exhausting?
Welcome to the life of a highly sensitive person
My point here is not at all to discuss scientifically where high sensitivity comes from, when it was first mentioned, and how it is viewed psychologically.
My point is to explain how it feels to live with a bees’ nest in your head and what that means for you and the society around you.
Now, of course, my bees’ nest is emblematic of the confusion and clutter that is not always easy to sort out and is not meant to denigrate any serious growing disease in the brain, because as I mentioned before, high sensitivity is not a disease in the strict sense.
High sensitivity in childhood
Already in childhood I somehow ticked differently than the other children. Today I can understand that retrospectively, at that time it was just weird.
I often preferred to sit with the adults, played with other children, but always needed a break after a while and also just liked to be alone for myself. I quickly had the feeling of knowing how my counterpart was doing, without even asking, and often a thousand emotions and impressions would come raining down on me without a filter.
It was very easy to relate the bad mood of the person sitting next to you at school to yourself. The fear of doing something wrong, of not being good enough, simply the fear of loss are omnipresent. In my case, the whole thing then manifested itself in the pursuit of academic perfection. To achieve top performance in every respect. For many years I kept this up amazingly well.
But recurring migraine attacks, gastrointestinal problems, and persistent infections slowed me down only partially. Unfortunately, this was never really successful, because thanks to modern medicine I knew how to counteract these complaints with medication and continued as usual.
Performing had become my daily routine. In addition, I also tried to fill my free time with many social activities, because I did not want to be the outsider I was at the beginning of secondary school.
As a young adult, I partied and studied in equal measure and, again, held up surprisingly well. Actually, this can be continued forever. Somehow it always worked out and yet I also somehow knew that I tick differently because I need longer recovery phases and a lot of time for myself to cope with the energy-sapping everyday life.
Being present on umpteen channels is insanely exhausting in the long run, and wasting my energy on something I don’t enjoy is usually out of the question.
High sensitivity as a strength
I no longer try to relate everything to myself and I know that my friends and family also have their own expectations and needs that must be respected.
I eat what is good for me and not what others think should be good for me. I use my sensitivity for my work with people and I am still practicing to listen even more to my belly and not always only to my mind.
And yes, I’m highly sensitive and you know what? I like it.
Alanis Morissette once said: “Being a sensitive empath is a beautiful thing as an artist, and it fosters a deep burning curiosity about why we do the things we do.”
It’s time to start viewing your sensitivity for what it is: your greatest strength.
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