My mom called me her “flapper” when I was a baby. Whenever I got excited, I would flap my arms, like I was young chick taking off for flight … in front of a hawk. I still do that, to some extent, but I manage to keep the arm movements to a minimum extension.
I am easily excitable, a “highly sensitive person,” as defined by Elaine Aron in her bestseller, “The Highly Sensitive Person.” If you answer yes to most of these questions on her website, you’re probably in the club, which holds 15 to 20 percent of human beings:
- Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
- Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
- Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
- Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
- Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
- Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
- Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
- When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?
This is not a terrible curse.
I learned about Aron’s book a little over a year ago, and suddenly my life made so much more sense. I only wish other people were aware of why us HSPs get overwhelmed and break down sometimes! Thank you for sharing.