Highly sensitive

Reading about Misophonia and experiences of other people made me realize that I’m not alone in my “refined” sensitivity. There are many of us, actually, there are majority of us, it seems, being highly sensitive.

You’ll forgive me for using two terms here, oversensitive and highly sensitive. I find myself in both of those but then again, I’m not exactly everything that comes with those terms, like anyone else isn’t for sure.

How do others look at this?

When people in my real life aren’t involved in a scene or a story that I found too sad, they call me highly sensitive. If I watch the news for example, and there is a story about some poor people somewhere, I’ll probably cry. I will imagine how it is for them to live in that conditions? What do they have to eat? If someone went through an accident, or being sick or something I’ll think about them, how is it for them to live like that every day? How does their family cope with it? and so on. You know about “Pocahontas” cartoon? Yes, the cartoon! I cried on that too.

I would immediately dive deep into the lives of almost any person in need and empathize with them. The thing is, I imagine their lives and struggles in my own way, with my own feelings and emotions.  Even if those people say they’re ok, I wouldn’t believe them, they’re just playing strong. 

The truth is that, people are strong and they cope with what has been given to them. Just as I do. But knowing this truth can’t help me and protect me from feeling those feelings of strong empathy. I really do know that everything will be ok but that wont stop me crying at the moments when I’m introduced to their story.

I’m also perfectly capable to be perfectly rational while I’m having those moments of empathy. The rational part of me is waiting for crying to be done and those feelings come back to normal.

When people are involved in my real life, meaning that they’re my family and friends and people who spent a fair amount of time with me and went trough lots of  my emotional roller coasters, they call me oversensitive. Can you see the difference between the highly and over sensitive?

People in general need some time to adjust seeing me cry and overreact on some scenes and “normal” things.

There was a period in my life when you weren’t allowed to call me oversensitive. I would immediately got so mad and angry: “What? I’m not oversensitive! Do you have any idea what I’m coping with?  How it is for me? How strong I am?” etc. etc. It was, let’s say, interesting growing up being so sensitive to everything. There was also a period in my life when I thought that everyone must feel the same way.

This isn’t just about emotions. Every one of my senses are pronounced somehow.

I don’t try food I make f.e, I just lean my head over the pot or next to the oven (don’t even have to do that), smell it and know if it’s salty enough or it needs some pepper or other spice,  I smell if it’s over cooked, overdone etc. If I’m in the other room I’ll smell that my bread is done.

My skin is super sensitive. I don’t wear makeup. I shower with baby shower gel and not just any kind. I don’t use any lotions or cremes. I use home made ointments. I get bruises very easily. For the most part I don’t know when and how they appear, I just see them.  

My body detects every single small bump when laying on a bed. I surely can survive (not easily but..) sleeping on an uncomfortable bed one night, but the second night it would be a torture. Sleeping in hotels can be good or bad, depend on the quality of the bed there. Add Misophonia here and it’s clear enough that I don’t sleep very well.

I’ve been wearing contacts for the past 17 years. My eyes are now extremely sensitive to every temperature change, to looking at monitor all day long, to mascara f.e… My tear film is damaged so my eyes are dry and I usually wake up with the red eyes that can’t be easily opened. My peripheral vision is very developed. I notice some small things that are often overlooked by others.

For the most part, it was a burdain to carry around, but over the years I learned how to deal with it. I learned to see my pronounced emotions as a gift, not as a burdain. I am capable to share your feelings if I’m around you and you’re sad or nervous. I do understand you and I do feel for you, with a certain honesty you can’t get from the other “normal” people. You can be completely yourself when around me.

Ok… I could go on and on about every aspect of being highly sensitive person, but I can’t do that in just one post. I decided to write about my sensitivity here because it’s overlapping with Misophonia.

Author Description

I love photography and learning about it. I'll try and fail that's for sure, but sometimes, I hope, I'll do good. As for the Misophonia part of the blog, I'll write honestly about my experiences and feelings, trying to help myself and others who feel the same way as I do and maybe to raise some awareness about this condition. All written here is just and only my opinion.

6 Responses to “Highly sensitive”

  1. Alex March 4, 2014 - Reply

    Re. waking with very dry eyes….I have that too, and use “Viscotears”, artificial tear gel, which helps a lot. Im in the UK so not sure if it’s the same for you.
    Very interesting article….thanks!
    Alex in Scotland

    • mmaria March 4, 2014 - Reply

      Glad someone understand! I use an artificial gel too, artificial tears don’t help. I’m always in a search for better because every product I tried doesn’t bring me relief for free, I have experienced the side effects also, it burns, it hurts…
      Thank you for commenting and suggesting “Viscotears” Alex, I’ll be searching for it!

  2. Sue Henderson March 4, 2014 - Reply

    It’s interesting to hear of your sensitivities to things other than noise. I certainly have that same thing. I remember as a child telling my mother there was a piece of overcooked carrot in her casserole dish and it turned out there was one just under the lid that had dried out and scorched a little from not being in the stew.

    I also have great empathy, to the extent that I don’t just feel what other people do and can put it into words before they can, but that I feel what animals of other species feel. Maybe it’s one of the reasons why I’m vegan. I can feel things like the terror of the calf being dragged from his mother at a few hours or days old and I can feel the love and the fear and the grief of the mother having her calf taken from her.

    I have very strong peripheral vision too and can be easily distracted both by certain movements and, when in conversation with someone amidst other people, by other conversations going on. I find both very stressful.

    Rather than calling my condition misophonia I’ve started referring to it as hypersensitivity as I feel that’s more accurate. Now all we need is a treatment.

    Thank you for your insightful article.

    • mmaria March 4, 2014 - Reply

      then you know everything I’m talking about.
      One post is not enough to explain and write everything we experience on a regular basis.
      I do feel though, that my Miso is a totally separate part of me. Yes, Misophonia is an enhanced sensitivity but not in a way I experience other “highly sensitive” feelings. F.e. Misophonia’s visual stimuli is noticed/seen by the peripheral vision. My reaction on that stimuli is purely Miso reaction, I’m angry when seeing someone do repetitive movements or eats, with my peripheral vision. But when I notice/see other things/movements or details that don’t bother me, I’m still seeing them because of my developed peripheral vision but I just don’t have that specific angry reaction on them.
      I hope you’ll understand what I was trying to explain.

  3. Chandra April 11, 2014 - Reply

    Wow, this is me as well! I have recently found the Misophonia connection in my life. I’ll be turning 43 shortly. It’s been a very long haul of beating myself up for being a rotten person (what I tell myself) because I can’t tolerate many everyday ordinary things. I consider myself to be hypersensitive too.

    I have a problem getting images of hurt or injured people, and animals especially, out of my mind after seeing a photo/video. I can no longer read news stories of animals found lost or hurt. I have a rolling movie in my head of images that won’t go away from pictures I’ve accidentally run into on TV or on Facebook. I try desperately to avoid these.

    I feel that I am overly empathetic. When speaking with someone who is feeling sad or another negative feeling, I seem to take on their pain to a deeper level than I should. I worry about them for days, weeks after speaking with them only to find out their situation has changed and they have recovered long ago. I feel like a sponge that absorbs emotions and energy from those around me. It is exhausting. I have learned that I need to separate myself before I feel depleted. I do wonder if this whole Miso thing could be related to the increase in sensitivities in other emotional areas too!

    Thank you for your blog. You write exactly what I am feeling!

    • mmaria April 14, 2014 - Reply

      you also explained our “situation” very well.
      It seems to me that the most of “us” really think bad about themselves and by the time we grow up and start to get some information about sensitivity, and start to look at things a bit differently we actually did some harm to ourselves.
      Until few months ago I looked for, intentionally, bad news in newspapers to read them first, but now, I’m avoiding these. I just simply can take it anymore. I don’t watch the news, don’t read newspaper and pretty much I’ll choose not to watch any movie if it’s sad.
      And also… I was drawn to unhappy people. Partially because I was unhappy too and partially because I wanted to help them. I don’t know if this is the same for everyone or that it has some connection but I was always helping others first. I thought “I’ll be fine. They need help first.”
      I spent a large portion of time and effort to change that code in me.
      I really appreciate what you said about my blog. Thank you! Hope to see you around!

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