What is hsp? And who am I if I am a highly sensitive person? The term “highly sensitive person” does not fully explain these “traits of character”.   Since I can remember I have always felt like an “alien”, especially when I was part of a group. When the others discussed enthusiastically which party /disco to go to I only felt the urge to hide in my bed on such a Friday night.  If they somehow persuaded me to “come out of my cave” and go to that party there was no one happier than me when we finally sat in the bus home. Even in a crowded café I found it stressful to listen to my friend because the common noise distracted my attention. After seminars at the university my only urge was to jump in some swimming pool or to take a walk. It really got on my nerves whan my friends were still discussing something and didn’t even know where we would have cup of  coffee.  Except for the swimming pool and the shelter of my bed there seemed to be no place else where I could feel at ease. Had I at some point engaged in a deep conversation with someone our words and the feelings I had still echoed in my body long after the actual meeting. If I mentioned our talk to the other person later I realized that it didn’t have the same importance for him as it did for me. The same applied to friendships where I found the other person to be a “friendship priority” whereas s/he saw our friendship only as “an option among many friendships”.

It was only during my stay in a psychosomatic clinic that I met fellow pations who also needed a lot of “alone time”. One of them mentioned to me that my “weird behaviour” could be the consequence of being a hsp. I found out that I was neither antisocial nor depressed when I felt the urge to be alone. Sometimes my urge to be alone kind of isolated me and lead to a depression. Now I know that I just need more time to “process information” because my brain doesn’t seem to filter any information beforehand. Scientist estimate that 20 % of the world’s population is hsp.

When I took part in a seminar on HSP it  was the first time that I didn’t feel as a complete alien in a group. Instead I felt like I was coming home, like there had been a hidden island with more “aliens” like myself. Here, nobody wondered why I didn’t eat dinner with everybody after the seminar. Even when I took a nap under the blankets during a short break nobody was astonished. For the first time in my life I felt like I was actually “blending” instead of raising conflicts. And I was very happy to have found out that I wasn’t acting weird. Among its many disadvantages (high stresslevel, need to be alone at least once a day, less social participation) I can also see the benefits of being hsp.

I quickly sense the feelings of others and can act according to these “insights”. I have chosen a profession where I thereby can support pupils emotionally and intellectiually. I have accepted my strong phantasy as a gift. Hence I have written the healing fairy tale “Fulna” and my autobiographical healing novel RENATE-or the Journey to the Centre of the Self.

And meeting the other HSP it was a relief for me to understand that I am not “crazy” but that I just need other circumstances because my brain processes information differently. I am very grateful that I know now “what is happening inside of me” and I encourage everybody to check if s/he might be an hsp. After this is being “reconfirmed” changes are possible. I also hope that a certain kind of training enables me to “stay more inside of myself”. Greetings and good luck on your journey!

Renate Weber

Written by Renate Weber