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Anxiety Support
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Highly sensitive people (HSP)

Hi All. I suffer from anxiety, social anxiety and panic attacks which have come to a head recently due to work stress/loss of my Dad and have read recently about highly sensitive people and am sure I am one as I tick nearly all the boxes on the checklists for them. Anyone else heard of these or think they are one? Do they exist or is it just another label?

Just to give you an idea about some of the characteristics. I am incredibly sensitive to light and sounds, I get very stressed very easily, I hate loud/busy places, I feel other peoples emotions and put myself through what they are going through (good/bad). Lots of other traits too. Your comments would be very welcome.

6 Replies

Yes they certainly do exist ......another way of describing it is highly introverted people, and I can completely empathise having realised after many years of struggling to fit into a world of mainly extroverts.

Struggling with anxiety is really the norm for the super sensitive ..........as you say even light and sound are difficult.

I did some food shopping this morning and the people who fill the fruit and veg section use green plastic crates which they fold up when they have put the produce on the shelves. That's fine except that the boxes are collapsed with such a loud crack as each of the 4 sides is collapsed in turn. Nobody else seems to notice but to me it sounds so loud that I wince painfully each time. I always think .......couldn't you do it quietly, it actually hurts my ears, but of course they don't even register the sound as being loud or intrusive.

You may find that you need plenty of time alone to 'recharge' and that is really important for the super sensitive.

The tricky bit is not giving in to the impulse to cut yourself off, that would be all too easy to do and we need to push ourselves to get out and keep in contact with others which is never easy but important for mental wellbeing.

Certainly feeling other people's emotions is characteristic .........it's something that need to be controlled or you can end up swamped by the pain and suffering in the world taking it all on board, but I have found that with the years comes the ability to distance yourself. I also find cruelty so difficult to deal with .......children and animals in particular come to mind.

Anyway an interesting subject and a bit of a revelation when I first read about it and realised that I was reading about myself and I wasn't so weird after all ........there were other people who were just the same. It's not just a label.

Take Care PL

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Hi, I totally agree with your comments. I am sensitive to noise, I dislike busy, shopping malls, buses etc. I don't like loud people, it grates on my nerves, and usually after a noisy night out I find it difficult to switch and consequently my sleep is disturbed.

I find a day of rest and spending it alone is sufficient to re-charge my batteries.

As for other people's emotions, I have found, maybe with age, to switch off, and distance myself from other people's pain unless it is my immediate family.

Take care x


I am highly sensitive to lots of things. For example if someone sneezes I jump. I don't light bright light but scared of the dark. I become so sensitive that I cannot watch the news or listen to people talking because I feel their pain or anguish. On a good day it does mean you are in tune with all around you and with nature. If my children were feeling off or had a bad day I knew and could tell without them saying. The same with animals. When out walking you can hear and feel closer to nature. I only problem is being too sensitive means you are more tearful and people in business and around cannot always deal with it. Its sad really because we then have medicate to fit in with the norm but may be we are the norm and should be thankful for this 6th sense.

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It is a little bit like having a sixth sense in a way. It's like when the internet started and you had the old dial up connection and then broad band came in and everything was happening much faster and better.

When you are a highly sensitive person it's like you have a broad band connection to the world but it is overwhelming at times and can drain you.

There is a difference though between being 'sensitised' and 'highly sensitive'. Being highly sensitive means that you are like that all the time, right from when you were first born, as a baby you would have been extra sensitive to light, changes in your diet, the way you were handled by the adults around you etc. You would be seen as a 'highly strung' child and you would probably have a great affinity with animals and love things to do with nature rather than playing games with other children and you might find it hard to make friends.

Struggling with anxiety can make you 'sensitised' and react much more to things around you than when you are not anxious ......everything is much more of a big deal that when you are feeling well.

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How fascinating! I still get a shock when another person describes how I feel. That's something I am going to have to accept and let it sink in that it's not just me.xxxxxxxxxxxxx


This is me. I get so emotional/ sensitive if I hear sad stories much more than I know I should. Sounds daft but I used to cry as a child if I saw a person with a disability as I felt sorry for them. I hate eating or drinking in busy restraunts, hate sudden loud noises, extra confident people I shy away from, florecent lights in supermarket is hard for me I feel like I cannot see.


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