Sensory Processing Sensitivity — What it Is – and What it Isn’t
Sensory Processing Sensitivity (HSP) it is not a syndrome; it is not a disorder; it is not a diagnosis —- Just as having blue or brown eyes is not a syndrome, disorder or diagnosis. It is also NOT Sensory Processing (Integration) Disorder; it is not Hyperacusis; it is not Soft Sound Sensitivity; it is not on the Autism Spectrum. Sensory Processing Sensitivity is a genetic, innate and neutral trait that can be greatly affected by environmental stimuli — both positive and negative. And yes, it’s true — the more negative the environment, the more likely an HSP might suffer from depression or anxiety. However, the HSP trait in and of itself does not cause depression or anxiety .
One of the major things HSPs must do besides get extremely grounded and knowledgeable about the HSP trait is : Heal from Past Wounds !! For most of us, this took therapy to do properly … It was when my childhood wounds were healed that my HSP Self blossomed, soared and found delight in being sensitive. It was when I learned to set strong boundaries that I began to honor my true sensitive gifts. It was when I learned to “Be in this World, but Not Of It” that I knew what “thriving” was. (Romans 12:2)
It is also worth knowing that the ONLY four things ALL HSPs have in common is : D.O.E.S. 1) Depth of Processing; 2) Overstimulation; 3) Emotional Intensity; 4) Sensory Sensitivity. (This is from Elaine Aron’s book: Psychotherapy and the HSP) The ways in which these four things manifest for each individual is incredible varied – and usually depends much upon one’s family of origin (or culture) and the degree to which one’s sensitivity was accepted, understood, managed or ridiculed.
Is being a Highly Sensitive Person easy? No, definitely not. But truly, Life Is Difficult for most everyone at one time or another. There is a way to be happy and authentic as an HSP … It takes work, support, knowledge, trial and error, to create your own unique HSP Owners Manual. I believe it takes work, support and knowledge for the non-HSP to be happy and authentic as well.
With you on the journey, and with love, js