Many people with highly sensitive traits are thought to be depressed and neurotic. However, being a highly sensitive person may or may not preclude any type of mood disorder.
Highly Sensitive People bear certain innate traits that may related to introversion or simply empathetic and highly responsive to stimuli. Not all highly sensitive people are introverted and quiet but they can be affected by people and circumstances. Have you ever felt that someone sucked out all the oxygen in your body and you could not wait for time alone to recover? You might be highly sensitive.
There are numerous psychological theories since this descriptive name was coined by Dr. Elaine Aron in 1996. There are books about Highly Sensitive People and children if you choose to learn more about this topic. Another psychiatrist/author has deemed the empathic characteristics as Self Sacrificing and that those who are affected need to be taught to focus on themselves rather than others.
Stimuli comes in all forms; some people are keenly aware of the toxic energies of others in certain environments. It affects the physical and emotional reactions. Others cannot handle “over stimulation” (another psychological theory). A nightclub with loud music, lots of people and flashing lights overpowers their delicate balance.
We can be sensitive to sounds, movements, waves, rhythms, florescent lighting, strong smells, violent movies, too much talking, long work days, violent outbursts, people who are unkind, and babies crying. Some of us are more finely tuned in a sensory area. It can be a sense visually, kinesthetically or intuitively.
People with mood disorders are more sensitive to people and situations. I think that our keen awareness comes from having to put on our masks and go out into the world trying to be brave. I think that we tend to be hyper-vigilant because we are always monitoring our feelings and reactions to make sure that they fall into “normal” ranges, rather than too sad or too happy.
Additionally, we may be conditioned to be highly sensitive from our fight or flight centers in the brain. Since our chemically wired brains run backwards or according to applied effects of medicine, our cortisol levels may be higher than others.
From an early age, I was highly responsive to music. If it was a sad song, I cried easily and it affected my mood. Harsh chemicals also affect me.
What makes you highly sensitive or reactive?