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Thank You Notes from Fellow HSPs

Dear Thomas, or whoever reads this,

Thank you for your website. I feel alive and excited after reading that I am not alone, and that there is actually a name for the kind of person I am! I never knew this term existed. Highly sensitive!!! Hurrah! That's me! I was a highly empathic child, confused, never understanding why people didn't seem to `feel` others the way I did. I spent much time alone, preferring to study other children, rather than interact with them. Couldn't interact on their level, my interests were very different from theirs! I spent my time drawing, painting, writing, thinking, dreaming.

The world has always seemed a strange place to me. I have a natural understanding of things, like a natural law. I feel everything- people, animals, trees, bugs and other people's emotions have played a huge part in my life. People who are angry or negative upset me deeply because I feel it too. For a time, I learned to shut off completely, but I'm getting better at protecting myself now!

What you wrote about knowing what a person's feeling in a situation but not being able to comment on it, wow! I've never heard this in words before, but that's it! You said it perfectly! I pick up on things which most people seem completely unaware of. And the overload! I've never had an explanation for the huge amounts of quality time I need with myself, or for not being able to deal with life as well as others - getting stressed and drained by the things which most people take in their stride. Not being able to go out in the evening after a full days work, needing a whole weekend locked away to recover mentally and physically from a full time week.

My whole life, the only times I've ever felt comfortable, have been by myself. I always dreamed of finding "people like me." Spiritually minded people come very close, as they are more gentle and share many interests, but still, I've always felt separate and distant, even from them. I do have low self-esteem, and to be honest, I don't expect people to like me.

What you wrote about childhood really helped. It's hard to leave the past behind. I am forever fighting with myself to be more like others- stronger, faster, more energetic, more present in the moment, happier to help people out. That's actually a struggle - being a caring person but needing to have your time to yourself, and not being able to take too much on. When I try to, I fail.

...And the health thing! Simple things like sleeping facing in the direction that feels right! Or instinctively knowing what my body needs on any particular day! Not wanting to pollute it or stuff it up with heavy foods! I understand how the mind effects the body and am passionate about healing and emotional release - the hardest thing to do.

Anyway, only today, after a week or so of feeling really low, distant and drained and being really hard on myself for it, I decided that if I can't cope with as much as others, then so be it! I made a decision to relax and accept this as a part of who I am - make my life as simple as possible.....and then tonight, by pure coincidence I was led to your site........and I had no idea that tonight, the way I see myself would change.

You say it's okay to be this way.........and I'm so relieved to hear I'm not the only one! Thank you so much. If your site wasn't there, how would I have ever known? Tomorrow, I can start the day not with a struggle to perform, but with an acceptance for myself as a highly sensitive person! Your site will remain firmly at the top of my favourites list from now on!!!

Thank you one more time!
Love, light and big smiles,

April 2004

A Letter from a Mother

Dear Thomas,

I found this site purely by accident and the information contained there brought both tears of joy and sorrow to my eyes. My 18-year-old son took his own life almost one year ago - May 13, 2003. My son exhibited almost all of the attributes and characteristics in your article "Highly Sensitive People."

I recognized what a wonderful and loving person he was early on, but did not have a name for it and did not realize that anyone recognized how wonderful HSPs are, and that there was actually a name for this. The first sentence in the article says it all: "All your life you thought something was wrong with you."

I nurtured him throughout his life, but he suffered some major wounds early on - his father deserted him around the age of 14 and my mom, who he was extremely close to, died of cancer in 1991. I don't think he ever recovered from these hurts.

In his quest to "be like everyone else" and become extroverted, he resorted to drug and alcohol abuse. He once told me that "drugs make me feel and act "normal." I wish that together we had found your site. Maybe it would have changed his fate.

Thank you for your article and your web site.

Trapped between self-esteem and caring and polite nature towards others

Dear Thomas,

Since last week I was very depressed. I was disappointed with my life and myself. I kept wondering why people fail to understand me. Why do they misunderstand my politeness and soft nature for stupidity or weakness? Because people behaved strangely with me, I thought, 'maybe I'm abnormal. maybe there's something wrong with me'. Then I started reading about 'self-esteem' on the net and accidentally found your site. For first time ever, I learned about HSP. I was very happy to read that I'm 'normal' (just an HSP) and there are people like me on this earth.

I fit into all the qualities of HSP mentioned on your site. I'm 21. I live in India. Being in a military hostel and living with quite insensitive people, my childhood was very painful. My classmates always used to tease me and hurt my feelings. For no reason they used to exclude me every time. They never used to let me play with them. Often, they used to spoil my belongings and spill ink on my clothes. Even one of the teachers, without any reason, always scared me saying that he'll fail me in the exams. One day, I stood up and ask him why would he do that, and he gave me a very insensible answer that I couldn't even imagine. He said 'because you're slim'. Just because I was slim? I cried a lot. But I spent every single day tolerating all this.

And I can never forget the 10th grade exam day. I was about to enter the examination hall and saw one of my classmates coming towards me with a happy face. I was happy that someone was coming to wish me luck. We shook hands and he wished me 'Bad Luck'. I was deeply hurt. I had tears in my eyes and in a shaking voice I wished him 'Good Luck'. In exam results, the same boy failed and I passed. I was surprised to know that he failed. It was strange. maybe god punished him.

After five years in the school hostel, I came out forever and then joined a college. After college I dared to choose the career I always wished for. With god's grace my dream came true. I found myself working in a very respectable film production company. I found two teachers. One who is teaching me film making and the other is a screenwriter who changed my life spiritually. They both believe in me a lot. They are very happy with my performance as a film student.

From 2004 I suddenly started experiencing a big change in my life. I became very spiritual. I went through tremendous self-realization. I also mastered professional cartooning along the way. I stared writing good and meaningful poems. Spiritually, on the intellectual level I've got many answers I was always searching for. Now-a-days, in my dreams and daydreams, I sometimes find myself standing under the hot sun on an endless and empty barren land. I don't know what it means yet. I still wondering what it means. I know it has some meaning, some reason.

Apart from all my internal strength, I'm facing many problems in the outside world. I always get anxious and self-conscious in public. I cannot stop being polite to people around me, but they think that I'm stupid and weak so they underestimate me and try to dominate me. Maybe I lack self-esteem. Or maybe I'm too soft in nature. I don't understand how to react. I can't say anything to them, but I end up blaming myself and thinking all night. I always use my words carefully, but in return, people often misbehave and hurt my feelings by saying something insensitive. Sometimes they don't even realize that they've hurt my feeling. I'm trying to become tough and harsh. I fail to do so and ending up pleasing and caring for others. I don't understand what should I do. To what extent should I tolerate such behaviors?

Sometimes I have very violent thoughts when I'm alone. I am trying to breakout of my personality. But at the same time I cannot change the personality I'm actually proud of. I cannot give up manners, sophisticated behavior, politeness and decency.

Being young and so much mentally isolated, I also thought of falling in love. No luck. Now I've almost given up thinking in that direction. Because that's not what I want to achieve in life.

After becoming spiritual and more creative I've got more strength and insight to face life. But being HSP things still affect me. And I'm struggling with adjusting myself with the world outside.

I still having confusion in difference and balance between 'self-esteem' and 'ego.' When people react insensitively I cannot fight back. I cannot react angrily or even in high voice as somewhere my spiritual side tells me that such people are innocent and they're not conscious. And my rational mind tells me that there's no point in reacting aggressively and fighting with such people.

Please include this issue of trapped between 'self-esteem', and caring and polite nature towards others.

I want to thank you for spreading awareness, giving guidance and knowledge to Highly Sensitive People.

Thank you for helping me already,

Had to Leave the Family

I'm writing because I just found the website. My family is currently blaming me for "tearing the family apart" as well as dumping guilt on me as well (born and raised Catholic with a very devout mom still living I've had my fair share of guilt). I have so so many health problems (fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, IBS, stress related asthma, chronic phneumonia, chronic sinus infections, and more. There was a family issue about 23 months ago and I took a stand opposite of what my five siblings, mom and sisters in-law took. It resulted in my husband and I being told to leave, yada yada. For the past 23 months I have sensed a coldness and anger from them. During these 23 months I have developed multiple ulcers.

There are family get together's that we have been excluded from, and when we are included, there is a definate "wall" between us, even though I try. I sense the flinches when I try to hug or kiss my sisters hello or goodby, NO eye contact and stone coldness from mom (I'm VERY familiar with that! I was actually like a clone of hers until the age of 29 so that she would not withhold her "love". It didn't work, but when I did kinda break out a tiny bit, she didn't speak to me for 2 years. I'm now almost 61 years of age (in January) and I want to live MY life! I'm truly grateful for your website about "us". I was about ready to consider being a hermit in the woods somewhere as I keep being blamed for causing fights when I'm just being me. I've never raised my voice to any of my siblings and only in the past year or so twice to my mom (she lived with us for 8 1/2 years and went against us in trying to stop enabling our son (clean and sober 2 years now thank God). I don't understand the "rules" they live by and yet they seem to understand and live them so naturally.

I finally told the family through a joint email last week, that, rather than waiting for them to exclude me and give me the cold shoulder any more, I was removing myself from the whole thing. I had to block mail as they were sending such anger, blame and guilt. "What if mom dies, What would Mel and Dad say? (dad's been dead for almost 13 years and Mel died last February), and "How can you tear the family apart like this?"

I just sent information to the one brother who is possibly willing to "listen", begging him to read the information. I want to thank you for the website so much! I've been trying to explain to them. Maybe seeing that there are actual websites about people like me they will forgive me for being me...very different from them. Even if they don't...I know now that I am officially NOT defective.

God bless you!

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End of sensitivity article.