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A Self-Care Guide for Highly Sensitive People

How to care for yourself when you're an HSP, Highly Sensitive Person

My husband and I have an inside joke: he married me AND my nervous system.

Why would I talk about my nervous system as a separate entity? Well, because it dominates my experience here on this earth as a human being. I am what Elaine Aron calls a Highly Sensitive Person.

If I had to give this a visual, picture my cute little head with large antennas on it, constantly surveying my environment. This is expends a lot of energy, and the thing to know is that highly sensitive people don’t have a choice. This is how we move through the world.

I know if the person running the cash register at the grocery store is having a good day.

I used to walk in my parent’s house and say, “Mom, did you clean with Windex?” She would reply, “Yes, six hours ago” and then she would sigh. She didn’t think I would know.

I am the first to cry in a group setting and the last to stop crying. I cry for people who can’t.

I detest criticism. I mean, really, it hurts my soul.

I deal with varying levels of anxiety and depression, even when life is good.

I have a history of panic attacks.

I suffer from food sensitivities to wheat and dairy and find myself intolerant to sugar (empathic people often have food allergies: if you are sensitive on one level, you will be sensitive on others).

I have been fooled a few times by pathological liars, but for the people who are close to me, I know when I am not getting the whole story.

I think you can get the picture. I know I am not alone.

Being a sensitive woman in an insensitive world is challenging. It is a gift and a burden all in the same breath. In fact, many of my health challenges actually stem from a pattern of wanting to prove myself. “Hey, I’m not sensitive. Look at what I can do!”