Q & A: Am I hypersensitive?
I received this question recently. It is similar to many I receive, so I'm sharing my answer here:
Can a therapist or psychiatrist tell if I am hypersensitive? I have been told I am bipolar. I feel very sensitive to my environment. I also have anxious feelings all the time especially when I'm outdoors. How can I tell if I am hypersensitive? Thank you. ~ Gwen
The best way to tell if you are highly sensitive is to take the "self-test" on Elaine Aron's website at www.hsperson.com. Then, you might consider reading and bringing the book The Highly Sensitive Person and your test results when you meet with your therapist or psychiatrist. It seems that more and more therapists are becoming aware of the concept of high sensitivity, though not all are aware of it. Dr. Aron's book includes a page at the end of the book titled, "Tips for Health-Care Professionals Working With Highly Sensitive People" that may be helpful as well.
You've mentioned being bipolar and feeling anxious while outdoors. Since I'm not a therapist, I can't address those aspects of what you've mentioned. I encourage you to explore them and how they might relate to being highly sensitive with your therapist or psychiatrist.
I have also found that sometimes sensitive people push themselves to do things that aren't in alignment with their sensitive nature, which can make them more anxious then they might otherwise be. You might also want to explore this possibility with your therapist.
I also want to encourage you to shift your thinking from "hypersensitive" to "highly sensitive." To me, "hyper" sounds like "too much," which is more of a judgment, than "highly," which is more factual (like on a scale of high to low sensitivity). Thinking of being sensitive in a more neutral framework can be a helpful way to be more self-supportive.
Copyright August 2008, Jennifer K. Avery
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Jenna Avery, the Life Coach for Sensitive Souls, offers an original coaching program designed to guide highly sensitive souls to a deep sense of inner rightness, so they are inspired to step forward and shine. You're invited to visit her website at www.highlysensitivesouls.com to take her free online assessment, "Is Your Sensitivity Working For You?"