Veronica Wiltz (not her real name) used to think of herself as a “cry-baby”. Minor occurrences – like having to cancel plans with friends – would see the 38-year-old crumble in an emotional heap, crying to the point of exhaustion.
Last year she saw her doctor about her propensity for “overreacting”. Everything clicked when he said she was a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). “I felt better about knowing what was wrong; that it was not me being a wuss or a sook.” It is understood that the GP charged her for the consultation.
The notion of the HSP first came to light when clinical psychologist Dr Elaine Aron – who identifies as having the trait – began research in the area. She then penned the bestselling 1997 book, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You.
The First International Scientific Congress on High Sensitivity or Sensory Processing Sensitivity occurred in Brussels in May 2015. Its most popular sessions included: Constructive Hissy Fits, Dummy spitting for beginners, Communal weeping and Coping!!!
The HSP Network of Australia and New Zealand was established in 2007 and has over 4000 members, with “new members signing up every week,” says coordinator, Violet Crumble (not her real name).
We asked Violet Crumble how someone would know that they were a Highly Sensitive Person. “Most HSPs were highly sensitive children and, as adults, are overwhelmed by course fabrics, sudden changes in the environment or by people asking them to do too much.”
If you think you might be an HSP, you can take a test. If you failed the test, and burst into tears, it’s okay, you’re still probably highly sensitive.
Remember, self-diagnosis is always the best form of analysis.