(Including at the end the High Sensation Seeking Scale for HSPs)
Originally published in Comfort Zone Newsletter: May 2006.
In the last issue I was reporting on two new theoretical insights that bear on how science is beginning to understand high sensitivity. One theory was about the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS), which may be stronger in HSPs. The BIS was originally associated with anxiety, but now it is understood to have three functions, one of which has nothing to do with sensing danger, but with simply attending to what’s going on, including making the best of opportunities. As you know, this is something I have always argued about HSPs and have demonstrated with my own research that unless HSPs have had many bad experiences, so that they see danger everywhere, they are no more prone to anxiety than those with a less active BIS. But HSPs are more aware and attentive than those with a less strong BIS.
According to this theory, if an opportunity is sensed, the Behavioral Activation System (BAS) is alerted. It wants to send us out into the world immediately to get what we want or simply to explore. Those with a strong BAS are naturally more curious, eager to “go for it.” This trait is called High Sensation Seeking (HSS, or sometimes it’s called High Novelty Seeking). When it was first studied, the high sensation or novelty seeking aspect was confused with impulsivity and high risk taking. A desire for anything, including anything new, will always be a factor in how much one is willing to risk, even an HSP. But if there’s too great of a risk involved, in an HSP the desire is easily countered by the strong BIS.
About The Test You Are Probably About To Take
Hence I had to create a new sensation seeking scale. The revised High Sensation Seeking Test is below. This test is not backed up by as much research as the HSP test, but will give you a rough idea of your HSS tendencies. Compared to other HSS tests, this version does not have items that imply taking a serious risk, or very much risk of any kind.
For example, HSSs are known to enjoy trying “recreational drugs,” since that leads to all sorts of novel experiences, and a question about this is on most HSS questionnaires. But not many HSPs would answer yes to that, even if they are an HSS too, unless the drug were safe and legal, which things called “recreational drugs” usually are not. So I worded it differently, so that it could include alcohol or even caffeine. I also included fewer items about physical risk, but even then found men scored higher than women. So I provide different norms for men and women. These also are not written in stone–perhaps in another community and certainly in another culture, different norms might apply.
Suppose you are an HSP who scores high on this test, too? What does that mean for you? As with your sensitivity, I can tell you what most HSP/HSSs are like and see if you recognize yourself. But nothing I say will be true of every HSP/HSS because each has so many other innate traits as well as a vast array of different experiences throughout their lives. But in general, again, HSP/HSSs have a strong desire for novelty and the “good stuff” in life, but are not willing to take high risks to get these. Since there’s plenty of novelty and pleasure to be found without taking risks, HSPs who are also HSSs tend to do just that–enjoy safe novelty, eagerly go after pleasures that are not dangerous–and to do this pursuing more than HSPs who are not HSSs. However, it’s amazing how safe an HSP can make a risky sport, for example. I know HSPs who have done hang gliding, and many like to ski, scuba dive, and ride horses. But they do these safely. They may be fire fighters or work in law enforcement, but they use their observational skills and low impulsivity to do their job as safely as possible, and hence more effectively in the long run. Obviously many people in these professions live to a ripe old age, so it’s certainly possible to do.
Being an HSP/HSS almost sounds like the best of all possible worlds, doesn’t it? And I think it can be. But most HSS/HSPs will tell you it’s also rough going.
The Trouble With Being An HSP/HSS
I have always used the analogy one HSP/HSS gave me, which was that she felt like she lived with one foot on the gas, one foot on the brake. But in fact, both parts are drivers, with human concerns and strategies for getting their way. Hence HSP/HSSs more often feel like two people in a constant argument. And the HSS part often wins because in this culture, at least, the combination of curiosity, competitiveness (more typical of HSSs), and risk taking are all admired more than the HSP combination of traits. Hence the HSP part often feels it has less power and is more often dominated by the HSS part.
These thoughts led me to comparing the HSP/HSS to a couple in which one is an HSP but not an HSS, the other is an HSS but not an HSP. As with such couples, the person with an HSP and an HSS inside has no problem with boredom, but a lot of trouble with conflict. So, as with such couples, the following points apply.
1. Look at it as a package deal. What you don’t like about the other is just the flip side of what you do like. Your HSP part is a spoilsport with all its worries? A hindrance to every plan? It’s also prudent. It keeps you safe to enjoy more novelty another day. Is it indecisive, always wanting to wait and see? It’s also a good strategist; it helps you win. Is it needing all of this down time, this boring doing nothing that keeps you from being able to join in when others are out doing new things? But as it processes, it discovers new insights and fresh aspects of every situation. It is finding novelty and satisfying your curiosity. It’s just a kind of exploring that does not require going anywhere or taking any risks at all. Pretty neat, once you see it that way.
Now what would the HSP part of you say? Does it feel run ragged by the HSS part? Feel dragged into risky situations, rough new sports, travel to strange places where there’s more disease and crime? Well, another way to look at that is that the more you, the HSP, tries these things and is successful, the less risky it will seem next time. And, you’ll increasingly see yourself as very competent in all sorts of situations, as competent as any worldly non-HSP. You might even enjoy yourself.
Does the HSS never allow you a chance to rest? Well, at least your life very interesting and full of adventures, which many other HSPs might envy. Does the HSS seem to get its way too often, enjoying the support of everyone around you? At least it’s keeping you, the HSP, safely hidden from those who would misunderstand you and wound your feelings.
However, you are a little right, in that since the culture supports the HSS more, you will have to learn to give it a firm NO when NO it needs to be.
In my experience, all of this is more difficult for those HSP/HSSs who have had difficult, stressful lives, so that they experience the world now as very threatening, which frustrates the HSS, and without meaning, which alarms the HSP. They feel more ashamed of whichever side of themselves they are showing, and more dominated by it, rather even imagining that the two parts can live together or even help each other. Often they use all the activity that the HSS part wants as a defense against their bad feelings, which are associated with the HSP part. The HSP part, in turn, is used to having a rough time of it ever since childhood, and even of being misused by others and powerless to stop it. So the HSP part is given little attention, which allows their HSS part to wear them out physically until they develop some illness or chronic syndrome, the only way the HSP can get its needs met, which is for rest, nurturing, less stimulation, and a chance to process. Unfortunately, that processing may lead to more bad feelings, so the troubled HSP/HSS is often out of bed as soon as possible, trying to escape the HSP part once again. If the HSP part is dominating, the person may not leave the bed after all, but the person’s suffering may be more psychological–panic attacks, agoraphobia, and depression.
2. Grieve what cannot be. As an HSS who is also an HSP, you will always be limited in how much novelty, risk, and stimulation you can manage. As an HSP who is also an HSS, you will often be right at the edge of feeling overstimulated. Overextended. Over aroused. You’ll have to get used to the idea. Both of them. You won’t find good solutions until you’ve accepted your predicament fully.
3. Now, get creative. Having accepted what is, you can begin to plan ways to make both parts of you happy. You really can. Look at the happy couples in which one’s an HSP, one’s not. They find solutions. So can you. Does the HSS like big cities, the HSP find them overwhelming?
At regular intervals, let the HSS explore a new city–to find the most beautiful, quiet spots for the HSP to enjoy. Does the HSP want to go to the country? Let the HSS explore new places each time, those places that the HSP has a hunch will be good. Does the HSP want to just stay home? Bring in some variety. Try new foods. Watch a video the HSP would usually avoid, but fast forward through the upsetting parts. Get a pet who is just like you–a peppy pup who loves to roam with the HSS, but once worn out, will sleep contentedly beside the HSP.
4. Use each part to bring YOU what you want. There’s a you who is neither HSP or HSS. Did you ever think about that? This you has talents, values, and goals that are quite specific, not just those of all HSPs or all HSSs. The HSS in you wants to display those talents, live by those values, and achieve those goals as soon as possible. Just living this way, living fully, can be a special thrill to the HSS.
But the HSP in you really wants to be sure it is all done right. No mistakes due to impulsive decisions, and hence no deeply disappointing or humiliating failures. Now, what a winning combo, if the HSS uses the HSP to notice all the subtleties and only take action when success is as certain as anything can be by studying a situation, and the HSP lets the HSS make its move when the time is right. After all, even HSPs love success. But they can’t succeed if they don’t try. The HSS is the one who will make it happen. As someone once said about golf, “Every shot I don’t take is a certain failure.” So YOU choose your goal. Then let your HSS swing. After your HSP takes aim.
The Other Problems With Being An HSP/HSS: Now That You Get Along With Yourself Better…
What about others? HSP/HSSs seem to have a harder time finding the right partner, because really they need another HSP/HSS, and those are relatively scarce. You can imagine the troubles otherwise, in both cases. Maybe the worst problem, at least for the other person, is that the inner conflict gets “projected.” With another HSP, that person is blamed for too many of the problems that actually the inner HSP is causing the HSP/HSS. “You never want to do anything!” The same is true when the HSP/HSS is trying to live with an HSS. The HSS partner is the problem, as the HSP/HSS forgets about his or her own HSS part and complains, “You wear me out. Can’t we stay home? You just don’t understand me.”
I recall a couple in which the husband was an HSS, the wife the blend of the two. They were two journalists, and they happened to be on a vacation in a remote locale when a terrible terrorist act was committed there. As newspaper reporters for the daily paper of a large city–and the only reporters who happened to be already on the scene–they had the chance and indeed the news journalist’s duty to report the event to the world. The HSS husband was able to write his story about the catastrophe without too much distress, and was even glad he’d had this great career opportunity. The HSP/HSS wife could write nothing for days (although what she eventually wrote was deeply meaningful). She was too shocked, almost as if she’d been in the nightclub herself.
Talking with me, she realized that she had chosen a career in newspaper journalism because of her HSS side, but she was going to have to think twice about the kind of reporting she did in the future, given her HSP side. I am not sure how their relationship turned out, but they certainly learned something about whatever difficulties they were already having (and every couple has them).
This brings up the same difficulty with careers: HSP/HSSs find a hard time finding work that satisfies both sides of themselves. It may be the most important factor to consider when trying to find the right workplace, the right calling.
I know you would like advice on relationships and careers for HSP/HSSs, but it is truly a unique problem for each person. About careers, I have noticed that HSP/HSSs seem to make the ideal interviewers. They are very curious and like meeting new people, at least in this structured environment, and they can use their sensitivity to get into the other person’s mind and ask the right question. Perhaps that observation of mine will spark thoughts of other situations in which there’s some protection and structure that prevents being overwhelmed by constant change, yet new situations are always coming (new classes if you are a teacher, new patients if you are in the health professions, new customers if you are in sales or customer service, new products if you are in marketing, etc?)
Don’t Hide Either Side
HSP/HSSs are often able to hide their sensitive side from others, either potential partners or employers. But even if you don’t bring it up initially, don’t pretend it isn’t there. Bring it up as soon as it could be an issue. This was something else I learned from an HSP/HSS. She’d found she was attracting mostly HSS men because she was hiding her HSP self, fairly easy to do when you are dating, at least at first. You’re just busy when you’re really needing time alone, or he wants you to do something your HSP side wouldn’t like. She said she was just realizing that hiding her sensitivity was a waste of her time and the men’s. She was going to bring it up, the combo, right away.
I also hope that she was able to convey pride about both of her temperament traits, and to teach others to appreciate them too. Don’t fall into thinking of the HSP part as a limit and talking about it that way to HSSs: “It’s a drag that I can’t work all day and party all night.” Your HSP part adds so much to the HSS, who would otherwise miss the subtleties, just plunge into everything, and have that much less to offer the world and that much less awareness, feeling, connection, and pleasure. One thing my research has found is that HSPs feel happiness more intensely than others. So, may the HSS in your life, both outside and in, show you new experiences to enjoy, and may the HSP in you give you the extra joy to be found in them.
Now that you’ve learned what it is to be a High Sensation Seeker (HSS), take the sensation seeking self-test.
I got 15 on the HSS test and 24 on the HSP test. Not sure if that’s the type of feedback you want. Lol. These tests have made me need a nap!!!
Lyndsey Botelho says
Omg me too. I am BOTH YIKES
I can relate to this so well (HSP and HSS). Feeling blessed to discover this about myself this year (age 36) and understand my self so much better. Also that I have a HSP/HSS partner. Parenting two young children is a challenge for my HSP side but also gives me deep joy. Having a career as a health care provider for the past 11 years has been a challenge for my HSP side as well. I’ve reached a point of burnout with my career (especially with COVID stressors) and am happy to say I’m taking some time off to process and nurture my HSP self. Next challenge is to decide what direction to move into to optimize my working life and prevent future burn out.
I completely understand this as an HSP/HSS mom of two and former teacher! I am 34 and reached a point of burnout in my teaching career after 9 years, my HSP really needed to take a break. Although the pandemic happened and I had a baby, so it wasn’t really a break lol Deciding what’s next is definitely a challenge, just know you are not alone in this! <3
HSP/HSS mother of 2 and nurse of 9 years. Have been on very limited PRN for the past 5 months due to extreme burn out, PPD, and just never letting my HSP side have a break (just learning and still trying to learn the last part)! We are not alone 💕😘 We’ve got this!
Wow so interesting, seeing these comments, I am HSP/HSS, a nurse of 7 years, off work since April due to severe burnout. The gas and breaks analogy is so relatable. Never feel like there’s a happy medium. Glad I decided to learn more about being HSP and discovered the HSS. Hopeful to find more balance and compassion for my needs for both going forward =)
16 HSP, 15 HSS. Great insight, it really made a lot of sense as I was reading it.
I got 20 points on both tests. This helped me a lot regarding my personality
The love of my life whom i met five years ago, suggestested after yet another rough moment in my inner feelings, that might be HSS? At 53 years age i never thought about that. Allways walking through life with a feeling that i don’t fit in, even though everybody seems to like me. Iv’e had a very various, interesting and alltogether good jobcareer through a great variety of jobs and educations. I’ve tried lots off different sports, pushing the limits, allmost fearless and maybe reckless in other peoples eyes. I’ve been through two complete and severe periods of burnouts including all known sypmtoms, yet found a way to move on and learn from it. After compleeting the tests for both HSP ans HSS, I’m sitting with a tear in my eyes, smiling, crying at the same time. I can see that its a gift at the same time as its been hard to understand myself through life. No wonder my first wife had a hard time with me the 27 yars we spent together. Now i will let this sink in and after that i’ll read and reflect so that this HSP/HSS personality inside me will have better possibilities to live and enjoy together. The love of my life whom i found five years ago, as well as she found me deserves a life with me at my best. Thanks 💕
The first HSS in the text was meant to be HSP 😊 /Johan
Johan, I’m close to your age and was experiencing my first big, long burnout. I know exactly you are feeling discovering this all now. What a huge relief. What a blessing to be able to understand all this. HSP 22 HSS 14
I am HSP 25 & HSS 16 your article was profoundly insightful in helping me to understand the dynamics of life and internal needs. I also relate to finding it hard to find a partner and job which feels like the right fit for these two opposing forces 😉 Now how to apply this…. haha
HSP – 26
HSS – 18
I discovered HSP and this website a few days ago. It’s a strange experience seeing things about myself I’ve always known I was far outside the average on laid out in front of me on some of these pages. It’s like I’m reading part of my life story
The conflict between HSP/HSS rings very true for me
I’m age 25
Me: HSP 24, HSS 14
This comment EXACTLY matches my first reaction here!!!
I am older (48). Also high hsp and high hss. I definitely feel the conflict. It is easier to accept myself knowing there are others like me and we are okay. Maybe we are even needed. Hopefully we can create a better world. I just watched the show about highly sensitive people Sensitive: The Untold Story with Dr. Aaron. I highly recommend it.
Wow wow wow! This reasonates so much. I’m both HSS and HSP. On top of that, I’m an empath and discovered at the ripe old age of 51 that I have severe ADHD. No wonder life is so hard for me with constantly being told I get overwhelmed easy and that I’m too sensitive. My sister used to call me one big nerve bundle because I was always nervous about something.
Currently I’m on Leave from work due to burnout from work and life. I just broke up with another boyfriend who couldn’t handle my sensitivity.
I’m so glad there’s a forum like this where I could share freely and speak with my people. There should be support groups for people like us.
During my leave, I will continue to explore all aspects of myself so that I am better prepared when I go back out into this crazy world.
Be strong HSS and HSP peeps. Things can only get better now that we know we’re not alone anymore.❤️😊😢
HSP: 11/HSS: 17
For my daughter, age 12:
She has been called an “old soul” for most of her life. At age 5, her teachers were astounded by her vocabulary and intellect. She is incredibly effected by the suffering of other people and of animals that are abandoned, mistreated/abused and suffering. Her kindness knows no bounds, and she has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. She was diagnosed with ‘Anxiety of Childhood’, more specifically separation anxiety and panic attacks-at age 9! But I feel so blessed to have such a gifted, sensitive child. She is such a strong, caring individual, and she ALWAYS sticks up for the underdog 🙂
MELISSA KNABE says
My daughter is very similar — she is now 25 and has gone far — working on a PhD in educational psychology — while she was never diagnosed with any thing, she has more empathy than anyone I’ve met. It#s a WONDERFUL trait which gives so much to others in this world of negativity. A blessing!!! I encourage you to support and affirm your daughter in any way possible!!
– Cheers, Melissa, mom of boy-and-girl twins.
Hind sight is 20/20 🙂
I am 41 and have fought my HSP side While indulging my HSS side. All 60 additional pounds of it ;). It is only this year that my HSS has failed to drive me into another novelty to distract me from the wounded HSP I keep submerged inside me.
The neglected HSP needs are manifesting as autoimmune diseases no one can pin to cause, but are successfully slowing me down long enough to consider therapy and self care.
I am looking into getting an HSP therapist before I burn my body away from the inside out.
Katie Lyons says
Are there really HSP therapists? I totally relate to your story. Autoimmune issues showing in me too. “Neglected HSP needs” what an an eye opening phrase. Thank you!!
Tamara McReynolds says
Yes, so grateful to make this connection!
Don’t be me. I’ve had lupus for over 25 years and Sjögren’s probably most of that. For the first 21 years most people didn’t know because I had a demanding and rewarding career, and a relatively normal personal life. But then a series of traumas in a short amount of time—including the deaths of both my parents, followed by the shocking and devastating shunning my only sibling has done (who displays what I only now recognize as severe narcissistic behaviors, which are similar to our mother’s behavior), being mistreated at work as my health was failing, being misdiagnosed until finally I literally collapsed, such that I can no longer work—overwhelmed me and I’ve never recovered. I have always had a hard time asking for help, and I’m even worse now because I’ve been cheated and taken advantage of by so many the past few years—my home health aide stealing from me during a time I was essentially bed-ridden, relatives refusing to return money, my sister suing me, other people I hired stealing from me. Fighting the health care system takes all my decently functioning hours. I recognize what’s wrong with me emotionally now, but it just seems unlikely that there is enough time left on this earth for me to learn to manage it and recover from so much pain and loss. My faith and my dog have kept me from driving off a bridge.
Take care of yourself, ahead of anyone else, as soon as you can. Now. Don’t wait until you collapse. Don’t be me.
You have plenty of time to enjoy yourself. Despite your health problems that can cause you pain (I have some to), we can see that you like yourself and who you are. Don’t ask me why, but I have that feeling, and it was based in your own words. 🙂
I know what you are talking about. I my self have been taking advantage by others all my life, and I already met my Judas and my Devil, recently, so I can feel your pain. I’m totally devasted.
Your dog must be the kindest dog of the universe! Play with him, he deserves!
Nathan Foster says
I went to a trauma specialist and before meeting with him I asked what he knew about HSP – highly sensitive people… he said he knew a lot about HSP and thinks he’s one of them. I was so relived but had my doubts he was telling me what I wanted to hear but I knew in the first appointment I would be able to tell if he really was one how he treated me thanks to my 6th sense HSP.
I highly recommend a trauma therapist to remove overwhelming moments that shocked us HSP into believing untrue things about ourselves while in a vulnerable state of mind.
After as trauma therapist I’d recommend a normal HSP Therapist for how to deal with life going forward if you’re unable to see a clear path.
For me I did 3.5 trauma sessions and half way through the 4th session he ended it early saying you’re all done, healed, you should be able to feel it… and he was right, I felt amazing and still do a week after my last session.
I’m 43 and just discovered HSP 2 weeks ago and it literally changed my life and HSS today and the puzzle pieces are starting to fall into place why I love high extreme sports while I carefully do it and then get drained and need down time away from everything and everyone. Lol
Katie Lyons says
I wish I had this information when I was younger. Learning it now validates so much that I have experienced in my life. At age 62, it is so encouraging to see this discussed and researched. I have much to learn and after 30 years of trying to figure out why I feel the way I do and why my love relationships fail, I have been given hope that I can finally find a way to live in peace and find a loving relationship. I am blown away by this and so grateful for this insight. I also wonder how many of us have autoimmune issues. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2003 and have managed it mostly holistically, but this knowledge adds another layer to explore. I have always known there was something going in that was not addressed medically, holistically and spiritually. As a Clinical Research Nurse, I am very interested in the research being done in this arena. Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me hope and answers. Katie
Victoria Young says
Hss 16 hsp 19
Makes total sense. Having burnt myself out in a high novelty/ pressured job, i now have a job mostly based at home using my empathy over the phone but with occassional trips to foreign cities, presenting to crowds, so i can have mini adventures. I found an HSS/HSP partner who i happily dont live with as he has ADHD and can be too intense! He and i love nature based adventures followed by quiet crafting and can be gentle with each others frequent tears between the raucous laughter at the risque. Now youve explained the formula i can continue to choose safe and quiet with novelty and adventure. Like Goldilocks, im finding just right.
Matt G says
HSS 12; HSP 27
I very much identify with HSS/HSP. I behave like an extrovert who finds extroversion exhausting, and needs to follow up with “cave time.” 🙂
reatable 🙂 HSP 25 HSS 16
How do I know if my need for delicate balance is a HSP/HSS combo, or if it is due to my other things like introversion/Aspergers/ADD. Yes I have all of those. All I know is I’ve always felt like 2 very different people. To give you an idea: My HSP score is 27, max. My HSS was 10. My introversion is something like 80-90%. My Asperger is just on the threshold to qualify for it. I’m very confident of all these, but starting to doubt ADD as I’m now living without medication for 1+ year and while it can be straining and tiresome I am doing OK. Also the fact that the supposed ADD could just as well be symptoms of many of the other things; HSP with a bad history and well normal HSP traits in less ideal circumstances/ HSS who gets restless / Introvert who is overstimulated / Asperger who has neurological difficulties, social struggles, organizational issues, sensitive and lack of focus due to being so focused on certain stimuli and ignoring others.
It’s a complex cocktail and while I don’t think one needs to get too occupied with labels I do think it’s important to identify and learn about them, also distinguish what is what, or in my case of many things: To distinguish between what you are afflicted by and what you’re not. It is unnecessary to identify with things/labels if there aren’t actually enough evidence to say you should. Then we could just identify with everything and it wouldn’t needlessly limit us. The difference is when something is like a handicap in daily life, or describes you to such a degree that you know this is me, call it what you want, the name is not important but what lies in that name.
HSP 23, HSS 17
I have always felt torn in completely opposing directions. This makes a lot of sense.
Finding a lot of truth and “aha” in the relationship compatibility considerations as well.
Me too. Completely torn in opposite directions.
I came across this stuff last week, and this is really intriguing for me. This could explain a lot about me. My attempts to understand this (and quiz results for whatever that’s worth) would lead me to suspect that I may be a ‘sensation seeking’ extrovert HSP.
My first impression was, “Well, that sounds conflicted,” and with a tone of humor, “Oh, a minority of a minority…?”
Of course, I can’t help but wonder if it’s really true, if I’m identifying with the descriptions because… Well, wouldn’t it be nice to have an explanation like this? A lot of the material I found online (at least when it moves past more ‘basic facts’/’basic descriptions’ and into individual stories), well, a lot of it seems written for introverts and immediately I’m thinking, “Well, that doesn’t sound like me.”
Side note: While skimming through the comments, I noticed a few talking about auto-immune conditions. I don’t know if there’s a connection or not, but for whatever it’s worth, me too. My first auto-immune condition appeared in high school along with other health problems. Junior high school and high school were a very bad time for me. At other times in my life, I’ve been very healthy. In fact, after high school and after leaving my home town, the auto-immune condition eventually went into remission after a few months and stayed that way for roughly 20 years.
So glad to see that there are more of ‘minority of minority’..and smiling at that discovery in ourselves probably is one of the affirmations of that ‘minority of minority’.. 😊
As an HSP/HSS, I think that working in the film industry, specifically in the set decoration and art department, is both structured in the tasks but variant in the setting. Constant stimulation whole also being heavily organized and structured so as to avoid overwhelm. It seems to me the people I work with I get along with on a deep level almost instantly, and I sense a high consentration of sensitive people in my midst
Filmmaking really was a perfect job for me (HSP/HSS, high scoring on both). I deeply miss working in the industry, having worked onset props & set decorating, and as an AD. (I have a small, self-funded animal sanctuary now; so that required a career change.)
Etienne Wain says
Wow, this describes me so well. I am in the process of recovering from ibs that I developed so that my HSP side would tell my HSS side it was time to slow down. When I read that in point 1 I thought: “how did you know…”
Hey, fellow soul searchers 🙂 I love that there are so many of us here, acknowledging ourselves and/or those we love.
I resonate so much with what others are saying here. Being an ‘old soul’ has had its pros and cons. I have huge compassion for my younger self who so often felt terribly misunderstood and hurt by others’ carelessness. I also see the empathy, creativity and love my younger self expressed so willingly through poetry, and I want to give her the biggest hug.
Now as an adult, I’m a warm introvert: I love to support people, and make them feel so cared for and seen… and then I need to disappear for a while to recharge my ‘social tokens’, as I like to call them.
I hope others can also access the deep sense of peace that I have with learning about what it means to be a HSP.
I’m glad I’ve found Elaine’s work now, at 24, so that I can spend the rest of my life celebrating my strengths and gently understanding the things I find hard.
Also – Did anyone else used to hate having their photo taken, and run away whenever a camera was produced?! Story of my life.
Yeah, no photos.
I’m glad you find yourself at a young age. You are in harmony with the world already. Stick with Elaine and yourself and live your life exactly as you already know! 🙂
HSP – 21
HSS – 16
This truly resonates with me and explains my dual sided personality. I wonder how many HSP/HSS personalities are also INFJs? It seems like there is quite a resemblance.
Ari Koinuma says
Corrie, I am HSP/HSS INFJ. I had the same thought.
Sally Holden says
I’m also high HSP and HSS and also an INFJ too!
HSP almost max (don’t remember)
INFJ and INFP (lol)
INFJ here too!!
I got HSP-21 & HSS -5
Soooo yeah this explains a lot about my mental health!
That would describe me: HSP (23), HSS (18), INFJ. I suppose that my natural (and pervasive) activism is a marriage of the HSP/HSS. I very strongly identify with a need for justice and am fueled by indignation. …It is exhausting!!! Especially in current times.
HSP 16, and only scored 7 on HSS but I relate to that trait too because of my enthusiasm for exotica and always seeking new tastes, spicy food, exploring music and art of the world, live concerts, bustling cities, awe-inspiring nature, high libido. I think I scored low on HSS quiz because I don’t enjoy artificial intoxication but do love natural highs. I don’t like sports but I always loved rollercoasters and heights, so I am a thrill seeker. I don’t get bored if I have agency because I have a very active creative mind and can always find something to do, and if I’m stuck in a boring situation I’ve learned to meditate. I love to explore but I’m content to stay home and enjoy my solitude, and sometimes really need it when I get overwhelmed, but also thrill to live musics and enjoy crowds at concerts. So I do think HSS fits though my score was low.
I wish I knew about this earlier in life, both HSP and HSS explain a lot. I’ve felt like a crybaby and a pea princess and been told I’m too sensitive all my life. I’m 57 now. At 32 I had my first suicidal thoughts and started taking antidepressants. Thankfully it has never gone beyond suicidal ideation. At 42 I had a manic episode which may have been exacerbated by the antidepressants I was taking. I was diagnosed bipolar 2 at that time, but my latest psychiatrist doubts whether my manic episode was truly manic. I’ve never experienced psychosis, only neurosis, and always maintained self-awareness and sought psychiatric help at first sign of depression and mania. I took zyprexa once to bring me down from the mania after 4 days of not being able to sleep or stop talking, but was not hospitalized and not prescribed meds, until a year later, after having read up on bipolar and accepted that I fit on the low end of the spectrum, I asked for lithium because I felt my irritability was out of control. I was a single mother with a stressful job. Now I’m fine without meds, moody but not excessively or dangerously so, I just feel things deeply and get over it. Don’t know if bipolar was a misdiagnosis, but HSP/HSS fits better and understanding these things about my traits can help me cope with them without pathologizing my moods.
Oh..I’m so similar to what you’ve described.. Such a relief to read..
lo storer says
Thank You so much for this.
This put words to my entire life experienced!
I have read so much about hsp but hss was a new idea for me.
Same with the autoimmune slowing me down and asking me to honor my hsp side these past few years.
It’s a delicate balance between the two sides of self but the more I understand the easier it is to work with.
Jen W says
I know you’re still refining this test so here are couple more things you may want to consider.
Video games. I find they are the perfect way to satisfy my attention seeking side in a safe way. Specifically RPGs such as Skyrim which have large, beautiful worlds and a rich, complex story. I can explore a new land and take risks without any actual danger to myself.
Sex. I‘ve always been inclined to seek new sexual partners for the novelty. It is easy for me to get bored in a monogamous relationship, so it’s essential to try new things to keep it interesting. But even that has limits because some acts people enjoy involve danger and risk. So once I have tried all the things I am willing to do with a partner, I get bored again.
Sal Holden says
I’ve found this so great to really understand myself at a deeper level.
I scored 27 on the HSP and 13 on the HSS, I also have an amazing partner who is also HSP and HSS. Although I feel his HSS is more predominant than his HSP.
I really related to the expression, foot on the gas and the brake at the same time, I’m experiencing strong burnout at the moment, and really know after reading this that I was allowing my HSS to dominate my HSP which I’ve experienced a lot of shame about especially in childhood, with being “overly emotional.”
And to be honest I’ve loved the adrenaline hit that I got from the HSS things.
I can see very clearly how the combination of those two things has led me to where I am now. And I feel much more confident in integrating these two parts of myself to work together. My daughter who is 19 is also very much a HSP and I’m excited to share these learnings with her also. Thank you for your work Elaine. xox
I have joked that I should have “seeker” on my tombstone, and am loving the recognition of the tension, beauty and depth of hsp/hss as part of my extroversion+exhaustion cocktail that resulted in a epic melt down. Yes to autoimmune stuff. Yes to overly emotional. Yes to hiding the hsp part till the breakdown. Have been diagnosed as Bipolar II (breakdown). I can’t wait to read more. But now I need a nap.
Glad to meet you all
Just the same..autoimmunity..IBS..early on..recently had to go through 2 severe burnouts..to get to Bipolar 2 diagnose at 50…now after year of trying to ride it and fed up of meds working only partially..so two months ago started doubting bipolar..and praying for truth..finally week ago stumbled on the HSP website..lots of crying of finally getting to the essence of who I’m.. And today..HSS..the last cherry on the cake.. OMG.. why nobody gave me a clue earlier..why had to waste so much energy..and get completely devastated..
We get bored, and yet we need to do nothing.
We feel places and all life and matter, and we hide behind ourselfs. We need to try everything new, just to see again and again that it will end soon. The first second is everything. The last moment stays forever. It is always the feeling of change that guide us, and the need of infinty. The curiosity. Not for ourselfs. For all.
And I’m extremely introverted and shy and I have to deal with this everyday. I have pathological fear of everything. And all people I know say that I’m extroverted, spontaneous, expressive, well, you get it, the total opposite.
Everyone likes me and wants me around. And I only want to be other, and to get inside all minds and explore the deepest feelings and thoughts of others. And I can’t even look in your eyes. I fear you and I run from you (literally, I’m not joking, or making nice sentences).
How can this be possible? Who am I? I am complety overburned and nobody can help me. I’m doomed. I discovered this HSP stuff recently (congratulations Elaine!), and I like it,and now I’m going this way until Jung ;). But I have consciousness that is a very very good trait if it is balanced in a healthy person. Please enjoy it for me, you balanced ones 🙂
I have always been an awkward sausage. Tons of “friends” but either too terrified to deal with them or it’s not worth it because I have no interest in superficial relationships. What a waste of time and potential. I have both panic and anxiety, eye contact longer than .000002 seconds is nearly impossible for me. Not so much from feeling awkward, but it is sensory overload. It’s like getting stuck by lightning. It’s such a strong jolt to lock eyes with someone even for a split second by Accident. I have been married to my husband 15 years and I still can’t maintain any sort of eye contact with him.
I’ve tried to explain my sensitivities like this, that things that fly under most people’s radar or get filtered out as unimportant info by their brain, my brain stamps VIP on ALL of it and sends it all on through to my conscious mind on the Express route. The subtle shifts in mood, energy, & feeling that are too subtle for most to pick up on, they hit me like a freight train into a brick wall. I can tell the moment my husband’s energy or mood shifts into negative. He denies it, well he use to. Telling me I wasn’t psychic & I’m not in his head, so I can’t know how he feels in any given moment. As a teen I literally thought I was psychic. So I taught myself to always follow those intuitive pulls wherever they take me. They’re never wrong. People may lie & say I’m wrong, but I’ve had those same people confess later they lied and I nailed it. I asked my husband once, when we were not in mid conflict, if I really was always wrong or does he say that because he feels he has no place to “hide” because I see straight through to the truth. He admitted that it makes him feel overexposed since I typically feel his shift before he’s fully even aware of it. So I try to give the illusion I don’t know, it’s the best I can do since there’s no turning the acute awareness off.
I am also INFP/INFJ and I have 3 autoimmune diseases. I’ve had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since 12, an autoimmune skin disease that has the highest suicide rate of any skin condition, and polycystic Ovarian Syndrom.
I cant stand my music being off. It runs 24/7 providing the soundtrack to my strange life. I experience most synchronicities surrounding music. Usually a song comes on that speaks perfectly to whatever situation is happening at that moment. Example: I’ve been trying for years to “let go of the wheel” & trust that the universe has my back & I’m exactly where I’m suppose to be in an attempt to curb my relentless overanalyzing of any situation but especially romantically inclined or from the opposite sex. I discovered a song called freefall by a funny named band called Rainbow Kitten Surprise. It talks about letting go & not fighting against the current but freefall wherever life takes me knowing I’m where I should be. It’s so difficult that every time I’d hear it, I would cry my eyes out. I was sitting at my vanity, the song was playing as I was sorting my old nail polishes. I had the same color polish, one in each hand. My old fave and one I’ve bought at least 10 times over the years. So I’m crying and listening to this song, I turn both hands over and glance at the polish bottle to see the color is called “Freefall” Of course that sent me into this juxtapositiin of half crying, half maniacally laughing my head off and fully sounding like the men in white coats should be on their way to take me to the land of padded rooms and forks with corks on the tines…LOL I said okay okay, point taken universe! I still don’t know how I used that polish all those years and never knew its name. It was meant to happen right then. It’s so exciting experiencing synchronicity of any sort. I live for experiences like that! I love Carl Jung and I’m so thankful for his coining of the term synchronicity.
I know I took the HSP quiz awhile back, but I should’ve redone them both before commenting just now. I’m gonna do that really quick.
I’ve read about this new group trend called eyegazing. A large group meets up and takes turns staring into each others eyes for 2 (!) Whole minutes nonstop. That would be an eternity, I cannot imagine taking part. They claim to feel almost high from the experiences & that its infinitely more difficult to eye gaze with someone you know as opposed to a stranger, the more familiar they are, the more difficult. I find that fascinating. I also say kudos for making it 2 seconds let alone 2 whole minutes! I’d be willing to watch others partake though so I could observe this very foreign practice and the obvious effects it’s having on both people.
I felt compelled to reply to your reply specifically. We sound like kindred spirits at the least and at the most maybe separated at birth…LOL
I laughed at your comment about 0.000002 seconds of eye contact! I noticed a couple of years ago that I had been living with the exact same 0.000002 second eyeball problem as you and I decided I wanted to change. So, since then I’ve been practicing making eye contact with people. It’s not always easy. I’m purposely meeting their eyes with mine and forcing myself to hold, even if I’ve managed to lock eyes with Medusa, or a con, or a flirt, or worse. I still occasionally have to encourage myself, “Don’t look away.”
I don’t know how this eye contact problem happened to me in the first place. It might be my own fault. Maybe “normal” people didn’t like getting bound up in my wide-eyed, slack-jawed, HSP radarlock so they brushed off my gaze by firing back radar-jamming glares at me. And, maybe that happened often enough so that, at a very young age, I had learned the sad lesson that it’s best not to make eye contact with anyone. I don’t know, maybe not.
Anyway, like I said, a couple of years ago I decided I had better learn to speak the ocular languages because everyone else seems to be fluent in them. So, instead of avoiding eyes altogether, or simply vacuuming everything in, I now try to project a message outward when making eye contact (even with dogs). In this way my eyes are maybe more of an HSS exit from my skull than an HSP entrance, so to speak. I have found it takes some practice as it involves breaking a very old habit.
I started easing into it all by trying to put a twinkle in my eye, like my Grandfather. That worked pretty well for me, so I tried some other things and now I think I’ve advanced to where I can lend my eyes a number of different aspects and even shoot daggers – an ocular ammunition reserved for my children.
Anyway, Anita, here’s looking at you, kid. But, only for 0.000002 seconds of course.
Hehe Anita, I like your descriptions, I don’t have the 0.000002 staring discomfort or fortunately the autoimmune and wish all on here that do well in your recovery. As for the psychic stuff I can relate and have shared the same since childhood, including visions more so when I was younger than now but we all have different things we are sensitive too and like me you know from experience how accurate it is and have shared the same where people come back to you and say actually you were so right I just wasn’t ready to accept it. Not sure if it’s the same for you that you don’t bother telling anyone anymore and just let whatever is mean’t to be happen ? It certainly makes life a lot less controversial, people will change if they are ready and it’s much easier to support them after the events transpire than to get into their stuff, plus on the HSS side you get to see a load of drama unfold and how accurate your reading was from a safe space 😉 I call it caring without caring, the HSP cares, the HSS lets go of care, or sometimes bipolar order where we are naturally balanced by two opposites, in Buddhism they may describe it as the middle way, in Taoism they may describe it as experiencing the TAO, where we are in the moment, letting nature happen and alive to whatever may emerge.
Thanks for sharing about the difficulty you experience in standing eye contact! When I realized this trait of mine, years ago, I felt ashamed, ‘why couldn’t I be able do it?! c’mon, show some boldness!’.. Later on, I realized something else: as an HSP, when I lock eyes with someone, I both feel a lot, often too much about them, and especially let them see a lot about me i might not be ready to share with them. I need a loooooot of time before feeling Ican trust someone, so, of course I don’t let strangers, not even friends whom I know can be judgemental, to look ‘into my soul’!
so, yes, when I remember to do so, I make some conscious effort to stand eye contact for a longer time, which is what my HSS side wants, but I agree with my HPS side too, i think is totally okay to be careful about whom i let in.
Interesting that you say, “I’m doomed.” That has been my internal catch phrase for a long time. The simplest, shortest way to express the paradox of being me, or as you put it, getting bored AND needing to do nothing. Every decision (even what to have for lunch) engenders so much internal effort and reflection, but ultimately it FEELS like I take most of my actions on impulse no matter how much I have reflected first.
So many autoimmune conditions. Me too.
and me too
Amy Brown says
My mind is blown! I can’t thank you enough for this information…I literally had a light bulb moment realising this is exactly who I am. I have known for quite some time that I’m a HSP. I have however struggled with my risky side and confusion on whether I was an introverted extrovert or an extrovert who craved alone time, or just an extroverted HSP? I felt as though I was putting on an act where I would be the life of the party only then desperately needing a weekend break to “recharge”. I wouldn’t contact or respond to any of my friends and would turn into a recluse. I am incredibly relieved to have now discovered the truth.
I am a HSP/HS/INFJ and so thrilled to have found this site!
Autoimmune: T1Diabetic/Celiac Disease…any connection?
I am so grateful that this website exists. Every single one of these pages describes me so well and it feels like such valuable information to understand and unpack in my life. I got high scores on both tests, HSP: 27 and HSS: 15. The disparity between these two parts of myself has always caused me emotional problems because the HSP part is especially strong. So, thank you.
this is probably going to change my life, can’t express my gratitude
Hey folks! I’m curious what y’all think. When completing the HSS quiz, I would have answered yes without hesitation to almost every question, if I was answering for my teens and 20s. Now, I hesitate saying yes to some of the questions because, well, life and life filled with all sorts of different traumas. I do think many of the questions would be yes if I could find the motivation to go out and do that stuff, because I love it. Many of my answers that were yes but are now no I can find reasons why these feelings have changed, the answer is almost always, life has beat that out of me. Do y’all think I’m still HSS? Do y’all think I can get that back? I loved that part of myself and my husband loves it too, it was a huge part of our courtship and the first 5 or 6 years of marriage. He loved having me introduce him to new experiences and foods. He’s always been pragmatic and sensible and I used to be able to talk him in to trying wild and crazy new things. He’s noticed it’s virtually non-existent now and would like that part of me back, as do I. Also, I am really struggling with believing HSP is who I am, my psychiatrist has been slowly tearing down who I think I am by making me think about why I have some of the needs to do some of the unhealthy things I do and the emotions driving them. I don’t like it and keep feeling very, very disturbed by her guidance (totally me, she is doing what needs to be done and she understands my discomfort), I don’t believe the empathy stuff or the caring about other people or the strong desire to make things right for everyone regardless of how they treat/feel about me. I have convinced myself that I don’t care, that I allow myself to be used over and over because it’s easier to say yes than no and not anything to do with feelings, I have convinced myself I don’t care how others feel about me (this is still true, but now I realize I care about how I make others feel), that I can take what I want from others and not feel bad. Most of these are straight up lies I’ve been telling myself (I think so I could be normal, I’ve been aware to some degree or another that some of those lies I tell myself aren’t actually true). Admitting to being a caring, empathic, self sacraficing for others kind of person would be admitting I am one of the type of people I can’t stand being around. So have any of you struggled with acceptance and belief as I have? How do you get to the point of feeling ok about it (I’m not anywhere near a point to call it a gift, when I let myself feel it, it’s torture, I hate it, I hate myself and I want it to go away) so you can begin accepting? Some of the terms make me feel weak, vulnerable and unlikable. How do you become something you very strongly dislike and have spent most of your life working hard to be the exact opposite of? I’ve gotten to the point that I realize I’m fighting a losing battle, but I’m still fighting it with everything I have, not ready to admit childhood traumas had any impact on who I am except giving me a strong fear of intimacy, an ability to keep people at arm’s length (physically and emotionally, I hate being touched and having my excessively large personal space invaded), an ability to change my life circumstances based on what I want and ignore what everyone else wants and to change my friends on a regular basis without regret. I never wanted kids because I figured I was too selfish and self centered to focus on someone else and I wanted the freedom that comes with being childless. So, with all of these selfish feelings I thought I had, I was safe and no one could hurt me. How do you let go of that? I want so badly to walk this path, to have a clear understanding of who I am and see this as a gift and not just the weight of the world, to use my hyper vigilance to see the potential for positive experiences, instead of looking for danger and the potential for hurt. I really hope some of y’all have some thoughts you are willing to share or that I’m not alone in not feeling very good about this discovery.
I think you’re very well on your way already, from what I’m reading in your message. You have a therapist and are actually willing to change your viewpoints; I don’t think there’s much more you can do right now. It just takes time, lots of time and a lot of pain to heal. I can fully imagine that that feels frustrating, but if you have big childhood traumas, and if you have been telling lies to yourself for years or probably decades, then that’s just very hard to solve. But you’re removing the big wall around yourself, brick for brick and that’s very positive. I think that over time, even though you’re in pain and have a lack of self-acceptance right now, your life will turn out better and better.
And about your worry of the HSS evaporating: if it was ever a part of you, it has never truly gone away, and never will. You should not underestimate the impact of traumas and false convincements. The negative has just built up so much over the years that it has hidden the HSS and the other positive things in life. The positive things and the HSS will slowly come back to you, but I repeat, it just costs time and energy and pain.
I myself am very lucky to have a mother who’s also a HSP and highly gifted, and that’s why I do not share much of your life story; so I fear I can’t help you with a story of my own experience.
But in conclusion, do not give up (even though temporarily giving up at times is okay, as long as you eventually get back up at your feet) and you will see the positive things in life again – and in time, you will be able to spread your gift to the ones around you once more.
Just wanted to say you are not alone.
I’m struggling to accept it.
The older I get, my HSP side became stronger.
I was a quiet child until 5 but became friendly, outgoing and quite extroverted.
So I had thought I overcame my introversion but then these 5 to 6 years, my HSP side got stronger and couldn’t accept it.
Depression hit me since last year and I became more introvert and HSP.
So I really understand your struggle and pain.
I still hope my HSS side become stronger and I’ve never ever thought it’s gifted.
To be honest, I hate it!
Good to know I’m not alone.
Getting Better says
I first heard of HSP abut 7yrs ago, I first thought it was a crock. Even though I am highly sensitive, I also am extremely skeptical and analytical… lol Sometimes and interesting combination actually! I can back to the HSP idea 2yrs later because it just kept rattling in my head! I watched the movie and said…. “Okay, that’s me!!!!” Ah! The High Sensory thing I read about, but it didn’t make much sense until today. I can say absolutely I am both HSS and HSP. However, I like you had trauma after trauma beat me down, and had a lot of people make fun of me, for a while, I just buried the HSS side, not that I had a name for it, but I let go away. Eventually it started to come back and then retreat intermittently, as I worked through traumas. I have been through more trauma and abuse, then most people I know of, save a few I can count on my hand. So I can say, if you keep working on it, there is hope! Don’t stop! You can get get that spontaneous side to come out again! I am sure it is there buried, just waiting to be dug up and brought back into the light. 🙂 I’m sure you have a lot to work through as I did, but it will be 100% worth all of the pain, anxiety, fear, sadness, etc, in the end. It will be hard, and you’ll likely always struggle with it a little, but that’s okay. When we are severely wounded, we will have a scare, but the wound will heal given enough time. 🙂 You are not alone, and others have made it through, you can too if you don’t give up on working through these issues!
Hey Lisa, I can’t speak for you but I relate, had lots of childhood trauma also, in my case I knew pretty much from the moment I was born I was different, I identify as being both things at once, good/bad, selfish/selfless, generous/greedy, caring/not caring etc at one point in my life very early I chose to always act with good intentions, we always have choice, the best time to choose may have been many years ago, the second best time is now, this will be true for the rest of my life. I fail all the time at changing but I never stop trying and each time I learn something new. Good luck on the journey and hope you receive whatever help you need along the way 🙂
Stephanie W says
I relate with SO many comments on this page but really understand your feeling of being both things at once. I refer to myself as a living contradiction in many ways and learning that I am an HSP/HSS has helped me understand that so much better. Always feeling torn is rough but I’m diligently working on finding the right balance of HSP/HSS activities for myself… and I know that that balance will change throughout my lifetime.
What an interesting contradiction to be both highly sensitive and sensation-seeking. Well this explains why I absolutely thrived in a job where I had to travel between tiny, remote towns in the vast wilderness of northern Canada, thousands of kilometers from the nearest city. All of the adventure, none of the overstimulation.
I wonder how many HSP/HSS’s are wilderness explorer types? The wonderful thing about nature is that it provides infinite possibilities for adventure while at the same time being very soothing to the senses. Heightened sensitivity really serves you well in the wilderness, allowing you to spot plants and animals that most people would miss. Plus I feel a strong *high* of sorts in nature that’s almost spiritual and often brings me to tears. Anyone else ever feel that way?
YES!!!!! The wildness is definitely a perfect balance!
Yes I relate to this. The wonder and awe I feel for nature often brings me near to tears. I feel so much appreciation and deep reverence, it definitely takes on a spiritual dimension.
Dave B says
HSP – 25
HSS – 15
45 yo Male – discovered empathy before stumbling onto being an HSP. I like to say that before I discovered being an HSP, “I have been surfing other people’s emotions instead of living mine.” This lead me down a path of adrenal fatigue and refusal to listen to my body for many years…which I am still recovering from. Learning about the HSS piece was due to a conversation with a co worker who self describes as an HSP and who loves to fly…what many would consider a dangerous activity. I grew up with individualized by high sensation sports…pole vaulting, whitewater kayaking, etc. It makes TOTAL sense now and makes the foot on the gas and on the brake comment really hit home. I find this even more now as a spouse and a parent.
My love to you all of you and the discovery we are on!
I overeat for comfort and can no longer burn it off due to Fibromyalgia, so I am fat. I know I need to decrease calories, but I want to follow my impulse anyway, even though it probably will kill me. I over-spend to get the thrill of the hunt, to capture and “collect” = code for borderline hoarding. I can’t work and my income varies year to year (no government safety net) and I over-spend, don’t save for future needs, so it’s consistently bad money management. I am thinking that these two activities (over eating and over spending) need to be added as “thrill-seeking” because the head knows exactly what needs to be done, but the bad decision making, to do the opposite, persists year after year. I do not get any pleasure in thinking about the economic security I would have, if I saved money, even though I crave that security. I know extra weight can only complicate health issues, but I get no sense of satisfaction when I envision health improvement.
Very difficult finding balans.
22 HSP and 18 HSS man oh man is my brain loud. This really explains so much, thank you for your research. I’ve been trying to find a partner who understands both sides of me, and it’s very difficult!
This is what everyone who knows me says 😂😂😂
23 HSP / 18 HSS – I can tell you that being inside my head is so intense that I often feel like I have already lived my whole life and I could die tomorrow because I’ve taken in enough for multiple lifetimes.
I don’t really have that (yet), but I have been thinking about possible careers and life paths a lot recently and it kind of feels as if I’ve made those decisions already while in fact I’m still very free and have made none of those choices in reality. It’s weird, but at least it prevents me from making rash choices that don’t fit me enough… But yeah, being an HSP’er can be intense.
Wow! I believe I have made the HSS test before, but I didn’t read the article back then. Now through a PowerPoint of a study I’ll possibly be signing up for, I ended up here once again. I have read quite a lot about HSP and highly giftedness, but this is a very valuable article for me and sheds a new light on why I don’t go through with many of my possible plans, and why I like seeing new places (most of the time) most when I’m together with at least one person I know. I’m simply too sensitive to do those things and to go to those places alone, even though I really like the ‘new’ and can’t live without it. My carefulness, I now realize, is there not to block me, but only to protect myself from danger and from too intense feelings; I never truly understood that before. My vision of myself has also slightly changed after this article. I’m really glad I read this article at my age, 17, on the verge of choosing a study and thus a lifepath. I’m now aware that I should not fall into the pitfall of overestimating my HSS and underestimating my HSP, but also that I should not underestimate my HSS. I was kind of fluctuating between those two pitfalls (which sounds contradictory when you put it in words). Thank you for these tests and this article!
First and foremost, I just want to say thank you and God bless you, Dr. Elaine Aron.
Throughout my whole life, (I’m only 21 but I’ve grown up in London, England- if you’re unfamiliar with the culture it is extremely harsh, unforgiving, prided on a lack of sensitivity and you are forced to grow up fast) I’ve struggled with the dichotomous nature of my personality, it always led to me not understanding myself and constantly questioning why I am the way I am. There are other factors (BPD,Bipolar, the fact I’m a black man and the stigma attached with that etc.) but honestly reading this has been the biggest, freshest breath of air ever. It’s like somebody switched a lightbulb on in a dark room and I can choose the ambience setting, as I please.
I scored 22 on HSP and 15 on HSS. I also asked my mother to take the questionnaire on the Is Your Child Sensitive? That score was 17.
It also led to one of the most empowering, and honest conversations I’ve ever had with my mum. So once again, thank you.
To put it candidly, I feel seen.
My mother always exclaimed during my childhood, “I do not understand this child” – not in a bad way at all, it was more out of admiration – I would cry and be so sensitive (covering my ears and say “no,no,no or refusal to enter the place if there were too many loud noises), yet I’d be the loud one playing around with my friends, still have the confidence to tell adults they were wrong (tears streaming down my face in defiance, but still unmoved from my stance). It always puzzled her, and growing up it always puzzled me- I’d try hide my HSP even though I’d feel everything. This comment is long-winded and wordy but I just wanted to express my gratitude to Dr.Aron (and the comment section you guys help as well!) as well as anyone who could be reading this and is struggling. I just want to do my part. After reading the article’s and explanations, it changed my perspective completely and embracing it as my superpower.. I genuinely feel like my life is changing already.
So once again, thank you and God bless you.
To be honest, the HSS score could actually be higher, there were a few boxes I could tick but I gave the benefit of the doubt the other way, just in case of misinterpretation or other.
After burning out twice and being diagnosed with an auto-immune disease (yes, me too. Should we start a club?), my psychologist pointed me in the direction of HSP. It was certainly eye-opening, but at the same time, I felt different from other HSP’s and never really understood why. I thought that maybe I wasn’t fully accepting of my HSP, because why did I still feel like I wanted to explore the world knowing full well that I didn’t have the energy or health to do so? But now that I’ve read about the HSP/HSS combo it makes absolute sense. Just from reading the comments, I feel like I have more in common with the people here than those who identify as non-HSS, introvert HSP. It certainly feels good not to be alone. Maybe we should start a club after all!
Also INFJ. And burnt out with symptoms resembling ME/CSF. So yes, the autoimmune thing.
Neither my doctor nor the psychiatrist he sent me to, acknowledges HSP/SPS as something real. As far as I’ve been able to ascertain. Nobody does in my city, or in the country I live in for that matter. Burnout also is not a formal diagnosis it seems. So they try to treat me for all kinds of other things that resembles something they do have names, treatments or methodologies for. I’ve given them up at this point. I’m also too exhausted to look for another job, and also feel I will never again find a job I’m happy in so there’s no point. I sound depressed right now I know, but I’m actually not. Just exhausted and lonely.
I moved to a new city a couple of years ago, I’m single as well so my social network is way too small. Finding a kindered spirit is difficult when you are an HSS HSP who is burnt out.
It makes me happy that you guys exist, that I’m not alone and that Elaine Aron and others are doing good research. I’m 49 years old. At the moment I’m counting the days to retirement and just trying to survive, but things do pass, so maybe they also will for me and life will change for the better.
Love and hugs from me 🙂
I got 16 HSP and 13 HSS. I have been “weird” all my life, even I asked myself why I could not be more normal. When I was a child I was quite shy and now at 25 I feel more myself than ever, knowing that I am more happy letting my HSS doing crazy stuff but then HSP letting recover.
However I still struggle with some depression, maybe of some life difficulties (my father died 3 years ago and I even realise now that maybe he was like me but he worked so much that maybe that’s why he got ALS), but I wonder if you people get depression under control, the ones if you have it, without medication? And I also have struggled regarding love always, and as Elaine says HSP/HSS people struggle finding love, so are there happy long relationship couples? What if I don’t find other HSP/HSS…
Love to you all!
HSP 27, HSS 17
I have know I was HSP for a little while, and just now did the HSS test! OMG, it all makes sense. I didn’t know how I could be a HSP and still LOVE Disneyland and festivals. I was a thrill seeker until I had a series of traumatic events and three kids. Now, I am just tired. But, I have info to help my daughter who is also HSP, and probably HSS. She loves mountain biking, swings, and the big roller coasters, but can’t walk into a classroom of 20 kids. At least I can help her know who she is.
This is the first time I have ever read about HSP/HSS and I feel as though I’m dreaming as I respond to all of these comments! Every one of them describes a piece of my life, I’m 52 years old and diagnosed with goiter/Hashimoto’s at age 25 (immediately after giving birth to my first baby) undiagnosed celiac disease for at least 7 years (birth of third baby and death of father in 2005, diagnosed in 2007) GAD, panic attacks, depression, insomnia… WOW! Have been clairvoyant since adolescence but shut that down very quickly in order to “fit in”, my mask was/is that of the extrovert but will later disappear for days/shut down from everyone and everything. I’m a life long student and just finished my MA in clinical mental health counseling but refuse to put individuals into a box of symptoms which has led me here taking a course on working with HSP individuals in a therapeutic relationship. For anyone who feels not heard – I HEAR YOU! My healing has occurred because of my forced fearlessness of trying something different – EFT, The healing codes, reiki, breath work, nutrition, movement, vibrational medicine/energy work and the consistent practice of tuning into what my guides, higher self, angels, animals, nature, symbols, words, songs, music (fill in the blank) want or need me to pay attention to. I endure the sadness, tears, heartache and pain knowing that when I feel the love, excitement, joy, laughter and contentment of who I am that I will again regain balance. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this work and the courage every one has expressed on these pages!
Age = 55
C-PTSD, depression, anxiety
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), which was post-viral (like COVID long-haulers) – probably autoimmune. In remission once. Recurrence occurred when under tremendous stress.
I’ve been fortunate to seek out and find some great therapists over the years. However, it hasn’t been an easy life. I think the knowledge of the HSP and HSS traits helps provide me with another important puzzle piece.
I do think that it might be helpful to form a support group. Seems many of us are facing the same challenges. I know there are others who have learned a great deal about how to enjoy life and find your sweet spot in this world. I’ve learned a lot on that front… and yet still could learn more.
I scored above threshold for both HSP and HSS, and it makes total sense to me! It actually explains a lot of things in my life… why I’m overwhelmed by bright lights, certain foods, certain clothing, being put on the spot, etc. … but I’m also an adventure seeker and have traveled places and gone on trips most people would never do. And yet, I always meticulously planned out those crazy adventures…
I will meticulously plan getting to/from a destination and having sufficient resources (e.g., $) & safety nets; but then I want to be completely spontaneous from there. 🙂
Wow….just wow! I am so new in this entire new world of HSP. I took the HSP test and got a 22, on the HSS test I got a 17. This article could have been written about me, but this is all so new! I have a lot more to research. I am 50 years old, I scuba dive, I worked as a deckhand on a PMV to see the world and history, I bartend so I can work alone, day shift, and because I love meeting new people and being the OTC therapist.
I am still chasing my dream of what has turned to Psychology and before I even saw the documentary on Prime. I have ordered “The Highly Sensitive Person”, and I wish I had gotten the Kindle but I am a voracious reader and devout to the paperback. I have joined the FB group “Elaine Aron & Highly Sensitive” and I have alrdy been brought to tears(per my mom-I cry at beer commercials) just by the kindness and genuine assistance. I have gotten some references of a way to seek my first effort at certified and real therapy. All of my years seeking to find what was wrong with me, I still can’t believe this is real. The HSS just blew me away as much as the HSP doc and articles. I joke to the hubby ALL the time that I have a Mad Scientist and a Young Child in my brain, they co-exist pretty contentedly at this point, but the Mad Scientist side is a bit harsh and judgmental, the kid just enjoys life so much she ignores the MS. The article rang true when it genuinely made me realize it was less of a joke and more of a way of trying to understand my personality and life struggles due to it. I do hide my sensitive side(the kid) and I have NEVER once considered just my whole self. The two sides exhaust me and I go down and get depressed, but where I am HSS, I go nuts and must leave my cocoon of books, bed, and pets. I just want to express my genuine thanks.
I am *snowflaking* a lil because of childhood trauma and a long term adult with personal issues has had me always believing I had no chance at fixing myself or at least understanding myself enough that I can trust me out there for long enough that I don’t feel like I am over dramatic because I can’t stand the lights for 8 straight hours or I intentionally took my anger or stress out on someone else and apologize but stress for life over it, sometimes I hide. I am just now accepting being human and learning that I can be proud of myself, on some points. Plus, I LOVE LIFE, bad times and death suck. my parents, sister, sister-in-law, Brother-in-law, mother-in-law cousin, and BF have all passed, and I have gone down for a couple of years after some particularly tough and long cancer deals. So, I have seen the worst, I feel ok saying I was too young to go from a huge family to just mainly me. Even through all of the worst times of my life, I just love it so very much. I take the HSS too far, and I talk too much, and too honestly. I am just trying to absorb, go over, and calm my over excited bum down. I am going to continue pressing on links and reading, I know I should just chillax and absorb the overwhelming info I alrdy have. Thank you so much for being a personal idol now and someone I hope who can help folks who truly have begun to think they are helpless. I can’t trust myself yet, but I feel once I read the book and get a therapist, I can get confirmation of my HSP. Now I just have to do it and start therapy, weirdly harder than I would have ever believed.
Sorry, so very long. I promise to edit and shorten my posts, just so excited. So sorry.
I was led to the show on Amazon, is it called ‘The Untold Story of Sensitivity’? By a friend who thought it described me.
After watching that I decided to search it on the internet and that brought me here. I scored 23 on HSP, 17 on HSS, and my 12 year old daughter scored 18 on the highly sensitive child. I invited her input to see if she agreed with my assessment, with two exceptions she did, so possibly she scored a 15.
Thank you for your research and for making this information accessible. Its always nice to see people who appreciate our exceptions, rather than despise them. Sending everyone warmth and joy.
I discovered Elaine Aaron many years ago. But I’ve been a little busy being an HSP 20 – HSS -16.
Life is exhausting most of the time. Still haven’t figured out a balance at age 55!
Hope to, before passing away…
I am 44 years old and
HSP – 27
HSS – 11
The Dance between them is wild.
Thanks. This information helped me see myself a little more clearly I think.
Drema Jorgensen says
I got 24 on the HSP, and 17 on the HSS. At 63, I’m just beginning to understand myself. Thank you for that!
Ramin Satyahadi says
Male 44 years old. HSP 25, HSS 14.
I can’t begin to tell you how you’ve saved my life with my discovery of HSP. Childhood and lifelong emotional abuse and toxic family environment and situations led to bipolar disorder, gender dysphoria, and suicide attempts. Fueled by constant confusions, being misunderstood, criticized, ridiculed, and the likes propelled me to a very dangerous experience that almost cost my life and to the detriment of my family. Knowing my true self now brings a lot of healing from all the anger and hatred I’ve been harboring inside. Thank you so much Dr Elaine for your work🙏 You are an angel sent from God.
I’m 25 years old. I’m kinda scared 😂😐
I’m ENFP 🥳
I’m 25 years old. I’m kinda afraid of these test’s results 😂😐
I’m ENFP 🥳
I’m 25 years old. I’m kinda afraid of these tests’ results 😂😐
K Three says
Age 67, I took both tests myself and then on behalf of my recently deceased husband. I’m thinking one reason we – certified “eccentrics” – were so entwined throughout the four decades we had together is that we are/were apparently both HSP and HSS – not extremely so (all four scores were around the mid teens) but definitely, and not in exactly the same ways. He was a little more HSP; I lean slightly more toward HSS. If our relationship is indicative, I can’t imagine a better combo.
Got diagnosen with ADD 1,5 ya
HSP 19 & HSS 17
It all makes a lot of sense now.
I am a very likeable, extraverted person however internally I have always felt like I am different and don’t fit in.
As a child I used to have an issue with sensory touches for example at aged 5 I used to wear age 11 underwear as I remember feeling incredibly uncomfortable and stressed out if the pants were too tight. Likewise, I remember feeling overwhelmed putting on boots/wellies, if my socks fell down and equally if my food touched.
I also refused to eat eggs as I believed they were baby chicks and quickly became a vegetarian aged 12 despite any family influence on this decision.
Growing up I’ve always felt like an old soul and have been wise beyond my years.
Now aged 25 I still feel like I don’t fit in. I am very creative and visionary and feel in great depth being highly intuitive and self-reflecting. I feel I see beauty in a different way to others and am always noticing how vivid and visual the scenery is around me.
Likewise, I had never heard of high sensation seeker beforehand and this also makes a lot of sense. Since I was 18 I have never lived in the same place for more than 9 months and nor do I want to. I have managed to complete my studies but have not kept the same job for more than 4 months – this is something I am hoping to change. I always really struggle in the first few weeks of a job, particularly with new technology as I find it extremely overwhelming.
I have found though that after a month or two of a job, I have mastered it and am ready to move onto something new that provides me with new challenges and opportunities to grow.
I love to travel and see new places, and have already lived in 5 different countries as well as working and living on a yacht abroad.
One issue I find particularly prevalent for me is the need for a true life purpose.
Wow! This explains SO much. I am a 18 HSP/ 16 HSS woman. For my whole life, people have described me as “intense” or “intimidating.” I love novelty and intellectual challenges, so have always pushed myself outside my comfort zone. For example, I would have no problem speaking out in college classes because I loved the discussion and felt I had something to contribute, but my HSP side would inevitably be very nervous. I tend to blush and/or have tremor in hands when nervous. I have always hated that I cannot control these un-hideable signs of nervousness, because they can undermine my performance. Fast forward to my career. I became a litigator in mid career after working as a writer/editor. I wanted to prove myself and I am not afraid of making big changes. 10 years in, I love the challenge and novelty of my work, but as you might imagine, my HSP nature has not disappeared. I am still trying to find the right balance of making the most my unique gifts without frying/overwhelming my system. More happily, in my romantic life, I was fortunate to leave a relationship with a low sensitivity, low sensation seeking person, and marry a man who 10 HSP and a 13 HSS. While we are different in many ways, we are close enough for him to understand and relate to me in ways my previous partner could not. Interestingly, I do love interviewing, and that has been a through-line of both of my careers (writer, lawyer). Deep down, I wish I had become a psychologist 🙂
Wow! This explains SO much. I am a 18 HSP/ 16 HSS woman. For my whole life, people have described me as “intense” or “intimidating.” I love novelty and intellectual challenges, so have always pushed myself outside my comfort zone. For example, I would have no problem speaking out in college classes because I loved the discussion and felt I had something to contribute, but my HSP side would inevitably be very nervous. I tend to blush and/or have tremor in hands when nervous. I have always hated that I cannot control these un-hideable signs of nervousness, because they can undermine my performance. Fast forward to my career. I became a litigator in mid career after working as a writer/editor. I wanted to prove myself and I am not afraid of making big changes. 10 years in, I love the challenge and novelty of my work, but as you might imagine, my HSP nature has not disappeared. I am still trying to find the right balance of making the most of my unique gifts without frying/overwhelming my system. More happily, in my romantic life, I was fortunate to leave a relationship with a low sensitivity, low sensation seeking person, and marry a man who is 10 HSP and 13 HSS. While we are different in many ways, we are close enough for him to understand and relate to me in ways my previous partner could not. Interestingly, I do love interviewing, and that has been a through-line of both of my careers (writer, lawyer). Deep down, I wish I had become a psychologist 🙂
Wow – reading this suddenly makes so much of my life fall into place. I have wrangled with inner conflict for 44 years and today reading this I suddenly have the language and understanding of what is going on in my head/heart/body.
HSP 27 / HSS16
This is why I wear myself out – the strong desire to do new things but the consideration of every possible outcome or detail before I do.
I really want to read and learn more to start working with myself rather than against myself the whole time. I am also interested in whether understanding more and shifting my thought patterns and awareness can help with the chronic auto immune condition I have.
Thank you so much for sharing this information – I wish I had found it years ago.
Carol L Maier says
I have always known I was HSP. I called HSS adrenaline rush seeking. I have done the HSS things since childhood.
High score as both HSP and HSS. WOW this makes so much sense. Also an INFJ and Enneagram 1w9.
Struggled with depression for YEARS, (honestly since adolescence – I had a stressful time growing up (how much of it was really because of this HSP/HSS deal though?!?)) but didn’t start doing the work till I totally burned out mid-way through college. (I’m 26) I’ve made a lot of progress doing therapy work and inner healing and identifying trauma, but still so much was unresolved. Just having so much trouble handling myself, ya know? Inner HSP/HSS conflict is STRONG.
I think due to having depression so long my HSP was getting the attention first, (I’ve always been one to habitually disconnect and withdraw), but the HSS was dissatisfied and causing a lot of trouble. (THAT’S where the depression was from !?!) The dissatisfaction kept building and building till it was enough to overcome all the desire for security, and I took myself to Italy for some solo travel. That really helped. Gave my HSS side a lot of satisfaction, and at that point I’d learned enough self-care to help the HSP. 🙂
Anyway, just in the last week was when I stumbled onto the HSP book and man oh MAN everything’s falling into place. Can’t even begin to describe all the ways it makes sense. Feeling DEEP inner conflict (like opposing voices in my head)? Check. Struggle to find a satisfying career (need for security fighting with need for stimulation)? Check. Struggle to find a good partner? Check. (Gosh I had to laugh at the description of how we can project what we dislike about ourselves onto a potential partner, cause it’s so TRUE). My favorite thing is to go off the trail and explore in the woods. I’m more like an introvert than otherwise, but I’ve always resented that about myself because I’m drawn towards people – I just don’t like the overwhelm and exhaustion that comes with social interaction lol.
Honestly I can’t focus on the negative side of the stuggle for long though because it’s also true that I get so much joy from being wired this way. I love my sense of adventure, and I love the superpowers that come with being an HSP. (Though I think I’m gonna be finding ways to tone down on expressing that HSP – she’s had enough attention for a long time and I’m tired of being in my head all the time).
Another thing that’s been helpful to learn about is the Anxious-Avoidant attachment style – aka fearful avoidant or disorganized attachment. I think for me it had a lot to do with being high HSP but not having HSP parents or mentors who therefore couldn’t model healthy ways for handling stressful situations. My little self had a lot of fear to cope with, but that meant HSS was given very little satisfaction. Instead I learned to hide myself and withdraw unless things felt really safe…that comes at a cost though and I’ve felt a lot of shame about it. So there’s a lot to process now.
Oh anyone else relate to the struggle decision-making can be? Not just big decisions but everyday choices – because it’s so hard to get the sides of myself to agree!!
Has anyone out there been successful at establishing self-imposed routines (eg getting up early, meditating at a given time, etc)? I’ve ALWAYS felt like it was something I should do but could only accomplish it by forcing myself in a way that wasn’t healthy, ie suppressing the HSS side I suppose. So how can I persuade HSS to be compliant even when it’s unwilling? Every day feels like a new adventure rather than something I can just impose routine onto. Lol.
Feels like my brain is firing off in so many places. But also all of a sudden I MAKE SO MUCH SENSE TO MYSELF and that’s such a release of pressure. All of a sudden I can see pretty clearly what I want, because those two sides of myself BOTH have a voice. I just have to figure out how to effectively establish strategies that balance out the needs of both. Lol THAT’ll be a roller coaster.
Hello, this is exactly how i feel! I always felt ‘diffrent’ for having a diffrent point of view of things. I never made a professional test or anything, but one day i asked myself “Why are you always trying to understand how people think, or how things works, or why are you afraid of a lot of things? and too brave to others? , i feel more than happy alone, i enjoy myself discovering new places as a coffee shop or a dog park etc… i enjoy to socialize with friends or extrangers, but only sometimes! (ones per month maybe…).
I started to look at this kind of websites, because everybody things i don’t have friends, or that i care too much about things, i over think, etc. But i always felt ok with that. I started to ask myself if that was true… maybe i’m too guide for feelings and i’m loosing logic? i felt/feel lost.
It will sound crazy, but i can ‘read’ someone’s personality very quick. I looooove to analyse behaivor, why is this person like this or like that, what can i do or say to have this reaction? is like a challenge in a good way!
Not too much time ago, i felt very familiar with ‘trouble obsessionnel compulsif’ (TOC) overthinking centain things or images, and then i find this website of Highly Sensitive Persons…WOW too much information to seek ^^ I mean, it should be something! not everybody have sometimes the need of saying something to really feel it (does it makes sense what i just said?) Example; if i remember that i need to say something to someone, i have the need to say it (really say it) at that moment to feel it. It’s too complicated to explain sorry i just wanna be honest and trying to share my experience with others.
Thank you very much for this space! and sorry if this doesn’t share anything useful. I just think sometimes we feel good feeling as we are, and it can be so dramatic and caotic to try to analyse everything because we don’t have control 🙁 up and downs but keeping going forward to feel happy with simple things 🙂
Lisa Lewis says
I’m 57 years old. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I’m too old to seek new experiences because if I can’t walk, etc. What I do know is that I still LOVE seeking new experiences right now and also taking time to myself to recharge and reflect on my new experiences. I feel very whole and complete at the end of the day when I have experienced HSS during the day and can be my HSP self at night. LOL!
I have just learned about the HSP and the HSS personality traits, and they make so much sense to me the more I learn. I have been diagnosed differently over time, and the diagnoses never seem to quite put their finger on the pulse. It’s like reading a horoscope and presuming the descriptions fit me in some way I do not completely see, and my fate already decided without considering me as the individual, unique person I experience myself to be. Therefore they have little to do with how I really feel, decide, or act. The fact is, I have found psychological diagnoses in general are good in the general sense only. Helpful, but not me. But let me describe an experience of my own HSP/HSS and see if you resonate. I quit my job and left town with a friend to hike the John Muir Trail, unprepared, under equipped, and overly hopeful. No plan whatsoever. We did bring fly rods. That was our meal plan. Both of us lost nearly 30lbs on that trip. Sunburnt, frozen, constantly scraped up and dirty, we saw things impossible to forget—beautiful, singular, powerful, terrifying. We stupidly risked our lives on several ill-advised adventures to finally arrive at an idyllic spot on the Trinity loop, overlooking the winding river, the constantly snow-capped mountains, wildlife picking their way through our camp as if we were one of them. While fishing a spot just below the rapids, the insanely constant noise of the river continually deceived me into hearing voices of people from my past—even my childhood. As I stood, listening, I watched the sun pass behind a large tree and light it up like a green, scintillating fire. I was so moved by the vision I just stayed there, not fishing, but feeling the tree seem to sing to me alone—no sound, just the vision of the perfect tree in the joy of the sun being entirely and only itself. The essence of music without music. Perfectly beautiful. As I watched, in the constant noise of the river I heard my mother’s voice call out to me from my childhood. It was so familiar and so real, I turned to look, but I was alone. Years later, as my mother was dying, I wrote this story for her. I wanted her to know how she inhabits a place in my soul where my sense of beauty lives, where my sense of awe lives, where my love of life lives. And she will always live in that space. She wept. I was told she read the story over and over after that. From the outside, on my adventure, I just looked like a guy standing in a river with a fishing pole. From the inside I was inundated with beauty so intensely I could not properly express it at the time. I would sometimes literally weep or smile at seemingly nothing. I value both of these traits in myself. I do not feel less-than or weak. I would not want to live life any other way.
HSP – 27
HSS – 17
When I first learnt about Elaine’s research on HSP and her description of their traits, I cried, cause I felt finally seen for specific, deep parts of me anyone had ever acknowledged or valued before… Now that I found out also about her work on HSS, wow!, what can I say, something in me felt as finally could fall into place, no, better, as i was made of two pieces that can lock together perfectly, but they had been kept apart, and now they were finally given way to reunite! Yahiiii!!
I am really so grateful for Elaine’s work and everything she is sharing with us, thank you!!!
It’s also very exciting for me too see so many people with similar stories and traits to mine, all in the same place.. Now I feel like I’d love there was a forum or something like that where this community could mingle, share more, get to know each other, etc, hehe!! 🙂 (…of course, two seconds after saying this, my HSP feels it would be too dangerous, etc etc.. ;))
Anyway, I haven’t managed to read all of the comments here above, yet, but I’m gonna save this page and read them later, it will be soothing 🙂
I wish you all much joy, while feeling safe and secure!
HSP-18+, HSS-11+, Female 67
Wow. I have known for decades I am a HSP and learned to cope with this over time, retreating to my room and books after being outdoors as a child and addressing panic attacks, depression, noise and crowd sensitivity, perfectionism, etc. as an adult. Love your HSP book! And I always loved the outdoors – tree climbing, biking, swimming, diving, boating, water skiing, gymnastics, trampoline, snow skiing/ski racing, horseback riding and hiking. Tried sky diving, parasailing, zip lining, rappelling and anything else that was was reasonably available and safe. I hate the pandemic because I love all aspects of travel (except the parts that push my HSP buttons). HSS on top of HSP ties up a lot of loose ends for me. Thank you!!!
Hey fellow HSP/HSS!
I wonder, do you ever “feed” your HSS with new sex partners? I think besides travel (my main high sensation source), sex is one of the areas where my HSS side seeks novelty. To me that’s a thrill that is so hard to resist! I wonder if it has to do with the skin to skin touch. My skin is very sensitive (my autoimmune issues are skin-related) and feeling someone else’s skin against mine is a very intense experience that I love (I’m also very much into dancing involving physical closeness and skin contact). Does anyone else have this sex and/or skin thing?? I don’t know how to make that compatible with a stable monogamous relationship. Any advice??
Also, one way I think my HSP shows up is by being extremely sensitive to cold. Being cold distresses me emotionally, I experience cold as an aggression, violent. I equate feeling cold with feelings of abandonment. Being cold is not just a physical experience, it’s very much an emotional one, and very distressing! Anyone else has this??
Isaac Kalder says
So, are we all supposed to have HSS with HSP? Is it bad that I am essentially ALL HSP and NONE of the HSS?
I HATE adrenaline, excitement, change and surprises with the WHOLE of my being.
I hate amusement parks, roller coasters, speed, drops, heights, horror movies, pain, spicy food, alcohol, sex, bodily fluids, romance, friendships, noise, large gatherings, the presence of other people, and anything that makes me feel anything other than a strict, neutral mode at all times.
I don’t like really feeling anything at all. I like being alone and practically solitary confinement.
The only thing that doesn’t fit me that seems to fit others on the HSP scale is Empathy and being a Yes Man.
I am a NO man most of time and I don’t care about other people’s problems or suffering that doesn’t personally affect me in some way and that I am not aware of.
I’m not a criminal and will not exploit and manipulate others or do anything illegal, immoral, or unethical, but for the most part, the only person that I am out for is me.
And I don’t like socializing or leaving my home. I hate society and other people with every ounce of my soul.
And that part of the article where Elaine said:
“There’s a you who is neither HSP or HSS. Did you ever think about that? This you has talents, values, and goals that are quite specific, not just those of all HSPs or all HSSs. The HSS in you wants to display those talents, live by those values, and achieve those goals as soon as possible. Just living this way, living fully, can be a special thrill to the HSS.”
Specifically the: “There’s a you who is neither HSP or HSS.” part.
Not true for me and that doesn’t apply at all. I have no ME that is NOT HSP or HSS. I don’t HAVE HSP. I AM HSP. HSP is my very existence. It’s a part of my very soul and inner being itself. Me is HSP and HSP is me. There’s is no neutral NON HSP part of me.