Thursday, May 07, 2015

HSP Derailed! Overstimulation... or ADHD?

From time to time, I find myself examining just where being a Highly Sensitive Person "ends" and where "other issues" begin.

Personally, I believe that thoroughly "understanding ourselves" is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves, as HSPs.


It's an easy "out" to simply attribute everything we struggle with to the blanket statement "because I'm an HSP, that's why" and thereby shut ourselves off to genuine avenues towards living better and more fulfilling lives. Let's face it, not everything we experience is because of high sensitivity.

Issue at hand: I work from home, and yesterday I was working on a fairly large "catch-up project" I've been avoiding (a bunch of fairly dull paperwork sorting related to business taxes) when something unrelated "came up."

Even though I was only "distracted" for about 20 minutes, I found it almost impossible to get back to being productive, and the more I tried to pick up where I had left off, the more irritable and overstimulated I felt. Eventually, I just gave up and moved on to doing something completely different. Even so, I remained kind of annoyed with my own inability to resume where I'd broken off and the remainder of the day ended up pretty much being a loss. Ever experience something like that?

So what's really going on?

Whereas I am an HSP, I am also an adult with ADHD. I am easily distracted, and I have issues with concentration. And that's not "because I'm an HSP." Now, the "overstimulation" part? That's more likely where the sensitivity kicks in.

And the fact that was sitting here "processing deeply" and overanalyzing the whole thing? That's probably also related to my being an HSP...

OK, So that last bit was a joke. At least sort of. We HSPs do ruminate a lot...

It's not always easy to get these distinctions to fit neatly into one category or another, but I do find it useful to pause and examine what's really going on when distressing situations arise. I realized that part of my anger with myself stemmed from very old memories from school where my parents were often told that "Peter would do really well if he'd only apply himself more." I would get angry because nobody seemed willing to consider that I just couldn't "apply myself" any more. I tried... I really did.

So why do I care "what's what" and why do I feel that it matters... and why should it matter to you?

Life as an HSP can be challenging, and since we are living with an inborn trait all we can do is "manage" our lives to run as smoothly as possible. You can't "treat" being an HSP and there's no "cure" for it (It's not even a "diagnosis") but often we can apply certain techniques and "helping tools" to help smooth the bumps. But to do so correctly, it's important we understand the nature of the bumps we encounter and precisely what caused them.

As a simple metaphor, "allergies" and "a cold" both cause your nose to run and it would be an easy out to say they were "the same"... but from a healing perspective, it makes little sense to treat them like that because they are actually two quite different things.

So it is with being Highly Sensitive, and dealing with things that are not high sensitivity... but still cause us distress. We mustn't allow our trait to become a convenient "catch all" to explain away all our difficulties.... be informed! Know yourself!

What do YOU think? Do you usually have a clear understanding of what happens "because you're an HSP" and what happens for other reasons? Do share and leave a comment!

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