Visceral Reactions to Blood & Guts

gutsThe other day, I started rambling to my long-suffering husband about childhood stories. I was talking about how blood, flesh, and dead creatures have always grossed me out in a big way. It seemed to me this could be related to being highly sensitive. If not, then hopefully it’s at least entertaining.

Story Time!

When I was in 5th grade, we were shown a cow lung in class. The entire class crowded around a long table as the teacher showed air expanding the lungs. I remember thinking it was interesting.

Someone looked at me and said, “Are you ok? You are white as a ghost.” [Read more…]

Response to the Wall Street Journal article, “Do You Cry Easily? You May Be a Highly Sensitive Person”

wsj 2A few days ago, an article was published in the WSJ titled, “Do You Cry Easily? You May Be a ‘Highly Sensitive Person.'”

The subtitle: “HSPs can respond more intensely to sounds or crowds; ‘I keep tissues handy at all times.'”

It was accompanied by a photo of a movie theatre full of crying people.

Now, I am thrilled that a major publication is writing about high sensitivity, but the title and subtitle may hurt the cause rather than help.

In this post, I discuss my thoughts on the WSJ article, particularly the aspects I found disappointing. [Read more…]

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy…heard of it?

cognitive therapy graphicLately, I have been hearing about cognitive behavioral therapy all over the place. From a close friend, HSPs who’ve emailed me to talk about it, in blog posts, and more. A friend told me in detail about her experience in cognitive therapy sessions, and I was fascinated. It made so much sense, and sounded so helpful for anyone who engages in damaging negative self-talk.
[Read more…]

Nice Nurse: The Importance of Compassionate Care

compassionate care graphicImagine riding in a car with your friends, and everything goes black. The next thing you know, you are lying somewhere, but you can’t see. You’re in indescribable pain. You can’t speak. You can’t move your head.

Then you feel a soft touch on your hand and arm, and a caring voice explains that you were in a car accident. This person squeezes your hand and says, “I’m here.”

Those two words make a world of difference.

[Read more…]

It takes me forever to do anything

sproutsI’m not fast. I’m not quick at doing most things.

However, I am deliberate and accurate.

One example of this is cooking. Even if I have one of those “20 minute meal” type recipes, it’s going to take me over an hour. I will wash, peel, slice, chop, and do every single thing with care and precision. [Read more…]

“Freedom” isn’t a Goal

freedom is not a goalI spent the better (worse?) part of nearly ten years working in a cubicle. To put it gently…I didn’t like it.

I wanted to escape from working in a cubicle in an office. I wanted to work for myself, from home (or wherever I wanted). I wanted FREEDOM and AUTONOMY. I thought that would solve all my problems.

I have explored this topic quite thoroughly in other posts and podcast episodes, like these….. [Read more…]

Some jokes aren’t funny

funnygorillaAre there pranks you don’t find funny? Are you offended by jokes that other people aren’t offended by?

It’s frequently debated in pop culture whether certain controversial topics are ok to joke about. Rape, pedophilia, and racial violence are frequently among these cringe-y topics. Is it ok to make jokes about rape? Isn’t comedy about pushing boundaries? How much time must pass after a terrible incident before people can joke about it? It’s all just words, isn’t it?  [Read more…]

The superpower of smell

small_429674813A few years ago, I was standing in my kitchen and I faintly smelled something. Something bad. I said to Jim, “Do you smell that?” He says no.

Now I’m on a mission. “I swear I smell something bad. Where the heck is that coming from?” I mumbled to myself.

If you are anything like me, you know what came next. I searched every single corner of the kitchen looking for this smell. [Read more…]

High Sensitivity vs. Sensory Processing Disorder

BrainstormingHow is Sensory Processing Disorder related or unrelated to high sensitivity? In some ways they are very different, but in others, there appears to be some overlap.

First of all, Sensory Processing Disorder is a disorder, and high sensitivity isn’t.

Sensory Processing Disorder means that your brain isn’t getting the information needed to interpret your senses. This can make everyday tasks difficult. “A person with SPD may over-respond to sensation and find clothing, physical contact, light, sound, food, or other sensory input to be unbearable. Another might under-respond and show little or no reaction to stimulation, even pain or extreme hot and cold.” (source:

As Dr. Elaine Aron writes, if there is an obvious red flag in a child’s development–like not rolling over by 7 months or not walking by 18 months–this is not just high sensitivity.

But in other instances, it is not so clear cut.

The overlap could occur where less-obvious Sensory Processing Disorder symptoms could be interpreted as regular sensitivity–when a person is deemed too sensitive to things. Do they have Sensory Processing Disorder or are they just highly sensitive?

For more information, read Dr. Elaine Aron’s explanation of the difference between HSP and SPD. (It’s much better than mine.)

And visit the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation.

photo credit

Eating outside is overrated

It gets really hot in New York in the summer. 90 degrees isn’t unusual. When I lived and worked in Westchester County, just outside NYC, my coworkers always seemed to want to eat lunch in the courtyard outside our workplace. Even when it was like 90 degrees and humid.

eating outside is overrated

most people think this looks like a pleasant lunch. it looks like bug bites, sunburn, and sweat to me.

Their reasoning was that since they were stuck inside all day, lunch was their one time to escape and be outside. I understand that, but I also didn’t want to sweat in my nice work clothes when an air conditioned building was right next to me. Does. not. compute.

I remember once opening the door to the outdoor patio at work and it felt like air from a furnace hit me in the face. “You guys, it is really hot outside… are you sure you don’t want to eat inside with the A/C?” came my whiny plea. No, they inexplicably just HAD to be outside. Even though we were suffering the entire time.

[Read more…]