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post #21 of 88
Do you think Highly sensitive people are more prone to depression? I have struggled with depression throughout my life and so has DH. I worry that DD will too. Just curious if a lot of HS people struggle with this. My guess would be yes. Just curious.
post #22 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saraann View Post
Do you think Highly sensitive people are more prone to depression? I have struggled with depression throughout my life and so has DH. I worry that DD will too. Just curious if a lot of HS people struggle with this. My guess would be yes. Just curious.
The book "The Highly Sensitive Person" discusses this. Based on her research, she says that HSPs are no more likely than non-HSPs to be depressed unless they have had traumatic childhoods or childhoods during which they were made to feel "less than" because of their sensitivity.

Personally, I have tended toward depression, and I did have a pretty awful time as a child. DH, also an HSP, does not struggle with depression at all, and he has sanguine memories of his childhood. I have known other HSPs with stable upbringings who didn't seem to have problems with depression.
post #23 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Lady View Post
The book "The Highly Sensitive Person" discusses this. Based on her research, she says that HSPs are no more likely than non-HSPs to be depressed unless they have had traumatic childhoods or childhoods during which they were made to feel "less than" because of their sensitivity.

Personally, I have tended toward depression, and I did have a pretty awful time as a child. DH, also an HSP, does not struggle with depression at all, and he has sanguine memories of his childhood. I have known other HSPs with stable upbringings who didn't seem to have problems with depression.
Very interesting. I do need to read that book. My family, especially my mom and sister have alwasy looked at my sensitivity as a weakness and something that I should just get over. "You need to toughen up" was something I heard frequently. I hope that just understanding it and being able to see the positives in it will help to make things different for my dd. I'm going to get a copy of that book asap.
post #24 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Lady View Post
Thanks for that clarification kmcmommy. I am a personality researcher (of sorts) and felt I should be able to respond to that post but couldn't think of a clear, non-academic answer.

I knew I couldn't be the only HSP mom out here. I identify with so much of what has been said. I have always found it difficult to manage as an HSP, especially since I'm also an HSS (high sensation-seeker; Elaine Aron talks about that combination in her book). Becoming a parent has added a new dimension. I generally can't just retreat when I get overwhelmed, as I was once able to do. In a way, it has forced me to honor and appreciate my sensitivity more since the costs of getting overwhelmed will not only be borne by me, but also by my family. I have found it particularly difficult to deal with working and parenting. Even having cut my work hours back drastically, it is hard to make time and space to retreat. I envy those hardy mothers who work full-time, cutting back on sleep and food and whatever else the human body normally needs. I can do none of that. I'd break down after one day of less than 8 hours of sleep and skipped meals! I just can't function day-to-day on the slowly health-eroding behaviors that are so common among Americans. On the other hand, I am glad my body forces me to take care of it. I think that's one reason why people always think I am much younger than I actually am.

I think that attachment parenting has helped me to cope better than other parenting styles more widely practiced in the U.S. No way could I stand to lie in bed listening to my baby cry himself to sleep. Something in my gut rebels against that. He is a high-need, super-energetic person. Keeping him close most of the time has kept him calm. Like a PP, my son never cried when he was with me, as an infant (he cries plenty as a toddler, unfortunately). And it's not like he was the type of baby that just doesn't cry. He'd unleash with his father, but I think I was just able to anticipate and respond to his needs very well.

The parenting research is pretty clear on the fact that sensitive, responsive parenting is one of the most important determinants of children's attachment and well-being. If that's the case, it seems that sensitive moms can have an advantage as long as we manage the downsides that can lead us to becoming overwhelmed and withdrawing or lashing out.

I'll share a few of the ways I cope:
  • Get up well ahead of DS in the morning to ensure I get some quiet time
  • Take DS on long walks or runs in the stroller or backpack so that we can both have some time with nature (being outside always calmed him)
  • Go to bed with DS to ensure I get enough sleep (The downside is that I get absolutely no time in the evening with DH, but I'd be no good without sleep. DH is usually wiped out anyway, wanting his own quiet time. He's also an HSP.)
  • Leave the TV off when DH is not home and have him wear wireless headphones when the TV noise gets to be too much
  • Sleep with white noise on always
  • Take at least a few minutes each morning to breathe and stretch

Despite those things, I'm still working on the whole concept of actually capitalizing on my sensitivity rather than just trying to manage it. A really good resource I have found is http://highlysensitivesouls.com/assessment.htm . She offers an assessment of whether your sensitivity is working for or against you. I wasn't surprised at the results, but it was a good reminder that I could actually benefit from being an HSP rather than just "managing". There is also an e-mail newsletter available at that site that I have found helpful, a little something to draw my attention back to where it needs to be.

Thanks to everyone for sharing! I hope to hear from others.
Thanks so much for the link and for the very thoughtful and thought provoking discussion. I just filled out my assessment, but wonder if I'm going to have trouble getting results, as I have a yahoo email account. I can predict what it's going to say, because even though I have acceptance for who I am, I'm rather short on the self-care and self-soothing aspects.

I keep thinking I'm liking your perspective on things quite a bit. I was where you are with regards to the work/home thing a while ago. I tried so hard to make it work, and failed miserably. I was letting my family down and my job and myself. I didn't want to walk away from my job, but as it was, I just couldn't make it work. Maybe if I only had 1 child, but I got pregnant so soon after the first that it totally tipped the scales. I may not have quit if I only had one.

Because I'm determined to know my kids better than my mom cared to know me and my siblings, I'm studying personality too. It's partly because I have children like me, bright and sensitive, but since I don't have great coping skills, I didn't have any idea how to teach them good coping skills. AP for infants worked pretty well, but it wasn't until toddlerhood and preschool that I realized AP isn't enough (and AP totally made sense for me in the infant-early toddler stage, even as my family all warned me to "put that baby down" from day 1 - phooey on them). But as my dd2 got to middle toddlerhood (about 3), I needed to find other answers because there was something going on with her that I didn't understand at the time.

Dd2 would have these horrible meltdowns over seemingly benign things. For a while I was going down the wrong track, thinking something was "wrong" with her (I thought maybe she had Asperger's or some other social development/personality disorder), and it was creating a really destructive dynamic (because sometimes I mistakenly thought she was just being stubborn on purpose, or people like my family would just try to pass judgment). Until I dug a lot deeper, got the HSChild and The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child and realized she was an introverted HSC with very few coping/self-soothing skills. She's one that needs to be taught, and I'm the one to have to teach her them. Only, my mom never taught me how special my gifts were, or the challenges that went with being an introverted HSC (and of course at the time, it wasn't even in possible to know much about parenting aside from word of mouth techiques), she just spent my childhood and early adulthood trivializing my whole experience.

It's been a very long journey, and I have a way to go to help dd2. But she is much better than she has been in a long time. And I respect her feelings a lot more than I used to (even though I really need to invest in earplugs, because sometimes she's unhappy and I'm not in a very receptive mood for her expressions of unhappiness).

Anyway, this is for me, the greatest blessing I've gotten from quitting my job and trying to work harder at understanding my children. I'm becoming really in awe of who they are because I'm not trying to force them into something they are not. And I have the luxury of time to do be able to do that.

I know I'm prone to dancing on the edge of depression, because I forgot the simple things like self-care and taking time to figure out what it is that restores me (and I'm finding out that it's not a job at the moment, but it is being creative, and having a sense of direction, and most recently, I have an outlet for all my wayward thoughts. I started a blog, and I'm pretty excited about it - once I get more on it, I'll probably put it in my signature). My family still influences how I feel about myself, particularly because they still don't get it. They still don't understand who I am and why I choose to do things differently (and why I value people over things). They don't have a complex inner world that totally consumes them at times like I do. They think rather narrowly, and it has put me totally in another dimension from them.

Fortunately, my kids are like me. I get them and they will always have that support I didn't get. Because I'm taking the time to find out about them, learning as I go, but getting closer to the answers every day. It's absolutely wonderful!
post #25 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by saraann View Post
Very interesting. I do need to read that book. My family, especially my mom and sister have alwasy looked at my sensitivity as a weakness and something that I should just get over. "You need to toughen up" was something I heard frequently. I hope that just understanding it and being able to see the positives in it will help to make things different for my dd. I'm going to get a copy of that book asap.
The words I heard all the time were "You need to get your head out of your a$$"
That sentiment is something my girls will hopefully never ever have to hear.
post #26 of 88
Me! I look forward to reading all the advice in this thread. Yesterday I had an overload and since I had seen this thread it reminded me of what was going on (crazy playdate in morning, crazy new swimming lesson complete with overheated pool area, screaming and running off 3yo, noise, touching . . .).
post #27 of 88
This week is really challenging to me. I work from 6:45-12noon. Then I have errands to run, drop off an elderly lady so she can visit her DH in nursing home, go back to work from 2:45-5. Go home, make supper and get stuff ready for DS's birthday this weekend.

By the end of the week, I know I am going to be at my wits end. I don't normally work from 2:45-5, but I am filling in for someone on vacation. It is for an after school program at school. 50 kids yelling and goofing off......AAAAAHHHHH!!!!

It is truly enough to drive me crazy, but I am trying to make it easier on myself. DS and I will take a nap after lunch so that I can have a bit of a break and some quiet today. May try to put off some of my errands until the weekend.
post #28 of 88
double posted.
post #29 of 88
i am definitely a highly sensitive person.. have been since a kid. it is hard finding people to nurture that side of a person. fortunately i have. an ex-boyfriend of my mom's that is a hsp and a counselor, a family friend, and my husband. without them being there for me, i'd be lost!

noise doesnt really bother me though. if i had to go back to work, i would think about teaching kinder. i love their chaos. it is so innocent and pure. well at least for most of them.
post #30 of 88
Okay, can I just say I totally suck at conflict resolution? Because I'm an HSC and easily get overwhelmed with chaos and noise, when my 3 girls start fighting over ANYTHING, I start getting really upset and want it to STOP RIGHT NOW! And sometimes the yelling escalates, because it's me adding to the ruckus.

And I love my dd2, but her voice just grates on me. And she never, ever stops talking. I try to honor her need to talk, but often I have to reign her in, "indoor voice, shh, calm down".

I feel badly about that, but being sensitive to sounds, and introverted too, I just want peace and quiet and can't get much of it.

I'm about to tear this house apart to find earplugs...dh used to have tons, now they can't seem to be found.
post #31 of 88
OK, so I picked up the book at the library this morning and am already half way through it. I read while dd napped. It is so interesting. I can't wait to read more!
post #32 of 88
Subbing. I am definitely a HSP and so is dd#1. I think dh is too. It provides a lot of insight into other people which comes in handy working in social services! But it's really hard too to be so open to others' pain.

Loud noises really get me, incl. sirens, and often good music or dancing will make me cry. I too heard all the time as a child that I was too sensitive. It's not something that I could help. I feel deeply and experience intensely.

When I've had enough of the tv being on I'll ask dd to turn it off. She's gotten into the habit of doing it herself when she's had enough and wants quiet. Visual clutter really gets me and that's hard when you have a toddler 'cuz honey, there's gonna be mess! Dh is not a tidy guy and I've had to accept after 6 yrs of marriage that he just isn't going to be a neat nelly no matter how I try to persuade/beg/plead/bargain/threaten. But it is added "stress" to my life.

When dd#1 was smaller, she cried a lot esp. in frustration as she was (and still is) very bright, wanted to do more than she could. She would cry alot to be held (and she was held ALL THE TIME) and whined a loooooooooooooooooot. This made me feel nearly insane much of the time as the noise was just too much for me. The biggest trigger is when we'd be in the car on a roadtrip to visit the in-laws and she'd start in on one of her crying jags. I'd been known to pull the car over on the highway and freak out myself. NOT GOOD. Now I breathe deeply, take more breaks, pack lots of busy toys for dd, and mentally prepare for the reality that hey, she may meltdown but it will pass.

Taking breaks definitely helps. When I'm feeling overwhelmed one of the best things I learned to do as a parent was to give myself permission to GO AND TAKE A BREAK. Put the kid in a safe place and get out of there until I can regroup, calm down and remember that I'm "older, wiser, kinder and that no matter how I feel my child needs me to help her manage her feelings" (Circle of Security - search the internet).

Interesting topic.
post #33 of 88
Well that was a fast read. I wish I would have read this book a lot sooner. It explains so much. The book talks a lot about labeling sensitive people as shy. Growing up I was labeled "shy" but as I got older I felt like I just was more quiet then "shy". I liked to observe before jumping in and I also don't feel the need to share everything that comes into my head.
I remember being very young, probably 1st or 2nd grade and watching a video about shyness. It was about overcoming shyness and the video definietly looked at shyness as a weakness. It was so annoying to watch. I remember thinking that it's not a weakness, shy people think more, are better listeners and more sensitive and understanding and if those non shy "normal" people could just shut their mouths for more then two seconds they could think more and realize that just because they talk more doesn't mean they know more.
I have noticed that dd is also an observer like me and comes across as "shy" when we are in groups. I'm so glad that I read the book because I now know that it's not a good thing to label her behavior as "shy" and that she's just taking everything in. I'm so glad that I will be there to help her never see herself as weird and different (at least not in a bad way). I always felt different and weird but I now realize that I'm not, I'm just me.
post #34 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by saraann View Post
Well that was a fast read. I wish I would have read this book a lot sooner. It explains so much. The book talks a lot about labeling sensitive people as shy. Growing up I was labeled "shy" but as I got older I felt like I just was more quiet then "shy". I liked to observe before jumping in and I also don't feel the need to share everything that comes into my head.
I remember being very young, probably 1st or 2nd grade and watching a video about shyness. It was about overcoming shyness and the video definietly looked at shyness as a weakness. It was so annoying to watch. I remember thinking that it's not a weakness, shy people think more, are better listeners and more sensitive and understanding and if those non shy "normal" people could just shut their mouths for more then two seconds they could think more and realize that just because they talk more doesn't mean they know more.
I have noticed that dd is also an observer like me and comes across as "shy" when we are in groups. I'm so glad that I read the book because I now know that it's not a good thing to label her behavior as "shy" and that she's just taking everything in. I'm so glad that I will be there to help her never see herself as weird and different (at least not in a bad way). I always felt different and weird but I now realize that I'm not, I'm just me.
This is so much my dd2. I didn't know it though until she was in preschool. She talks so much at home, so when the preschool teacher told me she doesn't really talk at school, I had to come in to observe. Sure enough, she watches everything like a hawk, but didn't say anything. And she really restrained herself from even cracking a smile. If my other two children ever stop being sick, I want to go in for another observation to see if she's finally opening up a bit. The teacher tells me she is, but, I want to see it myself.
Funny thing is, she'll come home and sing all the songs the kids learn, but she doesn't sing them in school.
post #35 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmcmommyto3 View Post
This is so much my dd2. I didn't know it though until she was in preschool. She talks so much at home, so when the preschool teacher told me she doesn't really talk at school, I had to come in to observe. Sure enough, she watches everything like a hawk, but didn't say anything. And she really restrained herself from even cracking a smile. If my other two children ever stop being sick, I want to go in for another observation to see if she's finally opening up a bit. The teacher tells me she is, but, I want to see it myself.
Funny thing is, she'll come home and sing all the songs the kids learn, but she doesn't sing them in school.
I was asked once to think of something that I did a lot as a child, and the first thing that came to mind was, "I watched people all the time." And I did. I would often hang back and observe. DS (also highly sensitive) is a keen observer. He notices so much it's mind boggling. I think seeing so much in everything would be horribly overwhelming.


I was home sick for the past 2 days (with pneumonia AND a sinus infection) - and I actually just now feel rejuevenated enough to go back to work - like I've had enough silence. This past fall, with dh's permission , I checked into a hotel for the weekend. He was amazed that all I did was watch a little tv, read, took some long baths and read some old journals of mine. He thought it sounded like complete boredom, but I so needed to get away and be in control of what I needed when I needed it for longer than just a couple of hours here and there. Does anyone else do solo get aways, or am I the only one?
post #36 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
Does anyone else do solo get aways, or am I the only one?
A friend of mine did this and I was sooooo jealous. I'll do it someday and wish I could now. A night away in quiet sounds like heaven!
post #37 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
This past fall, with dh's permission , I checked into a hotel for the weekend. He was amazed that all I did was watch a little tv, read, took some long baths and read some old journals of mine.
That sounds like pure heaven.
post #38 of 88
Hi mamas,

I'm definately a HSP, always have been. I was a child who worried all the time, felt responsible for everyone/everything.... very empathic... I could go down the list, but you understand (most people don't)

I'm still very much the same way and need downtime/alone time/quiet to organize myself.

Here's what I've been AGONIZING over for the past year or so... could I cope with two kids?

How do you HSP's do it? Is it a lot more difficult to cope with more than one child?

This decision is bordering on an obsession for me... I think about it constantly, anyone have some insight?

thanks.
post #39 of 88
Coping for the Highly Sensitive Parent
Are there any HSP moms around? I'm referring to the term coined by Elaine Aron for people whose nervous systems are more sensitive to subtle stimuli. She says that about 15% of the population is high in the trait of sensitivity. To give a brief description, HSPs (highly sensitive people) are more easily overstimulated and overwhelmed than most. On the other hand, they are also tuned in to useful information that others tend to miss, like nonverbal cues. For instance, I am super-sensitive to noises that my husband can't hear and get very aggravated in noisy environments. I am also highly attuned to how other people feel, which can be a plus and a minus. If you're not sure whether you're an HSP and you'd like to learn more, I suggest checking out the website. It offers a free assessment that tells you whether you are an HSP or not?

For those of you who are HSPs, I'm interested in whether you feel that parenting has been different for you than it is for others who are not highly sensitive. It has always been quite a task for me to reap the advantages of my sensitivity and to manage my life so that I don't become overwhelmed, which happens rather easily. What, if any, benefits do you see in being an HSP and a parent? What drawbacks? Any particular coping mechanisms you've developed to manage?
______________


Wow -- this is me --- I took the self test and my score was 24

It is one of the reasons we have only had 1 child... I need quiet and peace and that is not condusive to a large family. .. I quite often have to tell my family to speak more softly because their loud voices really bother me.

I find that even large groups of people bother me ... even if we have several people over for dinner ... I will usually need to go upstairs for 10 minutes to our bedroom and just be quiet! ... I have never had a label put on it before ..
post #40 of 88
I'm so glad I found this post!! I just finished Aron's book & returned it to the library & am waiting for my own copy to arrive along with HSC! I need this post as well! I read everyone's & I can relate with so many of you.

cortneydc - honestly, I have to say that 2 dc has put me over the edge a bit. we were discussing whether our family was complete & that we could barely handle & had time for one & each other - when we discovered that we were pregnant w dc2 - surprise! I must honestly say that I have never been so overwhelmed before. I find that I completely freeze & can't do anything & I think it's b/c of the chaos of 2 young kids. I often wonder if there was more space b/n them if it would be any easier...who knows. Me & the kids all have intense personalities & reactions & sensitivities & seem to really play off each others emotions. It's really hard on me. I feel like a deer in the head lights quite often. I have not figured out any coping techniques yet. & have just discovered HSP & that is what's wrong with me! I felt more in control with just one & maybe it was b/c he was young & not so intense, etc. yet as well. I sometimes wish I had more time for his emotional needs (& mine) I feel very stretched thin.

sound (especially whining, crying, constant demands & neverending imaginative stories), visual clutter (which my house is always cluttered - is this common for HSPs?) & emotions are my biggest triggers. I get worked up so quickly & usually prob make things much worse than it is. I like retreating & being anonymous as well - am surprised I've been able to reside in a small town for 2 yrs - I just don't make myself available quite often. Unfortunately I don't get many real breaks - or none that seem to really help me. My HSC ds won't be without me except with select people - no classes or school without me so that makes it hard to get a break.

I also completely hate schedules / routine...I know that I should implement some to make our lives easier together & has been in my "plans" for months but I just can't do it! I agree a positive is that I am very intune with other people - I can read emotions & find I am sensitive to my dc & to their friends needs. I can read people & see thru face value as well. I thrive on authenticity & also have a very deep intuitive complex inner life - constantly thinking about my thoughts. & as a pp said am sensitive to others facial expressions or noises on the phone, etc. esp those I know well. I also struggle with others not getting why I value people over things - that is one thing that goes way back w/ my family - they always took way better care of things than the people. I never got that. It's very strong in my heart.

That is my dream too - to have a single night away in my own bed & room - or just a day of silence! I have been nursing for 3.5 yrs & dc are very sensitive at night time - dd is sleeping on me now - but I guess my sensitivity helps me meet & care for their needs.

I couldn't have found this thread at a better time! Thanks!
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