Sensitivity – both a good thing and a bad thing

I guess I knew from an early age that I was different. Everyone else around me when I was young seemed to not care as much as I did. The fact is, I care too much…

I understood life and it’s meaning from an early age. Not because I had been taught about it, or learnt it at school, I didn’t learn anything really from school as I was always too anxious, the lessons went on inside my own head.

For me I learnt everything I knew from an intense observation of the world. Being a highly sensitive person your whole being is more Intune with everything. Externally and internally. For example, how many 6 year olds do you know who would study their heart beating intensely from watching it thump in their chest as they lay on their back on the floor at school during PE? Even that young I would study my own body and know when something was not quite right, which over time, led me to be diagnosed with health anxiety.

The thing is, I can feel everything, every change in my body, I can smell everything – which can often bring on a migraine, see and hear everything so intensely. I can even sense an atmosphere change well before anyone else can, almost like a cat. In fact, I do compare being autistic to that of the behaviour of beloved cats, the way they seem to have an intuition ,they are gentle characters until rattled, and jump out of their skin at the slightest noise.

“Cat” by @Doug88888 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When I was younger I spent most of my time feeling so frustrated and angry with myself at how I felt. I felt so uncomfortable most of the time and misunderstood. Yet, even though I felt this way, I still managed to laugh and find many things funny, maybe not at appropriate and accepted times but hay at least I have my own sense of humour. In Fact, I would often laugh hysterically out of context. I can remember at school, they announced there was a band coming to play for us. I could of only been around 7 or 8, so I was in Junior school. I was so excited about this as it meant that there was something different happening which also meant that lessons would not be going ahead for that time period – Yay. And having a love for music this was right up my street. I can remember when the band started playing it was really loud. Now, my ears are sensitive, however I do like to feel music, so love any tune with a good base and actually like it played loud, as it then vibrates through you. And this was a proper band, brass instruments the lot. They had just got started when all of a sudden I burst out laughing. There I was, sat there, crossed legged on the floor, and just could not control myself.

There they were, playing their hearts out, and there I was laughing my head off!!

“Shiny brass 3” by Dukas.Ju is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Luckily, I managed to get away with the inappropriate laughter (just about) as no one noticed me, although my shoulders were jumping up and down and all over the place, while everyone else was just sitting listening to the band. Its said that autistic children often laugh when the urge strikes them, regardless of whether or not other people are finding the circumstance funny. Think its safe to say this was not a situation to be laughing and I certainly had the urge.

I drifted of topic a bit there, but as I write I often recall moments that I like to share.

My sensitivities over the years have been a blessing in that I am able to understand people on a deeper level, so much so that I can almost feel what they feel. Which when I was working in my own private Counselling practice It really made me a different type of therapist. Although at the time I didn’t know I was autistic, I knew that I had a difference about me that even I had not experienced being on the receiving end of therapy. Having this understanding meant that I could really put myself in the persons position, and help them move forward.

I feel its a good thing that I have such sensitive hearing too, having this sensitivity means that I can recognise if a note has changed in a song – although this can be frustrating at times if it sounds “wrong”, I can also recall a song from many years ago. Luckily I can tolerate sound, I know so many autistic people who can not, my youngest Son being one of those people – his hearing is so sensitive, so much so that he can not even walk outside the house.

Feeling every change in my body is not such a good thing. There are times when I doubt myself as I can feel every slight thing, which as I said led me to be labelled as a health anxiety sufferer. That for me is one of the hardest things with being so hyper sensitive. I am even, as mentioned in another blog, sensitive to clothing and textures, and sadly some animal fur. I LOVE animals but can come up very allergic if I were to brush against some fur. Even if I inhale an animal such as a horse I would feel allergic. I hate that I am allergic to some animals as I would love nothing more then to be around them, all of the time …

My eyes are sensitive too. For as long as I can remember I have always wore sunglasses. Long before I knew about autism, and that I am autistic. Its funny when I look back at the little things that were tell tale signs – the main one being my hyper sensitivity, and feeling the need to live in a bubble – and as my Mother would moan and say ” you cant live in a bubble!” like I had a choice really.

Me and my family – I’m the blond one with the hair plated, doing some sort of comfort pose, holding on tight as autistics often do 🙂

And that brings me on to my emotional sensitivities. Being a PDAer, a person with Pathological Demand Avoidance, your emotions can switch quite rapidly, and over the years especially when I was younger this was more apparent. I could go from feeling ok and happy to really frustrated and angry in a split second. And yet, I can be so tolerant and mask in times when really I should have been shouting from the roof tops – (sadly in abusive situations for example). I cant bear cruelty. To anyone or anything. I knew this from a very early age, feelings that I could not control, over whelming me as I witnessed children being cruel to one another. Even cruel to animals. At junior school we had a big open field and there would often be hedgehogs visit which I loved – no idea why they were there, but guess because it was quite woody. I can remember one day seeing a hedgehog with blood coming from its nose ( just writing that word made me cringe). This in itself shocked and scared me (for the animal), there was a stupid boy just laughing as he had obviously kicked the poor little thing, probably thinking it was a football to kick as they curl into a ball. I can not understand this type of behaviour, I never have and I never will. I was so upset and angry at him, the injustice for the animal – but didn’t say anything just kept the feelings inside. That memory – along with many, many others have stayed with me all of my life.

In another blog I will cover PDA and PTSD – post traumatic stress syndrome, trauma.

Its not to say that I am an angel, as I have a huge temper and if I am rattled I can explode, but I would never hurt anyone – more likely to hurt myself, which I have many times before. My rage is justifiable. Contrary to what people may think about autistic rage – there is ALWAYS A REASON BEHIND THE BEHAVIOUR.

I often can not process information and if become over whelmed you will see the meltdown-rage, or whatever you like to call it. But I know in my heart what is right and what is wrong and often this overwhelming sense of injustice can trigger reactions that others will deem as unacceptable.

My emotional sensitivities are hard to deal with on a daily basis, coupled then with sensory issues. Sometimes I do wonder how I even get out of bed! 🙂

Well I did, and I hope you enjoyed this blog, once again straight, and direct from my heart to yours.

2 responses to “Sensitivity – both a good thing and a bad thing”

  1. A fantastic read yet again. Thank you. I feel a lot of what you write after experiencing a nervous breakdown. It’s very similar especially the sensitivity to everything.


    • Thank you Ann, and I’m sorry to hear of your break down. Like you said there are familiarities. Everything feels heightened doesn’t it, I felt like that after my severe depression, I can remember not even being able to walk outside as felt like a rabbit caught in head lights. I hope you are well now. Unfortunately with my condition the PDA it makes you feel scared all the time, and then in times of severe crisis this is doubled. Thank you again for your supportive comment. Have a great day.


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