This Writer's Life

Are You a Highly Sensitive Writer?

In last weeks post, I talked about not having to concern ourselves with things outside our control and concentrate on what we can control. As much as we can control our efforts towards our writing, we can also learn ways in which to focus on our physical and mental well-being.

For insecure writers, like myself, we have to undertake some form of balancing act when it comes to our mental health. We need to step out of our comfort zones occasionally and meet fellow writers, so that we don’t feel so alone, and yet, if we overdo it, rather than be a help, it can sometimes become a hinderance. We may begin to compare ourselves to others, feel inadequate and believe in that little voice in the back of our heads that tell us we’re not good enough. We then become reclusive and can sometimes get depressed. It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t necessarily get helped by social media.

Last year I learned I’m a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and therefore I need to switch off more often than others. I tend to keep away from social media and avoid people both on-line and in the real world from time to time. I’m not being elusive or a snob, I’m doing it for the sake of my mental and physical well-being. There are times when we may need to switch off, avoid all the noise and appreciate the silence. So, I can really relate to this image.

And yes, I’m fully aware of how strange it may sound that a Highly Sensitive Person can also be a paranormal writer. Perhaps being Highly Sensitive is what helps steer me towards my interest in the paranormal in the first place. Maybe this is what helps me to pick up on certain things within haunted places when others cannot.

I have spent a lifetime believing there was something wrong with me, always labelled as ‘different’, but it’s good to know I am not alone in the way I see the world. Being highly sensitive is completely normal; it’s a trait and means that we’re observant, not weak.

If you think you may be a Highly Sensitive Person, you can do this on-line test by Elaine R Aaron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person.

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person? Do you often feel the need to get away from social interactions in order to recharge your batteries? What kinds of things do you do to help your mental well-being?

Main Image courtesy of Pixabay

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6 thoughts on “Are You a Highly Sensitive Writer?

  1. I think part of the issue is just the difference between introverts and extroverts. An extrovert recharges by being with others; an introvert recharges by being alone. I’m an introvert, and my wife is an extrovert. We both understand each other’s recharging needs, which helps a lot.

    1. Hi UndercoverJW. I had never heard of the term HSP before until someone mentioned it to me last year, so I’m still finding out more about it and wondering if it is just another term for an introvert. It’s good to know you and your wife understand each other’s ways of recharging; it sounds like a good balance. 🙂

  2. I am surprised at how high I scored on the HSP test (21). People tell me I’m so calm. I guess I have a lot going on in my brain, a lot of thoughts, reactions, observations, that don’t make it to the external me.

    1. Yeah, that test was a bit of an eye-opener for me too as I also scored pretty high so I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. 😉 Thanks for stopping by – it’s good to meet you Priscilla!

  3. I find that the challenge is mutli-faceted. I am an introvert. I enjoy social company, and can suffer from loneliness, but also struggle with “alone in the crowd,” “too much/many,” and most notably “excess empathy/sympathy.” If I am aware of someone else’s negative experiences/emotions, I find it difficult to turn away from that and focus on my own positive experiences. It can feel selfish, somehow (though I am working on it).
    And what I find really striking is how the last event, actvity, or emotional interaction tends to loom pretty large for me (if I let it).
    I can have a wonderful day, full of laughter and joy, and yet, if ,at the tail end of the evening, whether through a bit of conversation or a facebook status update, I become aware that someone I care about is struggling, that looms large.
    Or, perhaps unrelated, if I’m reminded of someone I haven’t seen in a long time, someone I miss, that too can loom large in my mind.
    I am working on it, trying to reconjure happy memories in those times, to counterbalance the less positive thoughts, but I definitely find it too easy to sympathize/empathize with others, and wish that they too could be happy and good.
    I think that’s part of why fiction is so valuable to me, the opportunity to dive into something created to be upbeat, happy, and safe.

    1. Hi Adam. I can so relate to this! This is one of the reasons why, in more recent weeks, I have switched off the news and have spent less time on social media. It has allowed me to spend more time to write, read, and to do other things. I avoid all that stuff until much later in the day if I choose to, otherwise, it affects me to the point where I don’t get anything accomplished (I can sometimes get too emotional otherwise, esp. depressed). This is also why last year, I decided to loosen a lot of family ties because it was too emotionally draining. It has taken me a long time to get to this point, I guess because I’ve been too busy thinking of other people’s needs, rather than my own, but I think I need some ‘me’ time now. Thanks for sharing Adam, and I hope you manage to find the right balance soon. 🙂

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