The Sept. 10th San Francisco premiere of the new documentary on high sensory processing sensitivity is sold out. Apparently distributors have balked (as distributors will) at releasing the DVD before Sensitive: The Untold Story has finished its theatrical run, but there will be a livestream during and for 48 hours after the premiere, which will allow you to stream it as many times as you want within that 48 hour period. The livestream is currently $20, going up to $30 on Sept 7th. You can join Elaine Aron’s email list for HSP-related news here. Hopefully we will soon hear something about other cities where the film will be shown.
I was discussing HSPS with a friend recently. I have always felt “highly sensitive person” was a problematic, if accurate, label, and proposed my own, “deep engager.” This seems equally descriptive but more neutral to me. My friend disagreed.
I was initially annoyed by this, since I felt being an HSP should give my opinion extra weight! Upon reflection, however, I wondered whether the associations I have with the term “sensitive” may be less universal than I thought. I was called “oversensitive” (also “crazy”) throughout my childhood. My emotional reactivity was not only framed as excessive, but as false and manipulative. (When I was 10, I was whipped for crying after I fell down while rollerskating – by a step-parent who subsequently enjoyed a lengthy career as a psychologist!).
So it probably shouldn’t surprise me that, despite my evolving self-understanding, the internalization that there is something wrong with sensitivity has been hard to overcome. The first time I heard of “highly sensitive people,” I assumed they were either narcissists or undiagnosed depressives, and read no further. And without much examination of the assumption, I have continued to assume that other people would react to the term in the same way.
In the wake of my conversation with my friend, however, I am finally questioning that assumption. I’m curious how people who don’t have major baggage associated with the word “sensitive” perceive the term “highly sensitive person,” so here is a poll. I am interested in hearing from everyone, whether you identify as an HSP or not, and would much appreciate your feedback. Inevitably, my own feelings influence my questions, so please feel free to select “Other” and create your own answer, and/or elaborate in comments. Thanks for helping me see HSPs from the outside.