More Fun with HSP

Pirate's Cove Sand
The sand. The sand was nice, too. I liked that.

Last Saturday, I spent the morning doing something, I’ve no idea what, and that evening at a marina with my toes in the sand, as I’d mentioned, celebrating a friend’s birthday. The food was fried in oil that tasted like it’s seen a few things, and my Long Island was from a mix, but the band was good, as was the company; definitely makes up for it. Oh, and now I can say I’ve been there. Livin’ the dream.

Wednesday was a bit intense; I couldn’t let that one pass. It took a while to write; I wanted to make sure I made my point, rather than diluting it.  On the off chance that it wound up in the greater internet, I decided to disable comments; I don’t have the time or energy to monitor them, and I wasn’t really looking forward to any of the particularly nasty comments such subjects seem to encourage. I had a bit about Cliven Bundy that I wanted to add, but his situation is a little different than the other two; his is about stealing from the Federal government for the last twenty years, and how he’s a hero for some people who only like him because they are blinded by their hate for the current administration. His remarks are irrelevant to that situation.

So, that said, back to the HSP stuff.

This is hardly definitive, conclusive, or professionally binding, it’s just something I have decided to look into. It’s what I do, investigating things to see how they work. In this case, it’s people, and in order to understand how this works, I need to see how it relates to me. I think most people are like that, really; things only make sense if we can find some way to apply them to our own lives. I delve into personality tests and the myriad diagnoses of various brain chemistry and personality issues that come up. Mostly, I’m trying to figure out what’s just me, and what I should probably see someone about. I don’t see anything pathological here, just personality.

Once more, a comparison between being a highly-sensitive person, and being high-functioning autistic, or a person with Asperger’s. Here’s a list from Autismspeaks.org* showing what the symptoms of Asperger’s appear to be. All symptoms are not expected to be found in one person.

  • limited or inappropriate social interactions
  • “robotic” or repetitive speech
  • challenges with nonverbal communication (gestures, facial expression, etc.) coupled with average to above average verbal skills
  • tendency to discuss self rather than others
  • inability to understand social/emotional issues or nonliteral phrases
  • lack of eye contact or reciprocal conversation
  • obsession with specific, often unusual, topics
  • one-sided conversations
  • awkward movements and/or mannerisms

I’ve always been socially awkward, I know that. I know sometimes it’s made things difficult for me. I don’t think it falls into a disorder level awkwardness. The speech thing goes without saying…sorry, couldn’t help myself. I may inadvertently speak over the heads of my audience, or worse, say something that makes perfect sense to me because I had time to make an association that my listeners/readers have not, but I don’t think any of it is robotic or repetitive. Definitely not monotone.

2014 04 05_Eden Bloom_0383b text
I can’t recommend this book enough. Get it from the library, buy it, borrow it, but read it.

Non-verbal communications, I do tend to understand if I’m looking for them. Quite often, and quite easily, really. I don’t always respond to it the way the person wants, but I recognize it. Not a problem there. Tendency to discuss self rather than others, well, that one’s going to be difficult to prove here, but I really don’t talk about myself much. I’ve noted more than once that I’m amazed anyone is interested in anything I say, much less anything about me. I don’t always ask how someone is doing when I see them, but when I do, I usually want to know. I do gather facts like a magpie gathers shiny stuff, and if prompted, I’ll share, but I can tell when my audience is zoning out. For this, if I start boring myself, I will tend to stop or re-write a section, assuming anyone reading is probably finding it tedious, too. You should see some of the stuff I’ve deleted. Then again, maybe not. I can get a little unnecessarily verbose.

Lack of eye contact, yes, I do have that problem, it makes me very uncomfortable at times, and I tend to take things literally more often than not, usually because my mind has gone off somewhere else. I do get fascinated and obsessed about some things (how many posts regarding personality have I written?), but there’s so much more in the world to see and do and discover. And one-sided conversations only happen if I’m deliberately trying to keep the other person from speaking, when I have something I need them to hear. Again, nothing unusual about that. No, I’m quite sure I don’t fit on the autism spectrum.

From hsperson.com:

  • Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
  • Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
  • Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
  • Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
  • Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
  • Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
  • Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
  • When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?
  • Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?

It depends. As I mentioned in my last post, I do get rattled when the heat is on. I’ve seen a lot of people get that way, so I don’t thing that really says what it means clearly enough.

  • Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
  • When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?

2013-04-06 Ault Saturday 014a text Not quite sure what is meant by a rich and complex inner life. Part of that is my personality; I don’t see much black or white, my world is shades of gray. What that means is nearly every answer, every question, every truth, every lie, fits on a spectrum. “What time is it” has more than one answer. I have to analyze context to determine what answer is desired. Fortunately, I can do that quite quickly. Perhaps that is what was meant.

As for the sensitive or shy thing, I honestly don’t know. I know how I felt, how I feel, but I don’t know how I was perceived. If I answered this for myself, from my own point of view, I would have to say yes, I was sensitive and shy. The quiet one in the corner, invisible unless I wanted to be seen, or was sought out by someone else. I don’t know about my immediate family, but I do know my extended family thought of me as shy. Large and gregarious, family events can be exhausting. Always worth the energy as far as I’m concerned, but exhausting.

I could further elaborate on any one of those points, but I won’t. I think the last two have been, and will continue to be, demonstrated throughout my blog posts.

_________________________

*Other sources regarding Asperger’s and autism:
NIH – National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Wikipedia – Shush, it can be useful when used with other sources.
Mayo Clinic – page with the symptoms

Part One – HSP
Part Two
 – HSP and Stuff
Part Three – HSP Once More
Part Four – More Fun with HSP

If you’re curious whether you should speak to someone about this, there are online tests that can start a conversation for you. They are not diagnostic tools, and they shouldn’t be used that way.
Personality traits can skew the results:
Asperger’s Test Site
Asperger’s Quiz
Aspie-Quiz – this one’s long, but interesting. The graph at the end doesn’t tell you a whole lot, though.

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