I am walking through Amsterdam. I see people everywhere. They speak different languages. I hear music, I hear the sound of a tram, I hear bicycle bells, honking cars and people swearing. It suddenly seems as if I am in the middle of all these elements. It looks like a slow motion movie. Every sound comes in. I get restless and say out loud; “I forgot  my stone.”

My agate stone

For the past year I have been going out every day with an agate stone. I wear it on my body or sometimes I wear it in my pocket. I received the stone from my mother, because I often indicated that I felt restless on the street. Since I have that stone, I am able to close myself off a bit easier from the stimuli of other people and the sounds of the busy city. Maybe it’s superstition, maybe not. I know one thing for sure and that is that I feel safer when I go out with my stone close to me.

HSP then

Elaine Aron wrote several books about the High Sensitive Person, in short the HSP person. As a child I was already very “sensitive.” For example, I had problems with labels in my clothing, crowds and loud noises.

I remember that I was in the Efteling with my mother, a friend and her mother and that we sailed through the Fata Morgana in a boat. In that attraction you see different figures, big and small, and you hear music. I remember that the stimuli from the Fata Morgana came in so hard that I sat the whole attraction with my eyes closed in that boat. Most children would look their eyes out, but it was painful to me. I say “painful” because it kind of hurts when all these stimuli come in really hard.

HSP now

I used to not realize that I am an HSP person. It is also not something you go to the doctor for. It is a characteristic. When I read Elaine Aron’s book, I started to get more insights about HSP.

HSP people are more likely to suffer from burnout complaints, because we are more sensitive to stress. We are also more likely to suffer from depression.  I do not want to say that I have a depression because I am an HSP, but there is a clear reason for my complaints. Now that I am older, I can see that sensitivity has taken on a different form. I notice that I am more aware of the state of mind of people with whom I am in the same room, for example. I would prefer to walk towards them and whisper something encouraging to them, but that is difficult when it comes to a stranger. I also notice that I am not fully rested after a night of sleep after a day with many stimuli. I need at least one day to recharge myself.

Despite all this, I see being sensitive as a beautiful feature. It belongs to me and makes me the person I am.



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Deel dit artikel! Als dit artikel voor jou inzichtelijk was, deel het dan met je omgeving - laten we het samen hebben over mentale gezondheid.


By telling others about my own experiences, I hope to support people that deal with mental disorders in their own process. I find it important that mental illnesses are recognised as real diseases, even though they might not be visible to the eye.

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