I'm a self-identified "Highly Sensitive Person." Yes, I was delighted to discover Elaine Aron's book - so much so that when researching the whole "highly sensitive" concept further I came across her website and ordered every single back issue of the Comfort Zone newsletter. I can't say it has solved my problems or even made life that much easier in any significant way - but it is a nicer label to identify with than so many of the other terms used - shy, introverted, anti-social, etc. Like all personality traits, sensitivity manifests in different ways, so I am only speaking from my own experience. However it tends to be one that affects all areas of life. For me it is one puzzle piece in the attempt to figure out my chronic health issues (maybe I
should say chronic life issues!). I am sensitive to noise and commotion. I am sensitive to numerous common food ingredients. I am sensitive to temperatures (I freeze all day in an air-conditioned office but get heat-sick easily on a hot sunny day) and weather changes (almost without fail a change in seasons brings migraines). I suffer from chronic anxiety, depression and fibromyalgia-type muscle pain. On a more esoteric level, I wonder if all this actually means I am sensitive to energies? Whatever the deepest or highest truth of the situation may be - all I know is I feel bombarded most of the time. Just working at a full-time job (any kind of full-time job) is already more than I can comfortably manage. But I do it anyways - what choice is there?! I guess in some ways I'm still waiting for the silver lining to emerge.
Perhaps I could be useful to society as the "canary" that picks up on stressors or dangers before other people are aware? For instance - my recent naturopathic experience which helped identify my numerous food sensitivities brought some interesting points to light. It turns out I react to soy, corn, white flour (but not gluten), sugar (including cane sugar, brown sugar, fructose, corn syrup), and several artificial food colours. I cannot claim to understand how food allergies and intolerances develop - but it is interesting to note that the foods on my list are ones that we are all consuming much more than we probably realize. Packaged and instant foods are almost entirely eliminated when avoiding both corn and soy. Corn is used for everything from dusting the inside of food packages, to fruit juice, chips, crackers, condiments, medicines, common baking ingredients, and prepared meats. Soy is another hidden ingredient in flavoured teas, soups, spice blends, baked goods, margarine, salad dressings and much more. If we are all being bombarded by these ingredients all the time it makes you wonder a little, doesn't it?
All I can really do at this point is remain vigilant with my own diet (I'm inadvertantly dropping pounds as a result as well, although that was not the intent) and encourage any of you who are experiencing digestive disturbance to see a professional such as a naturopath to help you figure it out. I'm lucky in that my food intolerances are not the life-threatening kind, but left unchecked
over the long term any of these issues can lead to bigger problems. For more information about alternative health strategies please visit my website: artsciencespirit.com