Before I go grocery shopping, I needed to post something here about Highly Sensitive People (HSP). I don't like the term because I'm a thinker and it makes me feel... weak. But it is a real term, nonetheless, coined by Dr. Aron to describe someone who experiences the external world to a higher degree than others. We are thin-skinned, you may say. Literally, I'm pretty sure (like, we blush more easily and everything).
I've tried several times to express how this works on an INTP, because its weird, and doesn't flow with our mental orientation quite as well as it does on a feeler or a sensor. So here's for trying.
Sensory Stimulation: Like every HSP, this is about the same. I get really exhausted when I am in unfamiliar environments for very long. I can't stand loud noises or bright lights. The textures of certain things can drive me insane, and I pick at all the seams of my clothes because they irritate me. I hate bras. Just putting that out there. Underwires are the devil. I don't have a good sense of smell, but it can still make me throw up in my mouth. I had trouble cleaning up after my mom's dogs when I lived there, because I couldn't look at most of the messes without gagging. Can't stand the scent or taste of turkey, either. I know that one is weird. But yeah. I am very sensitive to things like that.
Can't Stand a Full Schedule: Yes. This is partly due to just being an INP though. But yeah, I have trouble with full schedules because I can't hurry myself. When I do, I panic and mess up. Having a lot to do, I know full well, means that I won't have any time to process things. I can't stand it. If I can't withdraw, I will implode. Or explode. And I mean total withdrawal: I need to be completely alone, and have control over my environment. I really hate being that needy, but I start getting stiff and involuntarily grumpy if I don't have this. I get distracted by every little external sound and can't hone in on anything if there is other stuff going on around me.
Violence: Okay, so this one is interesting. Most HSPs can't stand violence in movies or books or whatever (especially movies) because it just affects them too strongly. We can seriously feel the pain. For some reason, I like feeling the pain. Maybe I'm a little messed up in that way. But I want to truly feel the pain the characters are in. So... I'm okay with violence, though I have been known to look away at times. I can't handle guts though. I really don't like looking at things that have come out of a person's body. That really IS too much. But blood... nah. I want to get as real with everything as possible. Overdone blood and guts though, I can do without. Like I said, I want the reality. I don't like horror movies.
Delicate Taste: I guess? I like softer music, and I don't like things with strong tastes (particularly sugary stuff, unless I've gotten myself addicted). I actually do like some loud music including dubstep (lolz), but I can't listen to it very much because it gives me headaches. I like gentle, softer things. I don't like harsh or bright colors, and over the years, this all gets softer and softer. It's kind of weird, and frustrating. I'm afraid one day I will be that cranky lady telling the kids to turn the music off.
Inner Life: I never really understood what this meant. I'm pretty sure most people think they have a "rich and complex inner life". But whatever. It would be impossible to argue that I don't have a rich and complex inner life. I spend all my day working on puzzles in my head (stories). Or writing. Basically, using my imagination. And organizing it from time to time.
Told I was Sensitive and Shy as Child: Yes. So many times. It's ridiculous how often I was told this, and I didn't like it. It was always said in a way that made me not want to be like that, and like I should fix myself, but I never did. I just found ways to hide it. I grew out of being shy eventually, but I'm definitely still getting more and more sensitive as time goes on. Simultaneously, I become more awkward, but that's mainly because I don't get out much anymore. I'm okay with that. But yes, my mom especially noted how sensitive I was as a kid. I was also pretty serious.
Noticing Subtleties: Ummmm... more than the average INP, I think. Like, for example, many INPs (especially INTPs) don't seem to notice when someone got a new haircut. I'll notice it, but I won't say anything. I also tend to notice small things bothering me (the lights are too bright/too dim, this water tastes like it's been sitting out, that noise in the other room is bothersome, I need this to stop blinking etc). I don't notice many visuals unless they disturb my peace, or are dramatic. And sometimes I'll notice something is different but I can't tell what, so I don't say anything.
Other People's Moods: This is the worst. I like, absorb other people's moods. So if you're angry, I'm angry. If you're sad, I'm sad. But this is a really weird one for an INTP, because it has to do with feels. If my feels are turned off, I can decide I don't care. That usually happens when I was calm beforehand and I decide you are being ridiculous. If I was already somewhat emotional beforehand, I'll probably feel however you do. Be careful if you're angry. That doesn't mean I absorb your opinion. I absorb the mood. So I'll probably be angry at you for being angry in the first place.
Pain Sensitivity: It stands to reason that if I'm sensitive to other sensations, I'm also sensitive to pain. I have been called wimpy on many an occasion. Well, you know what? I can't help it. You know, when I was a kid, my brother used to hit me (not because he was abusive - just sibling stuff), and I could tell when it was hard enough to give me a bruise. Now, I get hit and feel the same level of pain, but there's no bruise. It sucks. And I'm aware of like, everything my body does. I used to be a little bit of a hypochondriac because of it. Now I know it's because I am HSP, but I still behave like I'm sick kinda, because the pain isn't gone just because I know why it's so bad.
Caffeine Sensitivity: HSPs are supposed to be sensitive to caffeine. I actually feel less affected by caffeine than most people. I don't know. I haven't ever been able to tell. Probably because I don't drink very much of it. Most things with caffeine also have a lot of sugar or acid, and so they give me acid reflux and I can't have much anyway.
Easily Moved: Yeah. Normally. This last year, I've explained in previous posts, I have been kind of numb to emotion, but normally, it is really really easy to move me. I never understood why people wouldn't be affected by the complexity of a simple song, or a beautiful sunset. I didn't get why people weren't just washed over with joy when they drove through empty, country hills. And I cry soooooooooooo easily. Normally. That's always been problematic. In first grade, I was called the creative nickname of "crybaby" by one bully. Now I'm curious what her story is and why she was a bully. But yes, I cry a lot.
Conscientious: To a point. INTPs are considered to have "inferior feelings". This means that out of thinking, intuition, sensing and feelings, I just wrote the order of our functions. Feelings come last. Because I feel them, I would argue that I come off almost as nice as an ENTP (whose preferences are: intuition, thinking, feeling, sensing). I usually break this façade with one misplaced comment somewhere. That or I stuff my feels away into a story, so that the person can find out what I REALLY think of them on the day they read the story, if that ever happens. Basically, because I feel the feels of others, I just avoid expressing my reaction if I think they are being overdramatic. Unless I think they can handle or benefit from knowing that I think they need to chill out. My main defense though, is actually to just fully explain myself - over-explain, really - because somehow I developed the notion that if I can just explain everything about the universe and my whole life story and perspective, that the other party will understand. It actually works more often than you'd think, if they don't get bored first. And if they got bored, they probably didn't care all that much, so I'm good. I just feel a little stupid for talking too much.
Easily Startled: Depends. Sometimes I'm so absorbed in what I am doing (INTP) that no one can pull me away, and I'll slowly turn around from what I'm doing and look at you like you're an idiot. If I'm not that absorbed, then yeah, I freak out. I can't do alarms in the mornings either, because I'll get like, a heart attack. Seriously, it'll leave me winded and give me a headache. I'm pretty sure my heart really does skip a beat or something. I hate alarms. I try my best to just go to bed on time. I'm becoming easier and easier to startle.
Notice Discomforts of Others: Yes.... but don't expect me to do anything about it. I kind of expect people to take care of themselves and ask me if they need something I haven't already provided. I'm a bad hostess. If it didn't drain me of energy, sure I'd love to take care of you. But it does drain me of energy because I am an INTP. So you'll need to pipe up.
Expectations and Competition: I hate them both, like a true HSP. As an INTP, I particularly despise social expectations. Competition bothers me because I don't do as well under pressure. And I take a long time to complete things. Timed things are as much the devil as underwire bras. One time on a standardized test, I answered every single science question correctly. But I only got through a third of the section, so I failed. That is retarded. Just saying. Absolutely retarded. So I take a while. I'm thorough, and I am not an idiot. I do not require a win to boost my ego (though it will). I just need to feel like I have skillz. I do best when I convince myself I'm going to lose and that I don't care. It's really hard to get into that mindset, but if I do, then I have a tolerable performance, generally speaking. Expectations are about the same as competition. Let me do mah thang. I'm fine.
Avoid Mistakes and Forgetting stuff: Yeah... I'm more forgiving of myself than I used to be. I'm also more forgetful though. I can't help it anymore. I used to remember everything. Now I actually forget stuff. Ever since I had a bad year (11th Grade) I started to feel permanently fuzzy-brained and I started to lose track of things. It has been better since I have been able to avoid busy settings.
Hunger is Evil: I can't stand being hungry. It disrupts everything. I don't feel like I'm going to die or anything. I just can't do anything but think about how badly I want to eat. Sometimes I get so affected by it, that I can't really even make food. Of course when my blood sugar is low, then I get shaky, but before shaking I get very tired, and it is hard for me to think straight enough to actually cook. I have to eat something before I can cook. I can't imagine how HSPs survived before microwaves and prepackaged food.
Change is Hard: I don't mind change as much as I used to, but changes can really throw me off. I need to get used to a method and an environment before I'm able to relax in it. And of course if I can't relax, I go crazy. Change means a loss of control to some degree. Now I kind of like having some change here and there, but I still have to watch it.
Fast-Paced Environments or Media: I can't always watch fast-paced movies. I will say no to loud, fast-paced movies more often than just for violence, because the noise and stuff gets to me. I don't remember stuff that occurs in fast-paced environments or movies very well because I wasn't given time to process it, and thus, it doesn't affect me all that much and is kind of mind-numbing. Brain overload. I don't like it. I like using brain.
Cartoons: This isn't listed as an HSP thing, but it makes a lot of sense for an HSP as well as an INTP. As an HSP, cartoons are easier to watch because there's usually less detail in them, so less to process. I like cartoons with softer or darker colors, and the more serious, gentle variety like Beauty and the Beast, or certain shoujo animes (like Fruits Basket or Kimi ni Todoke), though as an INTP I also can't help but love stuff like Avatar: The Last Airbender for it's quirkiness.
Phone Calls: This is definitely an introvert hate, but as an HSP too, I hate phones because they make so much noise. The sound of phones bothers me. I also don't want to hear your voice. Texting can be annoying but I've grown more fond of it over the years. I used to think I hated texting too, and that I just would rather see a person in person, but no. I like written communication. I just didn't like pushing buttons on my phone because it wore my fingers out. Phones are loud. Your voice is loud. And fuzzy. I don't like to answer the phone. Do not call me in the morning unless you are dying or something. And make me your last choice because I probably won't answer. Leave me a voicemail. I will listen to it eventually. It is noise, but at least I can prepare first. Phones are the devil too.
Quick Update: So... same "discoverer" of the HSP thing also has been researching HSS - High Sensation Seeking. I appear to resonate with a lot of that as well. So that could account for the appreciating a certain level of realistic violence and stuff. I like going to new, novel places. I just like them to be quiet, and I don't like being in a hurry to get there. I don't really get stir-crazy, but I love exploring, and seeing things from great heights. Roller coasters are my friends. So that throws an interesting aspect into the loop.