This week, I've been reading The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine N. Aron and it has been a real eye opener. I have always considered myself over sensitive. I struggle with things that others seem to find so easy such as navigating train stations, or even buying things from a shop. I've felt my sensitivity has held me back, and it was with sadness if not surprise when I quickly realised that Alice had similar tendencies.
From the first time I saw her it soon became obvious that she was a child of extremes. If anything was slightly amiss, she would scream. There was never any middle ground. The upside of this is that she also gets extremely happy, joyful and excited over the smallest things. It's lovely, but can be exhausting. On two occasions, loud noises have made her faint with shock, she can't stand doors being left ajar, and takes against clothes with certain textures or colours. Upsets can quickly escalate into quite terrifying meltdowns where she tries to hurt both herself and me. Being so sensitive clearly makes her very unhappy at times.
I easily rattle off the 'problem areas' that her sensitivity has caused. Many of them I recognise in myself! What has amazed me through reading this book however is how many of her strengths come as a result of being so sensitive. She's starting to show empathy, and gain a sense of social fairness. She's deeply passionate and persistent with tasks. She notices and delighted by the tiniest details. It has taken this book to show me that high sensitivity has its benefits as well as disadvantages. As I embrace and value my daughter's sensitivity, I am also coming to respect my own.
For any other highly sensitive people, or parents of highly sensitive children, I whole heartedly recommend this book!