From raw exposed nerve to fully-fledged HSP

The other day I was watching a video by a fellow Highly Sensitive Person, Patrick Teahan.  During it, he spoke about feeling as if he walked in the world like a “raw, exposed nerve” before he realised he was an HSP.

I recognised that feeling – it was exactly how I had felt before the same discovery about myself.  But I’d never thought of it quite like that.

Hearing Patrick’s description immediately conjured up an image of a nerve – with thin arms and legs – walking about.  It was naked (completely exposed), apologetic and alone.

Just as quickly, another image came to mind, this one representing the nerve after discovering it was an HSP.

This time it had a colourful coat on.  Standing straighter, it was smiling, more animated and assured.  It was positively walking into life rather than hiding.

The image made me smile too.  Because that’s how freeing it was to find out that I was an HSP.  It moved me from confusion to understanding, isolation to belonging, and from sepia to colour.

For some reason, I find myself thinking of the nerve as having a variety of coats …

The colourful one to celebrate; a raincoat with buttons, buckles and a belt when protection is needed; a formal jacket when the nerve anticipates being in a less welcoming place; and a cool casual leather jacket for when life is good.  There are probably more…

All this might sound strange.  But I found – as a counsellor – that it wasn’t unusual for HSP clients to feel and describe things in terms of images.

Whatever,  I like the nerve.  Still raw, still feeling but so much less exposed.  Able to manage the challenges of being an HSP at the same time as having a way to express its essence and mood.

Do you have an image of your highly sensitive self?  How did it look and feel before you knew you were an HSP? And how does it look and feel now?