Hi, I’m Sally Pendreigh.

They say life begins at 40. Well, for me, it was 48….

Until then, life was exhausting.  

I had big emotions and reactions.  I seemed to care about things far more than others.  And cope less easily.  My take on things often annoyed people.   

I didn’t understand why I was so out of sync.  I felt confused and misunderstood.  Unable to connect the way I wanted in the world. 

Then, by chance, I came across something that changed my life. 

It was an article entitled, “5 Gifts of Being Highly Sensitive and 5 Curses: An Interview with Douglas Eby“.

I was intrigued that something could be so good and so bad.

The ‘highly sensitive‘ bit almost passed me by … until I started reading.  I found myself recognising one thing after another.

The Article

The article began with the gifts:

Intensity of sensory detail, like appreciating shades, textures, music, colours in nature. Tick.

Strong tendency to be aware of nuances in meaning. Absolutely.

More aware of our inner states. You bet, it’s where I live most of the time!

Creativity. Well, I write poems, does that count?

Greater empathy. So people say.

It was as if someone could see inside me.

I wondered what the curses would be:

Easily overwhelmed and overstimulated. Tick, though I wouldn’t say ‘easily‘ because it takes a lot of hard work to get to that stage.

Not just aware of, but affected by, the emotions of others. Yep, afraid so.

Need lots of time and space alone. And there I was thinking I was just being rude, selfish and dull!

Unhealthy perfectionism.  Personally, I’d call it being thorough and, frankly, some folk just aren’t thorough enough!

Living out of sync with the prevailing culture. Well, that was THE clincher. It captured my experience in a nutshell.

The Impact

That article changed my life and shifted my shame.

Finally my emotions, experiences and reactions made sense.

I was – I am – a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

I didn’t like the term much – it was too close to what I’d so often been judged for.  But there was no denying the symptoms.

Armed with this new-found knowledge, I stopped berating myself and my difference.

And I started appreciating the gifts of my sensitivity – all I had seen before were the flaws.

It was – and has been since – a whole new world. I now think of life as before and after finding out I was an HSP.

The post-discovery me is more connected – to myself, to others and to my place in the world.  Life is more fun.  I can be me.

Finding My Mission

I would have just left it at that – having a better relationship with my own sensitivity.

But HSPs kept finding their way to my counselling room, even though I wasn’t saying anything about working with highly sensitive people.

It showed up in them saying things like  “Why am I so sensitive?“, “What’s wrong with me?” or “Why am I so emotional about things?”.

Or in the intensity of their feelings about the life events that had brought them to counselling.  And the deep impact these had on them.

The possibility they might be an HSP emerged as we worked together. I raised it gently with them if I thought it might apply or help.

They would explore it for themselves.  Almost all came back to our next session saying, “That’s me!” and “What I am is a thing!“.

It was joyous to witness fellow humans befriending and coming to celebrate the difference that had set them apart for so long.

And to see how other challenges became so much more manageable when they weren’t fighting their sensitivity any more.

I had found my mission. Or maybe it found me? Either way, I will forever be grateful that I crossed paths with that article.

The Mission Continues

I was a counsellor and psychotherapist for 10 years, working with hundreds of clients over thousands of hours.

I started putting more out in the world about being highly sensitive on my (now defunct) counselling website and in directory entries.

In September 2020, I wrote an article for The Counselling Directory – ‘Being Highly Sensitive: What if it’s the answer not the problem?’.

The article was picked up and published in Happiful magazine in December 2020 with a new title ‘Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?

Together, they led to me getting new clients from all over the UK who told me “You could have written that about me.

I retired as a counsellor in spring 2022.  Now, with this website, I hope to reach more people than I ever could one-to-one.

I want as many people as possible who don’t know they’re an HSP to find out and be freed by the discovery.

Because being highly sensitive really is the answer not the problem.

When you understand that, it changes everything.  How could it not?