"It makes no sense to see hypersensitive people as abnormal"

13 Apr 2021Updated: 4 hours ago | 52 people are reading

© Offered by TMG - Telegraaf Media Groep

People who walk out of a busy pub because of the noise or get an acute headache when children scream somewhere on a schoolyard are soon called hypersensitive. But I think it is the other way around: that people who are not bothered by loud (sound) stimuli are rather insensitive.

It is striking that the group of High Sensitive Persons (HSPs) in us country is getting bigger; and that workers suffering from overstimulation must often report sick, if necessary with a medical label of overstrain.


For that reason I want to subject the term "hypersensitivity" to a closer inspection, if only to be able to answer the guilt question. The fact is that the sensitive types in our society are often seen as 'hysterical' and 'neurotic', as if they are becoming theatrical.

But the fact is also that the amount of environmental incentives has increased staggeringly during this time; and that the pace of life adds to that.

For that reason alone I consider it normal when people get irritated by screaming commercial breaks on that already busy screen. People can also be called normal when they get anxious when others walk in front of them in a busy supermarket.

10 annoyances

I regularly suffer from:

Busy visitors that stick too long; A packed train with people loudly dropping each other; People who turn on the television and then start talking through it; Films with an overdose of camera positions that alternate each other too fast; Long lines of people jostling each other to pass a security check; Sitting together in a plane with people who turn it into a private playground; People who pride themselves on their expressiveness and cannot really have a conversation; Birthday parties with music so loud that you can't even hear yourself thinking; Play arcades for children where the acoustics further reinforce the screeching; Immense sales halls with the exit only at the end of a prescribed walkway.

Normal response

This is not a hypersensitive response to normal conditions, but rather a normal response to unhealthy conditions. This means that all those people who are not affected by anything in the above situations have a certain insensitivity.

And that's allowed. Which can. But at the same time it is absurd to see people who do have an aversion to overstimulation as aberrant. One of my patients recently said, with heavy tears down her cheeks, that she had canceled her vacation with her husband and children.

She was so reluctant to work through all the holiday crowds that the term "vacation" no longer applied. Her relief was great when I could explain how normal she was.