An HSP, as described by Elaine Aron in her book “The Highly Sensitive Person”, is someone who is more sensitive to subtleties of the environment, has a more sensitive nervous system and has a more active insula (the part of the brain thought to be the centre of overall awareness).
She estimates that 15-20% of the population is highly sensitive, and these people have slightly different needs from the other 80%.
When HSPs feel overwhelmed, it can come on quite suddenly. It may have been brought on by feeling hungry, too much chaos in their environment, or a combination of factors. They may seem to be fine one minute, and the next, have to leave almost immediately. This can seem odd if, for you, very little just changed. In such circumstances, it is wonderful if you can help them get what they need. That is probably a quiet space and something to eat in this example.
It is a gift to them if you allow for their high sensitivity without judging them. They feel the judgement and impatience. In a relationship, you are likely to find that the HSP is very sensitive to your needs; it is a gift if you can be sensitive to their needs in return.
If you would like to learn more about HSPs, I highly recommend Aron’s book “The Highly Sensitive Person”.
Let me know in the comments if you have read this book or plan to read it.
Reference: Aron, E. N. (2016). The Highly Sensitive Person. NY, New York; Random House.