The latest Psychology Today has an article by Elaine Aron, PhD, who argues for a new temperament type - not a disorder - called Highly Sensitive Person.  I score 22-24 on test of 27.  (14 gives you the diagnosis).  I am one of 20% or so who are extroverts, but it is quite different than the usual extrovert.  After a couple of hours, I have to be by myself.  A true extrovert likes people around much more.  We are characterized by a sensitivity to our environment (sounds, smells, lighting, sudden noises, heat, cold,etc), to internal stimuli (pain, hunger, fantasies, etc.), have an over-active immune system(hence, allergies, add-type symptoms, things like fibromyalgia).  We enjoy things that we do enjoy more than most people (DD, food, music, movies, etc.), but become quickly more anxious when overwhelmed, which we are easily. We need alot of alone time . A rich internal life is common, possibly as a way of keeping us at a happy medium between not being too bored or too excited.  It was nice to find both these sites recently; I now know I am a Highly Sensitive extrovert with MD.  I'm curious if anyone else feels this fits.  You can take a self-test at Elaine Aron/ self test for Highly Sensitive Person.

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Take the test & let me know your score.  This test really is about being reactive.

I did a while back and on the 27 point scale test I was like a 23. I change from introvert to extrovert, but I believe I am extroverted like the way you are. I like being around people but sometimes I need alone time and crave it. If I feel overwhelmed I distance myself or retreat for a while. It goes up and down for me, some phases I feel very reclusive and other times I don't as much. Right now I am being reclusive more than I used to be and I am having trouble daydreaming actually.

I scored 23.

Wow, I expected you would score higher.  There is, of course, no right or wrong.  And again what the test actually measures is reactivity, not sensitivity as we commonly use that word.  You may indeed be very sensitive.

I scored a 25, but I knew that I am highly sensitive before taking the test.

Hi! I took the test, I'm not sure if i would qualify as a highly sensitive person, but this made me sit up and take notice. I realise that the only two states i'm ever in is either relaxed/bored or very stressed out....both of which are not productive, as far as getting things done/studying goes. I have been feeling for quite some time now, that I can't maintain that optimal level of anxiety which gets things done, without overwhelming me.

Aside from that, i do talk to people, I won't consider myself shy; but even after being with close friends for a long time, i feel exhausted, i need to get away and be by myself, 'recharge my batteries' as I would say to myself. 

roxanne said:

Something else Dr. Aron said I thought was interesting.  We walk a fine line between having too much stimulation and being totally stressed, and on the other hand  not having enough and being bored.  She also has a test in her book for you to determine whether you get out in the world enough, or too much.  It's important to strike a balance.  If we don't get out enough, then every stimuli becomes overwhelming.  If we force ourselves out too much, our brains become tired, our immune system over-acts, etc.

What you say sounds very familiar to me.


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