Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Scary Movies

HSP and Me-2
     OK, so now you may want to know exactly what a ‘highly sensitive person’ is, what makes them so different, what makes them tick. These are good questions. I have been able to answer a little at a time as I read Elaine Aron’s book, “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You.
     Here is a list of some of the characteristics: HSPs think things over for a while before making their move, carry a sense of being flawed, are willing to allow others to protect them, may isolate themselves, and have a real intolerance to stimulation. It's not that these things are so unusual, it's the intensity.

     An example is how I react to violence in movies. I can remember having to leave the room when my family had chosen a video to watch that to me contained over-the-top violence. You know the kind I mean; even the obviously staged scary movies. I can remember when I was really young watching the original “The Thing” movie. Being non-HSPs, my sister and brother didn't take in as many subtle disturbing aspects of situations as I did. I was terrified for days after as I watched in my mind the doors being boarded against the unseen horror. For that matter even though they were fun, I had a hard time watching most of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, especially the “The Birds”, and “Psycho”. I think my son is the same way though he would not want to admit it.

     One time the family was watching “Salem’s Lot” when during a particularly scary scene Jamie came into the kitchen (where I was) to get away from it but what he didn’t know was that his sister snuck around and came through the other door and screamed. He was 10. I have never seen anyone so terrified they were moaning and rolling on the floor. But in spite of this they always seemed to bounce back and say, “Oh Mom, it’s just a movie. It’s not real”. It was not that I didn’t know it was not real. It was my intolerance to stimulation that was that overwhelming.

         I always felt uncomfortable that I couldn’t deal with the violence and thought something was wrong with me. The key, I learned was to reframe the experiences. Instead of seeing myself as somehow flawed I can realize instead, that I am just over-stimulated. Whether it is a violent movie, a trip to a new place or a noisy rock concert I can decide if my brain can handle it. Now I am more clear, when these things happen, I can either just go along with the group because I don’t want to be a stick-in-the mud or I can find something I can enjoy about it or I can opt out. It is important that I decide.
     The next time I write about this I want to tell you about a family trip to Las Vegas. Overstimulation can happen from positive experiences, too.


Kay Theodoratus said...

Don't have anything positive to say, but wanted to know I read your blog when I see it.

pam2spicy said...

Kay, thanks for keeping me in mind. I went back in to do an editing and added a couple of things that might help. Still, I get to whine once in a while, don't I??