This article is excerpted from The Power of Sensitivity by Dr. Ted Zeff, a compilation of 43 inspirational stories written by Highly Sensitive People (HSP), which helps people with this personality trait thrive in our non-sensitive world. 

Discovering through Twitter that I’m HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)

Throughout my entire life I have struggled with emotional issues. I survived a nervous breakdown when I was 17 years old and consequently endured shock treatment and took twenty drugs daily for a year and a half. I have been married three times and have had numerous jobs. I have had to deal with the death of my parents and my beloved dog, Molly, as well as an estrangement from my only sibling that is now thankfully resolved.

I have always been a very spiritual person and I remember, as a child, feeling so connected to God and loving everything connected to religion. I was baptized into the Catholic faith and I attended a Catholic primary school. My childhood was a happy one: we lived beside a creek and I spent a lot of my time roaming around the area, climbing the creek banks, looking for wildlife and trying to see the tadpoles and frogs in the creek. Spending time in nature has always been important to me. Nothing eases my mind or makes me feel more peaceful.

However, I never fit in at school and attending school was simply torturous for me. I spent recess time hidden under the stairs like a wild, frightened animal. The noise and overstimulation were overwhelming for me. I wanted to be free to experience my connection with God, rather than being stuck with people I didn’t understand or feel comfortable being around.

Fast forward to my first marriage when I was 19 years old. I mistakenly thought a relationship was the way to find myself. Needless to say, this was far from the case. I was now lonely within a relationship, as opposed to feeling lonely by myself. I threw myself into my quest for answers by reading every book I could find that might shed some light on my identity. Some of the books that really helped me were Living in the Light by Shakti Gawain, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay and Transformed by the Light by Dr. Melvin Morse.

During this time I also became very interested in metaphysics and spirituality. I was desperate for answers as to why I felt so different from others, why I felt like an alien. I began listening to my intuition, and by following my intuition I began to feel that I was on the right path to heal myself.

I avoided socializing with people because I was bothered by noise, lights and having to converse with people I didn’t know. At that time, my contemporaries were drinking, taking drugs, partying or sleeping around. I was so very different and felt out of my element around those so-called normal people.

I kept asking myself what was wrong with me. Why didn’t I enjoy those activities like everyone else?

Unfortunately, after another two failed marriages and having a child, I was no closer to discovering my true identity as a sensitive person. However, I finally discovered and joined a Spiritualist church, which was the closest I ever felt to “coming home.” However, since my husband was very critical of the church, I stopped attending. I worked in various customer service jobs, where good people skills were of prime importance. Since I understood my colleagues’ needs, I was able to support many of them. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the support was reciprocated.

Things took a turn for the worse when my mum, who was my best friend, passed away in 2000. Throughout my life, my mum had always been there for me. Although I was devastated after her passing, I persevered, since my nine-year-old son and my elderly father relied on me. I missed my mum so much but I survived through my faith in God.

My faith in God has been my salvation throughout my life. I prayed often and always thought about God. I used to enjoy sitting in silence in an empty Catholic church and feeling God’s presence all around me. Members of my Spiritualist church did a reading after my mum passed and the information I received about my mum’s life was very accurate and I was able to feel her presence.

When I developed fibromyalgia, I had to give up my job and ended up staying at home for many years. My ex-husband was a very demanding, moody and difficult man, and since my son is also an HSP, coping with him was not easy for us. When my son was about twelve, I asked him if I should ask his dad to leave and he replied, “Not yet.” When his 18th birthday arrived, he came to me and said, “If you want to divorce Dad, go ahead.” So I asked his father to leave. He was gone within two weeks.

Since I was in good shape financially, I had the time to begin reading many books again, to try once more to discover who I was. One day, approximately three years ago, I decided to join Twitter, since I was so lonely and still felt alienated from people. I was happy to discover that I could communicate love and support via my tweets. This was a wonderful discovery that helped me to communicate from my heart with people. One day, a person on Twitter told me that I was a highly sensitive person. I was ecstatic to discover that there was a name for my trait and that there wasn’t anything wrong with me.

I continue to read as many books as I can get my hands on, to learn how to use my HSP gifts properly to help others. Although I still easily absorb other people’s energy, I now know how to find a place of stillness and peace within me. By allowing whatever happens to happen without fighting against it, I find I do not take on so much negative energy. I also focus on that stillness within, where I’m at peace and filled with divine love. Nothing can touch my peace when I’m in this place. I just need to think of God and I’m supported and feel so loved. I also believe our thoughts create our circumstances, so I try to think positively and lovingly at all times. Of course, it’s not always easy to do.

My life has become a blessing and I try to pass on my newfound joy to as many people as possible. Since learning about my HSP trait, I’m no longer afraid of people and am happy to meet new people since I put them at ease. I now have the confidence to approach people, because I understand my energy level. Earlier, I would become confused, not understanding why I felt suddenly overwhelmed, but now I can accept myself since I understand the shifts in my energy. It’s such a joy to spread love, kindness, and joy to all I meet, which is such a contrast from my life before I knew about my trait. I have changed my diet and no longer need to take my fibromyalgia meds. I spend a lot of time in my garden, which is a haven for me.

I wish that I had known about my HSP trait earlier; it would have made my life far easier. I also wish that I could tell other sensitive people who are not familiar with the trait that they’re perfectly normal. I’m now so grateful for all that has happened in my life and I truly believe that I’m just starting my real life. If I were asked to offer some words of advice, they would be: “Have faith in who you are and then all things will be possible. Strive to give to others without any thought of reward or repayment. Give of yourself, open your heart, and let God shine through you to everyone you meet.”

On Twitter I regularly send love, light, peace and blessings to all from my home in Melbourne, Australia to the entire world. It’s wonderful to be an HSP. I would not want to be any other way. I am blessed and so grateful to know who I am at long last.

— Adele Robinson


Adele’s story shows us that no matter how much we may have suffered, once we understand our true identity and have faith in ourselves and in a Higher Power, we can overcome any challenging circumstances. Once she began to understand and accept her natural inborn trait, Adele was able to turn her life around. She was finally able to use her innate traits of love and compassion to help others. When we’re feeling emotionally upset, the best way to uplift ourselves is by helping other people.

Through her determination to find out who she really was, Adele enthusiastically began reading many books, which contributed to her process of self-discovery. This story also illustrates the power of the Internet for obtaining emotional support and information about the trait of high sensitivity. Listed below are a few sites where you can get support for yourself or your highly sensitive child online.

Online resources for Highly Sensitive People (HSP)

» HSP chat group
» Chat group for parents of highly sensitive children
» HSP discussion group: Tribe also publishes a magazine for HSPs
» Facebook HSP group with over 6,000 members 

Dr. Ted Zeff received his Ph.D. in Psychology in 1981 from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and has completed post-graduate studies in nutrition, ayurveda and meditation. At Ted Zeff’s popular website people obtain information about the trait of high sensitivity and learn coping strategies for themselves and their children.

Excerpted from The Power of Sensitivity by Dr. Ted Zeff. Copyright © 2015 by Ted Zeff Prana Publishing.
image: Portrait stressed young business woman having headache via Shutterstock