Being a highly sensitive person can go together with bipolar disorder. I have learned personally and from my many friends battling bipolar disorder, that we have an enhanced ability to sense other people’s energies. Now, stick with me for a moment before you throw away this line of thinking as hogwash.
It seems there is a spectrum that this line of sensitivity follows sort of like the poles of bipolar disorder. Some individuals have a worsening of symptoms as compared to others. If you take several people, take their symptoms, and use a numerical scale to plot the severity of their symptomology on a graph, you will have created a spectrum. This line of thinking is taking hold because it is near impossible to place every single person who has bipolar disorder as type 1, type 2, or type 3. Every single individual is different within these 3 types of bipolar. Hence, why the bipolar spectrum popped up.
Now that we have some background, it is important to understand that this sensitivity spectrum is a real and important phenomenon. I learned about it years ago while I worked retail. I only worked 4 hour shifts, but I was physically and mentally exhausted. Have you ever felt the same when you are around many people? It does not even need to be a big number of people. Have you ever felt that way around any size group?
My friend brought it to my attention one day when I spoke to her about feeling so drained. She told me she always feels that way around people. She further felt that individuals who have bipolar disorder are more sensitive to people’s emotions. It gave me a new perspective that I completely agree with. Now it makes sense why negative people literally suck the energy out of others!
Since I have discussed my personal experience, let’s move on to a more definitive discussion of a Highly Sensitive Person.
Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)
A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is more sensitive to outward stimuli. These stimuli include sound, sight, and touch. An HSP senses the normal spectrum of sensitivity plus the nuances that are abnormally hard to feel and pinpoint. Their system is highly activated and ultra-sensitive. Hence, the term “Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)”.
An individual that goes into a manic state has more energy than their body can handle. A manic individual’s mind is going so fast that they cannot keep up with their own thoughts. You can read about mania and the other bipolar terminology in Bipolar Disorder, What Does it Really Mean?.
Mania is often characterized by:
- Racing thoughts
- Pressured speech
- Elated mood
- Inflated self-esteem
- Disorganized thinking
- No need for sleep
- Increase in goal-oriented activity
The high charge of mania supercharges the senses. It creates the high sensitivity that goes together with bipolar disorder.
Increased Emotional Sensitivity
Emotional sensitivity is more episodic when it comes to bipolar disorder. The feeling of physical and mental exhaustion I feel around groups of people I tend to remember when I am depressed. There is really no affect when I am manic because I have so much energy. Now, I try to stay away from groups of people so I do not feel that exhaustion.
Increased Physical Sensitivity
Physical sensitivity is related to the mania. Since mania revs up the whole body down to the depth of my soul, all the senses are incredibly sensitive with the environment. Noises can sound like the radio is on full blast, light can feel as piercing as looking towards the sun and taking a shower can feel like little droplet knife pricks all over my body.
I read somewhere that there is a possible biological component with a Highly Sensitive Person. That would make sense why many individuals experience it together with bipolar disorder, myself included.
If you are a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), would you mind making a comment below? I would love to hear your experiences.
If you have a chance, I would love for you to be a part of The Bipolar Battle Community and signup for my e-mail list. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Until next time, take care of yourself and I look forward to creating you new content very soon. 😊