A man can be himself only so long as he is alone,
and if he does not love solitude,
he will not love freedom,
for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.
— Arthur Schopenhauer
As a highly sensitive introvert, my entire being needs solitude. Not every hour, not every day, but frequently enough for my body and brain to process and sort out recent events or circumstances that over-stimulated my senses.
This processing can only occur in solitude where I am free of any other sensory stimulation above the norm. Yes … I want and need to be alone. This is common among highly sensitive introverts.
This isn’t because I don’t like people, it is because being around people — especially noisy crowds — often results in the over-stimulation of my senses.
HSPs have “an increased sensitivity of the central nervous system and a deeper cognitive processing of physical, social and emotional stimuli. ”
— Sofie Boterberg and Petra Warreyn
To understand this increased sensitivity, imagine yourself at a bar on a Friday or Saturday night with a couple of friends. It is wall-to-wall people. And because the music is blaring, everyone has to shout at each other to communicate.
Now multiply all that noise and chaos by five.
That is exactly how the central nervous system of highly sensitive people take all of it in. It doesn’t take very long at all to become completely overcome. To HSPs, our central nervous system interprets such situations as aggression. As such, we need a break to de-escalate the emotional and mental toll on our body.
Unfortunately, those around HSPs who don’t know us personally or know about highly sensitive people often misinterpret our need for solitude as being aloof, uninterested, moody, or being just plain rude and unsocial.
This is not the case at all! We just need to separate ourselves from others for a while to mentally process and to emotionally wind down.
Highly sensitive introverts typically try to prevent themselves being in such a position. The last thing we want to do is to embarrass or upset those around us. That is why we often turn down invitations to events that we know will most likely cause us to become anxious … or worse.
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