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This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Sharon
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
Niko
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
Gary
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
Megan
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
D.R.
Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
Shilpa CB
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
M.G.
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
J.K.

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ADD, Sensitivity and the Emotional Environment

pensive male

People with ADD are hypersensitive. That is not a fault or a weakness of theirs, it is how they were born.

— Dr. Gabor Maté, “Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It”

I highly recommend the book “Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It” by Dr. Maté, if you have questions about ADD. I’m learning so much as I read it.

What I found particularly interesting was the tie-in with high sensitivity. Since many introverts have high sensitivity, I thought it would be helpful to look at the effects that arise in ADD because of it. I wonder how many introverts or HSPs (highly sensitive people) have ADD?

Sensitivity, we’re born with it

Dr. Maté says in most cases, ADD is caused by the impact of the environment on particularly sensitive infants. Some children’s nervous systems are always in a state of high alert. Five-month old babies have been shown to have such nervous systems.

High sensitivity is innate. It makes us acutely aware and often highly aroused to stimuli in the environment. Something that stuck out to me is that people with high sensitivity are not only aroused by physical environmental factors such as temperatures, lighting or sounds, but also by the emotional atmosphere in a room.

Emotions stimulate

Dr. Maté gives the example of a sensitive child feeling like her father yelled at her when he did not even raise his voice. She could sense the tension and controlled impatience in his voice, which made his words feel stronger and more severe, as if he yelled them at her. She felt fear and outrage at the level that another child would feel if a parent truly yelled at them.

Both HSPs and people with ADD are more likely to suffer from colds, upper respiratory infections, ear infections, asthma, eczema and allergies. Both external physical stimuli, such as allergens, and emotional stimuli, such as tension, cause physiological reactions in the body.

How we react

Kids and adults with ADD may react strongly to stimuli. They may feel fearful or anxious and “tune out”. Tuning out, which may even result in yawing and getting sleepy, gives them temporary relief from the arousing stimuli. Their brains do this automatically.

They may do the opposite and become hyperactive. They are keenly aware of their environment. If they become aroused by someone else’s emotions (sadness, sternness, joy, etc.) or changes in the environment, they may over-react, causing them to be labeled disruptive or too sensitive.

Attention is not the issue

It may be said that they can’t pay attention. Attention is not the issue. The difficulty lies in regulating the internal emotional environment. for example, if a child is low on human connection, they may talk incessantly to kids in their classroom. They can’t stop until their feelings of loneliness are quelled, but often because of their over-the-top approach, other kids do not want to listen to them, thus perpetuating their need for connection.

A calm or emotionally encouraging environment can keep a sensitive person/someone with ADD in a steadier and more relaxed state of arousal.

Not meant for this world?

Although we think of attention as a function of the intellect, its deepest roots are in the subsoil of emotion. — Dr. Gabor Maté

Dr. Maté is careful to point out that sensitivity itself is not a disorder. Sensitivity has been passed down for many generations. It has served as a boon to our evolution, hence its continued survival. It only becomes dysfunctional when the world is unable to heed the finely tuned physiological and psychic responses of the someone highly sensitive.

Do you know someone with ADD? Would you consider them very sensitive? Are you highly sensitive? If so, are physical or emotional stimuli more arousing? 

I will be taking a break from the weekly posts for the following two weeks. I get married the weekend of the 20th and will take a honeymoon after that. I will miss you. I’ll post pictures! 

In the meantime, if you miss me you can check out my online classes at brendaknowles.teachable.com. 

 

brenda knowles online schoolPhoto by Ali Tareq on Unsplash

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