The Highly Sensitive Person homepage is one of those things discovered while following somebody else's links (which is how the most interesting things are always discovered). What caught my eye was this: "This trait is not something new I discovered--it has been mislabeled as shyness (not an inherited trait), introversion (30% of HSPs are actually extroverts), inhibitedness, fearfulness, and the like. HSPs can be these, but none of these are the fundamental trait they have inherited." I ended up scoring an 18 on the self-test and it got me pondering ...
The shyness label is something I've had attached to me most of my life, yet none of the definitions or supposed inner feelings/attitudes of the "shy" didn't match what I had inside ... I was never really scared or worried about saying the right/wrong thing or any of the other supposed "reasons" for shyness, but I am uncomfortable when pushed to socialize at what I guess I could define as "the wrong speed". Combine that with a disinclination to tell lies (which means I won't pretend to be interested in people who don't interest me) and a strong need for solitude on a regular basis and I can see how the convenient (for others) s-word got attached to me.
The sensory input part interested me the most: I know high noise levels really rattle me (which turns most concerts, bars, and other people-gathering places into unpleasant environments), partly because of the noise itself and partly because they tend to trigger my intermittent tinnitus, rendering me "hearing deaf" until I can get away from the racket (I say "hearing deaf", because sound doesn't disappear ... it all turns into a single throbbing rhythm with an occasional tinnitus "siren" ringing and that's ALL I can hear).
Visually, too much is the equivalent of the noise thing ... I lose my ability to follow what's going on. Maybe why I've never been overfond of music videos ... they usually involve a lot of fast-cut visual input and, weirdly, I can't "hear" the music if I watch one.
And, while my sense of smell is nothing to brag about :P, I'm deeply appreciative of, and affected by, the things that I CAN smell. My sense of taste doesn't seem to be affected by my intermittent sense of smell ... it works well and sometimes too well. I know that I often puzzle people who know of my love of chocolate by pretty much sticking to Breyers Natural Vanilla ice cream (although I've recently discovered Nestlé's Vanilla Flake, which has tiny flakes of white chocolate instead of vanilla beans ***SMILE***); that's because I can taste virtually every speck of vanilla bean in it, while the richer, multi-flavour, gooey ice creams tend to overwhelm my tastebuds and become flavourless. I can't handle much in the way of spicy/hot foods at all, but I do love the strong flavours of onions and garlic. My passion for melted cheese is well-known. And I can taste rich flavours in foods that other people describe as bland (probably why I can't hack the spicy stuff). Weird, innit?
As for my sense of touch ... well, that one's on a need-to-know basis. Trust me, it works very well indeed! ;-))))))