Highly Sensitive Person

What is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?

According to Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D., highly sensitive people (HSPs) are the 15-20% of the population who "notice more subtleties and process information more deeply." Because of this, we are "more easily overwhelmed than others by prolonged, intense, or chaotic sounds, sights, etc." and "as a group we are more sensitive to pain, caffeine, medications, temperature, light, and hunger. We are more reflective, learn more slowly but thoroughly, and tend to be unusually conscientious." (See HSPerson.com)

How does an HSP end up in prison?

Even though we HSPs can be conscientious to a fault and abhor violence, we are still capable of making mistakes and creating our own nightmares by getting in trouble with the law. This is what happened with my highly sensitive son. He allowed his emotions and depression to get the better of him—a common flaw among HSPs—and, tragically, hurt those he loved most. Now he's a highly sensitive prisoner (HSPr). Jon says that Dr. Aron's work has been critical in providing him with the tools to survive in a very insensitive place.
~ Jon's mother

See Jon's HSP writings:

Response to In the Beginning by Chaim Potok


The Upside of Being an Introvert by Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine, February 6, 2012
Sense and Sensitivity by Andrea Bartz, Psychology Today, July/August 2011
An excerpt from The Road
Mirror by John D, a California prisoner
HSPs in Prison by John D, a California prisoner


"The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To them ... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death." ~ Pearl S. Buck

"The more sensitive the soul of the observer, the greater the ecstasy aroused in him by this harmony. At such times his senses are possessed by a deep and delightful reverie, and in a state of blissful self-abandonment he loses himself in the immensity of this beautiful order, with which he feels himself at one. All individual objects escape him; he sees and feels nothing but the unity of all things. His ideas have to be restricted and his imagination limited by some particular circumstances for him to observe the separate parts of this universe which he was striving to embrace in its entirety." ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau