Have you been told that you ‘see too much’, ‘hear too much’, ‘think too much’, ‘feel too much’?
Hello, and welcome.
This website is dedicated to highly sensitive, emotionally and intellectually intense, neurodivergent, and gifted adults, and those who have always felt atypical and distinct from the norm throughout their lives.
Intense curiosity, intellectual excitability, emotional sensitivity, and being neuro-atypical are blessings. They may not feel like a gift at times, but with skills and awareness, you can learn to harness your strengths.
We live in a culture that does not fully understand or embrace this unique trait; intense and passionate individuals are told that they are ‘too much’, ‘too sensitive’, ‘too overbearing’, ‘too dramatic’, or ‘too emotional’. Many find themselves being misunderstood, plagued by shame or self-judgment, and unable to reach their full potential.
My goal is to help you answer these questions:
Is there something wrong with me?
How does being intense and being different affect my life narrative? How do I change my story?
How do I fulfill my potential?
Highly sensitive, emotionally and intense, neurodivergent, and gifted adults are at the heart of this journey towards thriving in a neurodiverse world. This space is created with your unique experiences, sensitivities, and exceptional qualities in mind. Together, we will explore the beauty and challenges that come with your traits, and how to flourish in a world that is still learning to understand and appreciate you for who you are.
“They said you were too much, but they never knew that you were just enough to light up the world.”
Highly Sensitive, Intense, Neurodivergent, Emotionally Gifted Adults and Emotional Intensity
You feel a constant stream of both positive and negative feelings — pain, despair, fear, excitement, love, and happiness.
Sometimes, feelings can become so powerful and compelling that you feel out of control, although you may not be able to name them (we call that Alexithymia).
On the flip side, you can be flooded by joy, be deeply moved by art and beauty, and have bursts of creative insights.
You are naturally excitable and passionate— even if you don’t show it on the outside.
In a social situation, you feel you ‘absorb’ other people’s emotions and can be overwhelmed by stimuli, noises, or information you perceive.
Your psychological distress is sometimes expressed in the body —migraine headaches, allergies, asthma, and panic attacks.
You form strong emotional attachments to people, places, and things, or find separation difficult from a young age.
You are sensitive to unspoken social nuances and relational dynamics. Even this overwhelms you, you cannot ‘un-see’ things, and you intensely dislike dishonesty, inauthentic people, and situations.
Being acutely aware of the suffering, hypocrisies, and complexities of life, you may constantly feel older than others around you, like an ‘old soul’ that has somehow lost his/her roots.
You are highly driven and can be ‘perfectionistic’, which can be expressed as chronic anxiety and restlessness.
You have incessant internal dialogues and thoughts; it feels impossible to stop your mind from running.
You live with existential angst, a sense of urgency, an impulse to move forward, and a constant need to learn and explore.
You experience existential depression over the meaninglessness of life, death, and loneliness.
You have been diagnosed/ misdiagnosed with mental illnesses such as Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, or ADHD.
You were identified as a gifted child or gifted adult; but you do not understand why you suffer so much.
You may realize one day that you are indeed neuro-atypical.
Common Criticisms Faced by Highly Sensitive, Intense, Neurodivergent, and Gifted Adults
“You are just difficult.”
“Stop thinking too much.”
“You’re too perfectionistic.”
“You overthink everything.”
“Why can’t you just be like everyone else?”
“You’re too sensitive and need to toughen up.”
“You’re too critical of yourself and others.”
“Why do you have to question everything?”
“You need to learn to fit in.”
“Why can’t you just be satisfied with what you have?”
“Why can’t you just let it go?”
“You worry about everything.”
“You take everything too seriously.”
“You need to learn to tone it down.”
“You overreact to everything.”
“You’re always so dramatic.”
“You’re too high maintenance.”
“Why can’t you just go with the flow?”
“You’re too much for me.”
“You expect too much from yourself and others.”
“My feelings are too loud for words and too shy for the world.”
Challenges for Emotionally Intense, Highly Sensitive, Highly Empathic and Gifted People
- Extreme and unpredictable mood swings, feeling like you are always on the verge of losing control.
- Shame, sensitivity to criticism and rejection, and overreacting in some situations.
- Perfectionism, burn-out or ‘bore-out’ at work, chronically restless, unable to relax or take pleasure.
- Impulsive and self-sabotaging behaviors that are not aligned with who you want to be.
- Feeling oppressed by the dominant values, unable to have a voice or a place in the world.
- Not fitting into mainstream society or culture, being or feeling isolated and alienated.
- Taking on other people’s emotions; Becoming overly responsible for things that happen between you.
- Feeling under-stimulated or over-stressed in relationships and friendships.
- Being drawn to the same type of partner/ relationship over and over, even when your needs are unmet.
- The fear of ‘coming out’ with your intensity, with the fear of being annihilated if you ‘stick your head out.’
- Feel numb and empty most of the time, except when the emotions erupt suddenly and uncontrollably.
- Existential guilt and despair, feeling hopeless and powerless in the face of uncertainties in life.
- Losing touch with your intuition and disconnecting from spirituality.
- Writer/ Artist’s block; Feeling stuck and unable to reach your full potential.
In summary, being a highly sensitive and intuitive gifted adult comes with a unique set of challenges stemming from your intensity, strong drive, and the complexity of your mind and emotional life. These challenges may manifest as feeling ‘too much’ for others, battling inner critics, seeking solace in self-soothing behaviors, and struggling with an over-active mind. The weight of high internal standards, the constant quest for stimulation, and the difficulty in expressing your thoughts and humor to others can weigh you down. Embracing and navigating these challenges is an integral part of your journey as a highly sensitive, empathic, and gifted adult.
“I am a tapestry of imperfections, woven with threads of resilience and vulnerability. I refuse to edit my story; I will shine as I am, unabridged and authentic.”
The Wounds of Being ‘Too Much’ – The Shattered Light of the Gifted Adults
Before you became a gifted adult, you were a gifted child.
The gifted child came into the world with such vitality and joy — you see the world through kaleidoscopic lenses, every color and shape a wonder to behold.
Your mind is a maze of endless possibilities, and your heart beats with passion and intensity.
You broadcast your love to the world, scream at any injustice you witness, and react to your surroundings as swiftly and powerfully as passing storms.
But then something happened.
You find within you something that says, ‘You are too much.’
It wasn’t there when you came into the world.
Now it permeates the entirety of your being.
Suddenly, you are no longer that shining bright fire.
Your passion and intensity begin to dwindle.
Where did the demon come from? From where have you gotten the message ‘You are too much’?
Oh dear, from the get-go.
From when you were in your mother’s womb, perhaps.
It may not be anyone’s fault, but the tragedy is that who you are goes beyond what your parents can ever comprehend.
They nod and smile as you eagerly share your latest discovery, but you know they are not really hearing you.
They do not get your humor, finding it too complex or obscure, though they occasionally pretend to laugh.
Their faces blank out when you talk to them about complex ideas and happenings in the world, for they prefer the mundane, the safe, the comfortable.
Disagreements led to closed doors and turned backs, with difficult conversations avoided at all costs.
When your emotions burn too bright, they turn away and say you are overreacting and overly sensitive, labeling you the family’s black sheep.
They tell you to tone it down, be humble, fit in, and be more like the others.
From the way they look at you, or not look at you; from what they say to you, or not say to you, all tell you ‘you are too much’.
Your soul is simply beyond their grasp, beyond their reach, something they cannot control, temper and teach.
They may try, but in the end, all they do is misunderstand.
What choice do you have but to dim your light just to survive?
You learned to hide your gifts, downplay your intelligence, and blend in with the crowd.
You became a shadow of who you truly are, a mere fraction of the brilliance that lay within.
Day after day, you were made to feel like a burden — as though your very existence is a fire to be extinguished.
It is no wonder that you carry these wounds with you today.
No wonder you struggle to trust and open up to others, fearing that they will reject you just as you have rejected yourself.
But dear gifted adult, I didn’t say all these to make you despair.
Have faith, for hope is there for you.
It may surprise you, but it’s never too late to reclaim your light.
I’ve seen it again and again with those in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.
They embark on this journey because even a single day of living as their true gifted selves, even a fleeting moment of finding a kindred spirit, makes it all worthwhile.
Of course, it takes courage to look back as you fear the floodgate of sadness to shake your safe, seemingly contented life.
But then again, why are you reading this if everything is truly okay?
You know life is passing by; you know, on some level, time is running out.
You miss your true self that lies beneath.
Healing might be stormy, but then if you face it, the storm of healing will pass.
If you resist it though, it will haunt you.
The wounds of ‘you are too much’ will not disappear but remains a beautiful scar — and as a veteran of life, you can wear it with honor.
Maybe it is time to step out of the shadow and pluck out that toxic snake that whispers ‘too much’ in your ears.
Let them see the beauty in your kaleidoscopic mind,
pour out the passion in your heart, and broadcast your love for the world.
If they turn away, let them go.
Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever.
Perhaps some were only meant to cross your path.
Some don’t deserve a place on your path at all.
When you open that frozen door, there is a world waiting for you to seize.
Would you Like to Work Together?
Hi! My name is Imi, the author of this site.
I now practice as a consultant and coach, specializing in working with highly sensitive, emotionally and inellectually intense, neurodivergent, and gifted adults. My approach is rooted in both my personal journey and my extensive experience as a psychotherapist and mental health practitioner.
As a highly sensitive and emotionally intense child, I grappled with fitting in and understanding human relationships, ultimately leading me to hide my true self. With many years of help from my amazing therapist, a lot of reading, and reflections, I found my journey back to love by shedding protective layers, embracing vulnerability, and rediscovering how to ‘play’ and enjoy life as it is. Today, I strive for authentic and mutually expressive relationships with others, especially those who find themselves feeling ‘different’ all their lives.
For those who have faced similar challenges, I want to emphasize that you too can find your way back to authenticity and meaningful connections. It’s about actively reassuring the fearful part of yourself, unconditionally supporting your journey, and trusting that life is on your side.
My personal and professional journeys have inspired me to establish Eggshell Therapy and Coaching in 2013. Over the years, I’ve worked in various mental health roles, but I did not agree with many conventional perspectives on personality disorders. Frustrated with the mental health system, I was drawn to a holistic, creative, and non-pathologizing approach, influenced by philosophies such as Buddhism, Stoicism, Jungian Psychology, and Symbolism. I obtained a Master’s in Buddhist Studies and additional training in these philosophical modalities alongside my original mental health training. In my practice now, I prioritize authenticity and directness, aiming to guide you on a journey of clarity, confidence, and purpose.
“The existential loneliness is the price we pay for being conscious of ourselves.”
– Rollo May
“Silence, I discover, is something you can actually hear.”
― Kafka on the Shore
Imi Lo is a consultant and published author with extensive and international experience in mental health and psychotherapy. Her books Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity and The Gift of Intensity are available worldwide and in multiple languages. Imi has two Master’s degrees; one in Mental Health and one in Buddhist Studies. She works holistically, combining psychological insights with Eastern and Western philosophies such as Buddhism and Stoicism.