“I think sensitive people are almost always also very lovely, caring and compassionate people who can do a lot of good in the world – because they deeply care.”
But admittedly, it is often not easy to learn to live with yourself and navigate life when you are more sensitive and emotional than most people around you. Some guidance and mentoring, and learning certain skills, can be very valuable, and prevent a lot of suffering.
I used to be a worrier as a child; I would worry about things in my head that no one else seemed to worry about. Such as bottles of bubbly soft drinks exploding and causing the house to catch on fire. (I had heard about that very unlikely scenario actually happening somewhere and thought it would happen with each soft drink bottle. I could not understand why my mother kept buying them!) I would worry about the girl next door going to hell because she and her parents did not go to church. I would worry about what it would be like when our cat died, an unimaginable tragedy for an 8 year old.
I also used to, and still seem to, feel things much more deeply than most of my family members. I could be really sad about things, but also very happy and excited about others. I used to judge myself terribly for having all these worries and emotions. I felt particularly bad about myself when I was feeling sad – why did that horrible feeling have to creep up on me? I tried to ‘be positive’ as best as I could. However, in my mid twenties this strategy came to a head, when I went through a painful relationship break-up, and I had no healthy ways for coping with the ensuing grief. I went through a period of about 2 years of quite severe mental health problems. It started off with me being quite hypomanic, followed by a period of being emotionally really unstable, swinging from feeling great to feeling very down within a short period of time. When I realized these mood swings were getting worse and worse, I somehow managed to stabilize myself, but then slid into a long period of feeling quite depressed. With some help, I slowly recovered from that depression, but I came away with being quite tense and anxious. Part of that anxiety was from the fear of becoming depressed (or hypomanic) again: I felt I could not trust my own inner world. That somehow some wild, dark ‘monster’ could emerge from within me, unbidden. I really wanted to move on with my life though, and I tried to put it all behind me and not think about it anymore.