Ever since I was little, I have noticed I am extremely sensitive when it comes to negative emotions in people. When they feel sick or depressed, I can sense this without them telling me. I thought everyone was this way, until I was about 11.
A close family friend of ours lost his wife in a car accident and we met him a week or so after she had passed. He wasn't crying, but I could feel this sadness emanating from him, the way you can feel heat from a flame without touching it. I went to hug him goodbye and this heavy cloud of grief just swept over me. Even minutes after we had left, I could feel it to the point where my heart hurt and I wanted to just curl up and cry.
It was a sadness I had never known and my mother was concerned and thought perhaps I was grieving for his wife, but I had only met her maybe once. I was very confused by this and still am.
My boyfriend actually suffers from severe depression and whenever he is having a bad day, I can feel it. Just being around him, I can feel his suffering. When I hug him is when I get the full brunt of it and I myself end up feeling hopeless, weighed down, extremely sad, tired in a way I'd never known and this usually lasts the rest of the day, if not longer.
I started to think perhaps I am taking in their emotions as my own? And if so, how can I stop it or control it? Is there a way to block it? This would help me a lot, as I am very confused by this and this drains me like no other. I go to bed often feeling like I've ran 5 marathons and am completely wiped. I would greatly appreciate any advice or clarification you can provide!