I'm very new to this site and I'm not sure if my story is in the correct section, but I'm trying my best with what little I know.
I have had some odd experiences, especially in the last two years, and at times it can become overwhelming. I've always experienced some of what I will describe below, but when I was 19, it intensified. I have always been very sensitive to other people's emotions and sometimes it feels as though I can read their thoughts in a way. Usually I can feel ideas or general intents based on emotion. But every once in awhile I can hear a whole sentence in my head, and I will think it is my own until a second later someone near me says the same thing I thought, in the exact words I thought, out loud. This doesn't happen all of the time though. It is also strange because when these thoughts manifest in my own thoughts, they are often something unrelated to what I am currently thinking or doing. I can deal with hearing bits of thoughts (as it doesn't happen too often) but sometimes I am completely overwhelmed with the emotion of not just certain people, but also certain places. I'm not sure how to deal with these emotions when they are so strong.
Also, on top of it all, I feel and sometimes hear (and even more rarely see) people/spirits/ghosts...I'm not quite sure what they are. Most of this occurs in my house, but also occurs in other environments such as at school or work. They look, most of the time, like regular people, except I feel an unusual amount of my attention drawn to them, or they seem slightly out of place. When this happens I'm often rooted to the spot for a moment or two and swamped with emotions and certain intents.
For example, in one woman I saw, I felt impatience, frustration, and a want to get my attention and speak to me NOW. But I also have had experiences with more pleasant and positive emotions, such as excitement, joy, and an intent/want to share what was so exciting. Sometimes these emotions and people seem to want my attention, and other times they have nothing to do with me and are tagging with someone else or just passing by. But each time I am drawn into a swirl of emotion and I can't tell my own self for a moment.
The strongest experience I have had with losing myself in another's emotion, or in this case, and environment's emotional imprint, is when I was backpacking in Cambodia. I was at an old school now called S21, or the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. I had been mostly fine, if not sad and somber by what I was reading and the pictures and rooms I looked at. When I came to the last building of the museum I saw my two friends waiting on the step outside. They had gone ahead of me earlier but said that the room on the top floor made them feel a bit uneasy for some reason and so they would wait for me outside. I said okay, and then went up by myself. I passed another backpacker in the stairwell, and he told me it feels "weird" up there. I just nodded and smiled at him, and said thanks for the warning.
When I was up there everything looked the same as the other rooms I had been in, but this time it did feel off. It didn't hit me all at once, but it grew in the span of a minute or two. I started feeling very sad, trapped, hurt, and hopeless. It felt like a crushing black molasses of hopelessness, of giving up, of a never ending days and hunger and pain. I started getting very dizzy and spots dotted my vision. I almost started to cry from all of the emotions. I don't know how long I just stood there by myself, but it took me a long time to realize who I was, even just for a moment. When that moment of self-awareness came I left the building to join my friends outside. I didn't want to go back in again. Even now, as I write this, I can feel the same emotions in my memory, and almost two years later it still makes me feel overwhelmed and even cry if I dwell on it too long.
Has anyone had similar experiences such as this and the ones above? If so, what is it exactly...empathy? I'm not very knowledgeable on this, as no one I know has experienced these things. My family and friends are aware of the more general idea what I experience, and are fairly accepting of most of what I tell them. Also, how should I deal with situations such as the one in Cambodia, where I didn't even know who or where I was for a while? It scared me.