I'm nearly 21 years old, and for my entire life I've always been described as sensitive or empathetic. I used to use the metaphor of a sponge. I could feel what was going on around me, even if it wasn't related at all to my situation. However, I've always had a feeling that it went deeper than that. I'm not entirely sure what it is or if I even belong on this site, but if I could get some kind of help, support, or explanation I would be so grateful to anyone willing to read and relate.
From age 8-12, my home life was often rocky, with a mother and sister constantly fighting and quite a bit of stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration coming from all sides. I would feel these emotions along with my family members, in addition to my own already confused and hurt emotions that actually did belong to me. Occasionally I would understand on some level that some of the feelings were coming from my sister or from my mother, but mostly I just felt conflicted and frightened about the strong feelings that seemed pretty much unexplainable. I would often feel sick, but in a way that was difficult for me to explain, and I would be too exhausted to go to school. At the same side, I could go around a few certain people, some I knew well some I did not, and instantly feel much calmer and warmer. Like their peace could be transferred to me.
I'm often the first person to know important information. I knew when my grandmother had passed away and ended up urging my dad to go over and check on her because I was so scared that I might be right. And I was. I also lost a young woman that was like my sister when I was 16 and the entire week leading up to her death I felt incredibly sick. I woke up that night in a gripping fear when she died.
This past year, my mother had heart surgery. When I saw her afterwards I felt as though my own ribcage had this pressure and I thought I was going to pass out. Before she had surgery I would feel a flutter in my chest, even though I've had tests and I know my own heart is fine. I had a hard time between wanting to see my mom and come for visits and not wanting to feel any pain myself. I've spent quite a bit of time in hospitals and occasionally it will be fine but the more invested in it I am myself, the more exhausting and overwhelming it is. I can feel pains that seem so real but leave when I do and I tend to get a very scared, lonely feeling inside of them.
When I'm out, I can look at someone and know if they're experiencing a negative time in their life and some kind of co-feeling happens. I've always seemed to draw in people in hard places and always been a listening ear, almost like I'm magnetic. It really does exhaust me, though, and I often have to isolate myself after an incident like that. On the other side of the coin, I often feel these types of things without looking at or speaking to anyone. Even when I'm alone, I can have this overwhelming fear or sadness or anger that overwhelms me. In my old apartment, I would often feel this when my roommate was gone. There was this gripping depression along with a kind of hatred that I never really thought I was capable of. I would often shut down for days at a time because carrying it around was so exhausting. I could leave and be fine within a few hours--so I've ruled out my own depression or anxiety issues. I'm still attempting to figure out exactly what could have caused such severe, unexplainable mood swings.
For the sake of not carrying on and on, even thought I probably already have, I'll end it here. I would love to hear responses from people with similar experiences or people who might have more of a grip on some kind of explanation to this. Thank you in advance to everyone who reads and responds. I'd love to know that I'm not alone in this. To be honest, it can really frighten me, especially when I get these feelings out of nowhere that are so difficult to let go of and even debilitate me physically. So, thank you again.