Are you sometimes completely overwhelmed by unknown feelings?
December 11, 2012 7:21 PM   Subscribe

Are you sometimes completely overwhelmed by unknown feelings?

I feel that often. There are several types, but they are all subtly different.

One obvious one is when I'm stressed and am just driving the car alone, listening to the radio, and just feeling anxious. Like when something's bothering me, but I've suppressed it well enough to not show it, yet I can still feel it overwhelming my subconsciousness.

Another type is when I've just had really good time with my friends and just feel really happy and upbeat but a little sad at the same time. I don't know why, maybe it's because I start thinking that I won't be friends with them a few years from now and that the way we are making and losing friendship is completely dependent on our school and career and that we have absolutely no control over it.

A very subtle one is when I'm listening to music. For example, I've been listening to Christmas songs in my car for the last few days. Sometimes, I'd sing along and feel happy. Sometimes, I get really quiet and feel a bit melancholy.

Or when I'm making art while listening to music, sometimes I feel as if I'm above everything, and there's just this feeling of slight anger and excitement and boldness that I can't put my hands on. It's different from just liking a song. It's almost as if I'm melting into the music and becoming part of it.

Of course, I think the last type is a good things since it drives creativity. But what about the first two. Do any of you feel the same? How do you deal with it? To me, sometimes I can suppress them. Other times, they touch me deeply and change how I do things during the day.
posted by Thisispiggy to Human Relations (11 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Have you ever heard of Sehnsucht?
posted by littlegreen at 7:24 PM on December 11, 2012 [33 favorites]

Response by poster: No, but that sounds really close! I think I just described the word. Will read more into that.
posted by Thisispiggy at 7:28 PM on December 11, 2012

Mono no aware.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:34 PM on December 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

it sounds hormonal, can you pinpoint if it happens more often certain times of the month? I get like a low level melancholic depression hormonally, and feel sad and overwhelmed about nothing at all. But I get through it and it helps knowing its temporary.
posted by katypickle at 7:42 PM on December 11, 2012

Tears, idle tears
posted by daisystomper at 7:47 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

The friends thing sounds kind of like saudade experienced based on anticipation/imagination of their absence. The music thing sounds a bit like flow. But there are a bunch of well-known feelings not quite captured in our standard English inventory of emotions: unfocused angst, the bliss-knowledge beyond pleasure of jouissance, the oceanic feeling of being in touch with the universe, etc.

If you like exploring these kinds of feelings, many great Modernist writers made a point of trying to evoke feelings at the edge of what we normally talk about--Proust, Woolf, Musil, etc.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 7:48 PM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

posted by luciddream928 at 9:29 PM on December 11, 2012

Sorry, how is this different from just ... feeling feelings?
posted by softlord at 8:29 PM on December 12, 2012

Sorry, how is this different from just ... feeling feelings?

Another possible phrasing: I am experiencing particular constellations of feelings and am having trouble naming them. Perhaps you can suggest sources for identifying and reflecting on these sets of emotions?
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:29 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Feelings we don't have discreet words for are at the core of the affective experience, in my mind. Labeling an emotion drastically reduces the extent to which it's processed by the amygdala, thalamus, and insula, and increases cortical involvement (which you can kind of map on to a tradeoff between implicit or reflexive processing and explicit or reflective sorts of cognition).
posted by solipsophistocracy at 5:51 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is a mild derail, just wanted to expand a bit on the last feeling that Monsieur Caution mentioned as flow - it deserves a few more words. This was one of my most favourite subjects studied in Psych/Cognitive Science in undergrad. (Shoutout to Professor Vervaeke, thank you for the best classes ever.)

This image summarizes the feeling of flow best. You reach this transcendental state of "flow" when you are doing something in which you are highly proficient (that is, something that you already have done many times before and have a great grasp of the "basics") but are highly challenged within your skill reach, but just at the tip.
The experience of flow can only happen when you are doing something that is intrinsically rewarding to you.

The neat thing is that flow seems to be connected to increased happiness (neurologically as well as the core book literally titled Flow - How to Achieve Happiness written by one of the key researchers in the field, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly) (yes i had to copy paste his name)

Which is to say - perhaps your ability to experience flow (which is not to be taken for granted!) could be used to enable you to feel happier (less melancholy) in general too.
posted by olya at 8:12 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

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