Why are my emotions so strong?
November 18, 2016 11:03 AM   Subscribe

From the time I was a girl, I've felt my emotions very deeply. The negative ones sometimes interfere with my life very badly. lately it's been very intense. And this might be a bit too woowoo for some of you, but I've been getting more in touch with my spiritual side, and I wonder if that has something to do with it.

I recently had a very serious conversation with an ex that didn't go the way I wanted it to. I feel very broken, for lack of a better word. My muscles even feel a bit weak. Physical sensations also feel a bi more intense now. I've been exploring metaphysical topics lately, and I feel I'm getting more in tune with god at this point in my life. I've experienced a dramatic shift in my mindset. Some days I have been very euphoric and filled with a sense of purpose. Right now I feel utterly lost and hurt. I also feel nauseated, my head hurts, and I feel exhausted. Seriously, this is all because my ex told me something I didn't want to hear. I've also been off of my zoloft for a few days (prescription ran out) so I acknowledge that that could also be a factor. But I've never had withdrawal symptoms this intense before. Recently I've been having very vivid, scary dreams. My emotions have always been exceptionally intense, like I said, but these days it seems more so. Any ideas?
posted by Cybria to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Go see your doctor pronto. No one can diagnose you over the Internet, but the symptoms you are describing now suggest at least the possibility that you are some form of bipolar and have started cycling through manic and depressive phases. This is potentially very dangerous for you, so get yourself evaluated.
posted by praemunire at 11:06 AM on November 18, 2016 [20 favorites]

Don't stop zoloft cold turkey, for real, I'm speaking from experience. Get your drugs back right away.

Also check in with your therapist on these mood swings, just to touch base. And if you belong to a religion, talk with your pastor, rabbi, imam or whoever about the emotions and your proto-mystical experiences, and trust their response.

Finally, if you feel an emotion coming over you that you're not sure where it is coming from, say to yourself, "If this is mine, I accept it. If this is not mine, I release it." If you're super open to emotions, you can "catch" others' feelings, and that is nothing you need to deal with.
posted by janey47 at 11:07 AM on November 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

Yikes, definitely get a refill on your Zoloft. Withdrawal from mood-altering drugs will do a number on you, especially on your emotions.

I do also think that you'd benefit from a full psych eval, especially if your GP or a non-specialist has been prescribing your Zoloft. If you do fit the category of a particular disorder such as bipolar, it will help you figure out how to proceed so you feel more well-adjusted.
posted by radioamy at 11:35 AM on November 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

I consider myself to be pretty well in touch with my emotions, and these swings of mood and attitude happening in a period of change are consistent with what I experience and know, but it sounds like you're feeling them a little extra, so I do want to gently urge you to take care of getting your prescription refilled as I think that definitely plays into it - not to harp, though. How much you think it plays into this is up to you, but it does sound like you're asking whether this is normal; and, to my mind, the regimen not being followed is an evident deviation from normal. I'd advise concluding you should then re-visit your notion from there.

It sounds ultimately like you're experiencing a combination of these things. I'd say this may be a period of deep growth for you. From my experience, I've noted I often depersonalize by non-identification with characteristics-of-self I identify with my exes. Then begins a search for deeper psychological and perhaps even existential meaning. These are normal. I'd encourage trying not to let your emotions dictate your actions, if you are capable of abstracting out of your mental state and behavior at this point. Act outside of your emotional state, towards consistent self-betterment, and you'll help inform a better emotional state, in turn.
posted by a good beginning at 11:57 AM on November 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm sure that the Zoloft is a factor. In more ways than one, I imagine.

There's lots of precedent for what you describe, and it gets talked about in all different ways. Many paths up the mountain, I'm not here to shill ideology. You might consider sitting with your intense emotions and processing them - maybe with your therapist? Also, as always, seek out nature + a habit of meditation. Almost any flavor of meditation will do, keep seeking until you find one that fits.

I feel compelled to tell you this is a bad time for that mushroom trip or ayahuasca experience, if you've been thinking about that. It's dangerous medicine when you are feeling stable, a bad idea in moments like this. Especially with more traditional meds in the mix.

Have you heard of float tanks? Google and see if there is one near you. Try it.

In general you are a sensitive, normal person. You need a habit or series of habits to keep you stable and keep your emotional strength even. Many paths up the mountain. The bad dreams and freak outs pass as you continue on the path. Life experiences and good emotional and spiritual habits to fall back on really really help.

Anyway, welcome to the neighborhood :))
posted by jbenben at 12:01 PM on November 18, 2016 [5 favorites]

I haven't used Zoloft, but if I don't take my Effexor for a day or two I get really weird, vivid, sometimes disturbing dreams. Please go back on your medication and see if all your symptoms continue or not.
posted by LauraJ at 1:53 PM on November 18, 2016

First, heed everyone's advice on the medication.

Second, I've definitely had these experiences before, but I've always thought having intense emotions are on par for the course. Feel your emotions, but in the practice of mindfulness, ride through the waves, and then let them pass through you. The more that you develop the grooves in your brain and system that allow you to not be so attached to these sensations, so it can reveal and open up to you where the pain really is, that is where the healing really starts.

For disclosure, I'm a fairly spiritual person who has been identified as a healer and an empath, but take these suggestions really seriously because it also means that I am way more susceptible to feeling disoriented and dissociated from small reactions. You are definitely ungrounded and need to be very careful about finding ways to find your grounding.

I work with a therapist who is very in tune with both spiritual and art modalities, but she also does a great job of modelling that I need to feel my feelings thoroughly and journey with them. I've also used Dialectical Behaviral Therapy with great success, and just spent a great deal of time self-reflecting and process core wounds. Articles on websites like LonerWolf may help as well.

My journey is very individual, but I've always used my intuition, self-reflection/introspection, and a heavy dose of Ask Metafilter to help work me through my individual needs. But it is in your best interest to not allow yourself to get to a crisis situation, and find ways to ground yourself healthily in your support networks and basic daily needs, while exploring yourself psychologically and spiritually. Best of luck.
posted by yueliang at 2:28 PM on November 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

There are probably long term things you can work on here but your immediate issues sound exactly like what happened when I tried to go off Zoloft too quickly.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 2:30 PM on November 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Another vote for rapid cycling bipolar 1 or 2

Love, somebody who wishes she'd known that her own extreme emotions were the result of untreated bipolar disorder and rapid cycling much sooner than now
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:08 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Recently I've been having very vivid, scary dreams. My emotions have always been exceptionally intense, like I said, but these days it seems more so. Any ideas?

Vivid, scary dreams are a routine side effect of withdrawal.

It is vastly more likely that it is merely coincidence that your ex said a thing and then you fell apart physically than that his remark actually caused this much drama.

Also, get a physical and get your blood sugar levels checked. Blood sugar wonkiness can do a number on your moods.
posted by Michele in California at 11:59 PM on November 24, 2016

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