Jae, 47, Olympia/Washington, USA

“I am constantly worried about my health. As a child, there was always something wrong with me, or so I thought. After years of therapy, I’ve learned that I have psychosomatic tendencies, most probably as the result of craving love and attention from my Mom. In my young mind, I suppose I felt if she believed I was injured or sick she would hug me rather than beat me. More on that gem of a psychosis some other time.

Lately, though I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, and worthless. Doctors tell me it’s just the change of life…menopause. Dun dunt dunt dun… Like that shit of a diagnosis is supposed to be comforting. Well, it’s better than Stage 4 anything. So much better.

Or it’s likely that Breast Implant Illness has been wreaking havoc on my brain. In any case, feeling anxious and out of sorts has been my normal for a long time.

Now that I understand how sensitive I am to other people’s feelings, I wonder if my anxiety is mine, other people’s, or if I’m just feeling the plight of the world. I’m highly sensitive to other people’s emotions, I absorb their sadness and fear — mix that in with my own feelings and half the time I feel like a stranger in my own head. I don’t know who is me versus some other person quite often.

What’s worse, the closer I am to someone, a friend or lover, the more I take on their emotions. This is why I must have isolation and why I have a tendency to push people away, that and honestly, people suck.

The current state of the world is not very encouraging for humanity. I’m finding it more and more distressing to cope with consumerism and a general disregard for the environment. The state of the world makes me anxious. Feeling like I don’t do enough to help the situation makes me anxious. Feeling like we’re on the verge of a nuclear apocalypse makes me anxious. Sure, I recycle more often than I don’t and I bring my own grocery bags when I purchase organic produce…because GMOs are the Devil people. Am I perfect in my attempts to be more Earth-loving? Of course not but I’m doing some things, even if that means I can only do one thing at a time.

So, to ward off feeling anxious I try to do something to help me cope with what I’m feeling anxious about. One thing. Sometimes I can do more than one thing but it starts with focusing on one thing, one thing I can control versus feeling like everything is out of control. Besides adopting a plant-based diet I’m making a pledge to give up plastic for a month. Then next month maybe I’ll volunteer to pick up trash. I used to think I could will myself to stop caring so much about the world and things that I can’t control. If only it were that simple. My fellow INFJs can relate. It’s a personality trait. Caring too much and thinking about every-damn-thing is akin to breathing, not something I can just stop doing, it’s kinda automatic. You can’t turn off feeling sensitive, no more than you can turn off feeling anxious.

In addition to making lifestyle changes that I hope will make a bigger picture difference, I’m also attempting the following activities: Daily meditation, ’cause quieting the chatter in my brain would be nice. Regular exercise, like walking every day. Drinking more water — did you know dehydration can alter your brain chemistry, potentially causing depression and anxiety? Spend more quality time with my fur babies and the hubs, ’cause I love them a lot.

I’m not saying that doing these things will completely eradicate my anxiety but they help, even if I can do only one thing at a time. You have to choose your one thing.”


You can follow Jae’s story on her website and instagram.



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