My husband describes me as intense – and he’s absolutely right. That’s exactly how I feel most of the time. It can be unnerving and I don’t know if it’s worse for me or the people around me. But despite the emotional war in my head, I try my best to be pleasant and polite – after all, I’m still a Midwesterner.
I think my intensity stems from a lot of things – my mental illness, my personality, past experiences, etc. However, I can’t think of one singular event that left me feeling this way. In fact, I don’t ever remember not feeling this way.
Did this get worse with age? Maybe. Everything became more intense when I became a parent. I love my playful, spunky little girl, but motherhood came with a million new things to be anxious about as well as a few crippling bouts of depression. I find relief in knowing I am not alone in this. For once in my life, I’m not the odd one out because I’m sure many other parents feel the same way.
Even though I experience overwhelming highs and lows, I don’t always see it as a bad thing. I’m a very passionate person. When I’m interested in something, I grab ahold and give it two thousand percent. I’m organized, driven, and ambitious and I will just run with it. I’m proud of my accomplishments – accomplishments that probably would have never happened if I wasn’t this intense.
I don’t mean to be dramatic but that seems to be how my brain interprets everything. Some days I wish I could turn it off or at least down a couple of notches, but I can’t. I feel fragile and anticipate that whatever happens next is going to break me.
Then again, some days I really see the positive aspects of my intensity. I accept it and wouldn’t change it — maybe even view it as a strength. I want everyone to feel my intensity through my art and writing. I think if you took it away I would be pretty boring. It’s just a part of me and I wouldn’t be the same without it.
Can anyone relate? How do your loved ones describe you? If your highs and lows were amplified, would you find a way to use them to your benefit? If you have a mental illness like me, how do you separate your illness from your personality? Do you have the magical ability to relax?
John Morales says
I can be rather intense. Supremely so.
Not really that good a thing, overall. People get taken aback.
I would clarify, but it’s a rather personal subject, so I shall say no more here.
I’m not sure that people would describe me that way most of the time. Maybe on some issues? My main personality trait that probably comes through is that I tend to think about things too much. I do find ways to use that in a positive fashion although I can’t always make it a positive trait.
It helps when I’m troubleshooting things because I’ll just mull it over and it’ll churn away in the back of my mind for hours or days without much effort on my part. Later I’ll often come up with a better approach to the problem than I had originally. For issues amenable to troubleshooting this is a positive. For those that are not, it’s a negative. Sometimes people will get into arguments with me for example and if it seems serious, I’ll think about it for awhile. Which doesn’t help if what they really wanted to do was rant at me for a bit to blow off steam and then drop it. That sort of venting can be something people just do and drop, which is a pain in the butt to deal with. But it can also be something that helps someone realize that what they’re venting about isn’t really what’s upsetting them. I know because I’ve been in that situation and I’ve watched other people have that realization as well.
I tend to get along pretty well with people who are intense and I even like dealing with them. I’ve begun friendships just by being the person who was willing to hang around while someone talked passionately about something they like or ranted about something they didn’t. I find the intensity interesting as long as whatever issue they’re being intense about is something I can agree with. I can find intense neonazis, racists, or religious nuts if I want but if someone begins ranting about those topics I’ll either shut them down or leave ASAP.
I tend to view intensity as a positive trait if it’s bent towards constructive ends. Or if it’s focused on tearing down things that are negative. I think this is because like our host’s blog, this can manifest as asking questions and thinking about things, which is similar to my approach. Enough so I may well seem intense about anything I’m passionate about even if I don’t think of myself that way.
I’m pretty intense about a lot of things. For good or bad, its who I am.
I do have my mellow moments and can relax too but yeah.
Good or bad depends and varies on context.
Probly not helpful, sorry but still.