I've often wondered whether I feel things more deeply than other people I know, or if at this stage in my life I have a great need to express my feelings, and other people I know don't.
Perhaps the reason is because I spent decades keeping my feelings to myself. From my earliest remembrances (maybe in kindergarten), I used to get my feelings easily hurt. For some reason, I tried to "toughen up," although I don't remember ever discussing this with my parents--or having them give me this advice.
Although I could certainly express happiness, love, affection, joy, and other positive emotions, I wonder why I never thought it okay to express sadness, unhappiness, disappointment, or anger. And now that I'm in my late fifties, I can't (or won't) keep these feelings to myself.
What's interesting is that I'm not a highly sensitive person (HSP), as defined by Elaine N. Aron, author of Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You. Actually if you go to her website, you can take a self-test.
In Aron's definition, HSP have a nervous system that is more sensitive to subtleties (which I do). According to Wikipendia, "This means that regular sensory information is processed and analyzed to a greater extent, which contributes to creativity, intuition, sensing implications and attention to detail, but which may also cause quick overstimulation and overarousal."
While I have the former characteristics (creativity, intuition, sensing implications and attention to detail), I don't have a problem with overstimulation and overarousal. However, what's interesting about all this to someone who's bipolar is that this HSP temperament may correlate to high cortisol levels, something I wrote about at the end of an earlier post.
The point I'd like to make is that I believe temperament is a very important area of study for bipolar researchers. When I was talking about bipolar diagnosis last week, one of the tests I think people should be given relates to temperament.
(more to come)