I’m a very intense person. I feel things keenly, and emotional experiences stay with me. I love fiercely, throw myself into things heart and soul, am tortured by anxiety and depression, and I get my heart broken all too often because I care deeply about things. Recognising that I can’t have the highs without having parallel lows, I have long since accepted myself as I am, and while my responses perplex people now and then, I have no desire to change them.
Looking at other people, it has been difficult to tell whether I’m seeing drama, or intensity. No doubt people looking at me have the same problems. To some, I probably seem excessive and melodramatic. I’ve suffered considerably, and repeatedly by being drawn into drama. I’ve noticed a distinct pattern, and the more time I spend around people who are also intense, the clearer the pattern has become for me.
Like all the other intense people I know, I hate drama. I hate getting things overblown for the sake of it and the relentless effort to turn all molehills into mountains. I can be reduced to tears by a painting. I’d much rather be free to get on with that, and not being reduced to tears by people for whom that’s a spectator sport. People who like drama manufacture it. They create crises that require everyone else to run around. They may weep extravagantly, yell, stomp feet and act out a great deal of emotional expression, but instead of being exhausted from so much emotion, they feed on it, and they feed on the exposed emotions of those caught up in the play, and so they keep making sure these things happen. With a drama enthusiast, things never settle down, never become calm and workable.
Based on observation, there are a number of possible motives. The drama enthusiast is always at the centre of the whirlwind, and the centre of attention. Drama makes sure the world revolves around them, and anyone in their orbit is kept circling and attentive. There are clearly ego temptations in being the centre of attention. Intense people who are in extremis are more likely to slip away and try to do it quietly, without the added burden of attention and other people’s reactions to deal with. The drama enthusiast needs to feel important. They seem to derive a kind of pleasure from all intense emotion – especially other people’s. They may have a vested interest in being seen as temperamental and passionate – it fits in with an identity that appeals to them. They tend to be attracted to arts scenes and spiritual spaces, where a heart on a sleeve can look a lot like authenticity and it’s very hard for anyone to challenge them.
I have repeatedly mistaken drama queens for truly intense people. I like the company of other people who feel too much because there are things I do not have to explain. Intense people shun needless drama, and tend, I have noticed, to try and bring situations down to more manageable, bearable levels rather than escalating them. Intense people are a lot more reliable as friends, too, and less likely to throw a hissy fit and run off over some minor thing.
I spent a lot of years being told that I’m unreasonable and melodramatic. I guess on some level I internalised this as meaning that I belong with the unreasonable and melodramatic people. Except that I hate all that stuff. I like quiet, reflective, thoughtful people who feel things too keenly to want any unnecessary screaming and shouting in the mix.