[The SF editor L. Sprague DeCamp (lampooned by St. Wally Wood as L. Sprague DeFreeb, but that's another matter) once visited an OTO meeting, and emerged with the conclusion that OTO's message was: The extraverts have had enough time running the world; time to give introverts a chance. Maybe his most perceptive moment, sez I. ;) ]
Thanks in part to a TV promo about "Genius vs. Madness," I got to thinking about how often the best and brightest folks on earth end up dealing with depression, apparently disproportionate response to "normal" pressures, and the like...and what a help it is to learn that, (a) this is perfectly normal for such folks, and (b) there are techniques (beyond just that reassurance) that can help. The brief version, then, of AJ's Care and Feeding of Genius rap. ;)
(1) The "Problem." Sensitive, feeling people experience things more deeply than most folks do; they're not imagining this or indulging themselves, they just do. Beyond that, some folks engage in activities, access aspects of the mind, that most never do -- e.g., artists (spending a lot of time negotiating with powerful unconscious energies) and, say, math or computer folks (spending a lot of time with notoriously disruptive "Air" energies, to use "magical" shorthand). Now, in a sane world, everyone would understand this, and cut extra slack for such folks (or for themselves, if they are such folks). This is, however, an insane world. So there's Rule One: You're probably not nuts: you're probably just an introvert.
From Neal Stephenson's stripped-down homepage, a terrific link to an Atlantic Monthly article on Introverts:
(2) Some Assistance. I don't need to tell magical types about the benefits of banishing rituals, so take that as a given; and I've already mentioned that it's a relief to know you're not alone: that such high-current spazziness is normal, for the "equipment" you're working with (feelings and smarts, f'rinstance). Beyond that, I'm gonna annoy everyone by recommending Raja Yoga again...not the physical-bendy stuff, the turning-off-the-mind stuff. For details, check out AC's aforementioned "The Soul of the Desert," and his Eight Lectures on Yoga. For Artists and Deep Thinkers (and Feelers) the notion that "the mind is the great enemy" is not only true, but absolutely crucial: it is high-power, unbridled thinking that's causing the problem, and the immediate need is to set time aside to STOP THINKING.
Once you've done that, all sorts of other things may become clear: time to change jobs, or relationships, or drop some tasks and emphasize others -- allathat stuff. But you'll have trouble seeing such things clearly until you discipline yourself (and discipline it is, the mind has a bazillion excuses not to cooperate) to spend a little time NOT THINKING. Over time, you may get good at it, and improve your signal-to-noise ratio: use conscious thought where it's helpful, and shut it the hell up otherwise.
(It also helps to SLOW DOWN some...be patient with yourself, calm down, take it a step at a time. And sometimes, all you've got is, "I don't have to like this [given task], I just have to do it [and stop whining]"; or even (the Cure lyric I repeated to myself ten thousand times while writing Layton Drive), "Nothing left but faith.")
Huuuuge topic, and too little space; hope some of this helped. I spend a lot of my initiatory time on such issues, and thought it might be nice to share some pointers outside the immediate circle. :D
Persevere, folks -- it gets easier over time. And dammitall, you're worth it. :*
93 93/93 -- AJ