Lovely to hear from you and sorry for the delay– needed a bit of time away from the forums last week. Your description of yourself as a young person really, really resonated with me. I was extremely anxious, sensitive, an easy crier, the whole nine yards. I also felt like I was somehow different from everyone else, and in adulthood that feeling has eased but not disappeared totally.'
And, of course, I have a biological sister who grew up with me in the same household and turned out much more chill! Go figure.
What you say about feeling things more deeply is something I've always felt and suspected about myself. Of course it's very hard to know if it's true, but as a kid and still I always remember feeling things so intensely and wondering why if everyone felt these things they weren't more outwardly anxious and upset. Once as a child I was in the car with my mom who was listening to an audiobook, and one of the characters said of the other that "while most of us have a wall around our heart to protect it, she doesn't." I was too young to articulate what I was feeling but I remember that phrase so well because it was like someone had said exactly what I was feeling, which meant that I wasn't the only one who felt this way. Random things would (and still do) hit me with a pang of sadness that I can't explain.
In the past few years since moving for graduate school my mental health has been much better than it's been in a while, but of course it is always there and moving abroad and COVID-19 and some other things in my personal life have really tested me over the past 6 months or so.
Smallwolf's point about how progress isn't always linear is right-on, and I had seen kintsugi before but didn't know what it's called. That's such a beautiful hobby and, as you point out, a really apt metaphor for how a lot of us feel.