It never occurred to me that your feelings - esp if you're very present - could make you feel like you were drowning. I just assumed for the longest time that everyone was equally subjected to their feelings and had to deal with them in a uniform manner, but I was very mistaken. Even between me and my ENFP sister - our feelings move us very differently. Sometimes when an emotion is too powerful or vicious, I go into red alert and shut down all vital systems until the feeling has kicked itself out. I'm designed to handle very intense feelings, but even then, some of them hit like a tidal wave and my only concern is to survive it. Feelings go right through me - and not just my own. Those around me, even strangers. I have to shield myself from it or it can do damage I'm undoing for days or even weeks depending on how bad it was.
For example, my father is interested in war history. So am I. It tells a lot about people. But I have to recoil from the worst of it because it hits me so hard. We'd gotten him a tremendous book by Hampton Sides called "Ghost Soldiers" written about the formation and deployment of Special Forces in WW2 to liberate internment camps. Some of their personal stories are so gutting, I couldn't bear it.
I read about one Ranger who'd gone into a camp and carried a man out who weighed as much as a child and couldn't make it under his own power. This tough Ranger held him and granted him the mercy of dying on the other side of the fence in friendly arms. I couldn't stop crying for days. That poor man. Both of them. I was furious because that prisoner held on and held on through hideous conditions and despair only to die from relief and exhaustion (that stomps and stomps on my anger over death and need for justice), but I was also deeply profoundly moved by the depths of kindness shown by a Ranger that I knew would carry around that horrible moment inside his brain and body for the rest of his life. I want more than anything to be able to wipe such horrors from the minds of those cursed to bear them.
With my long long memory, I tend to relive such terrible moments in vivid Technicolor over and over, regardless of the passage of time. Which is why I have to protect myself from what I'm exposed to. It's a bullet in my brain, and you can't un-pull the trigger. People die their deaths with me, they live their lives with me. I pick up pictures of lost people in antique shops and feel the need to "save" them from oblivion.
I wasn't told for over a year that my horse had died. I was furious, but my father was right when I said I wanted to be with my horse when he died - he told me that it would have destroyed me to go through it with Bigfoot because I loved him so much. I would have internalized that and been shaken by it for the rest of my life. I don't take separations of this sort very well. Something in me is ripped at the seams.