Usually when people talk about their emotions, they use one of a few select words to describe how their feeling.
You may feel that because they aren’t widely discussed these feeling are unique to you, but you might be surprised to find that many of them are things that everybody feels, even if they don’t have the words to encapsulate them.
Exulansis: when there’s not an actual word for what you’re trying to explain. We feel more than we have the language to articulate and express, which is in itself profoundly frustrating. People work through emotions by being able to identify them and use them as signals. A lot of the time, we’re left in the dark. Enter the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, the brainchild of writer John Koenig, who is here to give you words for the feelings you may not have even known you were having. Here are 23 of them:
The realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.
The desire to care less about things.
The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.
The bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self.
The realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense anymore.
The ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable.
Weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had – the same boring flaws and anxieties that you’ve been gnawing on for years.
A conversation in which everyone is talking, but nobody is listening.
A sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out.
A state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence.
The desire to be struck by disaster – to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire.
The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.
The strange wistfulness of used bookshops.
Frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone.
The feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness.
The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.
The eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.
The inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like.
A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.
The awareness of the smallness of your perspective
The amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm.
The frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist.