13 Emotions Only Overthinkers Can Understand

Beth Solano

1. Ambedo

Completely losing yourself in this zenned-out trance where you notice all the little details you often overlook. For example, being transfixed by cars on a highway from your apartment window, or watching a hummingbird’s wings flap wildly and losing all sense of place and time.

2. Avenoir

Wishing that you could see the memories you would have with someone before you actually have them. Like looking backwards through a photo album with your future lover, realizing that yes, you did make it to forever, and yes, you did have so much fun—all before the two of you have even kissed.

3. Monachopsis

Feeling out of place. Being in the corner of a coffee shop, watching people mill about and feeling subtly, but terribly alone.

4. Exulansis

When you just quit talking about something because the people around you don’t get it, or when you give up trying to understand something because a definition simply doesn’t exist. Exactly this: searching for the right words for the emotions you feel but can’t really explain.

5. Moment of Tangency

Seeing a teeny, tiny glimpse of what might have been. Watching someone walk away with a handful of regret in your pocket, or saying something that came out totally wrong and not knowing how to take it back, or getting a kiss on the cheek when you really want more, or looking from the sidelines as someone you love dances happily with someone else.

6. Lutalica

The one part of what makes you, you that you really don’t identify with. For example, as you grow and become your own person, you realize that there are these self-imposed, world-imposed labels on you that just don’t make any damn sense when you really think about who you are.

7. Occhiolism

Becoming aware of how small your perspective is and how maybe you really don’t have a clue about anything going on around you. Contemplating whether you really have a purpose, or if you’re just a face in a crowd.

8. Altschmerz

The strange fear of running out of things to think about. Wondering whether you’ll always ponder over the same issues, same anxieties, same problems, leaving you bored and tired.

9. Nodus Tollens

Feeling like your life doesn’t make sense anymore, that even though you felt steady and secure, you’re suddenly lost in the past, unsure of whether to step forwards or backwards or simply turn back around. And coming to the realization that you must start over, re-learning who you are again. That moment where suddenly you stop moving and watch everyone around you and wonder where, and if you fit.

10. Sonder

Glancing at someone and realizing their life is just as crazy, complex, and wonderful as yours. Bumping into a stranger whom you don’t have anything in common with, but realizing that you are still human and still so deeply connected in the simple fact that you’re both living and breathing on this earth.

11. Onism

Realizing that you are just a spec in the grand scheme of things, and no matter how much you do or say or travel or learn, you won’t ever experience the entire world. Like looking out an airplane window and realizing how freaking small you actually are.

12. Nighthawk

The thoughts that keep you up at night, whether fear or guilt or anxiety. Everything that you’ve tried to ignore during the day that somehow finds its way into your thoughts as soon as your head hits the pillow.

13. Liberosis

The desire to just stop—stop caring, stop thinking, stop wondering, stop trying to hold onto things that aren’t meant to be yours and simply let go. For example, grabbing a handful of sand and watching it slowly, effortlessly slip through your fingers, reminding you that there are some things you simply cannot keep, and that’s perfectly and beautifully okay. TC mark


Author Disclaimer: Emotion explanations are modified and transcribed from John Koenig’s Dictionary Of Obscure Sorrows. All definitions on this page are my own.


Marisa Donnelly is a poet and author of the book, Somewhere on a Highway, available here.

Marisa Donnelly

Marisa is a writer, poet, & editor. She is the author of Somewhere On A Highway, a poetry collection on self-discovery, growth, love, loss and the challenges of becoming.

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