To absorb or not to absorb; my empath sweater .
The intro music of Ready or Not by the Fugees sets my mood and subsequent lyrics give me a little power to push out what I have been wanting to talk about today. I feel a little weird talking about this subject with perhaps a lot of eye-rolling because it seems kind of hocus-pocus. I am extending a little faith that perhaps maybe this is a real thing because it certainly helps me to comprehend me, a little more. I think I might win the gold with being the most confused by me.
I am coming to an understanding of why I react the way I do while learning how to keep the power and strength without damaging the skin of things.
I am finding more and more that I possess a superpower. I guess I should have known it all along because, you know, I read so many freaking comic books and graphic novels of the superhero variety.
My superpower: I am an empath, often, to a detrimental fault.
Many people awaken the soul of empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, which is a beautiful thing our world needs desperately at all times. Empathy is part of the equation for sure but that is only where the superpower is birthed into existence. An empath handles that action of understanding and sharing and then absorbs it into their own psyche, be it voluntary or involuntary, and continues to walk their life path often with the inability to release.
My daily physiological struggle comes directly from the inability to let go of people’s hurt, anger, confusion, even joy. Migraines, stiff neck/back/hips, foggy brain, glucose levels being all over the place, and my skin picking gets out of control. While being caught up in physical ailment, I start to crumble with the emotional; projecting other’s desires, wishes, thoughts and moods without realizing they are other’s people’s feelings is that battle I am learning to decipher.
I was talking to a friend once about how her marriage was going. There was such raw emotion and confusion on her part, I felt it through the phone, and tried to listen without advising one way or the other, only if she asked for advice. At the end of the, probably, two hour conversation, she left feeling lighter and freer from her captive angst. I was overjoyed to know that I took part in her clarity.
For the next three days, I was incredibly sick. I had one of the worst migraines and back spasm episodes ever with bouts of some crazy stomach problems. I was taking migraine medicine every 4 hours and drinking water thinking maybe dehydration or constipation was my issue. I could not get out of the foggy brain that surrounded that and for some reason, I was incredibly angry with my husband and an unfortunate impatient heinous bitch to my children. I was beside myself. I had no idea what was going on until I had my own moment of clarity; I had absorbed all my friend’s burden and let it live within my own heart and mind walls.
It was somewhat amazing when I came to that realization, also while talking to my therapist, that I immediately became physically better, my brain could grasp all concepts around me, and my mood was immensely looking more on the bright side of life. I apologized to my family for the horrible horrible infractions I had committed over that span of days.
In a recent article, What’s It Like to be an Empath, published by VICE, some known types of empaths are known as emotional, physical, animal, global, and earth, often with these types intertwining.
Some people believe there are loose types of empath within the broad definition. Emotional empaths pick up on emotion energies. For them, shopping during Black Friday, for example, would be overwhelming. A physical empath picks up on the physical ailments of other people. In a hospital, or with an ill partner, they might start getting nauseous or a headache or something similar. Animal empaths feel the emotions of animals, feeling trapped or stressed walking near a zoo. If you’re a global empath you pick up on the feelings of humans across the planet, rather than just a specific person. Even if you don’t watch the news, you’d feel the stress of a global catastrophe — an earthquake in another country might cause you to feel alone or anxious. An earth empath will feel feelings or sensations that relate to the planet’s energy. If a major earthquake is coming, they’ll feel it beforehand with muscle spasms, headaches or stress that passes once the event has taken place.
I am still learning about this subject but I am pretty sure I am both an emotional and global empath.
Examples of me being an emotional empath happen when I am in any situation with more than two-three people. When I go to a professional or college sporting event, go to a venue for dancing or seeing someone sing, if I go to a theatrical show, if I walk into any place of worship, on the subway or bus, any kind of party, if I go to the park with my kids, going to the mall, driving long distances with my family, taking part in protest or rallies, I get so overwhelmed by the energy I absorbed that I shut down.
It is almost like I am a computer and the fan quits cooling my hardware. MALFUNCTION.
I used to think that it is me being an introvert or suffering from claustrophobia/agoraphobia but something that separates those things for me is that I LOVE people and I go into ultimate care and curiosity mode in all of those situations. I. CAN’T. TURN. IT. OFF. Most of the time, I don’t know these people and because I don’t have any immediate emotional ties to them, it becomes an involuntary action on my part.
I shut down for days after most times with constant migraines and uncontrolled glucose levels. It is very difficult knowing what thoughts, actions, and emotions are actually mine. I truly believe in the golden rule and it is part of my mantra but I often am so obscure in these moments that I have the inability to practice it, so therefore I stay home, away from others so that I am no harm.
As far as the global empath in me, I have constant turmoil going on inside because I am very social and civically minded. I fight hardcore for those being affected by injustice but often times, situations are so far out of my hands that my rate to assimilate is on involuntary overload.
I vote with my conscience, I am well informed of my choices to help lead me and others, I fight for the vulnerable populations nationally and internationally, I constantly and painfully allow myself to be ignorant and wrong when dealing with situations I have no experience in, that I can try to at least grok a situation to have a more open world view. I feel if my actions do not meet my words, then I am an utter failure, so globally, I am one of the most racist, ignorant, privileged, and luckiest people in the world who wants to use what I have to change my thoughts and help others with what I have. This empathy is so often on overload, that I fall into the rabbit hole of horrible situations around the world and so the global empath in me feels hopeless.
There have been many times while talking to my therapist, ugly crying about situations that I try to write my congressman about, I try to canvas about, I try to donate to, I try to volunteer my time, and I try to educate myself and others to, that I become stunted because I feel their pain but it is not my pain and I can do nothing about it.
Just watching videos and reading articles about our world: Syrian refugees being unwelcomed around the world, the fight for a place with Palestinians, #BringBackOurGirls, #NiUnaMenos, the famine and fighting in Venezuela, women voting in Saudi Arabia but still no full rights, Income Inequality, transgender bathroom issues, prison reform, the US Elections.
I am so taken aback and cannot detach myself from the full disfunction and lack of generous tolerance creates a failure to move on from feeling EVERYTHING at once. One thing right after another and I can’t keep up with how much the world is hurting.
I often feel like the Rogue of mental and emotional disquiet. I have to constantly keep myself guarded from all that has anything to do with other’s impressions by praying, chanting, and meditation, especially after walking through crowds. I started a journal, this blog, and also, with the help from my therapist, a list of to-dos. I will do these things to try to find my own balance that I always feel is slanted and not make it my own mission to fix the world’s.
This whole unexplainable and unavoidable aspect of myself is such a beautiful innate quality that I am, for real, learning to not hate so much.