Last night Patrick helped me come to an amazing realization about myself and how to control the hard times I have been experiencing lately.
All of my life, I've wondered what it is that is wrong with me that I can so deeply feel others (people, places, animals) emotions, attitudes, personal bonds, ties, actions and interactions towards themselves and other people, on a personal, highly compassionate and empathetic level. Patrick and I had some deep, intellectual conversation last night and he spoke with me about a type of person. It is called an Empath. The only time I had ever heard the phrase was from Star Trek and I thought he was kidding, but it is legitimate and real. Let me elaborate.
As I said, all of my life I have been bombarded by outward emotions in my physical body that weren't of my own, and since trying to conceive and have Levon - the emotions had been out of control. I have found it hard to change my demeanor when I am constantly being bombarded by these emotions of others in my close proximity. Yes, very much so because of hormones, but also because of the emotions and actions of those people, animals, etc. Although, pregnancy was not when it started, I've felt this way forever, without knowing why. During this time - the emotional pull had become so strong that I ended up shying away from all that had been close to me who were going through strong, emotional turmoil - positive or otherwise. I never understood why.
I am the type of person that can read a person, their body language, their attitude, their emotions and feelings - within mere moments of meeting them. I know what people really mean to say to me, even if they don't say it. I know when I am being lied to, and I understand the truth of what was meant to been said, but has been hidden. I feel the dynamic of other's relationships beneath the surface of their outward portrayal of it. I am an understanding and positive counselor to those who come to me with a problem that needs to be worked through, I have the patience of a saint when I give advice. Again, I've never understood why. I've never been able to comprehend why I feel so deeply for things/people/animals/places on such a complicated level.
Since moving back to Maine and conceiving our baby, I've had an extremely hard time readjusting, and feeling like myself again. We currently live in a coastal town, not in the best neighborhood, and I have been very manic (which is not like me) since we've been here. I finally have come to understand that I am in tune with those around me - those I know, and do not know. Solely from small interactions and the like. From such a gigantic realization in my life, I have gained some understanding, some control over it, a way to ease it. I understand that I am not, in fact, going completely insane. After distinguishing that a lot of the emotions that I feel are not completely my own to a degree, I can finally place, uncover, and work through a lot of the inner turmoil I have been feeling. Feeling lost, angry, depressed, overwhelmed, overcome, confused, unappreciated (all of which I feel are completely irrational - I have no reason to feel these ways - everything in my life is fantastic and I'm in a comfortable mindset and a very blessed situation.) I blamed it on postpartum depression, I blamed it on hormonal imbalance from breastfeeding and the changes my body has gone through over the last year and a half. I can 100% say that I had the baby blues for the first few months of Levon's life, like most women, but the feelings associated with that have completely dissipated by this point and I'll say again, I have not been able to wrap my head around or comprehend where these feelings have been coming from.
As young as I can remember, going to grocery stores or places with a lot of people would bring me extreme amounts of anxiety as soon as I was in the store. The over abundance of different emotions I would feel while there was unmanageable. Any time I see anything about animal abuse, animal cruelty, or neglect, I literally bawl my eyes out - I can feel the pain, I can actually feel it in my heart, gut wrenching and twisting me up inside, feeling what the animal felt.
Here's an example, we have had multiple neighbors move in and out of our building (we are on the first floor). Currently, we have an affable couple living above us with their seven year old son. The woman (who is a really good friend of mine, we have grown close) has PTSD and extreme anxiety. Before she moved in, I hadn't experienced the anxiety (like what I experience around large crowds of people) in my own home. She has had her car and packages stolen off of our property since living here, and she is nervous and anxious most of the time. Up until reading further about empaths, I had no idea the anxiety and destructive (not towards myself or anyone around me, I'll provide an example momentarily) emotions that I was feeling were caused by someone else's emotions 12 feet above my head. The destructive thoughts that I tend to have now are generally about people breaking into the house, strangers lurking in our yard, something happening to our family, fires, things like that. After actually thinking about those fears rationally, deep down I'm not worried about it as we have lived here for almost 2 years without an issue. Those thoughts, fears, and emotions are being transferred to me by my neighbor's suffering.
I am just blown away after I have spoken with Patrick about it, and researched on my own. Now, I feel like the light has been shed on me. I am feeling like the first flower; peeking out from it's floral axis to face the sun and all of it's beauty, a caterpillar that has been pupating for ages; emerging free and fresh, to experience the world in a new and enlightened way as the butterfly I was meant to be. To really discern people, to try to help people that covet my advice and counseling. To understand that I can stop absorbing the unfavorable energy, that I can learn to shut it off when I need to. That I can tell myself that I KNOW I have no reason to be feeling those emotions, that I have the heart and mind of an Empath, that is why I am absorbing the vibrations around me. To tailor my sensitivities, to embrace this and not live in fear, anxiety, and stress all of the time. I am just so excited that I can finally learn to control the energy that I absorb, now that I understand that I do, in fact, absorb so, so much of what is around me on a day to day basis. What an amazing gift my husband has helped me to uncover about myself. I feel so free.
To read more about Empath's and how it feels to feel so much go here.