I used to think I was bipolar. I would go from happy to angry or very sad so quickly without any reason and with little change in my environment. It has been that way since I can remember and it always confused and scared me. Then when I was told I had depression and anxiety, I figured that was just what caused it because those are both huge monsters that comes with other little emotions that like to piggy-back their way into your life.
It wasn’t until roughly five years ago I figured out that it was something much different, and slightly simpler than that. I am highly empathetic. When my therapist told me that I was confused and a little frustrated. I thought she was belittling my feelings. She explained to me that there are people who adapt to others’ emotions, usually subconsciously. Yes, everyone has empathy but I suppose there are people like me (sensitive people) who are extra aware of the output of human emotions around them. It would explain my increasing social anxiety. Often times if I am in a room full of people I randomly feel angry and sad and happy all at once, which then can send me into a panic and that’s not fun at all. Luckily I found the best way to avoid these situations is to really only be in group settings where I know the people and I know the general tone. No concerts for me.
When I was sitting in my therapist’s office, I thought she was crazy. It felt almost like hippie, shaman garbage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m into feeling the earth and a lot of weird natural things, but it just didn’t feel quite scientific. I voiced this to her and she actually laughed. She said to look at it from a sociological point of view. Humans have always been pack animals to an extent and with that comes the natural feeling of protecting one another. Often times people who are hyper empathetic had something tragic happen when they were young or have been around death frequently. I would agree with that and without going into too much detail, when I was in fifth grade a friend of mine was tragically lost. It affected me more than I thought, shaping how I viewed people and how I felt.
It’s hard sometimes. I’ve left places abruptly because I can feel sorrow and pain. I’ve randomly lashed out at other people because underneath the facade, the people I am around are angry about something. I am physically hurt when people I care about are upset. It’s an awful superpower and sometimes it makes me feel heavy. I feel heavy lately. I have so much happiness in my life but there is a lot of turmoil in those around me that I take on their pain. Would I have it any other way? Absolutely not. I don’t ever feel actively burdened by it; sometimes I just have to take a step back. Feeling other people’s emotions, whether good or bad, helps keep my own life and events in perspective.
Thanks for listening