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June 22, 2012

Off Topic: Empathic Experience

So what is an empath?  It is the ability to sense the emotions of others.  Sometimes it goes so far as to thoughts of others.

I had one of “those days” today.   A chaotic, stressful, why on earth do I work here day.  I work in the office of a large mental health services provider.  Unfortunately I am also somewhat of an “empath.”  It creates some problems for me. I work in an emotionally charged surroundings, the clients coming in suffer with  depression, anger, loss, desperation, sometimes paranoia and disjointed thinking.  I have the unfortunate ability to tune into that without even trying.  On days like this I have to decipher...am  I feeling my own angst?  Am I experiencing a little woo woo, and picking up on someone else’s projected feelings?  Many people don’t believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the parapsychological empathic experience.   I defer that I have some trouble with the first two, but I no longer doubt the third.  I’ve been doing it all of my life.  I pick up on anger, sadness, and what I call creep factor (don't even ask...). As a child I learned to be very acutely aware of the moods and motivations of others. It was a survival method that stuck with me. Though it is a very uncomfortable way to live, sometimes it serves me well.  Duplicity doesn’t work well with me, as I figure it out…maybe a step ahead of the thinker, their deeper motivations / feelings towards others. Empaths are like a magnetic force for troubled people, they are drawn to you.  For this reason empaths tend to be loners.  Life is easier that way.  Yet here I am, working in a busy hub in mental health with a client base coming through in the hundreds.

*sigh*

 But there are exceptions, sometimes you meet wonderful people that shine with an inner goodness.    These kind of people are like sparklers, with open spirits that shine warm and bright, and their leaving causes the room to dim and you are diminished by loss that someone super remarkable has passed your way and now they are gone.  Today I had to own my own sadness that one of those people is moving on to a new life.  It was a career bump of sorts, one of many lately.   I’m thinking it is time to give some consideration to my own moving on.



4 comments:

  1. I am also a empath. It can be both rewarding, while at the same time, VERY stressful. I now refuse to work in a environment where the staff is entirely female, for good reason!
    I hope your day gets better!

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  2. Ouch. An empath at a mental health facility.

    I feel for you.

    Bill

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  3. Unfortunately, it is the really "dark" stuff that I get tuned in to. Someone floating through in a "normal" mood won't rattle me. But let a person in the throws of a psychotic episode or a schizophrenic come by and my nervous system starts to feel really unraveled. Difficult to focus on task, difficult to concentrate, all kinds of unpleasant stuff. Some people I call "emot-ers" because they absolutely radiate what is inside without saying a word. These people are jacked up on negative emotion and it is just leaches out of them in huge morphic bubble. Have you ever wondered why certain people bring you down? Or others just lift your spirits as soon as they come into a room? If you have experienced that...you may be an empath too *wink*.

    I'll just say it. *woo woo* people. I'm drinking that kool-aid.

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  4. As an empath myself, I feel for you... working where you do. As one who has been through a lot of therapy, I am SO grateful for the empathic people in that field. They changed my life and helped me in ways I can't begin to explain.

    It seems to me that most creatures (humans included) are empathic. Humans have it trained out of them... we are taught to ignore what we sense, because it is confusing. Horses seem to be incredibly empathic. Sometimes, it felt like not only did Sunny (the horse) sense what I was feeling, but when it was the worst, he would absorb it. He held the pain for me so I could understand and process it better.

    Thank you for this. Sending love as you grieve the moving on of your friend, and as you consider your own moving on.

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