I will always be mindful of my disorder. However, it doesn't have to be debilitating. There is more hope for health.
Empaths and mental health
So, being an empath isn't a mental illness. "It is just another way for the Universe to express itself." However, it's not uncommon for them to struggle with their mental health. Because they are so sensitive to emotions - their own included. They may deal with self-doubt, stress, and anxiety. Receiving anger or disappointment from other people can feel like getting hit with a ton of bricks.
Do what you have to do to stay healthy.
Empaths and Native Americans
One of my hubs about Native Americans have graphics that use the word: Source. "From the perspective of Source (God or the Universe), there is no such thing as separation. As we move down in dimensions from Source energy, we start to see different perspectives, until we get to our physical reality."
More examples of source: Using a family members resource of money for Military uniforms. A resource for helping with a move from one place to another.
In this dimension, we have man and woman, human and animal, love and fear, good and evil, healed and unhealed.
Our journey is about using our heart space - using (self) love - to return to a state of Oneness. This Oneness is how we can experience Source and how Source can experience us experiencing Source.
It makes it hard for the Empath to operate in a world where we are conditioned to not express our authentic truth, feel even our darkest feelings, and think our darkest thoughts.
Are Native Americans more Empathic than other ethnic groups?
Why do Empaths Exist?
Empaths are here to learn to protect their own energy and embody both shadow and light. They maintain the ability to tap into, care for, love, and identify with whoever they encounter. This makes Empath's healers to themselves. They are here to set clear boundaries for themselves. Which I find many of my relationships didn't want me to do. How does an Empath react to a significant other not allowing you to create boundaries? This is why I have chosen to remain single.
Empaths must deal with their own trauma first. They can't put themselves on the backburner by taking on someone else's traumas. ("You have to take care of yourself before you are able to take care of someone else.")
If others' traumas pile onto the Empaths, it can bubble up to the surface and become impossible to ignore. Which results in purging, so the Empath can heal.
However, if an Empath is empathizing with an abuser, the Empath learns to push back and set themselves free.
Sometimes it is necessary. This is called Empath Supernova.
What is the Empath Supernova?
This is what the Empath becomes when they are triggered by too much stress. (Been there, done that.) This causes the Empath to take on more Narcissistic traits, to protect themselves. This is supposed to push their abuser away for the Empath's survival and escape. Once the Empath is safe, their Narcissistic traits go dormant. An Empath can't become a Narcissist, but the Empath must integrate their darker traits with their lighter ones for survival and energy protection.
"Pushing back against abuse and oppression must become a constant so abuse and oppression is not on the same frequency as the Empath."
An Empath's healing
Self-care and self-awareness are important for healing. They learn to heal their own anxiety and depression. The Empath becomes aware of their own wounding, their own traumas, their own pain and setbacks, and care for themselves. The more self-aware an Empath becomes, the more they can embody their authentic selves - and our authentic self always chooses to love and care for itself first.
What Highly Sensitive people, such as Empaths, need to be happy
1. A slower, simpler pace of life - My father immigrated from a Canadian farm to the United States. I have always felt that I was meant to be a farm girl. I don't really like living life on fast forward. Life is meant to be enjoyed to.
2. Time to wind down after a busy day - I find it takes me about 2 hours to unwind after work. Which means during the holidays I didn't get to sleep until 2 a.m. I would read a chapter in my book and then go to sleep. Taking this time to relax lowered stimulation level and restored sanity.
3. A calm, quiet place to retreat - My room. The park that I take my dog for a walk. Even my car before I go in to work my part time shift. I make my own quiet time before I walk into work.
4. Permission to get emotional and have a good cry - I have given myself permission to cry. Sometimes, I will be looking at my Instagram account and find something really hit me and tears will just come to my eyes.
5. Time to adjust to change - Maybe this is what my daughter was trying to give everyone when she moved in with her father. However, we were many miles away. I really don't see how a phone call could hurt anything. My father hears from his family in Canada once a month, if that. He got his first Christmas e-card from his sister. :-)
6. Close, meaningful relationships - I thought I would have a relationship with my children in old age. My ex-husband has confirmed that I'm not. I have created better relationships with my nephew and nieces. I helped my nephew through an isolating time before he started high school. I have increased my nephew and nieces' education with reading material. Now they are all reading above their grade levels. With the exception of the youngest who is still in daycare. She will read her big sister's Junie B. Jones and Jojo Siwa books.
I started my oldest niece on a mystery series, as her mother loves mysteries. Nancy Drew Diaries. My mom read Nancy Drew when she was a young girl.
I had a meaningful conversation with my youngest niece after her mom had to have surgery. Her older sister said I didn't have to have the same conversation with her. Then she gave me a hug.
7. A healthy way of managing conflict - I have had relationships where my partner would not allow for a healthy way to manage conflict. I couldn't live like that anymore. Now, I practice my healthy way of managing conflict with the people around me.
Case in point, my father can sometimes be difficult. Now that he can't hear. I just explain to him that I am a better dog owner than he was. My mother was always the one that took their dogs to the vet. I refused to put my dog down after she was almost run over by a truck. She has cataracts and hearing loss, but she still has so much love to give. I wasn't ready, and neither was she.
8. A good night's sleep - I take Melatonin because I have a history of insomnia. Sometimes even Melatonin doesn't work, after drinking caffeine with dinner before the night shift. Soon, I won't have to worry about working the night shift. I am ready to give retail the heave ho.
9. Healthy meals - I am hypoglycemic, diagnosed in 1999. I make sure I eat protein before I go to work, so I don't have a seizure. Now that I decreased my hours at work, the protein I eat lasts me the entire shift. When I quit, which I plan on doing soon, my meals will be much healthier than they are currently.
10. No caffeine or alcohol - I was drinking caffeine before work. However, when I got home, I couldn't sleep. Most times, it kept me up all night. Alcohol is pretty much nonexistent. I didn't have any this holiday season (2021)
11. Outlet for your creative side - I have learned to make jewelry. I haven't done this in a while. I thought about creating Family Genealogy jewelry. Unisex style. Maybe after I quit my job.
12. A strong sense of purpose - Since saving a dog from an animal shelter. I am thinking about going back to volunteering at an animal shelter. My dog has been the most grateful rescue dog I have had. She was almost run over by a truck in June 2021, against my father's judgement, I paid for her surgery after my vet consulted with the Animal Hospital. She has a few more years in her. She barked at me when I left her at the Animal Hospital, all drugged up on pain meds. She wasn't ready and neither was I.
13. Loved ones who understand and respect their sensitive nature - Not many people in my life understand my nature. I have gotten to know myself through the years. Now, I understand me. I had a major breakthrough this holiday season 2021. Some apologies that I need to make. Now, I know the person that I want to be.
When the Empath's sensitivities are not managed the relationship can turn toxic. The reason being the Empath hasn't learned to set boundaries within themselves and so they can't do that with others yet. They can have a healthy relationship, but they have to find that balance within themselves to do so. I was in a marriage who didn't allow me that balance. No boundaries were allowed. Now I have that balance. After the sacrifice of some of my most primary relationships.
Some Empaths prefer to stay single.
14. Natural surroundings and beauty - I always felt that the environment can affect us. I tell my friends who suffer from anxiety to spend some time outside when it is nice outside before the winter weather comes. (We haven't seen much of the white stuff yet.) This friend just lost his mom. On nice days, I take my mom and dog to walk the trails at the park.
I wish the process of proving that I am indeed an empath had been shorter. I have been reading up on this subject for quite some time.
What nailed it for me was when I went to an employee luncheon, when I was working as a job coach, helping those with disabilities get and stay employed. One of my co-workers came to the luncheon, who had been out of work due to going through chemo. She had Ovarian Cancer. I was fine when I arrived at the luncheon. When I left the luncheon, I was not fine. Weird symptoms that had nothing to do with the food. I even missed the turn as I was driving home. I pulled over. It effected my vision, ears, pain in my head. I know chemo has some pretty strong chemicals, but I never experienced this before. I managed to make it home without being in an accident. I went straight to bed, to recover.
Finding out that this was an Empath thing was a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I wish the process would have come sooner. However, NOW, I can appropriately take care of myself knowing what I, NOW, know.
I am an Empath.
I am a work in progress.
The project is me.
I owe many apologies for my emotional behavior. My children especially. (Alex, Danielle and Erica) I honestly don't know when I said that about the car, but I have lived in fear all my life with a seizure disorder, not allowing to get my license until they were under control. BUT STILL, you are going to live in fear. You miss seizure medication, you can have a seizure.
My ex-husband, Eric. Even though I still feel it is healthier for me to remain no contact with you. Leaving me without reasonably affordable health insurance in a town where I had no adult family members?? Stressful. I might be able to forgive you for this, but I don't think my father will.
My ex-husband's mother, our mental health issues really aren't so different, are they? Your son wouldn't allow me to set healthy boundaries for myself. He wasn't a very understanding individual. When I told him I had anxiety, while living in Hampton, VA, he laughed at me. I was on Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor and Cymbalta, as well as Dilantin, Depakote, Tegretol and now Keppra.
I hope he has become more understanding in our years apart.
I hope all the articles that I have sent to you, Erica, have been helpful. They have helped me.
New Year's Resolution
I can't control others. Frankly, I don't want to. I have had enough of putting so much effort into others that don't give a crap.
I can only control me. It is going to be all about my Mental Health.
1. Quit job (My last day is set.)
2. More reading
3. More walking at the park with mom and the dog
4. Fishing with my father on his friend's farm
5. Volunteer work
6. Spend the summer with my nieces and nephew
I mean, let's face it, I am going to feel better putting effort in my relationships that are permanent in my life vs those that want nothing to do with me or my family.
Live the life you have. God still loves you.