Over the last couple of years I have often been asked the question “Are you an Empath?” and recently these questions have more frequently turned into the statement, “You are an Empath.” It sounds rather frightening and accusatory but largely due to ignorance and using my precious time to focus on other matters relating to my mental health (Mindfulness, guided meditation etc) I hadn’t given this suggestion any more thought or consideration.Until yesterday I only had limited knowledge of what an Empath is, or what the implications of being one might be but being ordered to rest up following my diagnosis of kidney stones, infection and renal colic on Thursday, I took time yesterday to do some research. It was very interesting indeed and my responses to some of the traits of an Empath outlined below, might take some people by surprise. I actively manage my daily life to combat a lot of my anxieties so that they are not obvious to most of my family, friends or colleagues but this takes energy and forethought and can lead to extreme mental and physical fatigue at times.
So, here is my take on “Am I an Empath? and apologies in advance for the length of this post although I will write it in 2 posts……….. what do you think?
Noise-empaths can be sensitive to noises which need not necessarily be loud, but may cause stress.
Loud noises certainly makes me cringe and I will avoid them at all cost. I love music and over the years have learned to play the piano, guitar and clarinet but despite this I find some music physically offensive. I will leave the room if I hear women’s soprano/opera singing which goes right through me and my hands are over my ears at the first warble. Free jazz sends me into a frenzy with all its jumbled up notes and rhythms. To me it’s just a mess. I hate the sound of emergency vehicle sirens and a baby crying makes me very tense and angry. My son Will didn’t cry much. I guess he’s an Empath too!
As a youngster, I remember going to 3 discos. I hated them all, not just because of the loud music but because the constantly flashing spinning strobe lights made me lose my balance and fall over.
All noises have a meaning or association and sometimes it is nice to go about my daily business without making those connections. Those are rare days indeed.
Being in public places can be overwhelming
I loathe shopping and tend to shop in one particular store for clothes and accessories as they open at 08.30am and I can pick up anything I need on my way to work when it is quiet and not crowded. I never shop at lunchtime unless I know that I am going to a niche outlet which is more likely to be quiet. My husband does the Saturday supermarket shopping and I avoid town centre shopping when possible.
I leave work at 5pm every day so that I can get to the train station in good time for when the train arrives. I need to get on the train and find a seat before the crowds arrive. If the train is late and the platform starts filling up with passengers, I can feel myself getting very anxious, my pulse rate increases and I get irritable. I move away from anyone who stands next to me and I will always search for some space further along the platform. In the past, when I have been waiting at a London station and there are hundreds of people waiting I have asked the train staff if I can board first just to get out-of-the-way. It’s not a case of getting a seat, I just need space.
I love football and am a lifelong fan of Aston Villa FC. Football stadiums get very crowded and can be overwhelming so I tend to arrive very early and find my seat before the rush. I then sit quietly and watch the stadium fill up without being caught up in the queues and general mayhem. Shuffling along in a slow-moving queue when I am squashed between bodies is claustrophobic and causes me great anxiety.
My husband is Iranian and our visits usually coincide with a wedding, engagement or other family occasion which is usually celebrated by a big gathering and party. I dread it. For most people it is a chance to let their hair down and enjoy themselves. For me it’s torture especially as I don’t want to offend anyone by leaving early. Iranians are great hosts and I am very conscious that I don’t want to seem rude. In the end, I have to offer my apologies and my husband has to escort me outside where there are no crowds and no loud music. On one occasion, a surgeon who was also at the party and saw my distress also came outside to make sure I was ok such was my urgency in leaving the room.
Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV is unbearable.
Violence I can just about cope with as long as it’s not too graphic. Cruelty or tragedy are definite No-No’s. I can’t watch tragic films, news stories or documentaries and I would also add reading about such stories is not an option. For example, these are a handful of the books from my childhood that I have never read because I can’t cope with the extreme emotions they would create;
Tarka the Otter
I still have these books on my shelf from the 1970’s. My sister bought them for me and the dates are written in the fly cover. They remain treasured possessions but unread.
Digestive disorders and lower back problems
It seems that I am prone to stones! Exactly 9 years ago I was very ill with gall stones and had to have my gall bladder removed. This week I have been diagnosed with kidney stones, an infection and renal colic. When I had reflexology 2 years ago, potential digestive issues were highlighted as an area I need to be mindful of. Need I say more.
I have learned how to control this much better over the years but it can still strike if I allow my self-preservation techniques to relapse. I have a number of books about ME on my bookshelf which date back to my glandular fever days and an initial diagnosis of post viral syndrome.
It’s all or nothing I’m afraid! If it’s a glass, it has to be the whole bottle. One chocolate? No, it has to be the box.
To be continued…….