Tag Archive | empath

My frustrating brain

brain-fog-1

I’ve had a good few months. My brain has been behaving as expected; waking up nice and early ready to take on the day’s challenges quite willingly. It has enjoyed and embraced the challenge of technical tax work and I have gone to bed at night feeling mentally tired but still in control.

That is until I woke up this morning.

Today I could have cried. I woke up feeling overwhelmed, confused and angry with a head that felt like cotton wool. Why does this happen? I do know why but as hard as I try, I seem to have little control over those pesky grey cells between my ears.

Whilst I hate to labour the point, as an “HSP” I am a square peg in a round hole; Something I have known for many years but have been too chicken to resolve. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy my job. I do but maybe for the wrong reasons. It satisfies certain criteria in that I enjoy a challenge, I am target driven and I like to learn new skills which stretch my brain. What it doesn’t do however, is help me satisfy my long-hidden creative instincts and the basic need to do something “meaningful.”

So, I really tried to continue as normal today. All the time fighting the urge to jack it all in and  disappear into a large cave somewhere. As an HSP susceptible to periods of depression and anxiety I need my periods of respite so mid-afternoon I caved in and logged off.

When I get very bad hay fever, I want to take my eyes out of their sockets and wash them clean. When I get brain-fog, I feel the need to do something similar. Remove brain from skull; immerse in liquid chocolate and breathe. I need complete sensory respite from targets and tax legislation.

So what did I do?

I went into the garage and sawed some wood. I switched off and made something. Something meaningful.

A hedgehog house.

brain-gog-2

 

 

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The HSP in me

It’s that time of year. The nights are drawing in; no more sitting outside in a comfortable warmth as it gets dark. The mornings are distinctly chillier and I am more inclined to snuggle back under the duvet than to leap out of bed raring to go. Energy levels are sapping just as work schedules are increasing massively over the winter period.

Of course I have a 16-week break to look forward to between February and June, but it seems a long time to wait just now.

So how do I make sure that I maintain equilibrium in the meantime? I know that I need to rest, stay healthy and as stress-free as possible. But how?

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Targets, financial deadlines, Christmas, all words guaranteed to set my soul a-flutter at the mere mention. I am normally very good at managing my stressors but when I’m busy or distracted it’s easy to forget my coping strategies so here are a couple of reminders to myself;

Plan ahead

This is really important and saves me from a lot of unnecessary stress. Last week for instance I had to travel to London for a training day. I knew that the train would be busy, the Underground even more so. I am used to working from home in a quiet environment much of which I can control directly so being in a lecture room with a group of colleagues can be daunting. As can shopping for lunch at a busy time at the midday break.

I booked my ticket in advance and reserved my seat. An early train to get me into London before the main rush-hour. I took my lunch with me.

I also booked the next day off as holiday. I knew that I would be tired after a long day traveling combined with the training so I made sure that I had a restful day before returning to work. Luckily the weather was sunny and bright and I spent the day in the garden and in the garage making hedgehog houses. Perfect recuperation.

Routine maintenance

Maintaining a routine is not easy for me as my sleep patterns vary so much, as do my energy levels. I have learned instead to “go with the flow” and not worry too much if I don’t quite follow my plans to the letter.

Good routines include, at least an hour or two before bedtime, shutting down all electronic equipment. As an information and social media junkie this is difficult for me and I probably pay the price in that my sleep can be disturbed by vivid dreams and I often wake after just 4 hours rest. Instead, I should read (a proper book, with real paper pages and not on Kindle) and in the morning, I should make time to start the day in a calm way by practising something like yoga or writing my journal.

I definitely need to work on this one. I think I’ll start tomorrow.

Hopefully I shall survive my “busy” season with sanity intact having followed my own advice but roll on February.

hsp

 

 

 

If the cap fits (2)

My previous post outlined my responses to some of the traits which are common to Empaths. Here is the second part of that response as promised.

Love of nature and animals: Being outdoors in nature is a must for Empaths and pets are an essential part of their life.

My garden is my pride and joy.

I love being outdoors in open space and fresh air. I hate being cooped up all day and this particularly cold and drab winter has been very difficult to cope with on occasions. Golf is great for me as long as I keep it non-competitive. It combines the outdoors, mastery of new skills and gentle exercise. I only wish I had more time for golf.

I have always had pets and can’t imagine a house without them, even if it’s a hamster sleeping away in the corner all day and only coming to life when I’m off to bed! Our pets give us an immense amount of pleasure and they are totally spoiled. If I won the lottery, my first purchase would be a nice house, with a huge garden and paddocks for lots of animals.

 Need for solitude

An absolute necessity and this is the main reason I am unable to work long hours. I need time to myself every day and if I don’t get this time, my mental health deteriorates very quickly. The consequences can be devastating. Getting home late from work, eating, then going straight to bed, having to get up again at 5am the following morning is not sustainable as there is no “me” time built-in for recovery. Some people can do this day in day out and take their mental health for granted. Sadly I can’t and without doubt, my career progress has suffered greatly over the years as I am limited to the amount of working hours I can do. This is something that has caused me much upset in the past but I am now reconciled to under-performing and not reaching my potential despite my best efforts. As someone once told me, sometimes doing just enough has to be enough.

Gets bored or distracted easily if not stimulated

Oh yes! I have a very low boredom threshold and love learning new skills. I have many and varied interests and those who read my blog regularly will know that this year I decided I wanted to learn to ice-skate at the tender age of 50!

Caroline finally masters backwards lemons

Intolerance to narcissism

I have no time for these people.

Feeling others emotions and taking them on as your own

The killer blow and something I was not aware of until 3 years ago.

It was in May 2010 that I admitted publicly that I suffer with depression and have done for many many years.

Why did I start my Blog-Part 1

Why did I start my Blog-Part 2

Following my admission and for the next 6 months I was inundated with people wanting to talk to me about their experiences of depression and I was only too pleased to be able to help. The only problem was that it wasn’t helping me and I didn’t realise that I was unconsciously absorbing much of their distress and taking it on board. This affected my mood badly and in November 2010 I was advised to take time off work to redress the balance. I quickly learned that if I wanted to keep helping others with depression, I needed to become more remote and detached from their feelings and whilst I could offer practical suggestions and advice how to cope, I couldn’t fight their battles for them.

Good advice but difficult to do if your natural instinct is telling you otherwise.

There are a good many other indicators to Empath “status” but they will have to wait until another day.

In the meantime I would be very interested to hear your thoughts and comments. This is new but fascinating territory for me and any and all views are welcome 🙂

If the cap fits (1)

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?

Most of the traits covered are taken from the Just Be Blog and Gary’s Phsychic Empath Blog and my thanks go to Just Be and Gary for the information.

Noise-empaths can be sensitive to noises which need not necessarily be loud, but may cause stress.

Playing my guitar

Playing my guitar

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.

Arriving early for a match

Arriving early for a match

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;

Black Beauty

Tarka the Otter

Watership Down

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.

Constant fatigue

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.

Addictive personality

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.

Creative

Very.

To be continued…….