Empathic:Dealing with the Ups & Downs

It wasn’t until I stepped into the adult world that I discovered something about myself that I hadn’t known. Well, on second thought I did know, I just didn’t realize what it was called. As a child I was often overly emotional. I found myself often angry or sad with not knowing why. Often I lashed out at the people around me and when I hit puberty it became worse. It was while a teenager that I closed myself off out of fear of the emotions that tore through me as if they were an invisible storm.

As an adult I discovered that the “curse” as I’d often referred to it was actually a “gift”. My problem was that I had no one in my life that could explain it. Although my mother was gifted she looked upon her own gifts as a curse. Trying to talk to her was nearly impossible because she’d convinced herself that she was being punished for some imagined wrong. Sadly, her inability to accept her gifts along with being the primary caregiver for my father finally broke my mother. By the time I was a teenager she was already taking prescription drugs just to make it through the day. I saw what she could do and how it ended for her and I swore I would never allow that to happen to me.

Out on my own in the workforce as an adult the walls that I’d built as a teenager began to fall apart. I found myself consumed again by emotions that didn’t seem my own sometimes. I would discover soon what it was known as–empathy. I became a mother figure, even a confessor to the people around me. People I barely knew would talk to me about the deepest personal things. That’s when the migraines began. Sporadic at first, but as I became older they increased in frequency. It took me forever to connect the headaches with the overwhelming emotions that I often found myself swimming in. It was my best friend who gave me the answer I was seeking without ever knowing.

My best friend also happens to be my cousin on my mother’s side. Despite being blood relatives we didn’t really know one another having been raised hundreds of miles apart. It wasn’t until the summer before my senior year of high school we truly connected. Her mother seemed to know that we needed each other. It was that summer that we connected and we’ve been best friends since, nearly 25 years of friendship. The connection we had was what answered my question. We often knew when each other were sick or in emotional/physical pain even if we were no where close to one another. Hell, we even finished one another’s sentences and seemingly read each other’s thoughts. Used to creep the hell out of her ex-husband. 🙂

It was through that connection I realized that what I was often feeling was the emotions of those around me. I knew I could never rid myself of this “gift” but to continue in my life without traveling the road my mother had I had to learn how to control it. That was around the time I was 25 and I’m now 41 soon to be 42. I researched voraciously reading anything I could lay my hands on. Slowly but surely I learned I could  control it. It hasn’t always been an easy path, but the older I get the easier it is.

My “gift” has helped me more than I could ever imagined. Of course I’ve creeped a few folks out over the years, but sometimes–as mean as it might sound–I kind of get a kick out of it. I no longer fear the world around me as I did when I was a child. There are still moments in my life when I run into people that are the opposite of me. I have a friend that was very much one of these people. For years she literally drained my energy with the overwhelming need to cling to me. The friendship has now shifted and sadly I am grateful. It’s horrible when as an empath you find yourself being used as a dumping ground for the things someone you love doesn’t want to deal with. Sadly, she’s not the first nor will she be the last. At the moment I have another friend who is trying to take her place as my own personal “psychic vampire”. Of course I learned my lesson the first time around. I keep this one at arm’s length.

There are still times when I need to shut down those walls, but now it is to rejuvenate myself. I’ve learned that I need space and time to cleanse myself whether it’s a long hot soak in a tub or a walk in the first snow of the new year. Getting away from the people around me is healing. The worse times are when I’m sick or just exhausted. It is then that the walls I keep up sometimes fall. Even family get togethers can be taxing, but the pros well outweigh the cons.

I’ve learned to channel my gift through my writing over the years. That is yet another gift from the Goddess. I reach out to friends and strangers alike with my words and those words heal. I know that might sound odd to some, but it is the truth. Before I became a published writer I wrote fan fiction and it was there I honed my skill. Over the years I’ve received e-mails where someone tells me that it was like I could see into their heads and I helped them understand problems they had in their lives.

I now understand why I’m here, but I try to remember what a boss told me once.

You are the most loving and caring person I have ever met. You hold up everyone around you, but never think of yourself. Just remember what happens when the foundation of a house crumbles–the entire house comes down. Take care of yourself sometimes so the house can stand for many years.

He was right. Without a foundation the house will fall. Sometimes it’s fun to pour a little concrete.

Women Issues: How to Fight Depression Without Prescriptions

We live in a pharmaceutical age. Go to the doctor with a pain in the neck and you will leave with fifty bottles of pills. Now, while I am not telling everyone out there to avoid your doctors and or medication, I am wondering if there is another solution to something that seems to plague everyone (for some weird reason).

Depression.

Women seem to suffer the worst of all problems and when women are in tuned with their gifts, because we live in a world that denies them and refuses to help us master them, our problems really sore off the charts.

Now, I won’t say that depression doesn’t exist but maybe the reason we can’t get rid of it, is because we don’t understand what’s causing it. And maybe we can’t stop the cause because the causes are many.

For example…

When does the Depression hit you? Is it when you are near, on, or after your moon?

If so, could the problem be hormonal or a side effect of having your period? If that’s the case then you can take measures to lessen it’s effects when your period comes. I, for instance, just go on vacation lol. I stop working on my manuscripts, let the house go if I need to, and just start being a kid with my kids. I take long baths in the evenings, light candles, meditate. Sometimes I have a damn good cry.

 

Are you an Empath?

This maybe why Depression hits you out of the blue. After all, if you are going along having the best of days or weeks and then BAM! A sudden dread just falls over you, then maybe its someone else’s energy mucking you up. Also, if you are an Empath, which most women are and don’t know it, maybe the depression is actually the cure to what your body needs. What happens when you become depressed? Do you cry a lot or do you murk around not having the will or happiness for anything until finally the dams break and then you have one hell of a good cry? Crying has healing properties and that my friends is medically proven. But what happens to an Empath when she cries? If its a damn good bawling, the next day the depression seems listed. So to an Empath, crying is Nature’s tool of washing away all the muck that is clogging up our sensors.

Empaths should also watch computers. There is one theory that the net is this huge web of energy constantly coming, going, and changing. When Empaths spend too much time on a computer, they end up sponging it up. Empaths need a change of scenery. They need new horizons. So taking a brisk walk or running out to the store, or playing with the dogs and spending more time with your animals helps a lot.

What makes you happy?

My crazy Aunt Joyce fought depression and at times, she seemed like she was really losing it by some of the things she did, but now I know, it was just her attempt of healing herself.

Music made her happy. So she would play songs that she loved to dance to and then, she would get up and dance around. She would be giddy after swirling about to that 80’s song Gloria and for some reason, that one song really lifted her up.

Just getting up and raising her adrenaline was what did it. When we get active with something that we truly enjoy, that doesn’t seem like work, our spirits will raise.

I had a friend who fought depression every day of her life. When I told her to sit down and figure out what she really loved doing and then get out there and do it…the depression ended. She loved animals, so now she works for a small zoo. She has to drive a good ways to get there but guess what, its worth it for her and she hasn’t been on medication since.

So maybe its a life change you are needing which is sometimes the hardest of things to do. If you can’t change your job then you need to add something extra to your life to make the job worth it. Start taking an entire day or a few hours just for yourself—away from your normal environment, away from the kids, husband, friends. And you don’t need money for this….drive to the park, sit on the bench…take a back road…get lost. And stay away from people who emotionally drain you.

If you are doing something you love…for instance, I’m a writer. Sometimes perfecting my trade or being around the business end of writing drags me down. So, I walk away from writing groups, my blogs, other writers, and the business side of it. I get back to the basics….pull out a pad and scribble stories down. Or I turn the computer off entirely and take a break from writing and everything. Sometimes even what you love to do….you need a vacation from…even if that vacation is once a month. Why? because writing and whatever else you love is time consuming. We spend a lot of time doing it. We deserve time off… more so because it has devoured our life lol.

Also look into vitamins, changing the way you eat even if its 2 nights a week to begin with. Do you hate exorcise? Well i sure as hell do but like my crazy Aunt, i love to dance. Everyone has something that they love that gives their bones some activity….we just forget to make time for it.

 

Remember, to find a cure…find the problem and sometimes the problem has more than one source. With the right mindset and determination…you can do this. Why? because you were not born with depression…its something that infected you over a long period of time. And like any infection, you can stomp it out and get rid of it. or at least recognize the reason its happening when it does, and then bring an end to it!

 

Update: I almost forgot something….if it is hormonal, then you may want to do what i said above, and change what you are eating, at least a few nights a week—particularly meat. I don’t know if any of you have noticed but the meats bought in stores are often tainted and pumped up with so many hormones anymore, it isn’t funny. My best friend, when she went to a doctor concerning her hormones, he confirmed this and told her to back off eating so much meat. I began to notice that certain meats in the store look very glossy and slick. When you get them home, they are very shiny and even the taste, well it just tastes different.

Now i am not saying flip into the side of Vegan….but be more particular as to what you are putting in you. Then see if it brings any change.

Archetypal Women

When I was growing up, the world around me did not offer much by way of strong archetypes I could relate to. I wasn’t Princess material – too tall, too dark, too serious. No one was going to rescue me from a tower, or fight dragons on my behalf, that much was obvious. I didn’t fit. I wasn’t fashionable. Going through my teens, looking around at my peers and seeing who they emulated – I didn’t want to be part of that world.

It’s not easy growing up odd with no sense of where you fit or the kind of person you might be. Archetypes help us build our own identities and find places to fit. Female archetypes out there in the mainstream are not numerous. The pretty girl who makes money from her face, voice and body. High powered, shoulder-padded businesswoman who is mostly trying to be a bloke anyway. Domestic goddess and mother, all smiling benevolence and cake mix. Nice women. Women whose success is measured by their sexual appeal and fertility, or by the ability to pass as men. At college I discovered some very empowered gay and academic women, who I adored. But I wasn’t one of them either.

Then in my early twenties I started encountering other pagan women for the first time. Strong souls, creative, independent and not conforming to the mainstream either. Goth, hippy, folky dress styles on bodies that aren’t anorexically trendy. Women who are unapologetically themselves, manifesting their natures in all kinds of ways, accepting of each other, and not trying to be men. Sexy women whose sensuality isn’t all wrapped up in brand image and sales pitch. Mothers, yes. Workers, yes. But on their own terms. A mature kind of femininity, that isn’t sparkly, girlish or superficial. I have learned from these lovely people, and I have found my own place.

If you look to the many Goddesses of the pagan pantheons, they are a diverse bunch. Many preside over specifically female concerns around child bearing, hearth and home. Brigid might be midwife and keeper of the hearth flame, but she is also a smithing goddess. Diana and Artemis hunt. Athena presides over war, and poetry. The Morrigan stalks battlefields while Ceridwen brews magic. We can look to the Amazons, to Boudicca, Mogan Le Fay. And in our own time, powerful, imaginative women are leaders in the pagan community.

Be who you are, and show it. Be the archetype that lost girls in younger generations can look to. We can all be mothers to the maidens who follow us.