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Empath? More Like Pathetic

I’m an empath. I experience other people’s emotions as if they were my own. For the majority of my life, it has been difficult to differentiate between which emotions were mine and which belonged to someone else. In my adult life, I have processed the energy of others largely as anxiety. It’s a jittering in my solar plexus that sits just above my stomach. It feels like that moment when you think you’re going to fall. That catching of the breath and quickened heartbeat.

Anxiety that I experience as myself, is not the same. It took well into my thirties before I was able to tell the difference. My own anxiety is a pinch of adrenaline high in my chest and a settled fear that sits squarely in my sacral chakra. It feels like dread, impending doom. Like the quiet in a horror movie and the sudden crash of something into a garbage can simultaneously. That thing that makes you sit bolt upright in your bed when you mistake a pile of clothing for a monster come to get you. That’s my anxiety.

When California’s “Safer at Home” guidelines took effect, what was once a nuisance became debilitating. I’ve been a happy housewife for the last several years. Home was my safe haven. When people went to work, my body would relax. I could breathe freely as myself, safe from most of the influence of other’s emotions.

I’ll never forget that first week of “Safer at Home.” I was, in fact, not safer at home. I was bombarded by everyone’s fear, anger, frustration, annoyance, and quite frankly burgeoning hate. It sat in my stomach like a clenched fist. I had to contact my doctor. I needed something to ease the panic. I started taking Celexa for anxiety and depression (the latter is a story for a later date) and Klonopin as I needed it to stop major panic attacks that were happening with more frequency.

I felt pathetic. I was overwhelmed in a way that I had not been in years. I broke down with my therapist. I told her that I couldn’t continue like this. I was at a breaking point of some kind, and I didn’t know what would be left of me on the other side if I finally cracked. She suggested that I get in touch with a friend of hers who was also a therapist and an intuitive healer. Much to my therapist’s chagrin, I often don’t follow up on her recommendations. I did here though.

I scheduled an energy check. I knew that my energy was well out of sorts. I debated on warning the woman that an hour would likely not be enough. I wanted to give her the heads up that someone SUPER messed up was on the way and that she needed to prepare. I refrained. The appointment was lovely. I was reminded of some things I already knew but had forgotten. I felt recentered. I felt grounded. I hadn’t realized that I was an untethered balloon about to get wrapped in the power lines.

Prior to this reading, I had never had one before. I was raised in an evangelical cult (more on that later) and brainwashed to believe that energy workers/intuitives/psychics were evil. As such, no matter what my own intuition told me was true, I never sought training or readings as a means of healing. Until life forced my hand. After the reading, I knew that I needed more. I asked and was given the names of several people who could teach me. I spent months “vetting” these potential teachers. I researched, meditated, and sat with the energy they put into their social medias.

In January 2021 I began this journey of self-discovery, reflection, and business. It’s not even been a year yet. It feels like I’ve been on this journey my whole life. In many ways, I have. If you would’ve asked me a year ago if I saw myself on this path, I would’ve answered with a definitive NO and a secret hope that but maybe. Owning your whole self is freeing in a way that I never expected. And the beauty of this journey is that it’s never complete. We get to continually get to know new parts of ourselves.

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