An Empath in a World in Distress

It fucking sucks. That’s what being an empath in a world that’s in distress is like. And every day is a new challenge. Just when I think I have it figured out, some new emotion strikes and I’m laying on my back staring up at the world wondering how the hell did I get here?

Photo by Analise Benevides on Unsplash

Most of the things I write end with some version of “it’s okay” or “you’re gonna be okay.” Because I’m constantly having to remind myself of that, I wonder if there are others out there that need to hear it. I already deal with anxiety and depression. That’s not new news. This past year, I figured out that the term for someone like me is an empath. We empaths not only feel our own emotions very deeply, but we absorb other people’s energies and emotions into our own. We may be sad one day and not realize it has nothing to do with anything happening in our own life, it’s because we spent hours in a doctor’s office waiting room where people were scared and sick and vibrating at a low frequency. Our energy is depleted. Or maybe we had a visit from a friend going through a tough time and sat with them trying to comfort them or advise them or just listen while they cried. So when we had time alone, our bodies couldn’t handle the excess of emotion and was trying to dispel it in some way.

So now the world is going through a crisis, everywhere we go people are stressed out and emotional. Turning on the news is just one more frustrating update that we are no closer to resolving. The human race is in lockdown. On the one hand, there’s nothing but time to rest when the emotional exhaustion takes its toll, but there’s also no real escape from the stress either. We feel trapped. At least, I know I do and I refuse to believe I’m the only one.

I’ve been saying to anyone and everyone who will listen that now is the time to be patient with ourselves; Give ourselves an extra dose of kindness in however we choose to handle this time, but I admit I haven’t been practicing what I preach. The amount of times I’ve gotten upset with myself for being in a hole is more than I am willing to say. I beat myself up regularly for not being able to “inhale, exhale, repeat” some of these difficult feelings away. Not to mention the days that I’m also dealing with personal situations that have nothing to do with the pandemic. I’m just exhausted.

When I have a good day, I feel like I can conquer the world. Like if someone were to sit me down in a science lab, I could figure out a cure to COVID-19 without scientific training in my background of any kind. Maybe that’s extreme, but you get my point. Though when it’s not a good day, or even a decent one, I’m on full retreat. My teddy bear is the only one I’ll let near me for extended periods. (Oats is one badass teddy who has witnessed far too many emotional meltdowns.) But on those days, I can’t do anything but exist. Today was one of those days. And I beat myself up for feeling this way and for barely leaving my bed and for only having the strength to binge Netflix and heat up leftovers and crochet one line on a blanket, that is taking forever for me to complete, when I wasn’t simply sleeping or crying. Today was difficult.

But.

That’s okay.

Will I always find it easy to believe that truth? Probably not. But it doesn’t make it any less true. The world is in a constant state of question mark and there is no definitive expiration date on the uncertainty. This post is not intended to be defeatist and end by saying, “Oh well, that’s just how it is.” But it also is not, not saying that. The point is, there is no right way of dealing with what’s happening. And there’s no perfect way to deal with anxiety. The only wrong way is to let it destroy you. But simply laying in bed right now is not self destruction. The universe has literally permitted us to lay in bed. Empath or not, emotional being or not, stress or not, we’re able to just be still right now. All of us.

And it’s okay.

Photo by Jasmine Waheed on Unsplash

If “inhale, exhale, repeat” isn’t helping to calm yourself down, then take a walk, do some exercise, bake a cake. If nothing except laying in bed crying is helping to dispel some of those negative emotions, then you fucking lay there until your tear duct reservoirs are completely drained. If you come out of this thing 50 lbs heavier, but lighter mentally and spiritually because you took the time to just listen to your body and its feelings, I’d say that’s a win. If you come out of this 50 lbs lighter because exercise is what helped you deal with those feelings, I’d say that’s a win. If the only way you can manage your stress level some days is by sleeping and bingeing tv all day and sitting down at night to write a blog post about everything you’ve been feeling today, well I’d say that’s a win too. So today, I’ll take the win. And I’ll once again remind myself to be kind and patient to myself.

Because yes, it fucking sucks.

But that’s okay ;-)

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Kathryn Williams

Writer, singer, adventure seeker, world traveler, nerd, animal enthusiast finding the beauty in life and navigating the rough waters of faith and anxiety.