Thursday, August 14, 2014

Am I an Empath?

So, I felt compelled to write about my latest discovery about something called an "Empath".
What is an Empath?  Well there are tons and tons of articles, websites, blogs, youtube videos, etc. that go into depth about what the traits of an Empath are. There are some traits which are pretty out there that I don't really identify with, but for the most part, some of the major traits are totally there, and I never knew that there was a name for this before.

An Empath is someone who FEELS the emotions of someone else as if they were their own... and sometimes you can even FEEL the PHYSICAL pain that someone else around you may have.  Some Empaths can walk into a room and right away feel if the vibes are wrong, or take on someone's pain if they are in a room with them.  Most empaths seems to attract people, even complete strangers, to confide in them, often telling them their whole life story.  Empaths are healers, and we generally want to help everyone we come across, and we often have a lot of trouble SAYING NO.  This has been something that I have become more aware of doing in the past year or so, even before I became aware of this new term "Empath"....

So how do I know that I'M an Empath? Well for as long as I can remember, random people would always come to ME for advice, or help with situations... even people I don't really talk to or know all too well.  I have even had strangers come up to me in stores, etc. Naturally as an Empath, I want to help... everyone... with everything... and I often tend to forget that I end up leaving myself on the back burner.  Sometimes I feel taken advantage of, and ultimately I'm left feeling drained as if I don't have enough energy left for myself to enjoy the things I love about life.  I've had numerous amounts of "depressed" friends, and I put depressed in quotes, not to take things lightly with that word, because I am aware that depression is a VERY serious disease and should warrant a call for help at the first sign of any type of potential self harm... BUT.. there are some people where you just know they are doing it for attention, and these people are called narcissists ... everything revolves around THEM... them them them.  I mean, I didn't really use these experiences to diagnose myself as an empath by any means.. I just thought that people were drawn to tell me all their bullshit, because I just thought I was a weirdo magnet, lol. This wasn't the part that engaged me to seek out these qualities about myself... this was just a bonus to my aha! moment that made all of these pieces fit together for me.

What really made me curious as to think that there was something "special" about me was a few strange things that happened to me, which seem way too coo-coo and crazily creepy to be just a coincidence.  Now I never really grew up with any sort of notion that I had any sort of special gift outside of the artistic/musical realm.  Nor was I ever very religious.  I was always pretty drawn to all things metaphysical, but I wouldn't categorize myself as having psychic powers or clairvoyant/medium by any means.  It was usually my brother who saw the spirits, or had the prophetic dreams, etc. I always considered myself to be pretty normal, outside of your normal anxiety attacks every time I visited a doctor's office. Now not to get TOO sidetracked, I'd like to tell you about the first event that made me really wonder if there was some kind of gift that I possessed, that would enable me to tap into the psychic realm.

In the fall of 2011, and my grandmother Joan had been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. She had been a long time smoker, so this did not come as a shock to most of us in the family... That doesn't mean it was any less upsetting.  The doctors only gave her around 6 months or so. We went to visit her soon after Christmas in North Carolina and I spent time feeding her and watching TV with her, knowing I would probably never see her again after this trip. That was just heart wrenching to me.  She was just as much of a smart ass sick as she was when she was well, so that made me happy to see her spirit still alive and kicking ass. I went home after a few short days that I got to spend with her. My mom would fly back and forth from NJ to NC here and there, to be by her side and help out with what she could. During that time, I had come down with the Respiratory Infection from hell. I was sick all through January, and come February, it was time for my mom to go back to be with my grandmother again.  My mother left, and I went about my business, but I guess subconsciously I was hurting so bad because the day after, I had noticed that my feet felt like pins and needles.  I didn't think anything of it, thought maybe I had pinched a nerve, and went about my business.  Over the course of the next few days, the sensations started getting MUCH worse, and eventually I felt like there were tiny electrical shocks zapping all of my nerve endings all over my body; in my feet, my legs, my arms, my fingers, and worst of all my head.  These sensations sent me into full blown anxiety mode and I had panic attack after panic attack.  At time I felt sensations in my chest that caused me to think I was having a heart attack.  My boyfriend was driving us home from band practice the one night, and I had an attack so bad, that he had to pull over and I contemplated making him take me to the emergency room.  I begged him to stay over with me that night.  I couldn't bear to be alone, it was the scariest feeling I had every experienced in my life. I literally thought I was going to die. I remember the night before having a really really hard time during the night. It wasn't just your normal bought of insomnia... it was full on anxiety ridden, I literally felt like my heart was jumping out of my chest, and I could not let myself rest. Every time I would try to doze off, I would feel a pulsating sensation, and explosion of electrical shocks in my brain that would jolt me awake and make me think I was dying.  I didn't know what to do... I had no health insurance at the time, so any sort of diagnostic test would have cost me half my life savings. I had friends reach out to help and give me advice and suggestions on clinics I could go to to get blood work done and such. I ultimately ended up not going because I wanted to find a better option, or at least apply for some government aid for health insurance.  During this time I was on and off the phone with my mom and she would give me updates on my grandmother, and at the same time try to control my situation all the way from NC. I felt horrible for taking her attention away from my grandmother, I just didn't know who else to turn to. By this point, my father and my boyfriend were both sick of hearing me and dealing with my anxiety attacks.  The night of February 12, 2012 I talked with my mom on the phone and she was debating on whether or not she should come back home. I didn't want her to, I really wanted her to stay with my grandmother, but she insisted that grandma would want her to come home and be with me.  So my mom came home and the next morning I woke up to my mom coming into my brother's old room, which is now the guest room, where I was sleeping. Sometimes when I have trouble sleeping in my own bed, I'll switch rooms once in awhile. The change in environment sometimes helps... So she came in, and was crying and told me that my grandmother had passed. At this point I still had my shocks, pains, electric pulses.. they were making it really hard for me to even function during the regular day to day activities. I was walking around like a zombie because I was barely sleeping. Every time I'd fall asleep, I'd get jolted awake again. It was horrible pain, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  I even thought at one point that I had Fibromyalgia. I looked into every possible symptom I could have had. Well the weird thing about this was... after my grandmother had passed, and she was buried... the pains stopped.. miraculously.... The weird thing was, that my mother told me that before she had passed and the doctors did chemo, they had found lesions on her brain... That freaked me out, because of the majority of the pain and lack of sleep stemmed from the brain spasms I was having, made me feel like my head was imploding. I truly feel that I was channeling my grandmother's pain somehow. And maybe that seems coincidental... I mean the thought had crossed my mind that maybe I felt her pain, but eventually I let the thought go, thinking maybe I was being a bit crazy.

I would also like to note that shortly after my grandmother had passed, it took a lot out of me financially, but I actually ended up putting myself under a very costly independent health insurance plan.  I did go to the doctor, had blood work done and a routine physical just to make sure everything was in check. I had also explained to my new doctor the issues I had been experiencing prior to my grandmother's death.  I had also explained that I had been having chest pains during the episodes as well, and also I had been experiencing these chest pains quite frequently for the past 3 or 4 years or so.  She gave me a referral to a cardiologist and I went on my way.
All of my blood work from my dr. came back normal and it was such a relief to me, considering how bad shape I was in, while my grandmother was sick.  I decided to hold off on the cardiologist for now since I hadn't really experienced the chest pains in awhile.

That wasn't until I had another occurrence.  It was a normal fall evening in October 2012.  I had been getting ready for bed, I think I may have just finished a cup of tea and I went downstairs to my cup in the sink.  As I was heading back upstairs, I reached for the light switch to turn it off and out of nowhere I felt a blow to the chest. I grasped my heart and fell to the floor in pain... I thought I was having a heart attack.  I tried to make my way upstairs, but with each step I took, I kept feeling this tightness in my chest followed by additional blows to the chest... It was the most pain I have ever felt in my chest.  I made my way up each step in a keeled over position.. practically crawling up the steps because it was too painful to even get up and walk the right way.  I finally made it to the top of the steps and collapsed in the hallway. I called out to my mom for help, screaming in agony. I was lying chest down on the hallway floor and I couldn't get up, and when my mom tried to move me, I screamed in excruciating pain.  The only way I felt comfortable, was to lie chest down and flat on the floor.  Any attempt at other movement and I'd feel like my ribcage was being torn apart at the sternum like a wishbone.  The pain had subsided enough for my mother to help get me off the floor and relocate me to my bed. I would get spurts of pain here and there, trying to lie normally, so I laid flat onto my chest again... this was the only way it felt comfortable enough for me to not feel any pain. I felt paralyzed. I was lying that way for a bit as she lectured me about going to the cardiologist with the referral that my dr. had given me during the Spring. It was weird, because I knew something wasn't actually wrong with ME, which was why I was not in a rush to go.  But I did however know, that something was wrong... very wrong... I just couldn't figure out what it was at that moment. Finally after an hour or so of this whole episode, my mother helped me get my head on the pillow, as I was lying paralyzed toward the other end of the bed.  I put on some show or movie on my laptop propped up in front of me.  It was around midnight, and I had fallen asleep with my mom rubbing my back.  Around 2 or 3:00 in the morning I was awoken to my cellphone ringing.  I looked at the phone and saw the call was coming from my boyfriend Avi.  He usually goes to bed around 10:00 or so since he has to get up so early for work in the morning, and this was so out of the ordinary for him to be calling me at this hour.  Sometimes you just know when somethings not right, and this was one of those feelings.  I answered the phone with caution and instead of a greeting, I think I just said "What's wrong?!"  He went on to tell me that his dad had a heart attack at work a couple hours prior, and that he was at the hospital. I nearly dropped the phone in shock, and my mom and I just looked at each other like WHAT!? I told Avi about the episode that I had a couple hours prior as well... I had felt that blow to the chest, about the same time that his father had his heart attack.  I was completely freaked out.  Avi told me his dad was stable but they were gonna have to keep him there overnight and run tests, etc. He stayed there at the hospital with his father and family all night.  The next day I remember my chest being extremely tender and sensitive.  I had faint pains that seemed to have dwindled from the night before, but it was nowhere NEAR the pain I had felt then. The next day was a bit of a whirlwind for my poor boyfriend, and I did what I could to be there for him.  They had actually found major blockages in his dad's heart, and they did in fact have to perform an emergency open heart surgery. His dad ended up making a speedy recovery and was back in shape in no time... shortly after his surgery the tenderness in my chest went away, but I took my mom's advice anyway, and went to the cardiologist.  They did a checkup, and also ran a test, did an ultrasound and actually showed me my valves on screen, of my perfectly normal, perfectly fine beating heart.  There was nothing wrong with me... I was however diagnosed with Costochondritis which is a very painful inflammation of the tissue around the sternum. From time to time I get this pain during times of HIGH anxiety or when I feel uneasy or stressed about something.  In my last episode's case, I was stressed about something I didn't even know was happening yet... and that's what's so weird to me.  The dr. gave me a regimen of taking an aleeve whenever I feel the pain, and sent me on my way.  

I don't remember exactly what led me to eventually piece all of these strange occurrences together, but I do remember exactly when I knew that there was a name for what I had.  This past August, I had gone to a family gathering with my parents, and my dad's cousins and sisters are quite the crazy bunch.  They have all had their dose of paranormal happenings, and to hear about their experiences first hand, it really gives you the validation that weird things that are unexplainable, are in fact very possible.  We all traded our stories that day, and I told them mine... They were in absolute awe about my ability to somehow feel others pain on multiple occasions, and told me that I'm not going crazy. I got home that night, and decided to do a little research and found the word "Empath". I read article and blog after article and blog, and watched about every video I could find on Youtube.  This discovery really gave me something to identify with.  Now whenever I feel pain, I really wonder if maybe it is not my own... if it's not my own, then who's is it? 

I now know that being an empath is like being an energy sponge, whether it's good or bad energy, I suck all of it in.  That's not always a good thing, so I have to learn when to retreat and bring myself back to , well, myself.  I have learned to cut the negative energy suckers out of my life, and also to say no when I absolutely need to say no to people who expect way too much of me. Sometimes there is not even enough of me to go around for myself. People often look to me as this grand problem solver, and while that's flattering... the older I get, the less tolerant I am getting for this tactic. 

All in all, I am very happy that I am now enlightened enough to know that there is this thing about me... some may think I'm crazy, or that it's in my head... but you know what... The doctor's told me this physical pain was in my head, for the longest time.  Only YOU know your own body and mind.  If you are feeling like this, seek spiritual healing.  Do your research. Unexplainable things happen, and they are possible. No EKG, or ultrasound would find this excruciating pain I was carrying around... for YEARS. Anxiety is a build up of spiritual tension, I do believe. 

So there is my story, take it for what it is worth... If you are an empath, and would like to share your story, please do leave a comment! I'd love to talk...

Also, please check out this Empath Community Online, it has many great resources for fellow Empaths:

Blessed Be

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