I have just begun to research what it means to be an empath. From the time I was in preschool I have been a fierce guard and friend of the underdog, have felt other's emotions very deeply, and have struggled with high levels of anxiety. When I was 12 my social anxiety got really intense after being bullied alot and I was finally officially diagnosed with social anxiety disorder about 1.5 years ago. I can function alot better now, but I have noticed some heightened anxiety lately. I am participating in an intergroup dialogue about race and there are some really intense emotions. The past two weeks I have been going I feel SUPER drained afterward and the next day I have some more anxiety/depression than usual. Also, when I was about 13 or so I had this daily feeling of urgently needing to visit a family friend we hadn't seen in years: 2 months in to having this feeling the mother of the family died. We saw the kids at the funeral and the eldest, about 9 (hadn't seen her since she was 4, we used to live with them) told me "I dream about you sometimes. I was wondering when you were coming back." I still do not understand how I just had that feeling of something not being right with them. My aunt also says that we have had many empathic people in our family, her and my mom included. I guess I am just wanting to reach out to others like myself and learn how to manage this gift so that I am not so overcome by other's emotions.