I Am Empathic.

As a child I was always withdrawn from people, I preferred solitude- calm places with few people. I did not make many friends for that reason, and though I yearned to reach out and connect with people, I could not; Because of an anxiety I did not understand, and would later come to recognize as empathy.

My parents would often fight with each other. Sometimes loudly, but other times quietly in a far room of our home where they thought I couldn't hear from my bedroom. What my father failed to realize is that by trying to hold his anger inside, It resonated through our house twice as loud for me than if he would simply have been as loud as he wanted. This woke me from sound sleep many times in my childhood, even though I could not hear what was going on. I would often burst into tears for no obvious reason- I could not even determine a reason myself through most of it.

School was an absolute nightmare. It was like a nightclub with music so loud I could not hear, and laser lights shooting in every direction distracting me from even simple tasks. High school was the worst; I suspect it could have been due to more complex and elevated feelings, emotion, drama, and frustration from angsty teenagers, possibly the chaotic mind of the drug use that ran rampant through my school as well (more on that later).

Even quiet places come with splashes of chaos and waves of distress. I moved far away from my rural hometown in my early twenties. I sold my car and settled into a small city in Colorado where I began using public transportation for the first time- That is when I started to understand the nature of my condition. Having a long commute to work on public transit puts me in proximity to a lot of different people for short time periods. Most people in the downtown area ride between three and ten minutes at a time; And I began to watch my mind buzz with so many different feelings and thoughts that seemed to be in sync with the passengers as they enter and exit the vehicle. There were times when my perceived environment could become so terribly uncomfortable and chaotic that I couldn't stand it; I would glance around my bus and realize that it was actually very quiet, with little out of the ordinary- Except I would consistently notice a few common threads when this would happen. Mostly that I could easily spot someone who was in the apex of a complicated high due to drug abuse. I can't seem to narrow down any particular substance that causes this anxiety, but it seems to be the most prevalent with substances that cause hyperactivity, and/or disorientation. People who mix pills are the worst, I become extremely nauseated and dizzy when I am near someone who is in the middle of the effects of a 'cocktail'. (This makes public transportation on any Friday night very difficult for me).

My relationships have often ended in disaster, because I also suffer from a 'night in shining armor' complex, and I feel the irrational need to comfort people who are distressed. You can imagine that this could attract women who have more emotional baggage than I am equipped to handle... I am reflective with people I am close to... I tend to become whatever feelings are strongest inside them- While this can be absolutely blissful in the best conditions, it can also be a really really bad thing during personal conflicts; and at times bordering on privacy invasion.. I just can't seem to stop myself from pushing for answers when my Fiancée is feeling depressed; I just want us both to feel better, or to at least understand why 'I' am feeling depressed, but it comes across pushy at times..

I can't 'turn it off', like some people describe.. It happens in waves, and it doesn't go away until I can bring myself to a calm state where I can grasp hold of MY emotions, and know that this is ME that I'm feeling. I wish to God I could turn it off some days. Other days I just wish I could turn it off forever and never have to deal with the problems it causes again.

I came here, hoping to find other people who are dealing with the same problem. Perhaps to learn new coping methods, or to learn how to better understand what it is that happens to me when I fall into fits of anxiety that I can't handle. How to better manage crowded places. Or at least to commune with people who understand something very few people in my world are even willing to acknowledge.

Thank you.
Cryptonic26 Cryptonic26
Sep 6, 2012