All The Feelings

Sometimes, I feel more than I think I should. Do you ever feel that way?

I have always been a severely empathetic person. For example, my mother tells the story of a time in my early toddlerhood when she was unaware I could speak in full sentences. She and my father were watching a movie in which one if the main characters had many struggles.  I don’t know which movie, just that it was very sad. I was playing nearby. When the movie ended, my mother says I looked up at her with wide, blue eyes and said “That poor guy!”

Riiiiiight.  See what I’m dealing with?

So, as I was saying, I feel a lot of things. Because I was bored recently, I clicked on an article entitled “13 Signs You Might Have An Anxiety Disorder”. If you catch me trying to do that again, for the love of god, STOP ME! At any rate, many if the signs ring true for me.

Over reacting to storm preparation is one of the signs and reminded me of a time in late summer when severe storms were going to be passing through and I ran around the house gathering bedding, flashlights, shoes, extra diapers, etc., and putting them in the basement. I was terrified there was going to be a tornado and I wanted us to be prepared. I laid awake in bed, watching the local news station, and obsessively clicking ‘refresh’ on my twitter feed until I was sure the danger had passed. There are other signs too–like sleeplessness, racing thoughts, problems concentrating and finishing tasks, over worry, stomach issues. I have always bitten my nails to the quick and there was a time in adolescence when I pulled hair out by the handful.

I have pretty much always had these feelings, but I  think it’s gotten worse since I gave birth to my son three years ago. I don’t know that what I’m experiencing is clinical in nature, but I do wonder sometimes what freedom from this could feel like.

On top of these anxieties I carry my empathy and worry for others. It’s one of the reasons I decided not to go into psychology or counseling as a profession, though I think I have a natural aptitude for it. I worried my empathy might crush me. Intellectually, I know I can’t solve other people’s problems There are just Too. Many. Still, I find myself feeling really lost and frustrated at times. My heart hurts that there are people in this world who are hurting. If only I had a blanket a big enough. A warm cup of comfort large enough. The perfect words that would give them the hope they needed to go just one more day.

So yeah, I FEEL ALL THE THINGS. But is that necessarily a bad thing?  And how on earth can I channel ALL THE FEELINGS into something positive that really does have an impact and a positive chain reaction? Suggestions?

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