In chapter two of the EMPATH’S SURVIVAL GUIDE, Judith Orloff explains how to stop absorbing other people’s distress, a question I have been asked a lot after my previous article on empaths. She explains how often empaths are miss diagnosed and end up being sent to psychiatrists and put on prescribed medications for anxiety and depressive symptoms.
“To survive as an empath, it is essential to learn both how to stop absorbing other people’s emotions and pain, and how to ground ourselves in over stimulating environments that are not empath friendly.”
“It is also vital for empaths to take a conscious approach to their health; you need to identify whether you are a physical or emotional empath- or even both. Physical empaths feel other people’s symptoms in their own body, for instance a friend complains of a stomach-ache and suddenly an empath’s stomach starts hurting too. Emotional empaths mainly pickup other people’s emotions. They can sit beside a depressed person while watching a comedy and walk out of the movie theatre feeling depressed”.
Friends have contacted me with follow up questions on how to cope as an EMPATH AND HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON and to be honest, it did not come as shock that most of my friends are empaths too or HSPs, and it made me realise how we subconsciously co-depended on each other a lot.
Back at university if you ever caught a glimpse of me around my friends, you would think we had zero problems because for some bizarre reason we were always laughing at only God knows what. The energy that surrounded our circle was unbelievable, the positivity, the blissfulness, the familiarity, the epic stories, the crushes… I remember (TREVOR NOAH AND ANTHEM LIGHTS) being a big part of our not so overly dramatic social life. Some of us were even in virtual one-sided “relationships” with either Trevor Noah or Caleb Grimm. Bottom line, our energies bounced off each other and life was good. It felt safe and “normal.” It was our bubble.
Not knowing it at the time, I co-depended on my friends so much that it become a norm. One thing I remember vividly was how anxious I used to get when it came to crossing busy roads and how overwhelming I found it. My friends new about my phobia of course and much as we laughed at the so many times, they had to literally hold my hand while crossing busy roads they never held it against me. They even took turns leaving the restaurants each time we met up to come get me from the opposite side of the roads otherwise I would take a good 30 minutes trying to cross over. This kind of co-dependency sounds minimal but to an EMPATH it becomes a bit lethal when these protective barriers are dismantled.
When I first moved to the UK, I felt like a lost puppy, a big part of me felt cut off from my “normal world” and navigating it made me feel like something was wrong with me. I felt the need to be like everyone else, I struggled trying to fit in, so I tried harder but the more I forced myself to try and fit in, the more I felt like an intruder. The feeling was awfully unfamiliar to me, it was like someone else had inhabited my body and I was just looking in from the outside.
EMPATHS AND ADRENAL FATIGUE
According to Judith Orloff, Adrenal fatigue is a common health issue for empaths. This syndrome is a collection of symptoms including, body aches and pains, anxiety, trouble thinking clearly and insomnia.
Some of the protection strategies you can apply.
1. Eat a whole food diet 2. Exercise 3. Meditate 4. Rest a lot 5. Eliminate the energy vampires in your life.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself and stay positive.