Empathy through the roof

Anxiety wrecks havoc on our emotions.

From anger to zeal – anxiety can increase the emotions felt tenfold. It also increases the emotions we feel for other people.

I’m as emotional as they come. I’m a cryer. Like a proper cryer. I probably cry several times a week – whether it’s happy tears, sad tears, tired tears, frustrated tears, angry tears or hangry tears. You name it – I’ll cry over it. And it’s just the way I have always been – and will always be.

However, the emotions felt by myself – and maybe many others out there – aren’t always selfish. Aren’t always based on our own experiences or thoughts that concern the self. Sometimes (NAY a heck of a lot of the time) they are experienced from thinking of others.

Whilst this is a lovely and selfless thing – to be able to think of others, care for them, or be in tune with their thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, it is borderline intense/too much.

Sometimes I think about others more than I think about myself. The anxiety is still attached, and jumps from my own life experiences to theirs.

When you’re anxious – you’re brain is pretty much wired 24/7. Not only are you aware of everything going on around you, you’re also pretty damn good at thinking of multiple scenarios and situations – most of which don’t exist, and never will.

I can look at a complete stranger, and feel so strongly for them – that it takes my breathe away. It immobilises me whilst bringing every single emotion available to the top of the surface.

Whether it’s feeling intense sadness for a diner, sitting all alone – hoping they have someone to love them. Noticing a woman pulling at her dress as if to hide herself – sensing her low self esteem and wishing, urging, for her to realise her own beauty. Seeing every individual that passes by and just hoping that they have all the happiness they need in the world.

This intensified when it comes down to family members, friends and acquaintances. Are they ok? Do they know they’re loved? Will they be ok? What can I do?

Obviously, I am very aware this level of thinking 24/7 is ridiculously unhealthy. It eats away at the resources we are already so lacking in – and causes us to be ridiculously emotionally unstable. I have been told many a time, to “grow a thick skin”, yet it never seems to appear and I never seem to toughed.

My concern for others becomes amusing when you realise that this sympathy is not even just reserved for the realistic human. It often branches out to fictional characters, hypothetical situations and events that happened long, long ago. Tell me a story about a friend of a friend, and I’ll probably be filled with pangs of hurt and despair. It’s actually embarrassing the amount of times I have felt sadness for a lonely, single woman that appeared on an episode of Doctors when I was 7….

I feel like mental health often gets mislabelled as being very selfish. Anxiety and depression can become so consuming, and the sufferer can often become overly worried by matters happening in their own lives or by their own thoughts and feelings. Self care is then added to this – worry about yourself, then take care of yourself. Yet actually, you’ll be surprised by how much time an anxiety sufferer spends thinking about others, and the world around them.

Now, whilst I don’t know if this empathy is caused by our own fears being projected on to others, our intensity of feelings, or the acute awareness that comes with heightened senses. But I do know, that I hope everyone out there who is seen as “too emotional” or “extra”, knows how special and lovely they are.

Yes – it might be best to tone it down a tad from time to time – you cannot fix everyone you meet, and you sure as hell cant spend your life worrying about everyone else. But, never rush getting tougher and never rush switching off. Without people who care, we wouldn’t have fantastic teachers, Doctors, nurses, counsellors. Without people who really feel, we probably wouldn’t have incredible actors, talented writers or even caring friends.

Just learn to find the balance between yourself and others, and practice challenging your negative thoughts.

You’re an incredible person, so don’t be tough on yourself – but save some of that emotion and awareness for yourself.

You deserve to be noticed too.

Peace out

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