Musing on mental states
Warning: This blog is my blog, so sometimes what I write isn't about anyone except me. Some times it's just here because I needed to get it out, needed to shout it at the digital paper, like a kid scrawling with markers. Don't take this entry personally. If you take this blog entry personally, just remember: Some Times, It's Not About You. OK? I realise there's a risk of sounding like an asshole putting it that way, but there are times that I can only be blunt. My diplomacy is not working properly right now. This blog, it's all about me.
You know how you go through a funk, you're not feeling yourself, or you're not all there? I feel like that, in the strangest way. It started last week, and slowly crept up on me. Monday it hit me full in the face about nine in the morning.
Often this is a precursor to a depressive cycle, but I'm not feeling the sadness that always bring the depression coming back. I don't feel the helplessness, or feeling of being without hope., I don't hurt everywhere, and I'm not getting what I call "depression migraine". I don't lack interest in the things that are my hobbies, and I spent about half an hour putting a Star Wars: The Old Republic 'toon together, to play with friends tonight (thanks to them for a 7 day pass, yay!) After I finish this, I"ll curl up and read the first Ciaphas Cain novel, by Sandy Mitchell (It's called Hero of the Imperium and if you like Warhammer 40k, Imperial Guard and can laugh at irony, you'll probably enjoy it). I am able to finish my tasks, and even got my washing done straight away this morning. That part of depression isn't happening, thankfully.
I just feel lost. I kinda feel numb to everything outside my tiny sphere, numb and mentally exhausted. I feel tapped out in my emotional space. Just at the end of my emotional expense account, perhaps. My emotional credit card is max-ed out.
I don't want to think about other people's problems. I don't want to commiserate, or have empathy. I don't want to hear about how horrible your shit it, right now. Because I just don't want to hear it. I feel like I have heard enough for now. Like it's time for you, nebulous you, to deal with your shit, because I don't want to.
I feel like my empathy is finite right now. Like I don't have enough to go around. Almost like I've got to ration it, little here, little there, and that I've been spending too much of myself out there, nebulous out there, instead of in here in myself.
That's a problem for empathic people, you now. You nebulous you, my readers, and myself... mostly myself. It's a huge problem for empaths. We feel your pain, literally. When others hurt, we hurt with them. It's never trite, or fake or banal or platitudes. When we say, "I am so very sorry you're hurting. Please, let me sit and hurt with you, because I don't know how else to be emotionally available to you, and I want to help" we really fucking mean it! I've never told someone "I know how you feel" and didn't know exactly how they fucking felt.
I can't help it, you see. I just have this thing, gift, curse, emotional radar, feelers, antennae? Something that makes me able to pick up emotional states, feelings, hurts and happiness, across the miles, through the phone, emails, IM's, text messages, and if I'm very close to you, I don't even need that. I just know. I know if you're OK, or not. I can feel it, just as strongly as if you're standing here in my living room telling me how you're feeling.
But right now, I don't want to.
I don't want to know if you're having the same trouble you had last week. I can't bear it right now.
Don't tell me if you're bored or need stimulus, because I'm tapped out. I'm sorry. I can't right now.
Don't tell me if you're depressed, or need advice on anything slightly down. I can't do it. I don't think I can give advice on anything mildly discomforting. I'll tell you anything you want to know about dating, or food, or "what shirt goes best with what pants". But don't ask me to pat you on the head; don't ask me to cheer for you, or agree that you're doing just fine. If you have to ask me, then you're probably not, and you should get some help.
By all means, share the good shit that's happening! I need to hear that stuff. I need to celebrate your graduation (Congrats, Matt, I'm so damned proud of you!). I need to cheer for your new baby (Congrats C on your little girl's arrival!). I need to hold my breath with you waiting for the surprise! I'll get excited for birthdays, and new babies, and promotions, and newly discovered cake recipes! I need all those things, those sparkly, glittery wonderful blessings.
In fact, I just got an email from my Beloved-- literally just now-- letting me know that our credit check for the solar panels and installation went through. This means we can get on the list for installation this spring/early summer! We already have locked in the special incentive the local electrical company is offering, as a way of saying "Please for the love of all that is holy, install some fucking solar panels on your house!" We were just waiting for the rest of it to get lined up. I'm very excited about that, as I've always wanted to put PV panels on my house!
I can feel emotional responses just fine. There's nothing wrong with my ability to feel anything. In fact, I'm “smilin' like a butcher's dog" about that email. (Thank you, Mr. Mike Lange, the Penguins' radio guy.)
I also noticed that another squash plant is growing, and there's something green coming up from the bucket I put the avocado pits into. So I might be growing an avocado too, and that's something to get really excited about, if you ask me: your plants growing! I'll know better when it gets bigger, and if it's a weed, I'll yank it out of there.
It isn't that I can't feel, it's that I just don't want to. I feel wrung out by the world around me, right now. I feel like I've been bombarded with other people's shit, and just haven't been able to deal with my own. That's not good, for someone like me. It's really not good for anyone, if we're honest about it.
Everyone should be able to deal with their own shit, yes. Not everyone can, no. That's why we have people in hospital, or on medication, or seeing a therapist, or doing meditative work, or whatever it is that they're doing, so they can pull their shit together. That's why we have our safety nets of people we trust to talk to, our spouses, best friends, ministers/priestesses, whatever. There's nothing wrong with that. Everyone needs to be able to do that. We need to be able to take time away from being there for everyone else, too.
That's what I need to do. I need to take a break from being there for everyone else. I need to take a break from being constantly available for advice or pep-talk, or just to listen to venting.
I tend not to vent much. If I do, it's to my Beloved, or my best friend, Matt. He's been so busy lately though, getting through finals and all that for his Bachelor's, that I haven't wanted to bother him. My husband has been busy at work, too. I don't like venting, because I don't like to bother people.
That's another part of empaths. We always feel what you're feeling, because you project it to us. We can't help it, we fucking breathe that shit in, swim through it. But, dammit if we don't want to bother you talking about anything at all. I would rather swallow it, deal with it on my own, than talk to someone and feel like I'm imposing. I hate imposing.
So I'm venting right now. Scribbling in digital media, my own neurosis, my own difficulty. I need a break from everyone's problems... problems that aren't new, they aren't special, they're old hat, shit everyone's been dealing with forever now. I mean, new problems, like car crashes, they happen, and I'll be there, just like I always am.
But if it's an old problem and you can't solve it yourself, could you just hang on to it for awhile. I'm sure it'll still be there when I'm feeling more myself. Maybe you could solve it yourself, while I'm solving myself? That'd be pretty cool, right? That'd be an accomplishment I'd like to hear about.
So, this week, I'm not cheering for anyone. I'm not patting anyone on the head. Don't expect an ear, a compliment, or anything to encourage you to get out of bed. Just don't ask for it, because I don't have it to give.
I'm sorry. I know self-care is important, and I know I need that right now. I also know I don't hold up the sky, that people can get by without me.
Empaths have to have their own emotional space, too. Otherwise we shut down. Shutting down an empath is like damming up a river. It can be done, very carefully, but generally shit breaks. Damming my empathic abilities is like trying to build a dam of toothpicks to stop Niagara. Not fucking pretty, is it?
I need some emotional space. I can't lose myself, because I need me. Just like you need you. We have to know who and where we are, and some times that means stepping back awhile.
I'm sure if it's emergency you'll let me know. I can handle emergency. I just can't handle the day-to-day. I need to deal with my own, drown in my own passion for awhile. Feel my emotions without censoring them for others. I need to clearly set aside where I end and you all begin. That's a problem for empaths: we can lose definition of our ending, we overlap, we let others' emotions overlap with ours. It's messy and sometimes it's detrimental.
To be perfectly frank, I'm just tired of being emotionally there for the entire world, because that's how it feels. It doesn't matter how untrue that is, it's how it feels. I need to be emotionally there for my family (you know who you are). Otherwise, I will break. I don't want to break.