Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘self-medicating’

Are You An Unconscious Empath?

Mind Numbing for an Unconscious Empath

Lately I’ve noticed a heightened awareness to my discomfort around people who are drinking excessively. For years I attributed it to living, first with alcoholic parents, and later with an alcoholic husband. I thought I’d developed a distaste because of the burdens it put on me to be in such a relationship.

As I continue to work through the healing process, which I realize now may or may not have been triggered by my parents’ suicides, I’m learning to look at people under the influence with different eyes. Let me first say I’m not talking about occasional social drinkers. My discomfort there is limited to those who get stupid and shrill. The ones with whom I’m most uncomfortable are the ones who, like my parents are carrying unbearably heavy loads of pain. They use alcohol to temporarily numb their pain, and in so doing, fling emotions like confetti once their personal filters are squelched as well. Anyone in their vicinity who is even remotely sensitive and not equally anesthetized is the unwilling recipient of the full-strength version of that pain.

Protecting Ourselves From Unfiltered Emotions

As one who is sensitive to the emotions and energies of others, I can tell you it isn’t a pleasant experience. Though my reasons are often misconstrued, I place myself as far from the seriously inebriated as possible, and set my shields on stun. Conversations with other Empaths and HSP’s support my own feelings about those who frequent a state of inebriation rather than face the reality of their own existence.

As I watch and listen from a safe distance, I see major correlations between my parents’ behavior and https://www.flickr.com/photos/collinj/28187872/in/photolist-3utgN-6dKm4U-ixFiym-Xq9zxX-5iV9vs-dvsbnZ-JbYbNS-9yYXge-oaNgSy-nTrTpN-5DJ9YU-5iV9S9-o8U3zy-5iQRZt-JtsRHZ-nTrL7c-o8TKcY-GBN8Sc-oaRENq-oaMYV7-nTrEwd-nTrPEK-oaWiFZ-6LQKXF-HEaAbW-rn2ZeD-7RzU6Z-o8TQhY-ocHiva-3i8NQ-pGH9jK-oaRGwW-2KqqNG-o8U285-ocH5JZ-FT9CLK-HoyT7a-HEazSu-9yYXvD-GzoDsW-o8TTDs-nTrEsL-9yYXMX-FALZgB-HEaAub-nTrNpN-9z2ZgE-J1HDTv-nTsq3F-GpK1YTthese outwardly happy drunks. It’s made me start asking questions:

  • Could they be trying to disconnect from pain that isn’t even their own?
  • Are there voices in their heads they can neither identify or locate?
  • Do they feel sad even when their lives are chugging along just fine, yet they’re not exactly depressed?
  • Are they afraid to ask the questions which might shed light on why they hear, see, and feel at inexplicably high levels?

In short, could these people be what I’ve begun to call “Unconscious Empaths”? To take it even further, could the term also apply to people who have been medicated because they experienced feelings they couldn’t control, or heard voices in their heads?

Finding Solutions Outside the Bounds of Western Medicine

Certainly medical science, with a few exceptions isn’t ready to admit that sensing thoughts and https://www.flickr.com/photos/clevercupcakes/4576733748/in/photolist-7YqXuy-22jbZb8-XZte3w-2E38fh-dtp56c-3NUNY-3NUP3-3NSUZ-3NSUK-VUxVut-aMjLSn-dUKkRp-4JpM4a-abD91G-932Hmu-8fJSDf-62xx8V-3c4zza-dUKms6-5AZhfv-dUQT8y-cPLm-3aqeS9-4NhLC1-4zty2J-4ttyNi-6U4fPj-3akHYp-3e21kE-6T47EL-obfTpE-3dWA6R-h2wXwy-7drB1P-ostgj2-6ieis7-a1LDFH-21n5r2B-q2i6g3-XScYar-dXwB6L-gQahXg-8EdGQ2-qFJcdw-YuGC4s-Jy7Cf2-28d1ChD-PHSfjW-x3xs87-MXhQbufeelings in others could be making people think they’re crazy. Few doctors are qualified to help someone distinguish the difference, much less learn how to manage energies, emotions, and thoughts which enter their hearts and minds uninvited.

A lot has changed in the last 30 or 40 years though. “Schizophrenia” has been replaced by other terms. “Bi-polar disorder” is far more common. Autism has been divided into multiple categories and degrees. Though we have a long way to go when it comes to depression, at least it’s being acknowledged as real and worth examining. Many may still self-medicate or simply withdraw. Those who seek help have a variety of pharmaceuticals at their disposal with no more than a subjective diagnosis and a doctor’s prescription. Both solutions mask the pain but do little to address the cause.

Reacting to Other Peoples’ Trauma

Yet how many of us will admit to having our mood changed the instant we entered a room or https://www.flickr.com/photos/whoisthatfreakwiththecamera/2128863889/in/photolist-4f7Z4P-qjFHFf-98uNgj-6rDocS-UiQVsw-9MwMca-Re3oF7-XGTMLU-on6pwo-SB9A6F-54qPeB-7H8Pz8-7SMaC-R6RucA-cdbJBE-XGU7Q5-bGtTU6-8YKrbu-4CRGDp-bfqo4k-PEvGt-6Q9zSA-mJQyHS-4Ew2AY-Sfkwdo-5vKK9X-aDJhs6-FWXiy-76To7V-PFoqM-6r9hiY-5YcHEt-bqFdZH-dzVpN2-df1Kzf-oG6Szg-oE5cau-49Ytgo-7dHNJe-76XiVw-5YcKbP-4S24ZU-5YcKtz-5YcJFF-bpo9oP-76Tjkx-4HL5yc-5YcJoT-8f2fwB-6km6Wdencountered a certain person? How many have experienced the bone-jarring sadness radiating off someone who wanders into our emotional range? Who can cite occasions when they’re having a conversation via private message when they can respond to the feelings of the person they’re talking to despite conversing with keyboard and computer screen from many miles away?

If you don’t understand what’s happening at least on a superficial level, you may question your own sanity. I’ve been there, and with no one to explain to me what was happening, I’d internalize what I was feeling and make it my own without a second thought.

Personal Care Means Sealing Our Own Field

https://www.flickr.com/photos/furyharbinger/13754521084/in/photolist-mXrvVf-i7tecw-ntZHNs-c2gN9S-ohigmk-57iTKB-73JEEv-s5JVaw-igW353-29rTSkk-XozdoG-qLfU2o-hi5jcs-bVGNFP-7Sb2wS-bVGNJP-NMwRpw-6B6c71-rna7La-bcDZX6-niW12j-2UhNhZ-8tsTnk-8J9aQL-78syKH-833Twc-kmyX4p-8m4vkZ-Y7u43B-4Uh1Sk-DKLQqd-a2nNnr-UZ1uqc-cR1ytd-mWjep8-XyM59F-9r3PkF-27UauY9-nw48YE-eNcN9H-WZoYde-VLKVRW-6SKYFi-9wm6oY-24cpFXW-MybNWR-2sEoYy-UcY7W2-CtGmWY-dmhqvAI will forever be grateful I learned a couple of things on my personal journey. One was how to shield. Though my first efforts were both clumsy and guilty of overkill, leaving me in a world devoid of true connection for more than 2 decades. I learned I could shut out what wasn’t mine. I’ve since learned to replace those impervious shields with filters which allow things like joy, love, and compassion to flow both in and out. Sadness, depression, and anger, are seen through a fine mesh screen. This gives me the opportunity to determine who they belong to and whether I can help the owner of the feelings without taking those emotions into myself.

Can We Become Addicted to the Misery?

Yet I’ve also become more aware of those who either can’t or won’t recognize they’ve become an https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisyarzab/40513877112/in/photolist-24J5dbC-xLBnC-qDMybP-8uuvzF-er1tf-8S5Btn-5NYfwV-LihYBt-g4kBQ-S442nL-ceYb9U-g5JpWL-jTQZz6-cfHP9u-fauq5P-ahCCN2-isiMDz-6ViLeY-2EJXG4-HC2MUT-BU26S-5jegSL-VYGMA1-5j9Xzn-eB4adY-nBPSrp-5j9ZhH-dkoQLa-nbdfPZ-4FD4L1-dZ3Vjx-mbSGYM-dsW4Bs-6w75Kx-7sZRqK-8KRTG2-Mysc7N-LM2cLA-eXrUyD-faz3Az-dAR84B-8S8Fa7-7hKbWd-pYwhq-z2MhH-6jxdb7-261SwZS-ee4Pp7-vv8vw-8TKhq3over-saturated sponge for thoughts, feelings, and pain which belong to others. Some have even become almost addicted to bearing the misery of others. Like any addiction or problem, you must first recognize it’s there before you can take the necessary steps to fix or heal it.

I believe the first step in helping the Unconscious Empaths is to raise awareness. Like a variety of other topics I cover here, Empathy (capital E) is still gaining traction. Some psychologists and psychiatrists are aware of it and even allow for it to be part of a patient’s challenges. There are support groups on Facebook and a number of books on the subject.

Like everything else, though, if you’re unconscious, you don’t see how something like Empathy applies to you when you hear it from strangers. Only when someone you know and trust starts to describe some of the, for lack of a better term, symptoms, can you allow yourself to listen and take personal stock.

Testing the Waters

https://www.flickr.com/photos/142726605@N03/26477590124/in/photolist-GkJz5y-Lbjtyy-7U6aRM-fAvVrd-8xkhNA-9y8U87-9y8PZ9-hkmFEV-pFNVmn-qfvzds-4wXFCU-qwU8vr-fvtgHY-rrTvBA-qx26Jh-deDyEe-zLy9J-iyNxU-9y5Sva-zLy9G-nGtJKV-2ahmb-8GaT1p-8xhj1c-qfZurB-8xo6AA-o2vgjD-fhmvPA-i9LLEe-fhfA2Y-eyHAQ7-4wTwBV-fvthgq-4wQn2x-fvdZMM-fvuWFY-6Q1PWA-fP1Z3u-EjZqZV-daB9Am-aAFS2R-9y8RDE-fAvVAo-iSPYmR-6EKY95-4o5gjJ-6PDXe3-Kcbqcp-9aQUMa-75sAZqI’ve become carefully open about talking about being an Empath in the last few years. I’ll describe a situation and how it affected me, or talk about someone who is self-medicating with alcohol and suggest they may be experiencing pain and destructive emotions which belong to someone else. I used to be especially careful around those who were devoutly religious, but I’m learning Empathy doesn’t seem to conflict with those beliefs, at least with the ones I’ve opened up to.

It may even be that those who are deeply spiritual, regardless of their path are more open, not only to the idea of being sensitive to others, but to being that way themselves. Perhaps a willingness to believe in a higher power, or a greater whole, or some other description which gives us a feeling of connection to something bigger than ourselves is Empathy in itself.

Detach and Accept Without Judgement

The best way to learn and connect more, I’m finding, is to let go of judgement when I talk about Empathy; to detach from any beliefs I might have based on religious, political, social, or other deeply personal outlook. Discussions like this depend on openness without fear of humiliation or repudiation, and acceptance that whatever the listener believes is right for them. It’s been a difficult lesson for me, but ultimately, a rewarding one.

I’m learning those deep-rooted beliefs can’t obscure the fact we’re all connected, and more alike than we realize. There are a lot more Empaths and HSP’s out there than I’d originally believed. In fact, I’d venture to say it’s more the rule than the exception, even if some have yet to realize it.

We hear more and more about focusing on similarities rather than differences. It would certainly keep the arguments and dissent down. As I try to throttle back my own emotions on certain topics, I’m learning those similarities are far more relevant anyway. And I’m meeting more people who light up with recognition when I talk about Empathy.

With Heartfelt Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I’ve become braver about sharing my Empathic journey.
  2. I am grateful for the people who have come into my life to challenge, to teach, and to learn.
  3. I am grateful for an expanding social life that’s making it a bit more challenging to work on building my business, but know it’s actually a part of that process.
  4. I am grateful for my cats who keep my grounded and in touch with what really matters; a warm place to sleep, food in my belly, exercise, stretching, and someone to snuggle with whenever I need it. And kisses. Lots and lots of kisses.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, inspiration, friendship, joy, challenges, lessons, courage, steps out of my comfort zone, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward.

Empaths vs. Alcohol

New Insight Into the Drinking Game

I’ve always been uncomfortable around people who overindulge in alcohol. I saw it in my parents often enough, and later, my ex-husband. At times, I simply masked it by over-indulging myself, with obvious unpleasant consequences.

It wasn’t until recently I finally recognized the discomfort lay, not in the inebriated state of others, but in the results of that state and its impact on me.

I discovered what was there all along when I accepted that alcohol releases inhibitions. I used to believe those inhibitions were those which stopped people from making fools of themselves to they could relax and have a little fun. But there’s a somewhat sinister side to the lack of inhibitions.

Releasing the Pain Body With a Little Lubrication

We naturally corral what Eckhart Tolle calls our “pain body” when we’re sober, but the addition of alcohol in increasing quantities removes the filter which we’ve put in place to function within the parameters of society. When we remove those filters, thought it might not be apparent to most, we leak all of the sadness, pain, and misery we’ve kept bottled up until it’s flowing out of us like a veritable river of agony.

The average person won’t even notice, and will, in fact enjoy the crazy, uninhibited-ness of the the outwardly happy drunk. Not so with an empath like me.

Once I made the connection, I realized my real issue with people in an inebriated states wasn’t the alcohol (or drugs for that matter) at all. Instead, it was that they were functioning without the usual filters which protect me and others like me from being flooded with someone else’s emotions. You could say we were being drowned in sorrows of someone else’s making.

Once I realized what was happening, I could start taking the necessary steps to protect myself and above all, refrain from engaging with those who danced gaily around the room with their filters in shreds.

Mixed Reactions

I posed my conjecture to a group of empaths recently. In some cases, I was gratified to find others who recognized themselves in me. In others, I was saddened some took my words to mean it was open season on people who drink to mask their pain. Instead of finding an opportunity for compassion (once they’d protected themselves, of course), they took my words as permission to bash and abuse those who chose the only way they could manage to put aside their pain, if just for a little while.

The truth is alcoholism is a disease, plain and simple, and the people who use any kind of drug to excess do so for many reasons, one of which is a lack of healthy coping mechanisms. To crush them further with our condemnation will only serve to drive them further into they abyss.

Granted, it’s neither our place nor our gift to help them all, or maybe, not any of them. But neither is it our place to push them over the edge on which many totter. I am saddened and even mortified to learn my words caused others to take that path.

Self-Medicating to Mask the Pain

I know a number of people I reach are alcoholics or recovering alcoholics and can only imagine the strength it takes to challenge the addiction every single day. Far too many of them are probably empaths who chose alcohol or drugs to shut out the voices, the emotions which bombard us daily when we don’t know what they are or why we hear them in the first place.

I was one of them once upon a time. Though I didn’t abuse alcohol to excess nor use it to mask my pain on a regular basis as my parents did, I used my own equally ineffective and harmful methods for running away from myself and my true purpose. But I also used some healthy ones like dancing.

Learning to Embrace our Humanity

What it all comes down to is we are born compassionate human beings. Life and circumstances change that in us. Whether it’s family troubles or accepted behaviors, traumas we experience as life moves forward with or without us, or something seemingly innocuous. We learn to protect ourselves from mental, physical, and emotional harm in the best way we know how. All too often, the first step is shutting down our compassion for others.

I learned the hard way that shutting down, be it my compassion, sharing, connecting, or authenticity is equivalent to cutting off a limb which is perfectly fine the way it is. Closing ourselves off means we’re denying the very thing which makes us human. As time goes on, it becomes a lonely existence and one impossible to maintain without some hefty sacrifices.

Yet we’re taught to believe that only by functioning according to society’s rules; being cheerful, being gregarious, getting along, being easy-going; will we be able to get ahead, to make something of ourselves, to be a contributing member of society.

Here’s where I have to cry BULLSHIT! To be a true member of our beautiful, crazy, messy society, we have to be our whole selves. We have to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sure, we don’t want to go around harming others, but would that even be an issue if we were loved and accepted for who we are in the first place? Do serial killers kill because they were loved and cherished, accepted and celebrated? Do bullies tear others down because they feel good about themselves? NO! They do harm because it’s all they know to make themselves feel less ignored, less lonely, less apart.

Loving Each Other Beneath the Pain

We all have grumpy days. It’s a part of life. Those who deny they do are the ones who most need our compassion because they’re forcing themselves into a mold no one can possibly fit. Life is full of challenges. It’s how we learn, like it or not. It’s also an opportunity to reach out and ask for support, for help from other humans. And here’s a news flash. Other humans LIKE being asked for help once in a while. It makes them feel needed as well.

Yes, I learned a lot from putting my thoughts about alcoholics in particular out there for a group of empaths. Not all of it was good, but it was all useful for me. It reminded me to keep looking below the surface. It told me to put the judgment aside and look at the person underneath, the person the alcohol sought to mask. The mask is flimsy at best and the person underneath is crying for understanding and love, or perhaps just someone to say: “You’re OK just the way you are, warts and all. You’re loved.”

These little reminders make me grateful for the community I’m building, the people I reach out to, and those who reach out to me. You won’t see me marching in the streets any time soon. I’m too busy trying to learn my lessons and spread compassion in the world I know I can touch. In my own small way, this is how I believe I can make a difference. Imagine what would happen if we all spread some compassion. It might not solve all the problems of the world, nor stop all the anger, hatred, and evil, but where we start our journey is entirely up to us, and should be celebrated.

When we belittle the efforts of others, we minimize our own. Whatever we choose to do, it all makes a difference. Believe that, if nothing else.

With Love and Gratitude

OK, I’ll step off my soapbox now and give you today’s gratitudes:

  1.  I am grateful for the people who show me both sides of the impact my words make.
  2.  I am grateful for my little forum where I hope to provide dialogue and the exchange of ideas including those which oppose my own. Only then will we all learn a few things we might have missed out on.
  3.  I am grateful for the new people who come into my life, the messages they bring, the help they offer, and the suggestions they make to help spread my own message further.
  4.  I am grateful for acts of compassion and love as they serve as examples of how much more I could be doing.
  5.  I am grateful for abundance; love, peace, compassion, lessons, people, examples, warmth, pleasure, pain, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: