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My senses are relentless. Because they feed my thoughts. My thoughts lead to speculation. And, eventually, I will ask the question, “Are you okay?”

I’ve lived with this heightened awareness and (excessive?) empathy for as long as I can remember. It doesn’t feel like it’s my choice to look for those signs in others of discomfort, pain, inner struggle. 

I just feel it. Notice it. 

I see.

And I struggle with deciding who and when to offer some type of support.

I want to fix it all. 

I can’t.

I have my own issues that need fixing. I meet very few fellow empaths. People that are willing to carry my struggles with me. But even when others try, I struggle to convey the depth of the pain. 

In contrast, I feel the depth of pain in others. Sometimes without them saying a single word. 

I see how heavy the darkness is around them. I detect and notice the subtleties of pleadings to be seen. To be noticed. And I want to acknowledge them all. 

But I’ve learned. 

To avoid the emotional leeches. Even the ones who don’t mean to be. 

It’s hard to put distance there. But it’s a necessity for mental and emotional wellness. 

I could easily get swept into a relentless barrage of waves, drowning in the hurt and cries for attention from others. 

My heart aches to comfort. Soothe. Speak life and truth and words of affirmation. 

But I can only do so much. I can only pour from this vessel so many times before it becomes empty. And if it becomes empty, completely empty, without steps to be filled again, I become exhausted, depleted. And have nothing left to give. Even to myself.

It’s why I need solitude. Music. Church. Laughter. Literature. Art. Physical affection. Sleep. 

Things that replenish. 

It is guilt to turn away when I have seen.

It is conflict within my very being.

Because I can’t unsee what I have become aware of in another human. 

I help those I can. Who will allow me in their space. I reach out to fellow empaths when I believe I find one. 

I choose carefully these days about where to expend my energy. 

The choosing feels selfish. 

But it’s necessary. 

But that necessity has been an exhausting, yet valuable lesson.