On being an empath.

I have a habit of jumping into a project so forcefully, and being so energetically open while I do so, that I throw myself completely off balance. For me, not only does that manifest mentally and spiritually – I get horribly drained – but physically. My health dive bombs.

Different schools of thought have defined it differently. Fair warning: I am a hippy, woo-woo, indigo child who also lives in the science-based, western medicine world. I see all of these things as essentially the same; just different definitions of the same things happening.

(no, this doesn’t mean I think that being energetically sensitive caused my type 1 diabetes. That was my immune system attacking my pancreas. But I do believe each of these things deserves equal attention.)

Western medicine
My immune system stresses to the point that it starts attacking me. It’s what caused my type 1 diabetes to develop at age 10. It’s what has caused all of my recent food allergies and intolerances. It’s what’s caused the fibromyalgia – with all of its chronic pain and exhaustion – and most likely, has caused Celiac disease. Yes, my endocrinologist asks me every three months if I’ve made a gastroenterologist appointment. I’ll get to it.

Eastern medicine
I swing yang. My system runs too hot, too anxious, too sensitive to outside factors like heat and crowds. It creates an anxious environment that requires me to focus on things that cool and calm my system to help it function. Acupuncture helps me re-route that a bit, while also addressing a lot of my physical pain and the ways my immune health manifests (like frozen shoulders and insomnia).

Native medicine
I am a massive empath. For me, there is no barrier between myself and others. Other people’s energy severely affects me. While others have barriers between themselves and others, I have barely a membrane – other people’s energy, other people’s experiences affect me deeply to the point that my body and mind feels as though they are its own. While others often work on being MORE open, being more able to read others, I’m actually working on the opposite – how to shut that down a bit. It’s not something that I want to lose – but I’m working on understanding that losing it wouldn’t even be possible. I require closing myself off a bit to maintain my own well-being.

Through each of these explanations, when I am too open, too anxious, too stressed, not protecting myself to the extent I require, not resting and shutting down outside influences to the extent I require, I get mentally, spiritually, energetically, and physically ill.

I did it to myself this past summer. While being new to a job I pour myself into, I was also writing a book that I was pouring myself into, while also being in a new city that I couldn’t figure out how to manage the energy of – the energy of New York City is unlike anywhere else I’ve been (save certain cities in Asia) and was overwhelming for me.

While I’m proud that I was able to jump into a job I care about so much, and that I was able to get my book done and out in the world to help whomever needs it, I find myself truly scared to jump into anything else again, for fear that I’m going to make myself that sick.

So it’s made me pause. I have a lot of personal work to do before I can jump back into the book and personal business push. I’ve luckily been able to work from home for my job, but it’s still not been quite enough. I want to reach people, to help people. But I require learning how to protect myself during this process first, or I will keep making myself sick, and this cycle will not end.

The print version of my book will come out in late Spring 2017 (but you can absolutely grab the ebook here). I have my eyes set on that milestone. Between now and then, I will be working on myself to get to the point that I can properly balance my self care with my drive.

And that’s a difficult thing for anyone who likes to sprint toward goals, who knows that they want to reach out and help as many people as they can. I must figure out how to help myself first.

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