I have been blessed with the community I have found through blogging.
I have been emailing a new found blogger friend, and social worker from Canada; Robin. Just from reading each other's words, we have formed a connection among our personalities. It is amazing how you can get to know a person through their writing. I admire her gentle soul, and her offered support towards me, without even really knowing me as well.
Perks of sharing your story! Finding your voice, forming connections, and reaching others!
Like me, Robin has an interest in learning about her true self, how she fits in this world, and accepting herself for who she is.
She resonates with the empath title; her sensitive self, drawn to energy, intuition.
Empath or not, we all can benefit from this.
I reached out for her to help me, or offer some words that would spark something in me to help myself.
"I have trouble in therapy deciding in my head if the problem is how I'm feeling, or if it's the fact that I am not accepting myself." I wrote last week.
I struggled to explain my thoughts to the best of my ability, so I was given the task to send to a piece of my writing about the topic for my next appointment. Still, I found it complicated to find a "why." I just knew that I wasn't happy with some aspect of me that needed "fixing."
I messaged Robin, and was surprised by her quick response. We set up a time to chat.
We talked about labels, and how all it is social construction.
When it comes to mental illness, I find this incredibly frustrating. We are believing that we "are" these labels or we "have" these labels. How do we truly know what we need help with when all that these problems are, are labels? They are constructed by society.
R; We forget that we have choice. If being labelled as having social anxiety works for you, then that's great! If you feel like you are just shy. Then that's great too. If you resonate with the empath label, that's wonderful. If you don't, again, great.
What labels resonate with me?
I thought about it.
H; "Social anxiety; INFJ (Such a fitting description of me)
depression resonates with me too, however the label itself doesn't include all the factors that contribute to it for me. and I believe I resonate with the empath label, I'm still learning about it though!"
"Maybe it's a difficult question to answer because I've been using those labels as a safety net in order to explain how I feel easier."
R; Hey, using those things as a safety net is what they are meant for. Labels are meant to
a) build community and connection and
b) get people the right resources and supports.
It is all a social construction. If it helps to use the labels, then use them. If not, you don't have to.
I related it to an issue I have dealt with before:
Letting labels or feelings define me as a whole.
As much as I need to avoid allowing these labels to define me, I find that I am also searching for a label to define me. I'm looking for a "reason" or a "category" or some place that just makes sense for me to be in.
Maybe then I would be happier? I wouldn't feel so alone? I wouldn't be too hard on myself? This would make more sense?
Robin helped me realize something, that was hard for me to accept, but does help to know.
R; It's hard when you don't fit it to the 'norm' (be it race, religion, gender, personality, ability). An invisible hierarchy exists and we are taught young that being 'human' means being a certain way. And when we don't fit into that, we can get really down on ourselves.
Empaths and empath ability isn't very well known... so it makes it even harder to exist in the world. To those who aren't as sensitive, energy is invisible. It doesn't exist to them. So even when we try to explain ourselves to the world, the majority of the world can't hear us. Over time I've developed ways of being in the world that are supportive of who I am as a sensitive person. I always stay close to exits at malls, I don't go out in crowds, I listen to music on the bus, I date really stable, grounded guys. But I've had to learn all of that on my own, because the world doesn't get it yet. But it will! When people like you and I continue to blog, and reach out and share our experience.
Being an empath is a gift. "When you are born into a world you don't fit into, it means you are here to create a new one" so maybe part of why you are feeling incredibly confused about yourself has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with a society that isn't made for you to accept yourself.
I needed time to process everything she said, but when I did, I could feel my perspective growing wider and I was reaching a new insight.
Some people might go cross-eyed by attempting to think this way. Why spend so much time overthinking and overanalyzing?
I know that overanalyzing is not good for your health. It's exhausting.
However, this is how I live. Overthinking is a weakness of my personality.
I am not sure how to stop it all together, but I am sure I can better control it.
I can treat it like a filter. I need to have awareness.
I need to work on removing the negative overthinking from my life. The worries, the "what ifs."
Right now, I feel like I need this far more than it could hurt me. I'm analyzing myself, because I know I don't fully accept/have faith in myself, but I'll get there.
A Boston social work student, using writing for healing. Sharing the peaks and valleys of an empath's mental health journey.