Not all of us are empaths, but not matter how sensitive we are to the feelings of others, we need to learn how to manage our responses to those feelings.
For the last month I have had shingles, which is most interesting in its pain. The shingles themselves are very unpleasant but the nerve pain is horrific. And it seems that stress or distress, whether my own or that of others that I hold onto too long, trigger that nerve pain.
Of course it is nice to have a wave of joy wash over me when someone around me is bursting with happiness. It is much more difficult to manage the crashing sadness of grief or loss, the anger or rage of others, whether justified or not. And then to have the burning nerve pain and the stabbing that go with it, whisky interestingly that part of my body feels like it is being crushed by a steamroller.
I have to let go of those emotions and accept the pain. Instead of focusing on the pain and/or the emotion I am experiencing, I sit with the pain and thank it for letting me know my body is slowly healing. I know others have more pain in many more ways. This does not help manage the pain. But it does put it into a context of the wider world.
There is so much joy in the world but way too much suffering, both physical, mental and emotional. All that we can do is truly care about others. And as autistics, this care is not always seen or understood by non-autistics, many of whom assume we don’t pick up on the emotions of others.
Not only are many of us highly sensitive to the emotions of others but also driven by a strong sense of justice. This sense of justice is always a good thing, but can also cause emotional pain as we wrangle with that age old question of why and how humans can be so wonderful but also so awful. How can one human inflict so much pain on another?
How can one person see another suffer intensely and not help? These are the things I wonder, whilst the nerve pain flicks it’s flames across my torso. As I try to walk alongside a loved one who is suffering, I can only hope they know how much they are loved. And I can only hope my care and the care of others is enough to get people through what they are going through.
When life is truly unbearable for someone, love and care may or may not register and that leads to a whole rabbit hole of thinking, which also has an emotional ramifications and currently nerve pain of an annoying sharp stabby kind that jab repeatedly.
The thing that I am trying to do with my emotional net is to let the emotions of myself and others go before the net gets filled up. So I can feel an emotion and repeat my mantra ‘nothing is forever’. Then hopefully I can let the emotions move on instead of getting stuck within them.
It can be hard to love when you know love always ends. But it is easier to be angry when you know anger always ends too. That end may be in a second or if we are able to experience the good love of a good person that end may last as long as life, but when the life ends the love is gone.
Please treasure those you love, be kind and caring to all and be gentle with those who are experiencing pain of any kind whether it is visible or not.