Category Archives: Depression

The Empath: Extreme Sensitivity

ID-100126946A few years ago I wrote a guest post about Bipolar Disorder and High Sensitivity for the website Mental Health Talk.

It’s been interesting to read it back to myself. I realise I’ve changed my views slightly since then- mainly that I no longer see bipolar disorder as an illness:

“From here onwards in my blog I am going to use the term “Bipolar Disorder” only to describe behaviours that have been grouped accordingly by psychiatrists. So the term will henceforth appear in italics. I no longer believe I have Bipolar Disorder, but am a completely whole individual, 100% healthy, but who just requires a different lifestyle to maintain balance.”

From my blog post Abraham Hicks Part 1: Bipolar Disorder

I believe I was diagnosed as bipolar due to the fact that I am extremely sensitive and it is this which has caused major life challenges for me, coupled with reaction to chronic trauma throughout my infancy through to adulthood.

I definitely relate to Elaine Aron’s perception of the Highly Sensitive Person: somebody who is more sensitive to stimulation from environmental cues, as well as more easily overwhelmed. For more in depth discussion on this, please see my article Bipolar Disorder and High Sensitivity.

But I’ve also never felt that this fully describes the deeper extreme sensitivity that I feel. The only term I’ve ever found to explain this is Empath.


PeacockEmpaths: Energy Sensitivity.

My understanding of the term Empath is a person who is extremely sensitive to the emotions and energy of other people and the environment.

Being a Highly Sensitive Person or HSP, has never explained how I can become overwhelmed by somebody else’s sadness or joy. I don’t just imagine it, I feel it. It’s as if I can merge myself with them and actually feel the emotion they are going through.

Without an awareness of this, therefore no skills or training in managing this energy sensitivity, it is no wonder that I got diagnosed as having bipolar disorder as my emotions were all over the place!! I could take on suicidal depressions, raging anger, irritability- any emotion and it probably didn’t originate from me!

It is not just being around an angry person that may cause me to feel their anger- which I often experience as a very fearful defence. Anger or any emotions can hang around in the environment. For example- if work colleagues in a meeting have just had a heated discussion about an issue that has generated frustration and anger- the anger and intense emotions can hang about as a cloud of energy in the room. So when I enter the room I immediately feel the intensity and chaos of emotion- it’s like the molecules in the air change. That’s how it feels to me.

Learning to defend myself against these energies and protect myself is a massive ongoing project. A big part of this is clearing my energy so that I release any energy that does not belong to me. It’s kind of like an energetic shower! Since working on these skills, I have noticed a definite improvement in my mood changes and ability to remain balanced and peaceful.

In my opinion there are many people out there who experience energies in this way who have no idea that they are being affected massively by other people’s emotions. They turn up in doctor’s offices with depression and anxiety that could be cleared and managed on an energetic level. It is empowering to realise you can take back control of your emotional experiences, rather than experiencing your emotions as out of control and running away with you.

Empathy as a GiftID-10023748

Once on the road to managing and balancing energetic sensitivity, it is possible to use this skill in a way that helps other people. Being able to feel how somebody else is feeling, but also being able to clear it away when necessary, can help you relate to somebody else’s experience and help you develop as an effective counsellor.

But it can be taken further to a psychic level.

As well as experiencing the energy of other people, you may be able to read their aura. It is possible to get a sense of what they like, what is going on in their life, what they spend their time thinking about etc. You may receive visual images or words in your mind, or feel a sense of what they are like as a person.

This is not only possible with living people, but we also pick up on energy of beings in spirit. We may receive images/thoughts/feelings from spirits who may be trying to communicate with us, or again, they may leave an environment in a cloud of feeling, like anger or fear. Think of visiting an old haunted house- any feelings of the place being creepy and unnerving are completely valid, as the spirit is likely to be fearful or angry.

As well as more negative energies, we can also communicate with higher energies- those in spirit who are peaceful and loving, as well as guides, and angel energies. This is such a beautiful experience and so worth developing and spending time on. I’ll definitely write more this in future as it is an important part of my life now. There are many benefits to connecting with loved ones in spirit, as well as guides- you receive so much love and support, as well as guidance and wisdom. To know we are not alone and are always supported and championed is so comforting and uplifting!

We learn to control who we interact with through intention. I always have the intention to work with the higher energies only. This can lead us to become really great healers.

But again, if you have been picking up on the energies of spirits as well as the living- no wonder your emotions are rocked around tumultuously!

ButterflyIs an Empath born or made?

I don’t know for sure!

My understanding is that we can be born highly sensitive. Due to that sensitivity we may be more likely to experience events and daily living (that other people cope with easily) as traumatic, or experience extreme trauma. Trauma would then increase our sensitivity as we are always ‘switched on’, scanning the environment for potential trouble so that we are able to control what we can in order to avoid any threat- for example, conflict. This is called hypervigilance. We are so tuned in to other people’s wellbeing, emotions, and our environment that we are basically practicing being even more sensitive without realising. We become so good at it that we enter the realms of being an empath.

So basically I think that Highly Sensitive People are born, and that trauma can create an empath from a Highly Sensitive Person.

This is just a theory that feels right to me.

To me it explains why I have found it so difficult to function in the world. Everybody else seems to get along with life so easily, whilst I have felt tossed about by every little thing in the environment. But knowing that I can have mastery over this energy sensitivity is so empowering. I can take back control and learn to use this as something positive in my life.

Being labelled as bipolar is so disempowering, that suddenly realising that actually you are experiencing energies as an empath can feel very exciting! Due to our sensitivity it could trigger a burst of positive high vibration energy, which is important to manage through your awareness of it, by staying grounded, and working on staying peaceful and centred. More on this in a future post!

It is easy to see being an empath as something quite special, which it is, but it does not mean we are in any way better than anybody else. Some people are good at carpentry, some at sport, we’re good at being empaths!

There is so much more to this topic which I’d like to explore in future!

Related Posts

Bipolar Disorder and High Sensitivity – my guest blog post on Mental Health Talk.

Bipolar: Your Mood May Not Be Your Own – guest post on Mental Health Talk.

Absorbing Others’ Energy – a fascinating and very useful video by Ralph Smart.

You’re So Sensitive

Hypomania and Grounding

Depression and Grounding

Grounding for Emotional Wellbeing – a video featuring a meditation exercise to help you to ground yourself.

 

 

 

 

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Abraham Hicks Part 2: The Emotional Guidance Scale

So today I’m finding it more of a challenge to feel positive.

Today I’m feeling the effects of the hot weather here in the UK. I’m extremely tired (probably through poor quality, broken sleep) and cranky and my energy feels low.

It is on days like this that I find my spiritual and positive intentions more difficult to achieve.

And I think that is very normal- even though I’ve spent portions of today letting my mind run with thoughts of: “why can’t I just get on with things?”, “why am I so lazy?”, “why am I so unmotivated”, “I feel so useless”.

Okay, so I really am just being very normal. I may have been brought up to believe I should always be grateful, and joyful and have a smile on my face, but this is totally unrealistic, and not a match to who I truly am.

It’s ok for me to feel fed up and frustrated with myself. It’s normal!

But I can feel better if I want to.

And that’s where my post from two days ago fits in (see Abraham Hicks on Bipolar Disorder). I strongly recommend reading this first before continuing here.

At the end of the post I asked a few questions that I intended to answer in further posts. Well, here I am considering the question:

How do we reduce all this bouncing around (emotionally) and allow ourselves to be more balanced?

To answer this a familiarity with The Emotional Guidance Scale as offered in Esther and Jerry Hicks book Ask and It Is Given.

emotionalguidancescale

As you can see, the scale lists different emotions and they are ordered as such that the emotions at the top of the scale are those that will feel good to us, and those at the bottom will feel bad.

There is a continuum implied whereby number 9: Pessimism will feel better to us emotionally than number 10. Frustration/Irritation/Impatience. Number 1. Joy, will feel better to us than number 5. Optimism, which in turn will feel better than number 7. Contentment.

Of course, this is a much simplified perspective of our complex range of human emotion, and what feels good or bad to each person is going to vary.

You might argue that some people feel good when raging at other people, or harming them in some way- they get some kind of energy or kick out of it?! But this may only feel good to them in comparison with how they were feeling before- extremely guilty perhaps?

So too, I would add the emotion of shame to the bottom of the list, and peace to the top of the list. We can all tweak it in a way that speaks most accurately to ourselves.

Moving Around the Scale

So yesterday I shared the experience of mania as described by Abraham:

“If you didn’t eat for about a week and someone turned up with a pizza, we’d see mania.”

I love this!! Suddenly we have the most enthusiasm for pizza we’ve ever had in our lives.

Abraham is talking about pizza as us being in alignment to who we truly are, about being in alignment with Source energy. To us this may be being in the creative flow of writing a book or making art, or feeling a sense of peace, joy and being at one with the world, after a period of us somehow blocking this flow- perhaps due to feelings of unworthiness, lack of self-belief etc. So when we get back into this flow- wow!! It feels so good!

I know this feeling! Suddenly I feel I have purpose in my life again when I allow that stream of energy to flow. When I don’t block it with my beliefs of my own limitation. I feel free and alive and everything feels so right and the sense of euphoria can be so intoxicating!

But if we do block it again, maybe with a belief that this wonderful feeling can’t possibly last, and become scared of losing it- we then plummet into the lower energies and completely disconnect from Source energy, from who we truly are.

So, back to the question I posed earlier:

How do we reduce all this bouncing around (emotionally) and allow ourselves to be more balanced?

Well, to me the answer seems to be to eat pizza more regularly, so we don’t get hungry.

I’m serious!

If pizza represents the actions that align us with who we truly are, with Source energy, then we won’t ever be completely disconnected.

Quite often for those of us labelled with bipolar disorder, our powerful flow of energy goes against the grain of society. We may love to do unconventional things with our creativity for example, but have been criticised for this- which encourages us to stop. Stopping equals being out of alignment with who we truly are, with Source energy. It may be very challenging for us to be who we really are!!

The energy of someone with bipolar disorder I see as a wild, powerful stallion running free. To be able to ride the horse or use it purposefully, the stallion needs some kind of taming and training. The energy is directed. (This is just an analogy and I’m all for horses being wild and free, it just makes sense to me this way!)

We can manage our own energy by learning to take ourselves up the emotional guidance scale. We need to “be ourselves”, allow our creativity etc. often, regularly! We need to feed our hunger for being in alignment with source energy, so that we don’t become ravenous with hunger for it!! If we do this then we will be able to stop and rest, rather than stay up for nights on end writing or creating in any other way. We won’t become so “high”, but our positivity will remain more stable and manageable. Our energy won’t increase so intensely that we want to clean our houses all night or be so manically optimistic that we make unwise decisions with our money. Just examples of course. No doubt you’ll have your own particular manic ways!!

Therefore we are much less likely to dip so low into depression. We will come to realise that we are never truly without Source energy expressing itself through us- we are always living as our true self. There is never any loss of connection with it- which is where depression comes from.

This all makes sense to me, but if it doesn’t make sense to you please feel free to comment and I will try and explain as best I can.

I do realise that these concepts are pretty “out there” in terms of modern-day psychiatry and societal understanding. If it resonates with you- great! If it doesn’t, that’s ok- just move onto whatever does! (Just please don’t tell me. )

The Emotional Guidance Scale

So, instead of us bouncing from a 1 to a 22 on the Emotional Guidance Scale, we can use it a bit more gently and learn what feels a bit better (not a million times better).

We can learn what brings us up from a 1 to a 2, or from a 7 to a 9.

These may be simple action steps such as taking a shower, or chatting to a friend. They may be more profound and involve creating or learning in some way.

I’m definitely still learning this, but over the last 18 years of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder (and yes I am on medication and would never recommend coming off any you are taking without consulting your doctor), things have got easier.

I know I feel better when I go for a walk in the morning with my dog.

I know I feel better if I eat toast for breakfast rather than chocolate.

I know I feel better when my hair is freshly washed.

I know I feel better when I’m playing the flute.

I still have days where I’m lower down the scale, but I think I’m better at getting myself back up the scale again at a more gentle pace. So that means no spending loads of money on my credit card on beautiful things I don’t need- that puts me up to a 1, but only lasts for a short time!! Then I feel worse at the accumulation of debt, and have probably forgotten all about said beautiful things which are now crumpled up at the bottom of my wardrobe. Back down to 22 we go!

I think it’s all about us learning how to use our powerful energy in a way which feels good to us all the time. Not amazingly, overwhelmingly, euphorically good, but a more gentle, fulfilled, positive kind of good, which is way more manageable.

We need to keep asking ourselves “what feels better than this?”, even if it’s just a little bit better.

Related Posts

Abraham Hicks on Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder? Abraham Hicks: A Conversation.

Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening

Why Depression? (The Law of Attraction).

Resources

Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks

Abraham Hicks on You Tube

Abraham Hicks- Just to Live Your Life With Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder- Abraham Hicks

Bipolar Depression and Suicidal Feelings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Lies Depression Tells You

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10 Lies Depression Tells You

1. You’re not good enough: at anything.

2. You’ve failed: at everything.

3. You’re a burden on your family/partner: they’d be better off without you.

4. You don’t deserve such a great partner.

5. You don’t deserve all the good things that have been given to you- they’ll be taken away from you.

6. God doesn’t care about you- he’s given up on you.

7. There’s nothing in your future to look forward to.

8. You’ll always fail.

9. You might as well give up.

10. It’s Your Fault You’re Depressed: you’ve done all the CBT, mindfulness, counselling, etc. You should be free from depression by now. It must be you- you’re bad.

They are lies! They are not truth! We can change our thoughts!

Related Posts

Changing the Mind-Programming

Exploring Negative Thoughts

10 Ideas to Distract Depression: Don’t Feed The Monster!

Depression SOS: Bach Flower Remedies

Depression & Grounding

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down in the Dumps: Recognizing Unhelpful Thought Patterns

Related Posts

Conversations with Myself: Exploring Low Mood

Bach Flower Remedies

10 Ideas to Distract Depression: Don’t Feed the Monster!

Hello World!: How spirituality is helping me to manage mental health conditions.

 

Grounding for Emotional Wellbeing

Related Posts

Depression and Grounding

Hypomania and Grounding

External Sites

Why Grounding is Difficult for Highly Sensitive People

 

 

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Related Posts

Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening

Bipolar Disorder: A Spiritual Perspective for 2013

Bipolar Disorder and Highly Sensitive People- My guest post on Mental Health Talk

What is Bipolar Disorder: Abraham Hicks- A Conversation

 

Depression: Return of the Psychiatric Shuffle

190901zab77uqg3I’m totally writing this for the cathartic experience, but I offer no apologies if it’s all a bit morbid and depressing. Guess what? Depression is depressing.

I spend a lot of my time when I’m depressed trying not to feel sorry for myself and trying to be grateful for the good things I have in my life.

All the personal development courses I’ve been on, and the books I’ve read, talk about positive thinking in improving our lives and wellbeing. Challenging times and events in our lives are viewed as times of growth, which I do agree with, even though I’m kicking and screaming through each one!!

But sometimes it doesn’t work.

I think there are times in life when you can’t look at things through rose-tinted spectacles. Sometimes you need to see things for what they really are and to accept the downright shittiness of them.

Like now- I’m back to a depressive episode. I can only walk exceptionally slowly and probably not further than about 100m due to psychomotor retardation. And, do you know what? I’m not gonna suck up my pissed-off feelings behind a forced smile anymore.

Without really feeling those shitty feelings, without really experiencing them deeply, there is no authenticity in the experience. There is no real grounding in the depression.

I do feel sorry for myself. I was taught not to. I was taught to always be grateful. But I really want to feel sorry for myself. I don’t want to compare my experience to anyone else’s anymore. I know there are Syrian refugees going through enormous hardship out there, but trying to suppress my authentic feelings about my depression isn’t going to help them, or me, one little bit.

I think half my issues are wrapped up in the fact that I don’t let myself really feel my feelings. I was taught from a ridiculously young age not to feel, unless it was gratitude or empathy or some kind of joy that others could benefit from.

But right now I feel angry. I feel angry that I have to go through this experience yet again. Why? I’m getting nowhere fast in life. I don’t think I particularly deserve to wake up in the night with violent visions and impulses to self-harm. I don’t think I particularly deserve to feel so damn scared all the time. All the time. Of life in general. I’m so exhausted from going through this whole process.

The last couple of months have been really good. My walking speed has been back to normal. In fact I’ve felt fitter and walked with so much more energy!! To feel well was such a blessing! Now I’m back to the psychiatric-shuffle.

The Psychiatric-Shuffle (my term, not psychiatry’s)

This basically involves walking, but 20 times more slowly than everyone else. Commonly seen in psychiatric inpatients. A symptom of depression referred to as psychomotor retardation– thanks psychiatry for another fabulously empowering term.

It might sound very simple, but actually it feels like your brain and your body are working exceptionally hard to put your left foot forward then your right foot forward. Your legs are protesting every step.

It’s also highly embarrassing. Yes, people do notice. Today a child kept staring at me as she walked past holding her mum’s hand. She kept looking back at me. Bloody hell, do I really look that awful? It’s so embarrassing. And exhausting.

Back to the post……

ID-10091517So many great things have happened in the last couple of months- I’ve enjoyed them so much. Then a couple of weeks ago my good energy switched to bad energy and the surging prickliness and agitation coursed through me in an all too familiar way. When out in the street or on the bus I’d feel intensely annoyed with people I wasn’t even interacting with, my voice in my head became louder. I wanted to shout at people. Then it switched to anxiety about a week later, my heart was pounding, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Then last Thursday the exhaustion kicked in.

Before the ‘bad energy’ I hadn’t really considered that I was a bit hypomanic, but looking back, I had been getting more obsessed with ‘collecting’ things (this has happened a few times in the past) and had spent quite a bit of money I couldn’t really afford. I was feeling much more in touch with my spiritual life. I probably only had about a week where I was sleeping much less and still feeling really great.

Bipolar is exhausting.

Not just the symptoms of exhaustion.

I mean the endless cycle of it all.

I still feel like it’s my fault.

I’m so tired of it.

I’m so bored of it.

What is the point?!!!!

But all the years have given me the experience to get through it, to really know that it gets better. In my early depressions I felt that I was literally going to die, that I would never ever feel joy, love, peace, or anything positive ever again. But even though I’m depressed now, I know from experience that I will get better.