The Empath and mental illness

topic posted Fri, February 23, 2007 - 11:41 AM by  Marie
Hi, All,

I know that this is somewhat of a touchy topic to a lot of us Empaths, but, here I go. I was diagnosed as having panic disorder, severe clinical depression, and having agoraphobia. I see a therapyst regularly ( the same one for the last 5 years or so), and have recently brought to her attention that I feel that I am an Empath. As a lot of you already know , she ( being in the mental health field) was not one of the believers in anything related to being psychic. I have a case going for SSD benifits, as I can seldom leave home without having a panic attack, and I do not know if TELLING her that I beleive myself to be an Empath will make her think I am even more mentally ill than the experts have previously thought.... you know,,, the old " she's confessed that she thinks she soaks up strong emotions from other people, and thinks that she also soaks up energy when in a high energy environment", therefore, she MAY be a bit schitzophrenic as well as having all the other previously diagnosed mental illnesses. LOLOL., let's have your opinions as well as any experiences any of you might have had in disclosing to the "experts" the fact that you beleive that you have mental and psychic abilities that are beyond the realm of those normally given credulence by the mental health community of experts. I ,as I have already said, applied for SSD benefits about a year ago.... and don't know IF this new beleif of mine might hinder of farther the SSD case. Anyone have any experience with this? Marie
posted by:
  • Re: The Empath and mental illness

    Fri, February 23, 2007 - 12:51 PM
    personally, I keep my nature to myself when it comes to the "pros". Occasionally, I'll find a professional who isn't intimidated by metaphysics, and we'll talk about some things (dream interpretation, vibes I get from people or situations, odd phobias and such). As long as I am able to stand firm in what I know about myself, I'm okay talking about it. If I feel that someone will be weirded out by my beliefs or behaviors, I just keep the conversation pointed toward things that they do understand.

    I have revealed some traits to mental health professionals, and for the most part, they didn't react much. People are intuitive. People sense and feel things in unusual ways. It's not abnormal. Test the waters before you jump in with both feet. Ask what they know or think about psychic abilities, astral projection, whatever... in a generic way. If they don't seem open, you're probably better off skipping the subject or finding a different therapist.

    Also, I see nothing wrong with having a professional to handle "mental health issues" and seeing an alternative healer or advisor to take care of the "different" part of me. I wouldn't see an eye doctor for a root canal, after all.
  • Unsu...

    Re: The Empath and mental illness

    Fri, February 23, 2007 - 1:02 PM
    Excellent topic Marie.

    It has always seemed like an invisible war to me between the "believers" and the "non-believers". And the 'nons' will go to great lengths to destroy and break, not only the belief itself, but the ones who believe....or....from my perspsective....the ones that know.
    Possibly because there is a part of themselves that also believes and in order to destroy it, they must destroy all of us.
    I love the book "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley, always have since I was a young kid, its such a mirror for reality in so many ways. Why did the savage kill himself? What was it that he saw that the others didnt, wouldnt, couldnt see... or possibly glimpsed but didnt know how to handle or understand? Its great how in the end, the Controller reveals that he himself, the ruler of a world of lies, knows the truth.....and knows why the truth cannot exist in the world.

    If anybody would like to read Chapter 16 of Brave New World...heres a link....
  • Re: The Empath and mental illness

    Fri, February 23, 2007 - 1:40 PM
    Oh, Marie, I think I wouldn't reveal too much but at the same time, I think its necessary to find a holistic shrink somewhere.

    There are wholistic psychiatrists out there. There are also holistic, independent psychologists. Believe me, find someone with a pagan background, then you can talk all you want to and they won't think of you as weird. Energy work aside, they will not think of you as weird period. LOL - a shrink with schizophrenia. How funny.

    I have panic disorder too, ocd, add (which I don't believe in), post traumatic stress (which I diagnosed myself with), and anxiety/depression as well as your garden-variety paranoia. Joy. I'm mentally ill myself and have found a holistic psychiatrist to work with. So yeah, she doesn't bat an eyelash at discussions of empathy. You don't 'think you've soaked up emotions in a high energy environment" you 'know' you have. Tha'ts my two cents. I neglected to mention that I am medicated for everything, taking trileptal, abilify and lexapro. Its working great.
  • Unsu...

    Re: The Empath and mental illness

    Fri, February 23, 2007 - 5:52 PM
    Yeah, I definately keep it all to myself. I know what I am going through and that is all that matters. My friends know what I deal with on a daily basis but I like to keep things to myself!!

  • Re: The Empath and mental illness

    Fri, February 23, 2007 - 6:58 PM
    Sorry to hear that you're having to go through all this. But like others said, even though it's our beliefs, and it's who we are...and really like any lifestyle, there's a time and place for it. If you're talking to a shrink, leave the empath stuff out of it. Especially if they're a non believer. Work def. keep in on the D.L.

    I hope things get better for ya....just stay strong in yourself and your beliefs :)
    • Re: The Empath and mental illness

      Fri, February 23, 2007 - 9:40 PM
      I often ask myself, is my "mental illness" a result of my emapthy , or my empathy a result of my mental illness. What really defines mental illness?? There are so many factors to think of, eventually we will find a balance and find a way to feel OK. As far as diagnosis goes, I could drop a massive assortment of conditions I have been diagnosed with , a list of medications I have been on , to find some sort of way to settle down the sometimes overwhelming emotional cycling , self abuse, withdrawal from society and the list goes on.

      Recently I started going to therapy to resolve some long buried issues that stem from being abused as a child, I'll leave out the details but I have tried every method in my adult life to come to terms with this. I've looked for answers in bars, in the beds of strangers, in anger , in sadness, the bottom of a bottle , denial, talking way too openly, pretending it doesn't exist ,drugs, regardless what I've tried it is there . Right now I am at a point where I can honestly say I am an empath, I got my shit together , atleast enough to function ,but need to resolve some issues that affect my life by lurking in the back corners of my mind. The way I am trying is therapy, what it brings, remains to be seen.

      It takes courage to face your fears , but in the end , the only person that can make a difference for you is you. This is a heavy topic for some of us, we all choose to deal with it differently , whatever it takes to make tomorrow bearable .
      • Re: The Empath and mental illness

        Fri, February 23, 2007 - 10:16 PM
        bjarn, it reminds me of a conversation o had yesterday with my PSI research professor... sometimes there is a fine line between being way out of the box, perceptually, and what for many moons has been defined as madness...
        i think we're re-defining a lot of thing, "mental illness" included...
        maybe a touch of mental illness is indeed a requirement for wandering outside of the norm...
      • Unsu...

        Re: The Empath and mental illness

        Sun, February 25, 2007 - 2:59 AM
        Hi Bjarn,

        I don't necessarily believe empaths have a 'mental illness' - and I will tell you why!! I have been on a LONG road to healing and have been meditating along the way. I get visions every now and then and intuitives would offer me validating information to back up my visions, and while there were many times I felt like I was crazy or paranoid, depressed and had panic attacks, I still had this little nugget of truth that I am alright!! That we are all alright and in this knowing we can begin to heal!! This is one piece of information I recieved while meditating. Empaths came here to help heal those emotions lingering out there on the earth plane. That once we heal our own emotions, we will be better equipped at transmuting those feelings that are unfelt!! It is called healing the human condition and it is very painful and difficult at times. Society has conditioned people to not feel, to not want to feel and to not want to deal with other people's emotions as well. We have been conditioned to believe that anger and fear are not feelings we should be experiencing. And I say that in order to get to our roots and feel the love for ourselves....we need to feel every emotion our body presents to the mind!!

        I just did a soul retrieval the other day!! I had many traumatic events and they caused my soul to splinter, I now have all my parts together and finally feel at peace with myself!!

  • Re: The Empath and mental illness

    Fri, February 23, 2007 - 9:51 PM
    i think there is something to be said for discernment...
    sometimes i have revealed myself and in so doing have been rather harshly judged... sad but true...
    and on the flipside there comes a point when we have to be able to speak our Truth, and stand in it, regardless of the consequences...
    ssd is such an antiquated system, very old school and conservative, so applying discernment here, it may not be the arena most conducive to embracing your self diagnosis...
    and there again, you may well be able to find a therapist or even a licensed spiritual counselor or practitioner
    that has a feel for things like being an empath that might be a little more sympathetic...
    its unfortuante that our own government is so conservative in these things, but that has been my experience...
    hell i broke my back in '96 and they still didnt give me ssd. go figure...
    • Re: The Empath and mental illness

      Sat, February 24, 2007 - 1:19 AM
      As Jeff said we are redifining mental illness.Looked at another way, are you normal and the rest of the world mad, look around you, it certainly seems that way. lol
      My feeling only, .... but until they realize that we a spirit first and human second, i feel their clasification for a lot of MENTAL illness is just the box they put all there DONT KNOWS into.
      Dont forget everything has to have its box lol
  • Unsu...

    Re: The Empath and mental illness

    Sat, February 24, 2007 - 6:11 AM
    Sorry to hear that you've got so many troubles. It's very rare to find a shrink that believes, or is gifted (there are some though). I know that I'm now considered crazy by someone who only majored (and got her BS). I've learned to not really tell many, unless I can sense that they are too (she was "interested" but a non-believer/agnostic, yet has the gift), but that can still be treading on thin ice if they don't realize nor believe... It's irony considering that they expect you to tell them everything, but will deem you as schitzo or worse if you mention psychic or empathic abilties. Hopefully that doesn't happen to you, and maybe you can wiggle your way out of it saying that you skipped some meds or something...
    • Re: The Empath and mental illness

      Mon, February 26, 2007 - 10:22 AM
      It wasn't by choice that I told my therapyst... She kept digging at me as to why I have these emotional " melt-downs", when most everything in my life seems to be going very well ( no major problems , or anything like that) , till finally, one day I told her that I beleived that the melt-downs were caused by the fact that I am an Empath, and , as an Empath, I absorbed free-floating emotions inot myself that caused the emotionalo "melt-downs" Well, she suddenly began to question me as to HOW I know I am an empath??? LOLOLOL, She began asking me the usual psychaitric questions usually aimed at sticking me with the diagnosis of Schitzophrenia... " Did I hear a voice, or voices telling me to go places, or to stay away from places.... Did I SEE things that others did not see? LOLOL, I think you may know the sort of questions she asked.... trying to "put me inot yet another box" , simply because she did not believe that there are people in this world who have a 7th sense.... Empathy, among other psychic abilities. Prehaps I should not have been so open, but I was just geting tired of her digging, when I KNEW what was causing a lot of the problems.

  • Sam
    offline 6

    Re: The Empath and mental illness

    Sat, February 24, 2007 - 11:44 AM
    Very few people I know in person know I'm an empath. I've usually kept it to myself and sometimes wonder if I'm not (For me, it seems to come and go, I haven't been able to figure out what triggers it, if anything). I've sometimes wondered if you can empaths can somehow accidently catch a mental illness or something.

    One of the few people who do know is my Grand Uncle. I've often wondered if he's empathic too just because of some of the things he's vaguely mentioned (It would be kind of weird if he were empathic because he's also a skeptic of the paranormal).

    Obviously my grand uncle doesn't complete toss away ideas of the paranormal because he's a catholic priest (Spiritual in his own way). He's also very interested in the study of consciousness, partly because people have been trying to explain it for centuries and haven't really found a lot. (He used to be a member of tribe too but I think he left, or he just doesn't logg on anymore).

    Its not always bad to talk about these things with skeptics but you kind of have to be careful. I usually don't mention it because then people would want me to test it, and I'm not too sure how to do that. It would be hard to prove I'm an empath because I don't know how to intentionally make it work, if thats even possible. I don't know if I'd mention this to a psychologist/therapist, maybe if he/she wasn't a skeptic I'd be a little more comfortable talking about it but still. Then again, it might be hard not to mention it sometimes, just because of the kinds of things that could happen with this sort of ability (Like somehow absorbing your friends feelings and not being able to get rid of them).
    • F8
      offline 4

      Re: The Empath and mental illness

      Sat, February 24, 2007 - 8:42 PM

      there are only two people I have ever openly discussed this with. NOT my shrink, never a therapist. I am bipolar-was much more receptive, empathic, when I wasn't on the meds. They change your brain. But there are still times - waves - of keener reception (if you will) that come and go = not necessarily this- but as an example: during a full moon, I'd become much more aware. I am very empathetic, even on drugs, with certian people in my life.

      There are people I run into that "feel" it, but can't explain the "attraction". Few people I know believe it's anything but newage hocuspocos.
      I do think that my mental illness is linked to my extra sense. I'm sure an excess of it used to make me think I was mad. And there were times when I couldn't handle it (especially when I was young). Then came the diagnosis. very fast thereafter.
      • Re: The Empath and mental illness

        Sat, February 24, 2007 - 9:08 PM
        I'm sorry to hear you are going through this Marie. IMHO, I think in your case, as well as anyone experiencing this, and what I feel would be best, is maybe a little discretion with this person in particular. I told my doc, years go, that I 'felt how people felt.' I was a teen, and I also told him I 'sensed' things. He then tried to put me on drugs for shizophrenic people. I didn't take it, but it felt very alone... that someone I could confide so much in, I had to keep so much back.

        I just don't want anyone to judge you unfairly, or diagnose you with something you do not have. Professional psychiatrists diagnose any type of psychic or empathic as a shizo-typal disorder. Then they will want to prescribe you medicines, or even worse. I would just talk about how your feeling, and try to leave out absorbing other emotions. I know the medical community can sometimes ridicule people who are more sensitive or vibrate at different frequencies.

        I second the advice on finding a homeopathic or peroson who is more spiritually inclined. A place that focuses on angel readings, chakra cleansings, forth. These people understand what the medical community doesn't. They both have their places in society, but for someone with abilities like yourself, I think a more spiritually inclined person could better help you, as well as your current doctor to help you on the road towards healing.

        "sometimes i have revealed myself and in so doing have been rather harshly judged... sad but true...
        and on the flipside there comes a point when we have to be able to speak our Truth, and stand in it, regardless of the consequences..."
        I feel the same Jeff. It's unfortunate we have to keep things like this hidden, but we also want people to treat us as the normal beings we are. I can't even talk to my family about this, so I don't.

        I hope things get better for you (((((Marie)))))
        • Re: The Empath and mental illness

          Sun, February 25, 2007 - 3:48 AM
          I agree with finding someone spiritually inclined to talk to (I know a great lady in Austin if you're near there). If you've already been diagnosed with all those conditions, you're definitely in danger of being diagnosed with something more severe if you tell them about all the empath stuff. The real rub of the mental health system is that its really easy to get diagnosed with something and very, very hard to shake that label.

          Its amazing how many "sensitive" people have symptoms such as ours, ie depression, anxiety, etc. I wonder if firstly it is a natural part of the human experience and its being overly pathologized by the medical/psychological community, and secondly, whether we can train ourselves (ie shielding) to control/prevent the effects.
          • Re: The Empath and mental illness

            Mon, February 26, 2007 - 1:13 AM
            never, never tell about your abilities...all they will do is put you on more meds. and drive you farther in the hole of this crazy life. they will make it diffcult for you to ever be normal again. i dont care what they say about them keeping there mouths shut because of policies, just let something happen with your kids or family and you are going to be in a big deep pile of s**t. courts use this kind of stuff to push and i mean push your life down the toliet...please keep it to yourself....
  • Re: The Empath and mental illness

    Mon, February 26, 2007 - 9:24 AM
    I find that I don't need to tell people I am empathic. If they themselves are empathic or if they are open to those like us then the connection is automatic and unspoken. You just know and they just know.

    For those like your therapist who are resistant [or perhaps even quite jealous of your gift] try this: ask your angel of communication to connect with their angel of communication. Say nothing about it — but just notice the change. Remain open and you will have the confirmation you need.

    Blessings on your path toward healing.
  • Re: The Empath and mental illness

    Mon, February 26, 2007 - 11:43 AM
    I found the page "Empaths Alike" and was amazed to discover that I share a number of traits of an empath....but, I have suspected it for some time. My experiences have been in specific situations, with one person at a time. The most recent episode, being the strongest and most obvious to me, finally left me believing that I posess this nature. So I am trying to 'define' it, looking for the proper termanology, and over-all describe how the process works. Of course, many times in the past, I was totally unaware I was affecting others unti lwell into it, but the after- effects are unmistakable. I am left physically & emotionally drained and often quite depressed. And I understand the depression now.
    It's the release,..letting the bird fly away, a good-bye of sorts
  • Re: The Empath and mental illness

    Fri, March 2, 2007 - 10:44 PM
    I have PTSD, depression, S.A.D, bipolar and OCD and a bit of SSD. All of this is attributed to my empathic nature, also anxiety attacks and panic attacks. Some of the latter is hormonal, stupid period, but the rest is all bullshit. It is all someone else's close to me and I just have to pick through and see who is doing what, make some phone calls, and batta bing its my brother worrying about money and all of a sudden having tightening in the chest which I feel 45 mins away. I am a free being, free to soak up all the badness from the world. SpongeBeth.
  • Re: The Empath and mental illness

    Sun, October 5, 2014 - 1:18 PM
    Self-Care for the Self-Aware: A Guide for Highly Sensitive People, Empaths, Intuitives, and Healers BY DAVE MARKOWITZ

    PLEASE get yourself this book .......and any other empaths here and look at his website, I feel you will find this a huge help. Take Care

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