Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Empathy Overload

Been planning to write a couple different posts, but life seems to be getting in the way. One of the things about being a "Feeler" with anxiety & depression is that I tend to take on the hurts and pains of the people around me. This is NOT a good or healthy thing.

I've already been trying to work through a tangle of emotions (including the flooding in Australia) that seemed to hit me between Christmas & New Years, and then, this weekend, we have the shooting in Tucson, AZ.

The last time an event impacted me like this was Columbine. I remember that Sara & I were in the neighborhood of Columbine High School just 2 days before the event. Seeing all of this happen hit me in such a personal way. Things like this don't happen in neighborhoods this...wholesome. It shook my world.

Now, we have the mass shooting at the Safeway grocery store where Gabrielle Giffords decided to have a meeting with her community. Gabrielle is 40. I'm 40. I went to UofA in Tuscon for a semester, and the thought went through my head that Gabrielle & I could have easily been in the same Sociology 101 class back in college. Now, I don't know that Rep Giffords attended UofA, but that doesn't really matter because I know there were classmates who still live in Tucson & have been personally impacted by the tragedy and loss in the wake of the shooting. If I stop to think about 9-year-old Christina Taylor Greene, born on 9/11/01, I simply burst into tears.

All of it has hit me so hard that I have trouble even doing basic functions to care for myself. I've gone into Empathy Overload. I've, once again, taken on the pain of the world, and it is simply too much. More to the point, it isn't my right to take the pain of another. That is a role reserved for our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ. It's not my burden to carry, but I find it so difficult to let go.

Because of this, I'm creating some boundaries for myself. I need to take time to avoid environments of anger and hatred. Right now, I'm not lucid enough to go into these communities and simply share the Love & Gospel of Christ, and that breaks my heart because that seems to be the only thing I'm good at doing. But the longer I postpone the Healing I need to experience, the longer it will be before I can be the Ambassador of Christ that I have been called to be.