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.


  1. Interesting you wrote this on my birthday so I have to give you some positive vibes! We all have to set our boundaries and keep the "self" healthy, especially for those right in our lives that we can see and touch. It does no good if we take on more than we are meant to handle in the areas of emotion. Sounds like we both have big hearts! I do my best to understand these unfortunate circumstances surrounding the world and do my part to be available and in the present. No worries with your faith and beliefs to help get you through it all ;)

  2. Nakeva, you are a blessing! Silly little game like Empire Avenue isn't about Eaves and share price, it's about building friendships. I've been REALLY limiting my interaction with negative people, and I'm so glad to have someone new in my life like you who is positive and makes me smile and brings me Joy! Happy Birthday, my friend. I feel bad because it seems like you were the one who gave ME a gift. ;-]

  3. No worries! Empire Ave is also more than a game for me and I've met more great people since I returned. Its teaching me a few new ways to look at being social so its a real plus to connect offline and on the "game."

    Always happy to give someone a chance to use the smile muscles! Glad to know ya and come across your online face:)

  4. Yes, well you've stumbled upon this site which is me laid bare and vulnerable. But at least I'm smiling. :)