Empathy is a double edge sword: or why I am anti social and fat
I have noticed that me and my sons are sensitive to a myriad of energies and effect them as well. For instance, I can not wear watches, they stop working after a few weeks of wear. I sense tiny amount of electricity in the air, water and machines that others do not perceive and these stimuli really affect my mood.
It seems common for HSP to feel at peace in nature much more than urban settings. I know I sense many of the waves and vibrations that are carried by the air, these are not limited to sound, they include magnetic, heat, light, wind, smell, people, and other fields which I am not able to name. In the city or in the office most of these fields are now constantly influenced by technological pulses. Wireless communications systems use the air waves and I do believe those of us who are very sensitive are affected by them.
Can this be a form of pollution? When we are in the city my kids and I do not like being outside, we become overwhelmed very quickly. But as soon as we are in nature, we calm down. I think that part of the answer is that we can easily sync with natural waves and fields and that in such settings we no longer sense the technological and pollution layers that are so intensely packed in cities.
I was noticing yesterday while out with the kids that the wind was hurting my skin… That is what being overwhelmed means. pain, intense vibratory pain either coming from external environmental stimuli and seeping to the core of the being or visa versa, coming from the core via chemical internal stimuli (food sensitivity, organs overwhelmed by pollution) seeping all the way out to the outer layer of ourselves. And when stressed, this energy travels into the air and can be sensed by others , and enter them as a form of environmental pollutant. In my experience, stress in others affect me to the core of my being as the negative chemical released in the body of a stressed individual translates into a negative or different vibration rhythm in their body that I sense very strongly. And when I sense it, it hurts, the pain is intense and I have to physically move away from the person.
Empathy is a double edge sword. In a peaceful space, it is awesome, but in a stressful environment, which I find most social setting to be (Work, family reunion, when we work too much, etc) sensing stress can drive me to deep levels of depression if I do not stop the input.
When younger I tried anti depressants, they did nothing but completely numb me and did not help as it did not help me deal or understand the source of the depression. It eliminated my ability to sense, rendering me “blind” in every day life.
Recently, I discussed this with my doctor and he has prescribed and social anxiety drug. The drug is a pain-killer not a mood altering substance. The difference is incredible. I can still sense the world around me but my sensitivities are reduced and I do not feel as much pain, which in turn helps me sense and analyze what is overwhelming me instead of not being able to sense it at all.
One thing which really astonished me to this day is how much I and my kids can mirror and mimic how others perceive us. When someone believes I am stupid, I become that stupid individual, When I am surrounded by angry people I enact “angry-ness”, even if I am not angry. When my kids are around someone who thinks they are weird, they immediately become agitated, use incoherent speech. If me or my husband are stressed, the kids immediately show it….. empathy is a double edge sword… it can be wonderful… or hell…
Scientists have demonstrated the existence of Mirror Neuron in humans: According to Wikipedia:
a mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another.  Thus, the neuron “mirrors” the behaviour of the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Such neurons have been directly observed in primate and other species including birds. In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, the primary somatosensory cortex and the inferior parietal cortex.
This neuron is key to empathy and seems to me that HSP exist to help this world move towards what Jeremy Rifkin calls an empathic civilization:
and what Matthew Taylor believes may be 21st century enlightenment
“Sensed” empathy explains why sensitive people may seem weird to others…. as most people are completely unaware of how their energy affect others. So we learn to compensate, but not in positive ways. I always have a laptop in front of me when in a meeting in order to create an energy barrier between me and others. I never used to be able to look at people in the eye as what I sensed was too intimate, to the core of their being and often very negative and draining. Same with my sons, they can’t yet filter, so they have a very difficult time in unknown social settings and busy settings. My eldest is learning strategies to cope, my little one does not have that control yet.
I am learning to listen to my senses in a positive way and to eliminate negative inputs. I am trying to help my kids learn how to do so as well. But one day in the social world and we come home exhausted….. this social exhaustion is hard to explain to others….. and it affects us physically, if we don’t rest a lot, we get sick and fatter….
Some insight into how sensitive we all are may be a way to reduce obesity. According to WebEd, scientist are starting to understand that:
stress may stimulate obesity by unlocking the body’s fat cells (…). Researchers found a molecule the body releases when stressed called NPY (neuropeptide Y). NPY appears to unlock certain receptors in fat cells, causing them to grow in both size and number.
Turns out that fat is a defense mechanism. According to another article from dlife.com:
stress is like a steroid for fat cells. When the body is stressed, one of the substances it releases is a a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol causescauses heart rate and blood pressure to increase, along with a number of other physiological reactions. It causes the release of fatty acids from fat tissues, and raises blood pressure. One other thing this molecule does is to unlock certain receptors in fat cells, allowing them to grow bigger than normal and also to multiply.
Scientists at Georgetown University have found a connection between stress, a high-calorie diet, and extreme weight gain. These scientists tested two groups of mice — a stressed group and a non-stressed group. Each group was fed normal diets and high-fat and high-sugar (“comfort food”) diets. The stressed mice on the high-fat and high-sugar diet gained twice as much fat as unstressed mice on the same diet. The stressed animals used and stored fat differently than the non-stressed ones.
Stress is not the only toxin that makes our body generate fat cells.
it has also been noticed that fat people have less toxin in organs than skinny people. HSP can not handle the same amount of pollution in the bodies than others so, the body uses its natural defense mechanism to filter out as much of it as possible with fat so that it does not reach organs.
According to this article on detoxification:
When you regularly eat toxic foods, your body filters and eliminates what it can and stores the rest of the toxins in fat cells to keep them out of your blood stream. As the body becomes more and more toxic, it becomes less and less able to filter out toxins.
This means more toxins are stored in fat cells and that bigger fat cells are needed to store them.The article “the detox process” explains how the body copes very well.
So… a lot to re-learn on the health front, but boy is it worth it….. I cope by limiting social interactions until I am comfortable with the energy of the people involved…. It helps a lot.