Does empathy lead to depression?
Here comes another serious post!
Empathy is a feeling very close to my heart. I'd like to talk about it & the impact it had on my life for quite some time.
If you’re triggered by topics like mental illness, please don’t read this post. My intention is to talk about my own experiences and thoughts, and how I overcame a dark time in my life. It's definitely not my intention to make anyone upset.
I realised I'm an empath once I learned what the word meant. And for anyone out there who isn't familiar with the term, below is a short definition:
I'm not sure if empathy is synonymous with sensitivity but I did notice that people who are led by feelings are easily affected by other people's sadness and pain and often feel for them.
It’s not wrong to be an empath, but it does become a problem when you lose control over this tendency and let it have a negative impact on your life.
Suddenly, it becomes impossible to be grateful for all that’s good in your own life. You're always thinking of others (not only people – but also animals!) and how they have it worse than you and it’s physically impossible to help each and every one of them.
You think about all the evil in the world. And then come the poor and the sick. What’s more, you always put others first in your personal life and slowly begin to lose yourself over time. Eventually, this eats you alive and easily triggers depression as you begin to question the very point of living if it’s all about suffering.
What I described above isn’t the experience of every empath, it’s my own. As extreme as it sounds, this was my life for quite some time.
I still fight the feeling sometimes. But it has gotten much better and doesn’t bother me as much in my everyday life.
How I overcame it
Depression & the ''unhealthy'' side of empathy I mean! I still feel bad for people. I still want to help those in need.
Eventually, I was able to convince myself that everyone has their own journey. Their own destiny full of lessons, obstacles and happy & sad moments. We must follow this journey and learn from it. Take what life gives us and cherish it.
Each journey is different. Some people have it easier and some have it worse.
What’s great is that we can all help each other. We can do charity work if we find the time, support a cause we feel strongly about or simply - and most importantly, be kind to each other. Little gestures of kindness CAN change the world.
It took me a few minutes to press ‘publish’ on this entry. Hopefully, there will be someone who reads this post & doesn't think I’m absolutely crazy and will be able to relate to my experience in some way - maybe this entry will help them...
I’m so happy that mental health is becoming less of a taboo topic. That people began to talk about their feelings openly, without the fear of being judged. I hope more of that is coming our way & that once and for all, people realize that just because a person looks physically healthy, does not mean they're fine.
A lot can be happening inside our heads, a lot of unsaid words can be hiding behind a smile.
Be kind. Always.