What being an empath feels like

Image Credit: Miriama Sharman

Image Credit: Miriama Sharman

Sadness

Sadness is the first emotion I remember feeling did not belong to me

it feels like what I imagine waterboarding must feel like

buckets and buckets of it being thrown over my head

this is where panic attacks sometimes happen

I never realise that I'm holding my breath

sometimes Sadness decides to linger awhile

it settles like lead in my joints and when I'm busy I don't notice it

and then in a quiet moment my knees give way

and I wonder how I walked for so long

Loss

Loss is a sister to Sadness, and at first glance one can often be mistaken for the other

that is where the similarities end

If Sadness is the overwhelm, Loss is the under

Loss is the desert that lives in the bottom of your lungs

enormous, arid, ancient

you can see immediately that there is nothing there for you

and yet you go back

again and again

just to check

Loss has existed as long as humans have lived then loved then died

Anger

I feel other people's anger the hardest, still.

It feels like a red hot poker is being slowly and deliberately pushed into my chest, puncturing a lung and then being pulled right back out as if testing a cake.

Too much anger too quickly leaves my lungs riddled with holes

I gasp for air.

When it is gone I shake like a leaf.

Happiness

Happiness is like walking into a room that the sunshine has been filling up all day.

Warm in a way that makes your soul want to creep up from the depths and be present on the surface of your skin for once.

Shining in a way that makes you want to shine back