When I close my eyes, I am being pulled deep underwater, my leg in the clenches of an alligator’s tightly gripped mouth. I am screaming, wailing, crying for help, clueless of what is going on. I am waiting to be saved by my Mommy and Daddy, waiting to see their faces and feel their warm embrace. A few days later, they find my body.
This vision has been with me since I first read about the two year old little boy who was enjoying his Disney vacation with his mother, father and older sister while watching the evening movie on the beach at the water’s edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian. My family was staying there just two months ago. I walked past that spot several times during that vacation. A vacation that was to us the most “Happiest Place On Earth”.
I have no blame for this incident. The media has already developed enough with the child who fell into the gorilla enclosure at a zoo and now this. I do not for one single minute blame the parents for not watching their child. He was close by dipping his feet at the water’s edge. He was right near them. Although alligators are common in Florida, I do not blame Disney for not foreseeing an alligator coming into a man-made Lagoon. There is no blame here…
There are tears. Lots of tears. Inside my head, for the last few days, I’ve been crying non stop for this little boy. I’ve been imagining what he may have gone through and as a mother, I have been trying to take his pain and place it on me. I have put myself in his parents’ shoes and tried to live the grief they are going through, the blame they probably put on themselves, the guilt. I very well know this is not my job. I cannot carry the pain of everyone on this planet. Most times, my own pain is too much. Yet I do, or at least I try and I don’t know how to stop and I don’t think I want to.
Along with this little boy, the innocent lives of those 49 people that were lost at the nightclub just a few days prior because of an assassin with his own internal struggles, swim inside my head. I try to carry their pain and their families’ pain. I imagine how that scene played out. I cry at the vision.
And it doesn’t end there. I am once again thrown into the loss of my foster son. Thinking of him everyday, I am somehow envisioning him being dragged down with the alligator, but I am that alligator. When I am lucid, I know this is not true. I know I helped him along with my husband and daughter in so many ways in those two months but because of what I was going through, I imagine he saw things that scared him. I only hope he was young enough he never remembers them.
I am an Empath. I am “…affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others… You are always open, so to speak, to process other people’s feelings and energy, which means that you really feel, and in many cases take on the emotions of others (themindunleashed.org)”. I am now facing this on a larger scale, trying to take on the emotions of all those who perished and their families, a large population all at once.
For me, I am at that point that if I let it continue, I may be dragged down into that dark place I have just recently left, another episode of Major Depression. All these emotions, sadness, helplessness, guilt that these families must be feeling… pain, fear, loss that those who died were feeling. If I do not somehow quell them, Depression will take me again and turn those emotions onto me. I fear this. I have not completely healed from episode six. What would happen to me?
But I can’t stop. I can’t stop feeling. I can’t stop going into a room and knowing if the atmosphere is a happy one or one full of tension. I can’t stop seeing my friends go through a hard time and not feeling anything for them. I can’t stop wanting to hold all those who are grieving. I am programmed this way.
I am an Empath, a common trait amongst those who are Mentally Ill. I am highly emotional and tend to absorb feelings of those around me and those I’ve never met. I feel everything. Although at times, this affects me to a threatening point, I am glad I am an Empath. This world needs more people who have empathy. The more empathy in this world, the less these tragic events occur. For now, I will try to focus my energies somewhere else with therapy, medication, walking, reading, cuddling with my daughter, anything that will make me happy and focus my mind somewhere else.
To find out more on being and Empath, please read this article: Top 10 Traits of an Empath
I fit each and every one of them.