New Life Lessons and Naptime Needed

In 2012 I started blogging. Not on this blog, but on the adoption one I shared with my daughter (July 2012) and then, soon after, I started the family history blog, The Family Kalamazoo. It seemed as if I began this blog, Writer Site, many months afterward, but in fact, I began TFK very hesitantly in September 2012 and first posted on WS on October 24, 2012!  So all three blogs began in a four month period in 2012.

I had no thoughts to how long this would go on. At some point, we stopped posting on the adoption blog because my daughter and I had done what we wanted to do there. We still keep the domain and occasionally reblog something of interest, but the project sort of feels complete to both of us. As for family history, that will never be completed, especially since people keep giving me old photos and info!

Writer Site is my fun place for writing, reading, travel, and whatever strikes my fancy. I always have lots of ideas for blog posts, but not enough time to write them all. Right now I don’t feel that way. For the first time. So I ask myself why. I think the main reason is that my daughter has been living with us all summer and is still here. There are good reasons for that, and it won’t last forever. But it’s EXHAUSTING to me to have another adult living here.

The funny thing is that we get along great, and I love spending time with her. But her young person life exhausts me. I hadn’t realized how stuck in the mud the gardener and I had gotten. We get tired so easily. We get overtired if we see too many people or if the procession of events moves too swiftly. And it does with a younger person living here.

When did I get so old? And when did everything start to tire me out?

WAHWAHWAH. You get the drift.

I don’t feel like writing with her here. Even when I’ve pushed myself to do so, I don’t get the joy out of it. I feel as if I’m in a holding pattern while she is here.

She’ll be headed for the city to spend time with her boyfriend soon, so maybe I can take some naps. Or write. Or let the world stop spinning for a few days.

Sun on the mountain


Let me point you up above, where I wrote that it’s exhausting having another adult living here. In 2013, I posted about my discovery that I am a Highly Sensitive Person. Now five years later, I can tell you that using today’s terminology, I am a Serious. Freaken. Empath. An Empath picks up on the emotions of others or, in my case and that of others with it really bad, you actually FEEL the emotions of another person. It’s kind of creepy. I think it’s important to remember that having sympathy–or even empathy–for somebody else doesn’t mean that you have to experience their emotions. So when I say it’s kind of creepy I mean it’s really creepy.

Nature is one of the best ways for people like me to replenish themselves. Probably why I wish I was still in Alaska.

Is an HSP always an Empath? Is an Empath always an HSP? Or are they two different things? I am trying to come to grips with this new revelation about myself, so if you have any insights, please share away!

#amwriting: I will continue to plod away on the gun essay, just don’t hold your breath haha.



Filed under #AmWriting, #amwriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Blogging, Writing, Writing Talk, Writing Tips and Habits

69 responses to “New Life Lessons and Naptime Needed

  1. Oh, Luanne, I feel your pain … ha ha … didn’t realize the pun until just now 😉 I am HSP and Empath too, although that’s my own judgement. Can these conditions be diagnosed? Your lament reminds me of my recent trip to the western states. The first week was a whirlwind of activity and very social to the point where, once we got to Reno, I just wanted to hibernate. We met up with one friend of a friend, but that was all I could give of myself socially. The Empath part of my personality (?) really came home to me during this trip, when I reflected on a couple of my friendships in FL. Two friends are going through bad times, and their pain overwhelms me. I keep telling myself it’s not about me; yet, I feel their distress as if it were my own. Yes, it is creepy. They don’t want me to feel their pain; they just want to share it and by sharing, hopefully alleviate it somewhat for them. Yet I do FEEL what they feel and (perhaps ironically) that makes me ineffectual as a friend because they just need to talk without worrying about my feelings but my feelings do get in the way. Have you read Lauren Sapala’s blog? She writes about being HSP and Empath among other things. I told my husband the other day that I wish I would feel other people’s emotions less, I wish I was less sensitive. Being an HSP makes me feel paranoid at times … like it’s always about me. Aargh!
    I think you should rest while your daughter is visiting her boyfriend 😉

    • Wow, Marie! I didn’t know. But it all makes so much sense. I know that hibernating feeling WELL. And about your taking on your friends’ feelings right now–it is so awful. Unless someone experiences it they can’t know. I think it feels like running a seance where you are taken over by a ghost, only the ghost is alive and maybe sitting in front of you or on the phone! I’m not even sure where my own feelings go when I am experiencing someone else’s! I looked up Lauren (thank you!) and followed. Through her I found another one called Empathic Perspectives (now defunct, but I’ll read it). It was confirming for me that my daughter recognized how bad of an empath I am. I don’t know about an actual diagnosis or what a psychologist would make of it all other than one I saw when I was in my 20s who thought I needed protection from the outside world. I thought that was super interesting and very unexpected, but didn’t know what to do with the info.
      Marie, does ESP have any connection with any of this to your knowledge? I have a lot of kind of typical stuff that people call ESP happen, but I have also had several absolute cases of beyond doubt ESP occur in my life. And it kind of feels similar to the Empath stuff because something from outside enters me and takes over momentarily.
      Yes to the REST!!! I can’t wait! Thank you, Marie!

      • I’ve had experiences where I would even start crying, most often if I perceived a stranger being emotionally distressed. I think with strangers, my own imagination takes over and adds to the pain. With friends, it’s somewhat in check because they (sometimes) provide boundaries. I don’t know about ESP. I haven’t had those experiences, at least not ones that I couldn’t attribute to anxiety (foreboding) or familiarity (deja vu). I’m not sure I could handle ESP. I’m already too highly sensitive 😉 Yes, rest. Minimize stimulus and you’ll feel a lot better 😀

        • Yes yes yes to the crying for a stranger! Thankfully, my full-on ESP moments have been confined to about a handful over my longish life, but they have been disorienting, to say the least. I can’t wait for napping.

  2. I think that what is essential is to know the difference between empathy and sympathy – to enable one to separate oneself from the other person, and thus not get lost in their feelings, yet extend understanding

  3. Val

    I want to comment on this post and on your earlier one, Luanne, so I’ll come back here shortly. 🙂

  4. Congratulations for paying attention to what is going on with your creative, physical, and emotional self! (selves?) All too often, we simply get overwhelmed and suffer without understanding or recourse. Even if it feels discouraging, being tuned in means you can make more helpful self-care choices, like “Should I nap, or write, or watch that PBS documentary on the Queen’s garden?” Rest and recharge, my dear. I for one am glad you’re getting old, because it means you’re still around. 😉

    • Yes, I agree because I already feel better just knowing that I figured out the empath stuff, as well as why I am feeling so out of it. It helps to know. There is so much I didn’t know for so long. LOL, thanks, Jennifer. I hope all is well with you and yours . . . .

  5. I understand your fatigue. I hope you are experiencing more energy soon.

  6. Val

    I understand what it’s like to be an empath (and an ‘HSP’, though as I said in my other comment to your earlier post, I use the word hypersensitive, instead) as I was born one and have – or had – been one most of my life. I say ‘most’ because in the past few years quite a lot of it has gone. Weird, huh? It’s because my health issues have made me so tired and so unattuned to quite a lot of things both inside and outside myself, that a lot of my normally over-perceptive senses are dulled. But I had a hell of time with it when I was younger, particularly in my teens, twenties and thirties. I had this thing I called a ‘chameleon streak’ in which I was taking on everyone’s persona, emotions, sensitivies, etc. That wasn’t so bad when I was with just one person at a time, but in a room of many people I’d switch from one to another and it was absolute hell! I ended up not knowing who or what I was.

    When my mum died (she passed 10 yrs before my dad did) it took me nearly three years to discover who I was separate from who she was, the empathy I’d had for her was so intense. (She was possessive which didn’t help.)

    I think I told you I used to write poetry? I don’t any more, not sure why – haven’t for years – but I worked through a lot of this needed separation through my writing. Seeing something on paper creates that needed separation.

    Might talk to you some more about all this in email some time. Go and have your rest – you sound like you need it badly!

    • Val, thank you so much for your understanding and your story. I don’t know how you feel about auras, but it sounds like you could have a crystal aura from reading about your “chameleon streak.” But I do understand what you mean because my language and other things can change to mirror someone else’s without my intending to do so. I wonder if most people do that or not.
      It’s interesting to me that you say you prefer the word hypersensitive. I actually hate that word myself because I was accused of it so often by my mother. It sounds like a judgmental criticism to me.
      Isn’t it wonderful how helpful it can be to write?!
      Again, thank you for your story here. How good it is to feel that we’re not the only ones!

  7. Sad to say, I can’t relate to being an Empath. But I m glad you realize when you need to take a break and restore your balance in life. I DO relate to using nature as a restorative force.

  8. You know I’ve always thought we’re related somehow, Luanne. As a psych major, these topics are fascinating to me. I’d definitely classify myself as an Empath with the exception of falling prey to the vampires. I stay as far away as possible from those people as they will certainly suck your energy. With my Remicade infusions, I have periods of severe fatigue and have found Vitamin B 12 along with exercise improves my energy. Take care!

  9. I can understand being exhausted with having anyone extra living in the house–even a daughter you love and get along with. It was strange when our younger daughter moved back home for a few months after she graduated from college, but she went to visit her boyfriend nearly every weekend, so it all worked out. Plus, she was teaching with my husband at the same school that year. They carpooled, and it was a special time for them both.
    I think I am a sensitive person–but not highly sensitive. I can’t stand being in places like arcades. The one time I went into a Walmart, I couldn’t wait to get out. I think I’m empathetic, but not an empath. 🙂

    • Oh, yes, having the weekend free 😉 would definitely help. Yikes. My daughter doesn’t really have any friends in the area, and she is quite a social person. But she starts a new job this week, and I hope that will help.
      Walmart is sure to set me off! I can’t imagine anyone who would enjoy it. You are lucky to be empathetic without being an empath. That is best of all worlds!

  10. Definitely not an empath, but I very much agree with you about needing large chunks of time in nature to replenish. Wishing that you’ll be able to do so soon, without having to travel to Alaska!

  11. I can’t even relate to having a guest in my home for so long. I never had children so I don’t have that “mother” gene. Occasionally one of my adult stepkids comes for a visit. After 3 days, I’m toast and I’m not an empath (unless you count animals!) Rest up when you can. We’ll be around when you are back in writing form.

    • The thing is, with it being my kid I don’t think of her as a guest, but as a part of the household, and that is actually a lot better than a guest. But STILL. It’s another adult to interact with.
      Three days is a good time for most guests. I could never handle my father here past three days as he was a HUGE ENERGY VAMPIRE. The biggest. But my mother I can handle here for a few weeks just fine, but then I have to get back to my “isolation”!

  12. Be patient with yourself. Thinking of you. We ought to catch up soon. xoxo and hugs.

  13. Luanne. You need to cocoon more frequently and let your energy restore itself.

  14. Empathy and sympathy both require mentally mirroring another person or animal, real or literary. So at least some experiencing of their imagined emotions is intrinsic to both empathy and sympathy.

    As to the energy of young people, it can be energizing if you are around them but are not a participant in their activities. I take courses at a University, and being around all that youthful energy is one of the major benefits.

    • Re the mirroring. Um, yes. Sort of. I think a lot of people feel empathy because they conjure up their own feelings of what-it-would-be-like, but to actually feel someone else’s feelings is another (and creepy) feeling altogether.
      I hear you on the youthful energy. I think it’s harder when it’s your kid who is living with you and has a need to tell me a lot of what goes on in her life. I got more exhausted just typing that sentence! Hah! Good for you on the courses!

  15. I can relate. Finding out there was a real name for me and how I lived was a game changer. Elaine Aron’s HSP book changed my life. It gave me some understanding of why I felt and acted like I did/do. I have been an empath since I was a child and could actually feel the pain/grief/feelings/emotions of others. I think it is especially pronounced in people who have had to guess at other’s states, or be one step ahead of the game, so to speak, to survive childhood. Once I understood, I made some big changes and am a much happier, healthier, boundaried (is that even a word?!?) person. Still HSP and empath, but now I get the reason behind it all. Thanks for sharing your story, Luanne! 💚

    • Yes! Did you read my post about that book? I had no idea until I read it! Thought I was a weirdo. Well, ahem. YES YES YES. I think if someone isn’t an empath they don’t understand that you feel the other person’s emotions–not our OWN emotions FOR that person’s situation or sympathy and compassion for that person either. Totally different when someone’s emotions come marching into your own body and your own are obliterated or hiding or lost or whatever. I do wonder how much childhood experiences have to do with this stuff . . . .

      • I just went back and read it, Luanne. It’s like I could’ve written it. I know that my childhood experiences kept my senses on hyper alert. As an adult, being an HSP makes me very aware of everything. After I learned to use it to my advantage, everything got better. Yes, even my writing:)

  16. I am HSP and an empath as well. My experience is that the two often go together, but not always.
    There are many people who cannot feel the energy as the noise of young people in the house, like the hum of fluorescent lights, but we do. That’s just how it is.

    At six in the house, we were split in half for introverts and extroverts and the pattern at four is the same. Regardless, unto ourselves, my husband and I have mastered feeling alone when we’re not alone. Can one do that with kids in the house? Not so much here.

    • Oh, the humming!!!!!! I keep referencing humming in the body in my nonfiction writing–trying to come up with different ways to describe it!
      I hear you on the split in your house. The gardener and I are both introverts, and our two kids are extraverts hah. Always been a little difficult.

  17. I’m glad you mentioned getting outside. The more time I spend at the computer and the less out writing on paper near my sheep the worse my writer’s block gets. I’m going outside tomorrow!!

    • Outside is so important. This heat has had me trapped, but yesterday it rained and the temp came down a bit. I think we almost at the point for spending more time outdoors WOOT!

  18. I commented on the link you gave for the blog on Highly Sensitive Persons

  19. I hope you get the space you need to do what you need to do soon Luanne!

  20. I am willing to bet that it’s your HSP/empath status that makes you such an excellent writer, capable of such heartfelt prose and poetry. And, by the same token, it is what exhausts you mentally and physically! It takes lots of energy to tune in so much, to everyone and everything!

    I will tell you this, and I’m sure you know it already but want to emphasize it anyway: you need to make sure your own ‘cup’ is kept ‘topped up’ on a regular basis. If you get tired, REST. It’s not, “oh, if I have time I’ll lie down”… no, it’s a priority! If you don’t do this you’ll have nothing left in you, to give for yourself or for others. Don’t let that cup get empty. <3 <3 <3

  21. Empath here also. And oh, how I love your writing.

  22. Luanne, thanks so much for checking in with me – very “empath” of you from long distance…I totally get what you’re saying about having someone new in the environment. We had a friend live with us for 3 weeks this summer and, although I was happy for her to stay, I did find the experience exhausting. She is now safely in her own apartment, thank goodness, and we’re all still friends which is miraculous.
    This past week Pretty and I had several social commitments in the evening and by Friday, I had to take to my bed with the vapors. Wiped out. I felt like I had been on a drinking binge and was trying to recover, but alas, no alcohol was involved. Energy is quite elusive as we age I’ve discovered.
    I hope all goes well with your daughter and all of your family.

  23. I consider myself highly sensitive, after quite a bit of research on the subject. I don’t think I’m an empath, though I have tons of empathy and in conversations I’ll often pick up on perceptions of subtext or reading between the lines. Interesting post!

  24. I ask myself that question too! When did I get so old? But in your case, I’d say you’ve been prolific. Congrats!

  25. I really connect with the feeling of being “on hold” while your daughter is there, and the “two things at once” idea: it is both wonderful and exhausting. I am so glad you had Alaska. 🙂

  26. Luanne, I always enjoy your updates! Wow, all summer with an additional family member in the house, kudos! 🙂 Bet you’re enjoying fall with (hopefully) a bit more moderate temperatures.

    I came over here to visit and ask a question: what software do you use to put your caption on photos in the blog? I’m looking at text-on-pic software to experiment on Instagram posts, and I’m overwhelmed. – thought I’d ask!

    Have a great day!

    • Hi Theresa! My family member is still here indefinitely :/ haha! The watermarks? I use I used to use another one, but this one is so easy. You can also use Picmonkey to put text on pix.

      • Ooh, I’ll check them out! I admire your being there for your family member when she needs it. 🙂 Our son (21, Jr. in College) just moved out to his own student apt. a few months ago, but still comes back and stays with us on weekends. And on breaks. We just had a 5-week break between summer and fall terms, and he was here the whole time. It wasn’t too bad, but takes an adjustment after you have the house on your own. And, he finally got a job, has been applying and interviewing for student jobs for almost a year. yay! and thanks for the suggestions for text-on-photo apps. I picked up a book called “You/Poet” over the weekend and they’re big on Instagram poetry, so thought I’d try it out. Hah! we’ll see! 🙂 Fun to talk again. Have a great weekend!

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