Well, at least for this tell.
This story began the day I was born, but it has taken me years to figure that out. For the purpose of this tale, it happened when I was 31.
I was considered one of the people you should know. I had a contact list others would kill for. I had just married the man of my dreams and moved out to his family’s farm. I was in great shape and had just found a new passion for gardening. My life was great.
So, I thought.
That great job was stressful, and the stress began affecting my sleep. I started getting only a couple of hours of sleep a night. When I did sleep, I dreamt. My dreams were wild with amazing story lines. I’d wake up and feel like I had physically participated in every moment of my dreams. Exhausted, I went to work. Throughout my day, I would get flashes from my dreams, but they were happening in front of me. Day after day, this continued, so much that I had moments when I wasn’t sure I was awake. I began to worry I was going insane.
If that wasn’t enough, I also started hearing things in my sleep. I would hear my name being called, like someone spoke it right into my ear. I would jump straight out of bed every time.
My job required me to do a significant amount of networking. I sat on a few boards. I was a mentor. I networked like a fiend. Coffee dates, lunch dates, happy hours, my calendar was always full. Still exhausted, my venues and dates got more and more challenging. It was then I realized I was literally feeling what others were feeling. I felt their emotions with them, physically. Their joy, their sadness, their stress, all of their emotions were mirrored inside of me. I would get flashes and know things about people I shouldn’t. I was learning things I didn’t want to know about my closest friends. I was losing myself steadily. I was carrying everyone else inside me. I can remember walking into a large group of over 100 women. Suddenly, I got the overwhelming feeling that everyone wanted something from me. I was supposed to be one of the hosts of the event, but I couldn’t take it. I immediately excused myself and headed home. I finally confessed to my husband-of-only-six-months what was going on and that I needed help.
There are good men, there are great men, and then there are men we should create a mold from. My husband is worthy of a few gold replications. Of course, the entire way home I thought of different ways to tell him, but none of those eloquent versions happened. It was verbal vomit. I confessed everything that had been happening for over a month. Finally stopping to catch my breath, I waited for the moment he would realize he had married a loon. After looking at me for what felt like forever, he turned off the TV and said, “What do we need to do about it?” He didn’t run.
I didn’t know what to do about it. See a psychiatrist? How was I going to keep this a secret? I would be destroyed if others found out. I had no idea where to begin.
So I started cautiously with my medical doctor. I told her I hadn’t slept in a couple of months and it was affecting everything in my life. Good old conventional medicine, she never asked a question, just gave me a prescription for Ambien.
The first night I took it – heaven. My pillow was soaked, I drooled so much. The next night I doubled up the pillow case and popped another one. I woke up the next morning a new woman. My husband and I thought we were done with Crazy Lora. The third night – midnight – wide awake. Not only wide awake, but paranoid that someone was in the house with us.
Ambien, never worked again. I needed help, and I needed someone to help me find it.
The next day I called a close friend who was a family practice and career counselor. I thought of her as more “enlightened” and I knew she could keep a secret. Thinking I was coming over to share networking ideas (because all I told her was “Can I come over and pick your brain?”) she blinked only once as I shared what was happening as gracefully as I did with my husband. She then began to ask questions about my childhood. After a series of questions ranging from “did you play a lot with animals or imaginary friends?” to “did you ever get a premonition when you were younger?” she asked, “Do you know what an Empath is?”
No. No clue. She jumped out of her seat and went to her back office, saying more to herself than to me, “This explains a lot about you. It explains why people are drawn to you. Why you are able to know how they are feeling.” I was so excited that there was a cure.
She came back with a printed document from a website she had just pulled up and suggested I read it. Thrilled I was on the path to getting my life back, I drove right home and began to read.
A few paragraphs in, I felt like someone had not only been writing about my lifelong experiences, but someone had just slammed the door to my normal life. There was no going back.
There is definitely more to this story, and I’ll share it as it feels right. I should say that the feeling of “there was no going back” isn’t accurate. We make choices every day. I could have chosen to go back, to close it down, to forget it all, to be “normal.” Many people choose to ignore and forget this part of themselves every day. Looking back, I made many hard decisions that were the right choices for a happier life for myself. I could have chosen to go back… I just didn’t.