I feel your pain so much that it burdens my soul.
All you endure is reflected within me—perhaps even amplified.
Empath. Is that the word they use? That is what I am.
Who I am.
Others praise me for my volunteer work at the cancer clinic. How compassionate I am with each patient. How I endure their suffering.
Because every pain they exhibit vibrates through me.
They wince, I wince. They cry, I cry. Like a pack of wolves, I’ve often howled into the night with these poor souls.
When they begin to fade away, it feels as if a piece is being torn from my heart. An outsider may see them as unresponsive, but I know every pain they are feeling and every unspoken word they wish they could express.
As life drains slowly from them, I feel everything they lose. Their memories. Their personalities. Even the very image of who they are fades. At the end, they all look like skeletons wrapped in skin.
The younger patients are more excruciating. I feel all they’ve left undone. The dreams that never came true. The envy towards their friends who get to move on with their lives. I’m not even immune to the emotions their visitors exude. I tap into every sorrow and feel the holes in their hearts expand. Some are angry, either at God or at the patient, for putting them through this. Some cope with humor, but they can’t hide the hurt inside them. Regret runs rampant. They should have done more.
But it’s too late. For all of us.
Their losses are unbearable. I’d do anything to take this pain from them, but I can’t.
Occasionally, one of the patients recovers. I take in the refreshing sense of joy at their being able to go home. The relief that, for a short time, they don’t have to worry about dying. The hopeful anticipation of returning to a somewhat normal life overwhelms us both with childish giggles and happy tears.
But the joy never lasts as long as the pain.
Friends who have seen the toll this work takes on me say I can quit at any time.
It’s easier to focus on the pain of people I can at least give a hair of comfort to. If not, I sit at home, watch the news, and feel the pain of every person suffering out there.
Too much pain in the world, and I sense it all. I have to. Because if I don’t, I feel nothing.
Not a thing.
In reality, their suffering is meaningless to me. I don’t connect with them at all. Don’t feel any vibes.
Deep down, I don’t care about what they’re going through. Their suffering doesn’t evoke the slightest emotion. It never has.
Sucks to be them. Better them than me. It is what it is.
This is how I’ve been all my life. When those around me loved, hated, been in pain or even died, it didn’t affect me in the slightest. I never cared.
Sociopath. Is that the word they use? That is what I am.
Who I truly am.
But I force myself to feel the pain of others. When nothing comes to me, I fake it. Crocodile tears.
I’ve studied others. Seen how they perceive feelings. I imitate their actions. Say the words they want to hear. Fake taking it too personally to the point my friends are concerned for me.
If I don’t do this, I fear what I will become.
Because I don’t care about them in the slightest.
I don’t care about anybody.
If I keep pretending, maybe someday, it will be true.