Empaths Are Not Mentally Ill

by Alison Nappi,
Contributing Author, Conscious Reminder

The accusation of mental illness can be psychological warfare that dis-includes the perceptive, the disobedient, the disruptive and the revolutionaries, seemingly condemning them to a life of smallness, pain and pity. But this is not the way.

There is no denying that people experience mental and emotional suffering. Anguish, even. There is no denying that in some cases, the symptoms of this agony are so severe, it makes it impossible for the person experiencing them to function in our modern day societies and cultures.

But the truth, the expectation that we should all “function” in our society as it is, is limiting. Those who do are sometimes not wholly themselves because the nature of the system is to splice you away from your own nature. Your own unique and epic, intelligent design. Because nature only obeys one law. And humans like to issue countless decrees to control what cannot be controlled. To obtain power and obedience.

Human beings emerge from a historical context, like all other sentient life. We are not products produced on a conveyor belt, identical in every way and if we aren’t, thrown into a trash bin for irregularity. And that is what many first-world societies demand. That is what they do.

Human beings are meant to be wildly varied. We come from a cultural context. A religious context. An ancestral context. We are not all wired identically. What we perceive and the meaning we ascribe to it is personal and it is a valid and a natural variation based on countless factors. Irregularity does not have to mean sickness.

Forcing people to think, act and live against their own natures is robbery. I believe it is the engine driving this epidemic of illness. When we do not get a chance to explore our own creative natures, we are oppressed.

When we are forced to be obedient to a schedule unnatural and unhealthy for our bodies and brains to function optimally, so we can pay for our right to exist, we are being used.

When we are bombarded by images of suffering and messages of fear, we are being abused. When we respond to these conditions with the horror they warrant, and we are accused of having a disease (experiencing deep un-ease) we are being gaslighted. Systematically.

The accusation of mental illness is a way to discredit the experiences of those whose suffering would inevitably show that we live in a system that engineers sickness, suffering and death… by design.

Some people who seem “mentally ill” are those responding to this system as anyone who was able to perceive its true nature and effects would: with terror, sorrow and shock.

Friends, please hear me: deep feeling is not sickness. Empathy is not illness. Seeing the nature of people, places and things is not psychosis. Mental, emotional and spiritual fatigue and the numbness that accompanies it does not have to mean you have a disease called depression.

It means that beyond all odds, you have held onto your humanity. And it cost you something substantial in a world that wants us to labor quietly, pay our bills and die.

You made a sacrifice. You refused to go numb. You refused to pretend that the emperor was wearing fine robes. You refused to act like everything is OK when clearly it is not. And I think that is noble.

Your suffering is not to be taken lightly, and not to be wasted. Get away from the people and places and things that do not feed your true nature.

If someone doesn’t get you, if they cannot perceive as you do, I invite you not to place their perception above your own. It is a dangerous assumption to make, when we believe others know better for us than we do.

You are the one who lives with your condition, and the meaning you make of it, what you use it for, is your creative birthright. Don’t let anyone else tell you who you are. Including me.

After all, I have been accused of mental illness. But really, I am an extremely empathetic, deep-feeling and disobedient, highly creative visionary.

What will you do, with your accusation? Perhaps instead of making it a life-sentence, you can make art of your life instead.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. I absolutely agree with you on yr article about empathy is not a mental illness and are so called societt,goverment,etc! You are intelligent far from mentally ill. I’m at a point in my life that in going to awake or die….im so scared 24/7! Severely depressed,lost,alone and very sad

  2. Thank you so much Alison. You drive large nails into the heart of the hypocrisy that drives so many to self destruction. I honor your gift of clarity and your loving message of empowerment to highly sensitive empaths like me!

  3. Thank you for sharing. It is important to get your message out and let other empaths and sensitive people that there is support out there and people who understand.

    • Dear Empath, Thank you so much for supporting and affirming this work. It is my sincere hope that this shift in perception can empower and help people living under the weight of a disabling label to see we are so much more than that!

  4. My mental illness was caused by others and their abuse of me. I neither asked for the abuse or deserved it – my mind did what it had to to survive. I am now dealing with PTSD, an anxiety disorder and depression. I am still and Empath and carry no shame for my mental illness. I am a very intelligent and sensitive woman who is offended by your demeaning perception of mental illness.

  5. I am the sole empath in my family and one of the only in a vast circle of friends and acquaintances in my lifetime, which is isolating and disturbing at times. Further, someone extremely close to me has spent decades subtly or not so subtly insulting nearly everything about me. Well-meaning as this person can be, it’s difficult for me to think of myself as perfect as I am. However, introspection, discipline, and literally fighting my own negative thoughts has allowed me to see everything so much more clearly and to not only survive, but thrive. My general life philosophy is yin yang, which greatly helps in the faces of both adversity and bliss.

  6. What a great article. As an empath I have been taken advantage of by the medical system to the degree ofPSTD and adrenal fatigue. Every day is a challenge as the stress response kicks in. How do I get out of such a situation knowing that being an empath is who we are.? It goes past being an empath and trying to survive.

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