April 17th, 2014


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The other day, I was having a problem on the bus. This guy I see sometimes, who is mentally handicapped in some way, was on the bus. I always hate it when he's on the bus. I mean, people like him tend to be nice people, but they tend also to have no sense of boundaries and constantly talk at you or ask questions. He fits that pattern, and so I have a hard time tolerating him. This is nothing against the mentally handicapped, I just have a limited amount of patience for people in general when I'm out in public, and I have no patience at all for anyone other than friends trying to engage me in conversation when I'm out and about. I am an empath, and I have never figured out how to shield properly without using more energy than is worth the effort. So in these situations I go to one or more of my old stand-bys:
* Drown my hearing in music, which - with headphones - generally gives a good "I am not interested in conversation" signal.
* Get lost in thought
* If things get really bad, to the point where music just aggravates my head, I close/cover my eyes and cover my ears to block out what I can
* Sometimes quiet throat-singing (just loud enough for me to hear it) works.
* Processing strangers as autonomous objects, like talking appliances, helps. But this guy was not a stranger to me, as much as I wanted him to be, and anyway the things he was saying would have forced my brain to shift gears into processing him as a human being anyway.
* I would say reading, too, but I can't read on the bus without getting nauseous.

Well, in response to the mentally handicapped man trying to talk with me, I was using both music AND being lost in thought. And one of the things I thought about was these things I do in place of a proper shield. And something struck me, that should have occurred to me years ago: I have always been an empath who can't shield, and I didn't understand that as a kid. Which explains why I found school so difficult. It's kind of hard to concentrate on lessons and schoolwork when you're constantly awash in the emotions of others. And if the only thing that could block that noise out enough to stay sane was on that list above, well... not being allowed to listen to music at school, and not being allowed to block out my vision and hearing during lessons, and not knowing back then about the singing bit, I was left only the one option: getting lost in thought and/or fantasy.

Which makes me really wish I could go back in time and get my past self a tutor, be schooled by a tutor in a one-on-one situation. It would have gotten rid of having to tolerate all that empathic noise AND gotten rid of the bullying. (Or at least reduced it greatly.)

It also explains why I didn't like being around other people except for one-on-one or two-on-one situations. If I hang out with any more than 2 friends at a time, my ability to cope is strained. Which explains why I always feel exhausted after the pagan meetups, as there's always at least two other people there. Not counting the other people in the room, of course. But I choose to go to those meetups because the benefits outweigh the exhaustion.

Not so in the case of the mentally handicapped guy on the bus. My tolerance gets strained on buses to begin with, and if someone is being annoying, or there are a lot of people on the bus, I start going into the kind of survival mode that ends up with me being exhausted by the time I get off the bus.

Still, I've gotten so used to taking the bus that yesterday when Sorcha drove me home from the meetup, it felt like time travel. It felt almost like I'd blinked at the meetup and found myself at home, skipping by the usual hour or so on the bus or waiting for buses.

This was cross-posted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1229361.html
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