The idea of being an empath might seem cool at the moment, but a true empath knows that having this trait is not as fun as most people imagine. Being an empath myself, I know this better than anyone. And now, psychologists are worried that empaths are at risk of experiencing ‘compassion fatigue.’

Because we can feel so deeply, we have experiences that others cannot relate to. Just by getting into contact with someone with negative energy such as sadness, loneliness, or anything else, it rubs off on us immediately and we feel the same way.

So, it can be confusing for people when we mirror such emotions.

Without a doubt, being empathetic is a great gift. We can love truly and have a lot of compassion for all kinds of beings. We feel so strongly for others, and we can’t help it. And that is a great thing.

But as noble as empathy is, it is not without its downsides.

A price many of us pay is ‘compassion fatigue.’ Surprisingly, I have only recently learned what the term means. But I am well aware of how it has had an impact on my life in the past.

Lots of people suffer from compassion fatigue, including caregivers, highly sensitive people, and all kinds of people who cannot help themselves when a friend is in need.

But empaths get the worst of it. They can feel helpless and suffer trauma by coming into contact with people who are undergoing such experiences. When this happens, compassion fatigue is said to have happened.

What follows are behaviors that might seem anti-social such as withdrawal. But we do this to keep our sanity. At other times, this is just a natural reaction to getting overwhelmed with all the ill feelings we have to absorb. We take the time to try to fix ourselves.

But the symptoms don’t end there. Other effects of compassion fatigue include the following.

– Insomnia

– Nightmares

– Substance abuse

– Lack of pleasure

– Bottled emotions

– Physical, emotional, and mental fatigue

Sometimes, chronic stress can occur.

And it gets worse. Therapists are reporting higher suicide rates among people who are highly sensitive. They go on to explain that this has a lot to do with the fact that they are exposed to the struggles of those around them. Some empaths, who withdraw when the compassion they feel becomes too much, get bullied for their unusual behavior.

The problem is that we cannot separate ourselves from the sufferings around us. We are therefore misunderstood. And let’s face it, we don’t even understand ourselves.

There’s also not much literature on what we empaths feel. We might be excellent intuitive healers, but that tends to draw needy people to us.

Bo Forbes, a clinical psychologist, insists that we should learn to take care of ourselves. This includes setting clear boundaries in order to know when to say no to sacrificing ourselves for other people.

But all is not lost. Just because you are an empath, it does not mean you are doomed to a life of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. First of all, you should take appropriate breaks. And while at it, don’t isolate yourself. You can get help from family and friends if necessary.

A professional might also help, especially when the expert specializes in people like yourself.

On top of that, you can have hobbies and passions.

So, don’t pressure yourself. You have no obligation to be superhuman. There is certainly some beauty to helping others, but there are also scenarios where we cannot do much to help, at least not without compromising ourselves. So, it’s okay not to try to help when it takes more from us that we can afford to give.