The Strength of Hyper Empathy

When attempting to finish the reading for the class of April 17th, I kept bursting into tears. I always knew how to separate my emotions as a human from being a student in a classroom. But Butler’s first few chapters of Parable of the Sower quickly seeped into my heart. I was impressed with how relatable the text became to my current personal situation, especially the ‘hyperempathy syndrome’ mentioned a few times in the text. Hyper empathy is a person that will actually mirror the feelings and emotions of another person and feel things to the extreme. “Being the most vulnerable person I know is damned sure not something I want to boast about.” (Butler, 12) By thinking about the significant difference between attachment and investment, I am slowly starting to realize the intensity of hyperempathy.

“I can take a lot of pain without falling apart. I’ve had to learn how to do that. But it was hard, today, to keep peddling and keep up with the others when just about everyone I saw made me feel worse and worse.” (Butler, 11) I’ve always thought of myself as a positive, extroverted person but no so much the past few weeks. By constantly receiving bad news by the people I care about, my ‘hyperempathy syndrome’ came in full swing. I felt weak, a loss of appetite, unable to get out of bed with no motivation to go to class. Something that is stigmatized negatively in today’s current society are mental disorders, such as depression, which I have recently been showing signs of. “A dumb little game of ‘If we don’t talk about bad things, maybe they won’t happen.’ Idiot.” (Butler, 61)

Saturday April 1st, 2017

“Neha…I received by official diagnosis yesterday and I have Hodgkin’s lymphoma.” (iMessage, 6:37pm)

Wednesday April 12th, 2017

“Okay so neha I gotta tell I haven’t been feeling this dating thing all that much with us. I think we’re better off as just friends than more than that. Sorry if that’s not what you were hoping for outta this :/ (iMessage, 1:47pm)

Wednesday April 12th, 2017

“I [my friend] was raped last semester…”

Bad things are constantly happening; it’s the question of if you want to listen or not. “I had felt it die, and yet I had not died. I had felt its pain as through it were a human being. I had its life flare and go out, and I was still alive. Pow.” (Butler, 46) Similarly, I felt the pain and fear both my friends are going through but I physically, am healthy and unharmed since I have not experienced a deadly illness or a sexual assault.


“People have had faith through horrible disasters before.” (Butler, 15) The receiving of the bad news stated above completely destroyed me but I realize I need to find the faith somehow someway, which is something that is becoming a slow progression on my end. By constantly bursting into tears getting through the first 6 chapters of Butler’s Parable of the Sowerit made me realize how fantastic and powerful the novel is; how the text written had such a strong pathos appeal that it actually moved and affected me, which I don’t believe is a bad thing. In the song Need You Now, Lady Antebellum states, “I rather hurt than feel nothing at all.” Crying is always seen as sign of weakness but I am slowly realizing it is a sign of humanness. One is human before they drive to be any other title whether it be ‘coordinator,’ ‘student’ or ‘professor.’

By always constantly relying on my resume to prove to others who I am, I am still trying to figure out who and what I am without my involvements listed on a sheet of paper considering I will also be losing my job next semester. “Nothing is going to save us. If we don’t save ourselves, we’re dead.” (Butler, 59) By putting myself first at times is something I am constantly trying to work on, instead of being a ‘people-pleaser’ 24/7. By discussing the distinction between house and shelter in class, I believe I have found shelter within my friends and personal accomplishments, but not with just myself.


Relating back to The Big Short, romantic relationships can very much be seen as an investment. I personally am investing my time and attention into certain people that will eventually be seen as a ‘debt’ instead of an ‘asset.’ I am constantly investing in people that will not give me a ‘decent interest rate’ in the future. They are losing value over time, when investments should be gaining value. Similar to our discussions in class, my romantic interests are cyclic in the sense of continuously making poor choices.

“Live. Hold out. Survive.” (Butler, 76), is not how I expected the reading for the next class period to end. By emphasizing survival, it reiterates the notion of hope; how what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. By holding out, being able to cope with emotions and then eventually help others who go through similar experiences, makes the discussion a cyclic chain.

 

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