This morning as I
was getting dressed, I heard yet another fight going on in the apartment next to
mine. A young couple with small children lives there, and not a week goes by
when I don't at least once hear a shouting match between them. Yes, the hazards
of apartment living, but also the hazards of just being human in community.
People disagree, emotions run high. We have reactions to things we see or hear.
And all of those things are perfectly valid conditions of being human. When
you're empathic though, it can get extra hard.
What does that mean
anyway? What a weird thing to specialize in!
I struggled a long
time trying to find a way to describe myself as a therapist and my practice.
Many counselors find one or two methods they love to use, and specialize in
that. Or they discover that they are really excellent with particular
diagnoses, and develop them into a specialty. Me? I choose to specialize in a
type of person rather than either of those. There's no one else like you in the
world, and so how could anyone assume to know exactly what will work for you
and exactly what your experiences have been?
distracted. We've been busy. We've ignored the sounds of battle outside our
town. It's Their problem, we may have said. It doesn't affect Us, we say. It's
not a big deal, just a little skirmish. Rabble rousers causing problems we
don't need to engage with or worry about. But wait, maybe it's gotten louder.
Maybe the battle has come closer to our town walls. Maybe we've caught sounds
of rounds going over our heads. Maybe that battle actually Is something we
should pay attention to.
ND=neurodivergent, which includes Autism Spectrum, learning disabilities, some
pervasive mental health diagnoses; NT=neurotypical, meaning those people
without any of those differences in wiring)
Four years into a
relationship, we came to the conclusion that my partner is Neurodivergent. We
struggled a whole lot getting to a point where we could speak similar languages
and meet in a mutually meaningful way. Much tension, conflict, and we nearly broke
up a few times. The breakthrough point was when I learned to set aside my
accustomed framework and truly feel and respond with empathy and