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Bertha Venation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:28 AM
Original message
a report that might make people think less of me, but
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 09:33 AM by Bertha Venation
I gotta talk about it.

I have a serious problem: I am extremely over-sensitive to the suffering of animals. My brain is so twisted that I can practically feel their terror and/or their pain when they're threatened or injured. I can lose control and get hysterical.

It has been very well under control with meds, but my psychiatrist is trying to get me off some of the meds (which have been badly managed for years). One of them has been responsible for keeping this hypersensitivity and hysteria under control, and it works very well. She has reduced by half, with an eye toward discontinuing it before too much longer.

As a result, I'm on the edge. When I see or hear of an injured or killed animal, I am on the very edge, a razor's edge, of falling too deeply into empathy and potentially losing it. But I am managing to keep it together. The disturbed-ness hovers, but I can just barely bat it away.

Will there ever come a time when I don't even get to the edge? When I can be sad without being overwhelmed, without feeling I must do something to alleviate a creature's suffering when it's clearly out of my control?

Thanks for listening.

Edit: Not looking for sympathy or fishing for compliments or any other such response. I just had to talk about it.
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Shine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. Perhaps the suffering of animals triggers something in you about your own life
especially with regards to being affected by outside circumstance you can't control.

:shrug:





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Bertha Venation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. oh, most definitely
that's what the therapy's for :)
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
3. I'm real sensitive to the suffering of animals too. Even if it's reading about it in a book,

it really bothers me.


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Shell Beau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #3
13. I always feel bad because I can see a person die in a movie and
be somewhat sad about it but let it be an animal and I will be boo-hooing and I am not a crier at all. Especially when it comes to movies.

I used to be able to watch National Geographic but now I can't see animals being killed by other animals. I am rooting for the cheetah to eat because I don't want it to starve to death, but I am also rooting for the gazelle to get away. So now I just don't watch.
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Arugula Latte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. I'm like that, too. I never cry over humans in movies, only animals.
I also can't take the nature shows. There is always some terrified animal being chased and eaten, which is nature's way, but I just can't watch. Also, they always talk about how humans have been poaching or encroaching on the habitat or polluting it or whatever ... Ugh! So overwhelmingly depressing for me.
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Shell Beau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. Yeah, and now they have that show Whale Wars.
I am so fascinated by whales that part of me wants to watch. But I will get so sad seeing them get killed.
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Arugula Latte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. I have to turn the channel when the ad for that series comes on.
:(

Things about elephants and monkeys and pigs also really upset me, in particular, as well as cats and dogs, of course.
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Jamastiene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:55 PM
Response to Reply #13
24. I am the same way.
I cry like a baby over the animals. In Homeward Bound, at the end there, when they think Shadow is dead, because the other two made it and there is a little time and no Shadow...but he comes walking over the horizon just as the little boy turns around. That was a happy moment, but I cried like a baby anyhow there too.

People die in movies all the time. It hardly ever affects me. The only one that I can remember affecting me was Nancy dying ( I already knew she was dead, but still, her life story was gut wrenching and she was a tortured soul) in Sid & Nancy. I read the book about her too, though. So, that added way more insight about her life than the movie did and could be the reason I cried at the end even though I already knew she was dead. That may not be the best example because it was a true story about real people, except I still don't think Sid killed her. That's another thread though, and another story.

Just recently, when they killed Jim off of Ghost Whisperer. That upset me for some reason. It could be my little crush on Jennifer Love-Hewitt there though.

Other than that, I don't really get too upset over the humans in movies and TV shows. The animals though always rip my guts out and leave me crying like a baby.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
4. I think there will be a time when it's not as bad as it is now.
It might never go away completely, but I think it can definitely get less intense and overpowering... and can be something that's very uncomfortable, but manageable.

Good luck. :hug:
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Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
5. :loveya:
That is all. :loveya:
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:34 AM
Response to Original message
6. Would the opposite be true?
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 10:35 AM by Taverner
Like, say you were to cuddle with a cat for hours until he/she purrs vibrate the whole of the OC? Would that relax you?

If so I say get thee to a cattery!!! (or just one cat...)
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Haole Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
7. I don't think less of you
Not at all. :hug:
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suninvited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
8. I actually know how you feel
seeing a homeless, hungry animal makes me ill. I mean, to the point of throwing up. I tend to travel with pet food.

If I see an animal out in the cold and hungry, it is likely I can think of nothing else all day.

I have wondered if it is part of an OCD that I suspect I may marginally have, but I have never sought medical attention for it.
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Dangerously Amused Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
9. I don't know if this will help, but...


I sometimes "overempathize" with respect to animals who are suffering as well. I try a few different things to manage it.

For one, sometimes - and especially during times when I am already overwhelmed with other things - I just don't look at things that I know are going to upset me and are beyond my control. I just don't look. For example, I don't look at newspaper articles or online items or listen to tv news stories or whatever, especially when they are things that have already happened and/or are already being addressed by another person or agency. Not looking doesn't mean I don't care... it means I will care too much, and will waste energy getting worked up over something I can't control when I need to save that energy for the circumstances in which I can make a difference. However, I balance that behavior by looking at those things when I feel I can handle them, because those issues are important to me and I don't want to lose touch with the reality of what is happening to animals in the world, and I don't ever want that wellspring of empathy to lose its vigor.

Also, I try to remind myself that animals experience things differently, particularly death. By this I mean, animals have no fear of death. Of course animals (including humans) have instincts which drive them to avoid death, but I believe that a fear of death is largely unnatural and imposed on humans by religion (you are a sinner, you will spend all eternity in Hell, etc.) and animals are not constrained by that. So I think the dying process is on some level a more natural and less terrifying experience for them.

Furthermore, I do believe that animals move through this world on a higher plane than we do. I do believe that they communicate with us without words and even without regard to time and space. There have been too many concrete examples of this, consistently over time, for me to believe any differently (for example, the stories of pets whose owners have moved across the country, and the pet shows up on their doorstep months or even years later). So when an animal is suffering and there is "nothing" I can do, I can still hold that animal close in my mind and meditate, sending it positive energy for whatever it most needs - comfort, release of pain or fear or stress/loneliness, etc. So I do that.

Finally, I do what I can to make life as good as I can for as many as I reasonably can. You do, too. We do the best we can for them while keeping our own heads above water. That's all we can do, honey, that's all we can do.


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onlyadream Donating Member (821 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. I'm with you on that one..
for example, right before the tsunami, the animals were heading for the hills.
I kind of think that their souls take off before they are put thru the pain (of being eaten or something). Still, I can't watch an animal being attacked or anything like that (have to be quick on the remote at times).
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Bertha Venation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. "That's all we can do"
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 11:49 AM by Bertha Venation
I think I'll take that as my mantra. I do do all I can do. I haven't had to trap anyone lately, but whatever cat - and we now have a possum! - who wants to take refuge where I put out food and have warmed elec. kennel beds is welcome. That's all I can do.

Edit: thank you. :hug:
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Dangerously Amused Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #14
21. Most welcome, dearest friend.


:hug:

Someone once told me that it is no weakness to shield oneself from unbearable pain. That is so true. Here especially, is of the utmost importance to nurture your physical and spiritual self along with the animals you help, and to no less a degree, because the quality of their lives depends upon the quality of yours.

In other words, you can help more people or animals when you are relatively happy, healthy and thinking clearly, than if you were otherwise. So make it your business to keep yourself relatively happy, healthy and thinking clearly.

In even other (and better) words, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

Keep Mama happy.

:)


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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:06 AM
Response to Original message
11. There's a fine line between sensitive and too sensitive.
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 11:07 AM by undeterred
I was in the dog park the other day with Ollie and one of his playmates was a 3 legged border collie about 2 years old. I asked the owner about her injury and she told me that she had been hit by a car on an Indian reservation and the leg was nearly torn off. She was a stray and nobody took responsibility for her so the leg was just hanging off her for 9 months, infected. Finally somebody took her in for amputation. The dog was fine otherwise, happy and friendly. So this woman adopted her.

I felt like I was going to burst into tears hearing this story. The dog was fine, right there in front of me, but I felt a lot of emotions thinking about this. Horror that nobody did anything for 9 months, but real appreciation for this woman for rescuing her.
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Shell Beau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #11
18. Well you think of the suffering that poor dog went through until
he got saved. And animals go through it every day. So sad.
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Shell Beau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:11 AM
Response to Original message
12. I can make myself sick about it too.
Obviously not to the point of needing meds, but it is hard to see or hear about.

I think it says a lot about your heart. You are a compassionate and caring person. I do hope you are able to get a hold of this and be able to deal with it on your own. :hug:
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Arugula Latte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:34 AM
Response to Original message
15. I have that, too, to some extent.
Sometimes I wake up at night full of anxiety, kind of gasp, and then my mind starts reeling off horrible images I have seen of factory farms, slaughterhouses, abused animals, etc., etc., etc. It can take me a looong time to get back to sleep. This tendency seems to get more powerful as I get older.

I don't know why I don't have the same feeling with humans. Yes, I am saddened and distressed when I see pictures of suffering humans, but it just doesn't have the same affect on me. A lot of people consider that a character flaw, but, honestly, I can't lie and say I have the same reaction towards humans.

I'm sorry I don't have answers, but I can definitely empathize with you.

:hug:
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
20. Why are you reducing the med? Side effects?
I'd love to take fewer meds, or less of those I do take, but I really can't. It's sort of a delicate balance of good and bad.

I'm not functional without meds thus there can be no reason to discontinue them. That's all there is to it. Even if I knew they were going to take ten years off my lifespan I'd still take them because without them I have no life worth living. Without my meds I'm just another insane recluse like some of my relatives were, all alone and living in a box.

I hate the med merry go round, but I've been thinking about climbing aboard again because some of the side effects of the meds I'm taking really are a nuisance, but not intolerable, yet I'm afraid of experimenting.

Good luck on your med change...

:hug:
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Bertha Venation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. hello, my friend
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 03:43 PM by Bertha Venation
My meds were barely managed for a good many years, between my internist and a psychiatrist I didn't see regularly. My "new" psych (been seeing her for several months) believes I am taking way too many meds, and feels that I can manage on just two. So we're tapering off of this one, and once that's done we'll start the same with another. (I've already quit taking two others. WAY too many meds.)

I trust her. She is the first psychiatrist I have fully trusted. Maybe it's because she's the first woman psych I've seen, or maybe because she's younger than me. :wtf:

thank you, Hunter :hug:
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fizzgig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
22. i think you've mentioned you see a therapist
am i right to guess that you've also discussed it with them? maybe they could help you with some techniques to help manage those feelings.

i can empathize with what you're feeling. once those thoughts and feelings really get rolling, it is so hard to stop it.

good luck :hug:
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Bertha Venation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. We're working on it.
It's just that angst tends to come out every now and then, and I have to give it voice.

:hug:
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Jamastiene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:57 PM
Response to Original message
25. That's no reason to think less of anyone.
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 03:57 PM by Jamastiene
It means you have a strong sense of empathy and that is not a bad thing, in my book. :hug:
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lightningandsnow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:04 PM
Response to Original message
27. It means you're a very empathetic and caring person.
Good luck.

:hug:
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