Schizophrenia.com

How to have empathy?

I am thinking its a symptom of brain damage.

Reading is great for improving empathy, I think. Both fiction and nonfiction are good; whatever you prefer.

Do you have a favorite character, when you watch TV shows? You almost certainly empathize with them, no?

Have you tried reading fanfiction, and intentionally choosing stories about characters that you don’t particularly care for, to challenge yourself a bit?

With the people around you, offline, try more active listening.

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I dont read since I got sz. I tried but couldn’t focus on books. Before sz I read some novels. Maybe I should try more.

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if and when you return to the outside world, these forum days may serve you well. You’re a smart guy and the world is filled with more people than it is colleges or jobs or achievements. My hope for you is that your challenges only strengthen your resolve and that you may have a compassionate heart for others. I will pray for you today, Aziz :pray:

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You definitely should.

My advice: You could start with shorter books, and work your way back to reading longer ones.

Sometimes, I have issues, and I grab a couple children’s books, just so I can finish reading something.

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Thanks @gene

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If that is the definition for empath then I am empathic. I’ve read things on this forum and felt bad for that person, and I don’t even really know anyone on this forum. Same with real life. I’ve even felt bad for people that are not good people, but simply because of something hard they had to go through.

Oddly enough I’ve never been a super emotional person, I think my greatest negative symptom is “the flat effect” and I have had comments in real life that I am not a feeling/emotional person. At the same time I am not cold and distant either. I guess emotionally neutral may be the best way to describe it. But I sometimes find myself feeling bad for a lot of people for some reason.

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Me, too, @Headspark, I’m also not all that great with emotions. Monitoring emotions objectively is something that works for me. If angered, I vent. If I feel sad, I watch an uplifting movie. If restless, I exercise. Getting rid of unwanted feelings and emotions can be very difficult. We self-medicate, are promiscuous, gamble, these are all very bad. It is important to offset unwanted feelings and emotions in a healthy and safe manner. this is called self-care.

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Just to add, then there is what we call harm reduction. Basically it says that it is ok to respond poorly to a feeling or emotion. We may have layers upon layers of emotion that you can’t just say, I feel sad, I’m going to watch a movie to feel happy. Sometimes the drug or need for something (overeating, for example) is the option we choose.

Harm reduction tells us that if we engage in ‘bad’ behavior, to say ‘I get it, and I will ride alongside you.’ If you self-medicate, here’s a od kit and some chocolate. If you are promiscuous, make sure you have protection and a bottle of mouthwash. If you are homeless, eventually I’d like to give you a placemat.

It just comes from a place of non-judgement. I’ve been told many times over, drugs are bad. if you do them, you are bad. Not necessarily so.

It’s not that I am bad with emotions or don’t know how to handle them, its that I don’t experience them all that deeply, that is what “the flat effect” is. Just emotionally flat most of the time, emotionally neutral.

I don’t do anything self destructive. I don’t use any substances. I haven’t had a drink in 17 years, I haven’t smoked in 13 years and I can’t remember the last time I smoked weed but it’s been years too. I don’t gamble either, I get no thrill from it because I’ve studied statistics in school and I know rationally that the odds of winning are very low, so I find it boring. I’m not promiscuous either, I am scared of diseases or getting a woman pregnant.

@Headspark: That’s great to hear that you’ve gotten a handle on all those things, the cigs, drink, and drug are not easy ones to overcome. Good on you.

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