Walking down High Street naked, backwards and blind: empaths and hypervigilance

Don’t worry, the title is metaphorical (and not meant as an offence to nudists or blind people).

But this is what some empaths and clairsentients seem to feel like – at first – when we try, perhaps for the first time in life, to navigate life without having our psi-radar scan everyone, everywhere, all the time.

Or when for some reason, such as extreme exhaustion, it malfunctions. This never happened to me, but did to a friend and she described it as feeling “blind” suddenly, being unable to identify people’s feelings and intentions without huge mental effort. She felt lost and scared.

In my own case, I didn’t realise or accept I even have a psychic radar until age 32 or 33. It took a psychic healer accusing me of invading her field and a long follow-up research to realise that I’m actually constantly reading people – I just thought that’s a normal part of just seeing or meeting them (and everyone does it). I didn’t realise that’s what was driving me so intensely exhausted whenever I spent time with people.

Now after at first regarding that kind of accusation as absurd and fictional, I started around with testing my supposed psi. And I saw it was correct much of the time, and also that most other people really didn’t see what I saw.

So when I saw and accepted that, I understood that it’s in fact unethical to just leave this radar “on” at all times, and started playing with ways to switch it “off” – I learnt after a while that I can choose to not go down a certain path of psycho-physical-soul “attunement” with a person and then I won’t receive all these signals.

I actually only learnt this when I started doing energy work and deliberately attuning to people; I realised then that – hey – but actually I am doing this all the freaking time. So I started trying to not do it to preserve not just others’ privacy, but also my sanity.

And that’s what I felt initially: naked and blind; and also lost and worried. Like a child in the fog, as we say in Poland, and at that at night. I felt like anything (what thing? energy? behaviour?) could just grab me out of nowhere and I would have no way to predict and evade – I wouldn’t “see it coming”.


However, since I was at this point convinced (mostly thanks to a mentor) that this was the more ethical and, bottom line, healthy thing to do, I persisted.

I had also learnt that this pattern – of having to constantly monitor your environment, with your senses and if you have a psi-like sense, also with that one – can be a product of feeling unsafe in childhood (or some other period in which you pick it up) and become a deeply ingrained habit that is eating up your energies and reserves without you realising it. Just consider how much energy it takes to constantly pay attention to everything with your senses, then add on top of that paying attention with your innermost emotional feeling-body (which I’d say I did as an empath).

This pattern is known as hypervigilance – being extremely vigilant because you are implicitly always expecting danger. It can be hard to overcome and un-learning should only be attempted when you are actually safe and can trust that.


After persisting for a while despite the discomfort and the previously unconscious fears that suddenly became conscious, I saw the benefits unfold relatively quickly. It’s like my mental and psychic energy consumption dropped by 80% or something like that. I suddenly had resources free for other things, like enjoying the weather, focussing on work, or being creative. Or thinking clearly. Or being able to focus on myself – on what I myself feel and need (from food to safety to love, which I had previously overlooked), and taking care of that.

I also started feeling safe in a different way – which is not based on monitoring everything around me, but on inhabiting myself in such a way that I feel much more settled and stronger to handle whatever comes my way.

Since for me most of the “danger” was emotional (not physical), I’ve learnt that being settled in myself, I deal with this type of issue much better even if I don’t see it coming from 100 miles away – and the fact is that my intuition usually still tells me early enough. Seeing it from 1 mile away is good enough and allows me to save energy and focus and then have it when it’s needed.

One way I have dealt with this was to actually ask my empath sense and intuition to alert me only when there is something going on that is really of importance to me. The rest of the time, I enjoy more peace, silence, and space.


While this is not just an empath issue – anyone can develop mental hypervigilance – for empaths this can be especially burdening when it becomes the major trigger for (subconsciously yet) actively seeking out and reading everybody’s emotional and psychophysical information. I used to do that literally with every person who shared a train compartment with me, just because they were physically there. And needed to almost be (energetically) resuscitated after every train ride.

If this is an issue for you, you might also want to read (Why) do other peoples’ feelings “stick to you”?

Feel free to share experiences in the comments.


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