Love Without Outlet: An Empath’s Nightmare….

Hi friends… The new year is marching on and I am still debating what I want to “get into” this year. I have recently revealed that I discovered several months ago that I am an Empath. Empath’s long to be of help or service to others and I am no exception. The fact that I am agoraphobic is a big hindrance in this area. I struggle to find an outlet for all the love and support I want so very much to give to someone, some cause or just the world in general to help make it a better place in which to live. I have basically made peace with the limitations that my challenge with agoraphobia brings, but in this area it is particularly frustrating. One might think that this is a relatively minor problem that “should” have an easy enough solution, but not so, on both counts!
I literally long to be able to find a way to externalize all I feel and have to give, but thus far have been unsuccessful. If I could go out I know I would be volunteering at a nursing home, or helping the homeless (personally), but alas those things are not possible for me. I almost feel as if I am choking. SO much love to give and no place to put it! I have searched online for things to be able to do, but the best I can come up with is donate money or do things like stuffing envelopes….I am not rich nor would I find stuffing envelopes satisfying. I long to do something “hands on,” but cannot find a thing that “fits.”  I feel as if I am on the inside looking out all the time, which of course is true! I am an inside person it seems with a heart and soul that wishes to be actively seen and at work externally!
Being an Empath presents its own set of challenges. It is so important to learn how to take care of yourself and shield yourself from sucking in all the negative energy people, the news etc. bring, but on the other hand it is almost as if you live to help and be out in the front lines. The key is to find balance and learn to block out all that negativity from your  “oh so sensitive” soul and reach out and get involved at the same time! I have not learned how to do that yet.  Hopefully this year will bring me insight into how to accomplish what my heart desires: to make a difference in this world.



Well, here we are just about at mid-January 2018 and I still don’t know what direction I want to take in this new year. So far the weather has been unseasonably cold for Florida. We even had SNOW in our northern sections!  I really do need to find a way to make more money, but every time I start to focus in on what that might look like, life decides to throw some new “issues” that need to be dealt with. I just finished my holiday sales season which was supposed to give me the extra money I need to carry me through the big insurances etc. for the year and already $1000.00 had to be spent on car repairs, plumbing etc… Have you noticed how quickly money can take a hike?

I also have a heart -wrenching problem that has become more pronounced. My dear friend, Julie, has advanced problems going on in her brain. She has two brain aneurysms and ALSO a condition known as moyamoya. Every time I say that world I think if a Hawaiian drink of some sort, but believe me this is no where as luxurious! It is a condition that cuts off blood supply to the brain and she was recently told that she now only has 25% blood flow coming from the main artery. At present I am her POA and I sense there will be a lot of health issues I will have to deal with on her behalf. She is an amazingly unique person and is taking this very much in stride and I only hope I will be able to do what is needed as her condition deteriorates further. This is one area where it is definitely a hindrance to be agoraphobic!

This year I also want to address my current health issues. I sure wish I knew where all this pain I am experiencing is coming from. I have foot, knee and back/hip pain. Being and empath might give me more “hunches” about what is going on , but I can never be sure. I will have to get more x-rays etc. I suppose. My gut tells me these pains are mostly related to the stress/tension I hold in my body. I recently found out about two conditions that *might* be at the bottom of my pain. One is Tension Myositis Syndrome and the other is called Myofascial Pain Disorder. Both are related to stress and the trigger points it can create.  The Tension Myositis Syndrome suggests that the pain might be a cover up for suppressed emotions. I will have to keep exploring. My nurse practitioner should be here for a visit soon and I will pick her brain about what she knows about these syndromes. So often GPs and nurse practitioners have little knowledge about disorders connected to emotional or psychological issues. There is a gadget that I have been practicing with that is called “The Dolphin” which is a neurostim unit…..something like an electric acupuncture machine that is supposed to help with all kinds of disorders by zapping a mild current into trigger points. There are different protocols for different maladies. It even has a protocol called “valium” for those of us who suffer from anxiety. I’ll let ya know if it seems to be of any help. So, 2018 is already filled with all kinds of challenges. Stay tuned!

This is me at the start of 2018… we’ll see how haggard I become by the end of the year! Ha!


Time Marches On! A new year and a new beginning!

Hello my friends! Well, here we are at 2018!! So much has happened in 2017 in my challenge-filled life. I turned another year older for one thing! Funny how, at my age, each new year is a landmark! You really don’t truly take in how precious each day, minute and breath is until you find yourself in the upper decades. I am sure I continue to grow, but the movement is not always apparent. Sometimes it takes a crisis or trauma to see exactly how far you have come. Just being agoraphobic brings its share of challenges, but life, and even mother nature, manages to throw in a couple of extra curve balls. This year my home state of  Florida was challenged with a LOT of rough weather. Hurricane Irma was the force that affected me the most. Such a huge, record breaking weather phenomenon. Through that dire emergency situation I realized that somehow I had managed to stay relatively calm, quite a feat for someone with my emotional makeup. I have been homebound for over 20 years and knew I might be forced to evacuate, but tried my best to accept life on life’s terms. This was all complicated by the fact that I have been experiencing new and difficult physical symptoms.

Some time earlier in 2017 I developed severe foot pain. I had two doctors diagnose me with plantar fasciitis. I finally succumbed to physical therapy since my busy holiday retail sales season would soon be upon me. Turns out that I did not have plantar fasciitis at all, but supposedly a back problem that was creating foot pain. The physical therapist was a nice enough guy, and seemed to help me lessen my foot pain relatively quickly, but somehow I developed knee and back pain as a result of the exercises I was prescribed. The hurricane demanded so much more of my body. First there was all the preparations and then all the clean up. Fortunately I suffered minor damage to my property. There was no time for resting my knee or back or even doing the required icing of my knee since I lost power and ice or even chilled food became a luxury. When it came time to renew my therapy the PT said he would not renew it since I had not made progress!!!! Now how was I supposed to do that when my body was continually stressed and strained due to all the complications connected to dealing with a hurricane? I am still dealing with a lot of physical pain and hopefully 2018 will bring some resolution. At any rate, my busy sales season has come and gone and somehow I managed to navigate it despite my physical limitations. So, if nothing else, I suppose I have developed better coping skills in dealing with what the universe throws my way.

Still Here, Still Breathing!

Well, it’s been a long time since I have posted here and life has taken so many twists and turns, as life will! It is already mid-2017! They say that time marches on and waits for no man (or woman) but is has, in my case, no only not waited but meteorically flown by! The older I get the more I surely realize that we must make every moment count!

By now everyone knows I had one book published in 2013 (Behind These Eyes) and a second in 2014 (Coexisting with Agoraphobia, Anxiety and Panic Attacks). I am currently working on a totally different kind of book. Tentatively the title is, “The Ragamuffin Project.” Ragamuffin is the name I have given to an old tattered and beat up conversion van that I purchased for a pittance a little over a year ago. I have nicknamed her, Rags. I felt absolutely compelled to buy a van and am not exactly sure why. The obvious might be to try to get out once again, but my instincts tell me there is more to this story of Rags and I. I have had a few short practice excursions with little success, but our story is long from over. I spent most of last year (along with Julie, my BFF) rehabbing her. I guess I was rehabbing myself as well as the project brought me great joy. I have a feeling that Rags and I will undergo many transformations as time moves forward. This new book will reflect our journey together.

In March of this year I also discovered, with the help of my beloved counselor, that I am an Empath. That knowledge has opened up a whole new world for me. I am learning more and more about what it means to be empathic and how it has affected my life. I feel like I am taking a course entitled,  “Empath 101.”  There is so much more to it than just having the ability to feel what other people are feeling. So it seems I have two unfolding stories. I welcome you back to take this new ride with me!


Farewell to 2014… End of Year News!

Hello my friends !

Well, 2014 is about to come to a close. It has been a year filled with many new and exciting changes on this end.

When I look back on it the year started out very “usual.”  I was a bit bored after the holiday sales from my online business ( “artisticfx” on ebay and etsy and came to an end and was pondering what I would do after my initial “house cleaning” was completed. Gradually I built up some momentum and finally took care of some minor health issues. Then one day I got a call from a reporter from the Tampa Bay Times asking me if I’d do some interviews surrounding my first book, Behind These Eyes: One Agoraphobic’s Journey To A Meaningful Life. It sounded intriguing so I agreed. After the interviews were completed I decided to put the information I had come up with for the reporter on how I lived my life into a few YouTube videos, hoping someone would get some helpful info from them. From there the whole thing snowballed and I decided to put the information into a small handbook entitled, Coexisting With Agoraphobia, Anxiety & Panic Attacks. That book was put into print and is available for Kindle, Nook and in print on Amazon.  Whew…. I also met someone and have been newly dating once again!  Ya just never know what a new year will bring so I hope you are all happily looking forward to the new one coming up. Life can change in a dime, and sometimes it is in a wonderful and exciting way!

I hope 2014 has treated you all well and hope that 2015 will be even better!



New Book Release! “Coexisting With Agoraphobia, Anxiety & Panic Attacks”

Hello everyone!

I am happy to report that I have a new book out (presently on Kindle, but hopefully it will be in print in a week or so) entitled, Coexisting With Agoraphobia, Anxiety & Panic Attacks. I wrote it as a result of my interviews with Zack Peterson, a reporter from the Tampa Bay Times and the subsequent YouTube videos. I realized that I had spent a lot of time looking deep within to see how I make my life work with the challenges of servere anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia and perhaps a little handbook might be of use to some people. My hope, as always, is that it will be of help to even one person.
The book is available on and all other major online stores.

The “holidaze” are upon us and I wish you all a loving and peaceful season.


This entry was posted on November 17, 2014. 1 Comment

Coexisting With Agoraphobia, Anxiety and Panic Attacks Part 6 : “Always Improving”

Hello once again!
Below is the text from the last video I made for my YouTube series “Coexisting With Agoraphobia, Anxiety and Panic Attacks”….Again, I hope some of the information will be useful!

Always Improving : Video 6

Hi there….Ellen here again in probably my last video in my series “Coexisting With Agoraphobia, Anxiety and Panic Attacks. I may make a few smaller videos if a topic comes to mind that I feel will offer helpful information, but for this particular series this is my last video. I entitled this section “Always Improving” because, even though we have limitations, perhaps even many limitations, we can always strive to do better and try to become all that we can be.

Once a trusted counselor of mine told me that I was the only self-actualized agoraphobic she had ever known. Since I was a young adult and came to know what that word meant becoming self-actualized had always been a goal for myself as a human being. I assumed however, that since I had developed this intense anxiety condition which inflicted many limitations on me that goal was off the table. When my counselor made that statement it brought tears to my eyes. I asked her how she could think that given all the things that were so difficult, if not impossible for me to do, and she simply said that being self-actualized simply meant that one was always striving to fulfill their full potential, and she thought that was what I was continually trying to do. I am suggesting that we can ALL do that, no matter what the limitation.
In my video series you have heard me talk a lot about simply “accepting” yourself as you are on any given day. Accepting in the way I mean it does not in any way conflict with the notion of improving. . It means just accepting where you are at any given moment so you can relax with it and live your day to its fullest potential and keep moving forward!

Many of us ask “How did we get the way we are….?” I am not sure it is absolutely necessary to know the answer to that question, but to try to fill in some of the possibilities we might look at things like:
A: Some of us have abusive backgrounds that made us fear the world. I know that is at least in part true for me.
B: There may be a genetic predisposition or family history that is at work for some of us.
C. It can be a combination of predisposition and environmental factors…such as neglect or abuse.
D: There have been studies that show that the amygdala portion of the brain may be of an unusual size and may contribute to extreme fear reactions in certain people.
E: Certain traumas such as a hospital stay can cause anxiety and panic.
So you see, it is not an exact science, but what IS important is to try to find coping mechanisms in order to live the best life you can, whether anxiety is a short term visitor or it is something you have been dealing with for a very long time.

When I ask myself about how I have improved or am improving my life what I
have mainly come up with is:
1. I have a great deal of trouble with social phobia as well as agoraphobia and panic attacks. I continue to try to expand my world and bring people in despite the intense level of discomfort it brings me. I suppose it is a choice to work on this particular challenge at this point in my life rather than territorial expansion. There are only so many things a person can work on at one time. Connecting with people and developing a support system seems to take precedence over getting to the “grocery store.” I have managed a way to get my groceries and other goods from the outside world but have been sorely lacking in day-to-day support from “in person” people. Examples of my efforts to stretch in this area are:
A. My friend recently moved here and I allowed her to stay with me for an open -ended amount of time until she found a place to live. That was tough for me since I am severely socially phobic, but I tried to just come out of myself to extend myself to another. After writing my book “Behind These Eyes: One Agoraphobic’s Journey To A Meaningful Life” I really came to know that when all is said and done in this life it is the people connections that mean the most.
B. In May of this year I started bringing in medical professionals to address a few health issues. This felt very threatening to me, but I stretched and did it anyway. I probably had 30 or so visits from various medical personnel to address various issues. I was way out of my comfort zone and medical problems are on the top of my fear list these days. So, having to have strangers come into my house to deal with medical issues was a double challenge!
C. I keep trying to make new friends and am finally getting successful in this area. I have recently brought two new friends into my life that look like they will be a part of a wonderful support system for me. Granted I have to see them in small increments, but they are willing to work with me and inch by inch my world is beginning to expand once again.
D. I am currently helping the owner of the house behind me get her home ready for remodeling. She does not live here so I am meeting all kinds of construction people on her behalf. This is an ideal situation for me to practice being around new people because I can come and go freely and only have to see each one for a short period of time.
E. I keep up with old friends who don’t live here but are close enough to visit. I make sure I manage to see them here for dinner at least occasionally.
F. I keep up with repairs and improvements on my house which requires having people here from time to time. This is especially difficult for me but I continually keep chipping away at it.
G. I recently had a reporter from our local newspaper come to my house to interview me about my book. All in all I had about eight interviews (not all in person) and next the photographer will come to my home to take photos. This is a HUGE stretch out of my comfort zone.

2. Developing my spirituality:
I am deliberately trying to develop my spirituality in terms of connecting more fully to this earth we live on to enable me to function better on a day-to-day basis so that I might be able to reach whatever goals I might have. I do this mainly through reading, taking related college courses online, doing regular meditation practice and listening to audio books. I have decided for my own life that my inner world is every bit as important if not MORE important than my outer world. Who I am as a human being….how I treat others…. and what I am able to GIVE of myself is so much more important that any place I can “go”…..
3. Progress territorially… I have it in the back of my mind to try to venture out into the outside world again when I have developed my new support system more fully… the extent that I feel safe and confident with these people.

In conclusion: I suppose that, as with most things, the proof is in the doing. What I have done with my life to date, in spite of massive amounts of anxiety and panic from time to time is……
1. Got my college degree
2. Had a career for about 13 years as a mental health counselor
3. Owned and operated a T-shirt shop
4. Presently have a small online business doing custom printing
5. Took care of my mother in my home in the last years of her life
6. Had a few wonderful love relationships
7. Wrote a book and may write a second
8. Consulted on two plays and one movie
9. Currently am having an article written about mylife for a large local Newspaper
10. Managed to maintain good health
11. Have had several lasting friendships
12. Took care of a good friend until she passed away…..running her care mostly from home via phone!
13. I own a home, car and have a rental property.
14. I ran two different support websites at one time trying to help others.
15. I have wonderful pets
16. I have managed to run my own life and remain independent.

I believe that my challenge over all these years has made me the person I am today. I am better able to empathize with others who have any disability or hurdle to climb in their life. I believe I was born with a loving heart and that still exists within me. I have given up trying to swim upstream and have simply for the most part made peace with where I am at on any given day. I know you can too, no matter where you find yourself.

I once had a psychologist/ medium tell me that she believed that the fact that I am still homebound after so much “trying” might mean that there is a reason for me to be here. Who knows? Maybe I am meant to experience this anxiety disorder to the fullest so I might understand it and help others. No matter what the reason if I continue to just accept where I am I know I will be ok…and you will be too if you live each day as it comes and simply do the best you can! Please remember as well however, that recovery includes setbacks! Setbacks are inevitable so just try to accept them as well and then continue putting one foot in front of the other and move slowly forward.

Living with anxiety is like always having a shadow ….the trick is to put the shadow behind us (as in ..let it run in the background) and learn to co-exist with it. Believe it or not, there is room for both you and your shadow!

I want to thank you for tuning in to my series…..I hope you have gained some useful information that will help you on the path ahead of you.


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