Disorders Galore / by Dana Bergstrom

I love it when my friends diagnose me with disorders. No joke. I think, "Hey! Maybe they're onto something and I could gain some insight from this." Since I'm interested in personal growth, am extremely open and am no longer easily offended, my pals and I are comfortable talking about these types of things. I wouldn't recommend you diagnose any ol' body though. Some peeps may not take kindly to this.

A couple of friends have suggested that I have Tarantism, which is the uncontrollable urge to dance. That diagnosis is spot-on! I can barely contain myself when a funky jam is cranked. And now that I'm getting to the AwEsOmE point where I don't give a flip what people think of me, I don't even attempt to stop myself. I let my spazzy dance moves rip!

A different friend wondered if my yelling fits might be autistic meltdowns. Another completely reasonable diagnosis! I'm extremely sensitive to crowds and noises, prefer socializing in very small groups, and too much small talk exhausts me. I get caught up in my own little world and become overly focused on things to the point where I forget all about time, space and ergonomics. I could definitely have Aspergers. But instead, I'd tell people that I have AssBurgers. Because I'm real mature.

Another pal thinks I may have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This is plausible too. I have some hoarding tendencies. She pointed to the impressive Y2K supply of Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers I uncovered while clutter clearing a while ago. It required a lot of courage for me to throw out the ones that had a tiny bit of lip balm left, you know the ones you have to use your pinky finger or a Q-tip to get at? Every fiber of my being wanted to save them even though it was highly unlikely I would dig out that most delicious, pop-flavored goop and smear it all over my lips. It wasn't easy but I did eventually throw those all away.


This friend is also pretty sure that I'm energetically sensitive. I am most definitely that! I have discovered that I can feel energy beyond my physical body.

About ten years ago a new acquaintance asked if she could do energy work on me, and I although I'd never heard of energy work, I felt an impulse to give it a go. I went to her studio and she had me lie down face up on her massage table. She told me she'd start by clearing my chakras.

I thought to myself, "Umm. Okay. I have no idea what a chakra is but I'm sure I am meant to be here right now." I have a trusty intuition and although oblivious as to what was happening, I absolutely knew that I was meant to be there. So I closed my eyes and relaxed while she worked for a few minutes. And then I felt something I was not expecting: her finger tips inside my thorax, right above my abdomen. Her fingers were INSIDE my body! Aaack!

My eyelids shot open. Her hands were a foot and a half ABOVE my body! I could still feel them inside me. I was terrified. My strong Evangelical Christian childhood conditioning automatically kicked in. "This is the devil's work!" was the first thought that crossed my mind. Tears quickly streamed down my cheeks. Logically, I knew it wasn't the devil's work because I no longer believed in the devil, but when my fear was triggered, my mind instinctively responded to the threat with the familiar - the ol' Devil vs God business - a handy belief system to fall back on in times of trouble.

This new acquaintance saw my tears and immediately asked if I wanted her to stop. I said, "No, but I'm scared. Why can I feel your fingers inside my body when you're not even close to touching me?" She explained that I was feeling energy bodies. Energy what?!! She held her hand about four feet above my body and asked if I could feel that. I could! She brought her hand down slowly and I felt the energetic tension as she moved between the spiritual, emotional, mental and etheric energy bodies. Weird! Nobody had told me about this freaky shit before! It felt as real as if I were feeling someone touching my skin.

Not long after this, a friend asked if I'd like to go with her to see another alternative practitioner, a chiropractor, who asked me to close my eyes and straighten my arms in front of me with palms facing forward. He was going to place one of his hands somewhere in front of one of mine and I was to guess which hand he'd chosen. It was easy for me to tell. "How did you know?" he asked.

"I don't know. I could just feel it."

"You're an empath, Dana. You take in everyone's energy when you walk into a room. If you go into a room with a happy person, an angry person and a sad person, you feel all of it. You need to learn to 'sense out'. It's as if you have a plate in front of you that's half food and half garbage and you're eating the whole thing! You need to discern what to take in."

These experiences explain a lot of my sensitivities although I still haven't mastered "sensing out" yet. I'm learning as I go and am finding it gets easier with practice to discern what feels like garbage and what feels like nourishment.

Everybody has varying degrees of sensitivities and we all could benefit from "sensing out". Political arguments and put downs feel gross to me so I'll just hide all of that stuff on my Facebook News Feed until the elections are over. Bam! Posts about what friends are doing and excited about make me happy, so I'll read more of that. Pow! This thought feels loving and good to me, so I'll keep thinking it. Yes! This thought feels fear-based, judgmental and constricted, so I'm gonna redirect my focus. Easy!

Sensing my way through seems to be the best way for me to go about things now, and whether other people diagnose me as this or that really has no impact. What does have impact is how I direct my energy. And what I love doing more than anything now is focusing my energy on whatever lights me up. Can you imagine what life would be like if we focused our thoughts like this all of the time? Holy Happy Energy, man.

Okay, I'll end this post with one of my favorite quotes:

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
— Howard Thurman