Welcome to the community. Feel free to post on this forum any questions you may have. And you'll probably learn a lot by looking through the forum posts on various topics.
Hello Empath. Maybe you haven't heard of us because we are the universes secret Love weapon . Lol. Jk. Research and this forum is the best advise I can give you. Your in good hands here but I have to warn you...about the time you think you have it all figured out..you start evolving and every thing changes again. It just gets better if you embrace it and not fight it. (Never thought I would hear myself saying that ).
Welcome to the EC, I didn't know that being an empathy was a thing either until I was 51 also. It would have definitely saved me a lot of trials and tribulations having this knowledge earlier in my lifetime, but for whatever reason I didn't so I have learned to trust that. I know it's hard not having anyone to share your journey with...but hey...you have us now, lol.
You are very lucky to have found a counselor who believes and understands about being an empath. I find that most counselors don't believe in this and load empaths up with a variety of drugs incorrectly thinking the empath has depression or a bi-polar disorder. But you found the right place here. Although we empaths are very alike in some ways. Most of us have different abilities and strengths. You'll find a wide range of people and experiences here.
I have a few thoughts for you. First off people will always be attracted to you as an empath. This is common with all of us. I have complete strangers walk up to me in a place like Costco and act like they know me. And then they progress to tell me their most intimate of problems. I listen politely. They walk way like they just took a load off and I feel the weight of their "stuff" that they just dumped on me.
I am Christian and want to tell you that you are going to find a lot of this empath stuff is going to be at odds with your Catholicism. There is a place for both. But some of your less open-minded friends and family are not going to understand your empathy. I've had some people whisper that I've fallen into some strange cult. But yet ironically these same people come visit me when they are down and walk away feeling better. In summary on the religion topic, keep an open mind yourself as you find meaning with both empathy and Catholicism. And then my advice is to be a bit secretive with your empathy as some of your religious friends and family will in my experience not understand.
You've probably read by now that being an empath is like being an energy sponge. You soak up everyone's emotional stuff. We are energy changers. When someone comes to you with their problems and after a good discussion they walk away feeling happy, you just took in their troubles. Doing this will weigh you down and make you feel anxious, sick, and stressed out. As energy changers you we have to take in people's stuff and flush it right through us through grounding. It sounds like your book has already described a good method of grounding through meditation.
On the grounding, meditation will be a bit difficult at first. I'm sure you are overloaded and your mind is racing and you can't relax enough to clear your mind. Don't worry about that, just keep trying. It will happen for you. And while grounding through meditation gives you more bang for your buck on a quick fix for relaxing and releasing that unwanted energy, there are some other methods as well. Most of us really feel rejuvenated being out in nature. If that works for you I would suggest a nice quiet walk to enjoy nature. Try to clear your mind while walking and really concentrate on the nature around you (smell the trees, listen to the birds etc...). My other suggestion is for you to take a bath with about a cup of rock salt in it (some people add Epsom salts to relax the muscles). Put on some relaxing music and enjoy your salt soak. There is a connection between salt and empaths and in my experience the salt really does the trick with grounding your body and mind.
My final comment is that since we empaths feel everything, relationships are tricky. We feel things so intensely and project our feelings intensely and that can be hard for a spouse to live with. Open communication is how I best manage it. But hopefully some of the ladies in the community can share some feedback on how they keep their relationships at their best while being an empath.
Good luck with relaxing and grounding. Let us know if you have progress with this or any snags learning how to do it. And just remember, our gift to the world is also one of our greatest faults. And that is that we often neglect ourselves because we always take care of others first. Try to focus on taking care of yourself more so that you can be your best self for you and others in your life.
Since realizing I am an empath I really believe that "there are no coincidences". Everyone has a life path. But as an empath you have hyper sensitivity to the world. And that has been influencing your choices your entire life. It does not surprise me at all that you live near a nature rich environment. Most of us do.
As for your family and friends, at some point you may tell some of them you are an empath. But there is no hurry. It probably makes sense for you to spend some time learning and understanding how this all works first. This community is an excellent sounding board. And if you are interested, I have read two books that I found on Amazon.com that really helped me understand what makes us empaths tick, and how we can find our purpose. The 2nd book feeds off the first one so my recommendation is to start with the first one:
The Reluctant Empath
Comerford, Bety, Wilson, Steven
Comerford, Bety, Wilson, Steven