What a fascinating, and currently challenging, time to be alive! Especially for anyone naturally more aware of and sensitive to emotional energies (e.g., HSP’s, Aspies/ those with ASD, Empaths & Intuitives/ anyone with NF in their Meyer’s Briggs type or a strong inclination towards the heart triad in the Enneagram, etc.).

As a man who lives with 3 persons assigned female at birth, and who grew up getting picked on for not exactly being the most stereotypical alpha male in general, this past month or so has been a doozy on any attempts at emotional regulation.

Just when I think I’ve found my center again, it’s like a haze creeps in and I’m thrown off my game. It can be tough at times not to get self-conscious about it and fall into a cognitive and/or emotional spiral.

Upon closer examination though, the haze was made up of fear, rage, uncertainty and more. A good portion of which wasn’t even mine. It’s the world’s. It’s everyone around us on social media. Physical distancing doesn’t exactly mean the “social distancing” it’s being called. We’re all still being affected by one another’s emotions – positive OR negative.


massage near Pensacola FL
  • Physically, it can look like COVID-19 or any other virus.
  • Emotionally, it can look like panic buying or angry or judgmental outbursts towards others not doing what we think is right.
  • Psychologically, it can mean slinking into a cocoon of our own depression and anxiety, triggered by our perception of what’s happening.
  • Spiritually, it can mean having trouble holding onto hope and unshakable belief in what’s possible.

You’re not weak if you’re sensitive. It’s your superpower. Empaths are like canaries in a coal mine; your reactions signal something is off… maybe even gravely wrong.

But it’s still YOUR job not to let the toxic haze overtake you and create a replica of the virus within you that you then unconsciously transmit to those around you, thinking you have no control over the situation.

You have the antibodies needed. Not just now. Always.

Anyone aware enough to notice the haze, feel their reaction, and consciously choose a different response holds the key to healing. For themselves. Their families. Their communities.

As a step-father to teenage girls, I’ve noticed that the BEST solution is usually the one that feels counter-intuitive in the moment. If they are being super intense or dramatic or stabby, it would be all too easy and completely understandable to want to try and quench their emotional display or try and rationalize or lecture them on why they’re wrong or being rude or ridiculous, but that never works. They’re caught up in the haze. If I respond in kind, I’ll only breathe that same recirculated air back out to them.

Instead, I’m learning to pause internally. Notice the clench and breathe fresh compassion into it. Then either remain quiet and present while they rage on until it subsides or offer a hug, carbs, or space depending on the kid and the moment.



– Ben

P.S., It’s a LOT easier to stay grounded when you release you own sh$% and the buildup of others on the regular. I help others do this through intuitive massage. If you’re in the Pensacola area and could use one, feel free to reach out.


Massage Therapy Pensacola

Ben Driskell, LMT is a massage therapist practicing in the greater Pensacola, FL area. Besides being a “muscle whisperer,” he greatly enjoys writing about issues related to healthy masculinity, mindful living and sacred intimacy. He hopes to aid men in embracing a lifestyle that is authentic to them and not what society says they should be.

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