I think I have the symptoms. I went my whole life knowing I’m an empath and I still kinda believe it but what I’ve discovered is that I can’t form emotional bonds with people. I can’t feel other people’s emotions, and I don’t have remorse for anything. Why though? Is it because I get PTSD over the littlest of things? I didn’t have trauma in my childhood and nor did I have it at all. I know that I get angry a lot, but the rest of my emotions are “shallow”; for lack of better words. Is it because I’m detached? I have these erotic fantasies too that I’ve had for my whole life. To me they aren’t disturbing though. I thoroughly enjoy them but I don’t want to go to jail. This part could be PTSD related too but idk. I don’t hear voices either. So do you think it’s at all possible I have PTSD?

Let’s start with a few definitions to make sure we are on the same page. You say you know you are an empath, but an empath, at least the standard definition of it, doesn’t sound at all like what you are experiencing.

Typically, empaths are thought of as super sensitive to other’s emotions, positive and negative, and function like highly attuned vibrational instruments. Empaths feel everything, perhaps to a fault, and do not intellectualize their experiences. They operate using their intuition and emotional acuity. They are classically very giving, nurturing souls with exceptional listening skills and high-level spirituality. For more information, you may want to read more about empath’s by the doctor who wrote the book on them, and to take Dr. Judith Orloff’s quiz to determine if, indeed, you are one. But from what you’ve stated here it doesn’t seem you are. You can access her work here.

The reason I think we have to start with your declaring yourself as an empath is that your descriptions sound like it is exactly the opposite of the above definition: I’m an empath and I still kind of believe it, but what I’ve discovered is that I can’t form emotional bonds with people. I can’t feel other people’s emotions and I don’t have remorse for anything. Not being able to form bonds with others, not feeling their emotions, and not feeling remorse, quite honestly, sound like the exact opposite of what you’d expect from an empath.

The second thing you also write that you are angry, shallow, and wonder if it is because you are “detached.” Anger is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.” This emotion is, by definition, strong, and detached classically refers to an inability to connect with others emotionally. Again, not at all how an empath is typically identified, and not the usual way anger, shallow, and detached would be connected to each other.

You then link erotic fantasies (sexual arousal from imagery) that you enjoy and are not disturbing and wonder if these might be a cause for a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Without any other information, this doesn’t go together either.

PTSD comes from a chronic mental and emotional stress that happens as a result of a deep psychological shock that most often disturbs sleep, with a constant recollection, usually with vivid detail of the shock or injury that’s taken place. (To learn more about PTSD, please read here. ) None of this seems to have been going on or is described in your email.

Yet it is clear that something is bothering you. I think that is important to focus on, but I don’t think the current definitions and connections accurately describe what is happening. Since you list yourself as a freshman in college, I would take the opportunity to talk to one of the therapists at the college counseling center. They are trained in asking the right questions to reach an understanding of what’s going on — and what can be done to help.