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So, I have a very strange relationship with empathy. I feel like it'd be going to far to say that my empathy is like an on-off switch, but it's not awfully far off from one. I seem to feel either so much empathy that I'll cry or little to none at all in situations where it's 'normal' to be empathetic. There doesn't seem to be a huge pattern aside from the fact that I'm always on high empathy with animals. With people, though, it can vary widely even with the same person or people on the same "level" in my life. Like someone I barely think about could grab tons of my empathy because I just feel empathetic at that point and someone I actually like could get nothing out of me, etc. This is consistent both throughout and outside of mood episodes. However, they seem to be more intense inside of episodes (more so mania).

Does anyone else experience this intense fluctuation in empathy with no visible causes?

Is it possible that it's linked to the bipolar or my other issues, or is it more likely I have some undiscovered shit lurking?

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I can't specifically answer your question but I have found myself to be an empathetic person by nature. That said, I have made selfish choices that hurt others during fully blown manic episodes.  I wasn't trying to cause harm or emotional pain to others - in retrospect, it seems like my mania was in overdrive and my natural empathy simply was overpowered by mania. 

But, sure - I know some personality disorders and other conditions often involve a lack of empathy.  A person can have more than one condition so I think it's possible. Just my opinion. 

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From my personal experiences, empathy relates directly to hypervigilance associated with mania, and torpor associated with depression. In addition there is conscious, subconscious and neurological, intent and or capacity to empathize. For me I imagine a dial or volume knob like on a car stereo. That clicks when you turn it. Kinda helped a lot when it worked, but at times out of control; in or out of episodes. On-off switch like you said. C'est la vie. Look into mirror neurons. Very cool. Also psychological projection may be relevant. 

En todas! 

-Toas 

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From Dr Google: "The supramarginal gyrus is a part of the cerebral cortex and is approximately located at the junction of the parietal, temporal and frontal lobe."

This makes sense for bipolar. I had a QEEG study done on my brain once, and it was found my frontal lobe and temporal lobe as well as white matter were all lit up in ways normal brains aren't. I had beta spindling where there shouldn't be any. If empathy is in this area and I had an aggitation in this area, that would explain why I, too, have a problem with empathy. 

Not toward animals though. I'm good at empathy with animals, as well. 

So weird.

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