Sunday night’s sleeping pill was sadly ineffective. Although less frequently, I still woke up several times during the night. I thought about it and decided that maybe I’m not getting enough exercise. When I was in my apartment I was walking to and from work (1/2hr each way) and when weather permitted I was walking over my lunch hour. Now I’m too far to walk and my lunch hour walks for whatever reason fell by the wayside. While the reason for resuming my walks is for sleep, today I needed the lunch hour walk for my own solitude and reflection. In the early evening I went for another walk. I don’t know yet if it is coincidence but I am currently very tired.
Yesterday at work I began to feel uninspired and tired. Tired of caring, tired of hearing the same stories of theft, assault and job loss over and over again. I had had enough and wanted out. Then at the end of the day we heard the news that one of our program participants had died. It came as a shock for us and didn’t register for anyone right away. While I didn’t work with this client individually I knew them relatively well because of our group programming.
Today was a time for our team to really process what had happened. For me it led me to think about my own clients that I had lost. It brought back all the guilt of the woulda coulda shouldas. My first client loss was about four years ago. I started to wonder if I had had all the skills and knowledge I have now, would I have done something differently? Could I have done something differently? Would they be alive if I had done something differently? And then I thought of my most recent client loss. They had been in the hospital and I knew it but I didn’t make time to go visit. I could not have prevented that death but I could have visited. I could have shown that I cared and that they were important to me. I still carry that guilt with me. I am also now feeling guilty about my feeling of compassion fatigue yesterday. It seems so selfish of me to be tired of caring for people.
My lunch walk began with those feelings of helplessness to change and hopelessness about my work. I wondered what was the point of it when I couldn’t stop people from being victims of various things. I spent a lot of time dwelling on that and my own sadness and guilt. Part way through my lunch walk I just decided that I’d had enough of those thoughts and changed my music to something more uplifting. I reminded myself that my work is important and I receive regular reminders of that through clients thanks and own accomplishments. Every time I help someone find a doctor it’s important. Every time I see someone in jail it’s important. Every time I listen to someone tell their story of sexual abuse for the first time it’s important. Every time I do a safety plan with someone suicidal it’s important. In times of sorrow and helplessness I need to remind myself of the good. I can’t be everything to everyone but I can be something to someone.