i’m slowly attempting to crawl out of the cave that i unintentionally, and gradually, wandered into. caring for others is so hard, and i often question why He gifted me in this way, to carry the burdens of others, to walk with them in their pain, and to hold them in their intense emotions, when i’m not strong enough to hold on. i wish i could just sit behind a computer and stare at a screen all day… to lead a “normal” life and be able to talk about work like a “normal” person. i know that wouldn’t be me though  – that wouldn’t be me living life to the fullest that He has called me to be, and that wouldn’t be enough for me.

the vicarious trauma has been difficult, tempered by the anxiety of being in school, with more and more seemlingly amount of work and responsibility being directed my way – from coursework to presentations, to reading to lit review, to researching for dissertation, to studying for exams and reflecting on my work, to writing and rewriting intakes, to administering personality tests and writing up assessment reports, to just being present and attending in lectures. i struggle with finding people who will understand, and i know no one fully will, because this is primarily my experience. i find comfort and support in my colleages and cohort friends who are each experiencing this in their own ways.

and then there are my friends – my people – who offer what they can. and i am fiercely grateful for it. i know that many of them would have no idea of the ways i’ve been feeling unless i open up, take a risk to put myself out there and tell them, even if they shouldn’t ask me first. it fights against every fiber of who i am, to be brave and put myself out there, and trust that they will listen, that they will empathize, that they will validate. not all of them get it. in fact, very few of them do. but what i can’t do is isolate myself, curl up into a little ball underneath my covers, and hide from the world.

her face is still burned into my memory. the tears streaming down her young face, with her mouth drawn into a thin line and her head held up high, and her declaration that despite all she and her children are currently experiencing while being homeless, she is grateful. she holds onto a sliver of faith, knowing full well that faith will not necessarily bring her stability or housing or her family the next day, but that at least she has a roof over her head and a little boy and girl who mean everything to her. this keeps her going on.

i’ve been crying all week as i’ve thought about her and the sense of helplessness she exudes, and how i wish i could help her. stop those tears. i know it’s her own process to find a way through all of it, but i wish she could seek help, find comfort, support, and a way out. i wish…

and i know i’m not adequate, and i don’t have the answers. in the midst of all this, we must cling to hope – both she and I, because otherwise there would be nothing else left to live for.

.to be continued.