After a long career of intense emotional work – suicide prevention, threat assessment, listening to clients share their pain and suffering and hope for brighter tomorrows, I retired to this much quieter place. A place where I could breathe the rich air, hear the rustle of the wind through the trees, sit quietly and stare at the wide trackless sky, discovering shapes in the cloud wisps; a game I used to play as a child – two interconnected hearts, a musical note, a bunny.
Secondary trauma is defined as indirect exposure to trauma through a firsthand account of traumatic events. Hearing tales of extreme suffering and observing the emotions of fear, helplessness, and yes horror on a consistent basis may result in a set of symptoms called compassion fatigue, a consequence of the helping profession.
It took me awhile to admit I suffered from compassion fatigue; turned down invites to hang out with friends, avoided the phone, shied away from social media, built a nice, safe invisible shell around myself. This shield had a purpose. I needed it at the time.
But now… this defense has slowly crumbled and I feel immense pleasure in connecting with friends and family and acquaintances. Sometimes my laugh catches me unaware and I wonder who is this light- hearted person?
I stand in the sun and bask in the warmth; leaving the carcass of my former need to protect lying in the growing spring grasses and take refuge in my joyful heart.
How did you find solace this week?
© 2021. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved