Burnout


There’s a clinical term for the rage I fee: secondary trauma…vicarious trauma…burnout. Try to explain that rage, funneled into one angry outburst of angry “stop screaming!” at my teething/growing/over-stimulated baby tonight.

Not my finest mother-moment.

Sure there are many contributing factors to this rage: Boof being out of work due to his own dumbass mistakes and taking this intensive 10 week class while also working for the Mariners when they are at home (currently there tonight, yes, part of my frustration), and a family caregiver who loves Potamus dearly, but hasn’t quite gotten into a very good rythym of watching him due to the up-and-down nature of my job. She’s gotten too comfortable, scheduling hair appointments one day, nail appointments another, and while I’ve been okay for the most part, I am actually getting paid a salary, even if my work is slow, things come up and Potamus needs to be minded, and I can’t be the village raising my child. And as my clients get better, I seem to be getting worse, but then I beat myself up about wanting a new job.

Today I consulted with a dear friend, former colleague, and former classmate. She made me laugh when she said, “oh, you aren’t supposed to be affected by seeing suicidal kids everyday? by seeing the worst of the worst situations?” I do see the seedy underbelly of mental health and family life. I impart wisdom and coping skills and education to my clients, and am losing just a little bit of myself in each of these exchanges. I am having  a hard time stopping the slow leakage and its effecting me deeply.

The look on Potamus’ face when I yelled at him, was heartbreaking. While this isn’t my first time, when he was only a few weeks old, he reacted out of what seemed to be simply instinct. Tonight there was awareness. There was this flitting look on his face that seemed to say (before he broke out in even more tears) “but this is my mom who is yelling, why? why?”

After 30 more minutes of nursing/rocking/stroking of sweet baby hair, he was finally asleep. Will he wake up with forgiveness? Will I?

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