Front Line Service Providers

Photo of small ocean waves.

You rise each day just trying to do your best. But often you find yourself weary and in need of the same attention and care you provide to your clients. You may be running on empty, hoping against hope that the crises of this new day do not overwhelm. You work through and in broken systems of care that contribute greatly to your own weariness. You keep going because you believe in change, you know that being a support to someone in need is meaningful and makes a difference. And in order to rise each day, you need to take care of yourself and be cared for.

When I started working as a mental health worker responding to critical incidents related to gun and gang violence I knew I needed to strengthen my self-care and my supports. Even then, at times, it was not enough. When I stumbled upon this quote, trying to find my way through, it suddenly made sense:

“the expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.”
— rachel remen, 1996

You may see this heaviness or fatigue as a burden, something to just trudge through but I choose to see it as a gift. You are vulnerable because of the work you do but if you find ways to care for yourself and be cared for you can thrive. And if in this moment, you are finding it difficult to thrive you may want to see this as an invitation to return to your own healing, to receive what you so freely give every day. You matter just as much as your clients and deserve empathy, understanding and a place to heal.