I’ve struggled with what to write over the past week or so. I have started several posts, but just couldn’t carry them through to the end. Some of that may have to do with fatigue. It may also have to do with the fact that, while I was certain I had a tumor, it turns out I have had a strain of the flu that has kept me down for a few days. (Yes, Megan, I do need to stay off of WebMD.)
I talked to my doctor this morning, and she said I needed to sleep and drink as much as I could. Sure, this sounds awesome in theory, but I am not one who sits still well after a few hours. As much as I love my Lindsey Time, I don’t much appreciate being held to the couch because I can’t stand up without falling over.
Some friends recently helped us move a pullout couch into the den, and I have discovered that if I open it up, put a bunch of pillows and comforters on it, and bring the pup up for some snuggling, it is a GREAT place to be sick and watch movies. And, if you have ever been to my house, you know that there is no shortage of movies round here. Between my action/suspense/fantasy/classics collection and my roommates uplifting/Disney/RomCom collection, we pretty much have it all covered. Except for slashers. Neither of us can handle those.
The joke is that for everyone one or two of my movies, I have to watch something off of Brynne’s self in order to cheer myself back up! Today was no different. I decided to pull the 2008 film Taken off of my shelf because I needed a Liam Neeson fix. Sure, he’s a great actor, but let’s be honest. He’s my celebrity crush. Considering my Hollywood crushes have been Sean Connery, Bruce Willis, and Jason Statham over the years, I guess you could say I don’t exactly go the pretty boy route.
Taken isn’t exactly an uplifting film. It’s about a retired government protector whose daughter is abducted by sex traffickers in Paris. He is not only on the phone with his daughter while she is abducted, but he also finds out he has about 96 hours to find her before he will lose her forever, which is common in the trafficking world.
I wish I could say I cried during the film. A few years ago, I would have been an emotional wreck. Since I have started working in the mental health field, and in the jail, I have heard so many stories of sex trafficking, prostitution, rape, abduction, murder, and I know so many women who have killed to have their fathers show up and rescue them just before they are forced to have sex with a cold hearted buyer.
As the film ended, I realized that I needed much more than a Pixar film to bring me back up for air. I needed to be sensitized. I needed to remember how horrible and painful and scary things can be. I needed to be reminded how much pain people are experiencing every day and that most stories do NOT end up like a Liam Neeson movie.
This past week, the other men and women I work with met for supervision and we just checked in with each other. Most of us used words like “exhausted”, “tired”, “burn out”, and “need rest”. We had a great conversation about what each of us needs to not let our jobs overrun our lives. I am the only one in our office who doesn’t have a family and kids, but that doesn’t mean I need any less rest or soul care than my colleagues.
I’ve realized that sometimes I get taken hostage by my emotions in regards to my work. Call it vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, or whatever you will, but it’s real and I need to see it coming so I can prevent it, not deal with it when it comes.
In two weeks, I get to spend a few days with my dear friend, Katie, in Austin where she lives and works as an exercise physiologist. Katie and I lived together in college and we can’t be in the same place and not have a good time. The last time I visited in her Austin, we spent every waking minute outdoors, and it was the perfect girls’ trip. We are already planning to do the same this time around, but I also look forward to some time to just enjoy and explore a different city while Katie is at work.
That said, I think we can all be aware of what our triggers are before they actually hit us. Once you pull the trigger of a gun, nothing stops the chain of action until there is impact. That is why I talked to people about their triggers so much – part of knowing our own stories is knowing what triggers us into reacting instead of acting.
Now I just need to find a slightly more uplifting Liam Neeson movie…