28 May 2011

Report from Third Shift: Want - versus - Need

   Suzy refuses to go to bed, insisting instead on making noise, writing furiously in her journal, and whispering sotto voce about our failures as counselors, as care providers, as women, as human beings.   And the more we try not to engage with her behaviors, to behave consistently and calmly, not to get caught up in the misty grey cloud of fear and anger Suzy is spewing out all around her - the more visibly frustrated she becomes.  What she wants - to get rid of her uncomfortable and seemingly unbearable feelings - isn't what she needs.  She HATES all of it.  In this moment she particularly hates me and my co-worker.  And even though Suzy can't see it - I hate it too, particularly hate my powerlessness to do more than I can do.

   Of all the nights to have to simultaneously notice my reactions and my emotions vis-a-vis one of the girls' acting out behaviors, of all the nights to need to monitor my boundaries - a night of too little sleep during the day and, consequently too much worry about retaking  the physical crisis managment training later in the week.  Yet I can't do what Suzy's doing - can't project my anger onto someone else, spew my own mist of fear into the air.  All I can do is teeter along the path between wanting to behave like Suzy, like the child who still lives in me and wants to be parented, and needing to behave as the caring adult that both Suzy and my own inner little girl need me to be.

   This being a grown up sure ain't what we think it's gonna be when we're kids.

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