Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sad and painful things happening around us? When I feel that way, I remember this Mr. Rogers quote…
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me,
“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
..and thinking about the helpers makes me feel better, for a minute
But what if you are the helper?
What do you do next?
If you are “the helper,” you probably don’t think of yourself that way.
But if you are a therapist, a healer, a social worker,
a doctor, a dentist, a nurse,
an attorney, or a first responder
If part of your job is to help people overcome barriers,
to move from surviving to thriving, then
You are a Helper
A compassionate professional
As a compassionate professional, your clients matter to you. You see their strengths
and recognize their worthiness. You know that your life is richer because your work
matters. But sometimes it’s overwhelming. Maybe you wonder if you care too
much. You wonder if what you’re doing even makes a difference.
Second-hand stress can keep you from staying centered, balancing work and home,
and finding joy in your life.
Second hand stress may be affecting you if:
– You wake up at 2 am worrying about your clients or your students and have a hard time getting back to sleep.
– You find yourself thinking about work when you don’t want to and take work home at night or on week-ends.
– You feel more pessimistic than you used to – like you’re just waiting for the next bad thing to happen.
– You have more trouble concentrating or focusing than you used to.
– You feel more on edge or irritable than you used to.
– You feel like something’s wrong, even though you have a good life and don’t think you should complain.
– You have complicated feelings about self-care. Maybe it’s too consumer-driven, just a bunch of products. Maybe you don’t have time for all that anyhow. Maybe all the self-care in the world won’t be enough for the stress on your job…
I became a Whole Person Certified Coach in December, 2018, bringing over 20 years experience as a therapist to this new adventure. As a therapist, I worked primarily with people who experienced lots of trauma in childhood, or ACESs, Adverse Childhood Events. I learned ways to help my clients work through the lingering impact of trauma on their lives and my clients helped me understand their pathways to healing. I’m deeply grateful for the people who shared their experiences with me, and awed at the strength and resilience of my clients.
It took a panic attack in the park for me to begin to recognize the impact my work was having on me. (Read more about that here.) That started me on a journey to find ways to manage the second-hand trauma I was experiencing so I could work with my clients without losing my self and my joy in the world.
In 2017, I moved to Savannah, Georgia, following my dream to live near the ocean. I expected to continue working remotely for a national non-profit and build a small therapy practice. When my therapy license wouldn’t easily transfer to my new state, I realized this was my chance to shift to working with compassionate professionals, helping them work through the same challenges I had faced.