Resilience is not enough anymore - or maybe mine is just wearing thin
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was one of the more vocal community members. I gathered other crafty friends and began a mask making initiative, read and shared articles from reliable sources, and was tentatively hopeful about the pandemic’s ability to unite what was an increasingly divided community. That is how I managed my stress then, and as I make masks for the sanitation workers around town, that is how I manage my stress now.
I did not expect the politicization amongst the community to bleed into my workplace. I never expected to be treating patients that didn’t believe in the very illness that was killing them, and I now wonder if that was naïveté on my part. I have greatly pulled away from social media and the news and find myself reading more books instead.
I went into nursing to help people, and I foster resilience by telling myself that that is what I am doing: living by my values. However, it is tiring to come into work and feel endangered. It is hard to read articles that talk about healthcare workers as though we are just another resource with the unfortunate side effect of being mortal. What is most difficult is knowing that by helping the sick, I am also putting immunocompromised and at risk people that live with me in danger. I manage those feelings by allowing myself to have them, and by checking in with my coworkers who I know are having similar feelings. There is a commiserative schadenfreude in knowing I’m not alone in getting tired.
I am grabbing onto my support network like a life raft and holding tight. I’m going through the motions of what I know myself to believe in - making masks, making kits for the impoverished, and making sure my loved ones and dog feel nurtured and loved. Like Mr. Rogers advised - I am looking for the helpers, and I am trying to be one myself. But, as the post holiday surge approaches, there is a fugue and resignation that wasn’t there before and I am very, very afraid of it.