Yesterday during our women and family services meeting one our pro bono counselors came in the meet with us. She discussed how dealing with a mob of people (because that is essentially what we are dealing with) takes a toll emotionally and physically on us. Some days I think that manual labor would be less exhausting than dealing with these challenging (and charming) women. Each of the women's resources advocates has physical and mental quirks. I grind my teeth and clench my jaw. Other women can't sleep, have nightmares, have back and stomach problems, chronic headaches, and the list goes on. Our numbers are just unmanageable.
However, yesterday we learned some coping measures. In the midst of the chaos, we are merely reactive. We respond like machines to what is in front of us. To the women we have no identity other than someone that gives them bus tokens and food. We are trying to anchor ourselves in the present, and realize that we are more than our jobs. We need to have a sense of self, and if we do, and we convey that, the women will respect us.
Some days, well most days, upper management does not have a clue what goes on in emergency services. There is such a disconnect between their idealistic view of what we should do, and what actually happens. This population is not easy to work with. But there are genuinely great people in the midst of the chaos, that do inspire me.