I think this is something most rescuers have to do – a lot of other types of people too. It’s something I’ve been getting dangerously close to burn-out as a result of.
Basically, rescue is super emotional every day. We fight and don’t always win, there are losses, cruelty stories, abuse, injuries and each one takes it toll because we don’t have hearts of stone. We want to give every patient the best chance we can and sometimes it doesn’t work out for whatever reason – each loss is like another fracture to our hearts and we wonder how many we can take.
Then on top of the rescue you have all the other things that go along with being a human in the 2000s. You the daily stresses, the emotional strains from relationships and from work. You have the unnecessary stresses caused by people who come into your life without invitation. You have all that on top of the rescue stress and it can become TOO MUCH.
A lot of people in rescue talk about emotional burnout. They talk about how one day they wake up and realise they just can’t take anymore because there was just one last weight added to them and they realised they couldn’t keep going. Basically we emotionally multi-task until one day we realise we can’t anymore.
One of my heroes is Alexis Fleming. She runs a Sanctuary in Scotland and released a book which literally brought me to tears on numerous occasions. She is someone who gives everything she can a second chance – she reaches out to animals that other people have written off. If you can then check her out on Facebook as there are videos on there that will literally melt and break your heart at the same time. I don’t know how she does it – I really don’t – but she manages that Emotional Multi-Tasking like a superhero. Of course when the doors are closed at night she probably breaks down more than she’d like to admit but the next day she’s there again ready to help.
I got distracted then – I was trying to work out if I was being conned by my two baby rooks. They shout for food constantly but then I saw them eating for themselves so I know they can do it Little Monsters!
Emotional Multi-tasking is kind of a form of self-abuse if it gets out of control. So, if you see someone on the brink of a burn out say something kind, give them a smile or in my case coffee.
The world is a hard place but it’s also a beautiful one. Sometimes it pays to remember that x