Tuesday, July 26, 2005

When Will I Learn?

At the end of the weekend or a vacation, Kathy often has trouble sleeping the night before she returns to work. Kathy was wound up when we got back from Portland, and the 3-hour time shift didn't improve the prospects of her getting a decent night's sleep. I was tired and likely could have slept pretty quickly, but we stayed up until midnight, to give her a chance to sleep when she went to bed. Still, she was stressed, so we talked out some of the things on her mind. It didn't take too long to relax her, and in the process, stress me out.

Now, three hours after she went to sleep, I'm still awake. You'd think I'd know better, because this isn't the first time this has happened -- I'm not sure what to think of the fact that I know better how to help her than help myself. Ugh!


Q said...

Have you ever seen the old (original series) Star Trek episode about the Empath? It has always struck me as a dramatic illustration of what the counselling process can be like.

I think it's Bones who has been tortured by some hostile alien or other. His body is covered in wounds and he is dying. Kirk and Spock are powerless to help him.

Enter, the Empath. She places her hands on Bones and concentrates. Miraculously, the sores begin to fade from Bones' body ... only to reappear on the Empath's body.

The sores then fade from her body, too, but she is exhausted in the aftermath - near death herself.

The trick, as a counsellor, is to alleviate the distress of the other person without taking it on yourself. Easier said than done.

That's why so many people in the "helping professions" are prone to depression.

KZ the Turtlegirl said...

Ya' know, Dads grieve too. In my experience, they grieve differently than grieving Moms may expect... or want... or understand. My husband just wanted to fix it, and that was impossible.

I'm glad you are both being open with each other.

Hang in there. And give yourselves time.

aaron said...

Q -- I'm afraid your point about how to be a counselor is of limited use here. there's no way i can be detached given how much i care for Kathy, and how much her problems overlap with mine. but i do remember the old star trek and appreciate the reference.

KZ -- Hello, and welcome to my site. I'm sorry I haven't greeted you earlier, but I've seen your posts and appreciated them. You're close to the mark about my feelings at the moment about the failed pregnancy, a desire to fix that which I can't heal, much stronger than any concerns I have about myself. That being said, last night's stress wasn't limited to that.