Tuesday, December 19, 2006

my job is making me a bad person

It's a long story. I keep trying to explain it, but I can't. It takes too much effort. Just trust me, working in a homeless shelter with mentally ill people and with people addicted to all sorts of different substances will only, over time, warp your mind. You'll start laughing at things that aren't funny, you won't believe anything anybody says, and you'll want to tell clients who keep threatening to jump off a bridge "Good idea! You want directions to the closest bridge?" Because you'll be so sick of hearing them whine, and they're just a bunch of whiney little shits most of the time anyway. You won't care that you had to turn people away when it's cold because you CAN'T HELP EVERYBODY. And you will, after a long enough time, stop even bothering to hope for anything better for 95% of the people you serve. You're trying, everybody's trying, to get them enrolled in services, to get them their SSI, to get them into rehab or treatment, to get them a permanent place to live, but most people's lives will not change. They'll move out into an apartment and they won't be able to handle it because they really aren't ready yet and they'll fail and they'll leave and the whole cycle will start over and eventually they'll be back at the ol' homeless shelter, looking worse than before, and it just gets depressing. Not depressing. It just gets you to the point where you don't bother to hope better for anybody. You see them move out and you think "I give you three months before you bomb out of that one." You hear them recount their recent tragedies and all you really hear are the lies, or you fill in the missing pieces because you know they're leaving out all the parts out about drugs or drinking or stealing from somebody or the reason they *deserved* to get punched in the face or have their food stolen. And when somebody tells you they've been clean for three days, a week, two months, whatever, you say "Wow, that's great, congratulations!" But inside you're rolling your eyes because you don't really believe them because they always lie about that. They always do. You develop a really dark sense of humor. And, because you started out compassionate, the part of you that still cares ends up coming out disproportionately and at weird times. Some days I walk around almost in tears wanting to hug everybody. But mostly I'm just crusty anymore. I gotta get out of here.


Blogger Dharma said...

Yes, I would say it's time to do something else entirely for a spell. Understandable how you feel, but time for change.

5:53 PM  

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