I’ve always had a very hard time watching scary movies. Whatever violence is happening on screen feels like it’s actually happening to me. As soon as something bad starts to happen, my heart races, and I start sweating and shaking. My kids (ages 10 and 12) have to tell me when to leave the room during specific scenes that they know will upset me. I tend take on my friend’s problems and become overly invested in solving them. I also am this way when I hear about the issues facing farm workers, garment workers, or anyone who suffers harsh conditions to produce items I use/consume on a daily basis. I recently told a friend that I wished I could take a “complacency pill” so that I wouldn’t care so much when I see things that upset and outrage me.
Today is the last day of my dietetic internship in order to complete my RD (Registered Dietitian) credential. A few months ago, I wrote a post about my clinical rotation. Since then, there’s been a lot more death. The final rotation in the nursing home was the worst. It’s not that the people who worked there were bad; they were very nice, and I’m sure it was a very decent nursing home. It’s just incredibly hard for me to see and smell human death on a daily basis. I can feel their pain. As a “real food nutritionist”, there’s nothing I can do. I can offer them some liquid supplements, maybe ask the doctors to add in a vitamin to their long list of medications, but that’s about it. I spent the rotation with my eyes glazed over. Each day I would basically hold my breath and wait for it to be over. I really hope to never end up in a place like that as a patient, and I could never work there on a full time basis as a nutritionist.
The one thing I’ve noticed about everyone who works in hospitals and nursing homes is that they have fantastic boundaries. It’s like they have invisible force fields around them that prevent them from internalizing what they’re seeing. I don’t know how to do this. I didn’t take a class on how to build this force field. I’m really bad at boundaries.
Not having a bubble is not a good thing. I’m a very open person who easily trusts and believes others. When I have a nutrition client, I pour all of my energy into them. I’m handing them a life preserver and pulling them on the boat. I’m crushed when they choose not to hold on.
This internship has been a huge stress in other ways. My husband has picked up a lot of slack, but it’s still super hard. I haven’t been able to take care of myself or cook as much as I normally do. Cooking from scratch is hard. Cooking from scratch with kids is harder. Add in a full time job that I’m not getting paid for (I’m actually paying a lot for this internship) plus a commute, homework for school, maintain podcasts, a blog, social media (and all the idiots who pick fights with me there) = I’ve burnt out. I haven’t been exercising enough. I haven’t been sleeping well.
I’ve been questioning everything.
This morning while flipping through social media, a meme caught my eye. “If you’re still alive, you’re not done”. I know it sounds cheesy to be moved by memes, but this one actually got to me. I went back to try to find it and I couldn’t. Thank you, whoever you are.
I’m trying to look forward to working on new projects. I’m rethinking my focus. I’m looking forward to the growing season and to getting some sun on my skin. I’ll write a final recap on my experience getting my RD once I’m completely done. Meanwhile, I’ll be surrounding myself with life, cooking, walking, sleeping, spending time with my kids, studying for my final exam, and learning how to build a bubble.