I was talking to my cousin about why the guilt I feel for not staying in touch with people. Friends, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and acquaintances. It makes me feel really bad about myself. My husband often encourages me to call, but also makes me feel better when I tell him how I feel.
“But you’re tired Hera, you work too much”.
And that is never a satisfying thing to hear because I do have time. I watch so much TV. I take long walks. I sit around doing nothing sometimes. I could call but I don’t. I wasn’t always like this. I always feel great after doing the calls. It’s not the content of the calls that is putting me off. It’s the calling itself. I don’t even message people. I just have imaginery conversations with them in my head or myself, planning to call but then I never do. I don’t hold back from calling people when it’s related to work. It’s just when it’s to do with my personal life. This attitude puzzles and pains me.
Yesterday, while talking to my cousin who I am very close to, I had an ephiphany. I put off doing this because I am emotionally depleted. There are too many people who require emotional support from me. People I have to be strong for. To have answers for. To care for. That I need to be accountable to. And this is both in my work and personal life. This creates such mental exhaustion for me that the act of three taps to call someone feels like a mountain I need to climb barefoot. My brain feels full and heavy; my body feels numb. This is a common side-effect of vicarious trauma or second-hand trauma. There are no quick solutions. The people who rely on me do that because either there is no one else, or it’s my responsibility due to the role I have in their lives to do that.
Since I have no solutions, all I can do is have empathy for myself and make space for acceptance with guilt. My heart feels so heavy and empty at the same times so I’ll leave notes of love and reminders for me on my devices to check-in with people, and myself.