Even The Heroes Get Tired
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
*Trigger warning: This post mentions suicide*
It was a Thursday evening. Exams were arriving, deadlines were approaching, work was due, and for some reason, I didn’t care. Well, I did… but I guess I also didn’t. I definitely did not want to fail my next microbiology test, but I guess what I wanted, what I really wanted, was something a bit more important.
That evening marked my third visit to the hospital in the last two weeks. Not for myself, but for my roommate. Recently being hospitalized for suicidal behavior, she had become a danger to herself and needed temporary twenty-four-hour professional help.
Living with her for over a year now, the room felt different without her. It felt unbalanced, as if the equilibrium that held my day to day life together was suddenly pulled apart.
Visiting her was good. She needed a friendly face and I was more than willing to provide one. And I certainly was not going to allow my friend to suffer alone. So I would visit, we would talk, and I would leave. A simple pattern, but it was not until that evening, that Thursday night, I realized just how taxing it was on me.
As much as I didn’t want it to, my life was continuing without me. It was moving along and I was stuck in limbo thinking about my friend. I care about her, and therefore I feel for her. I want the best for her and that is why I would never hesitate to help in any way I can. Yet my life did not feel the same.
My school deadlines approached at the same speed they always had. They didn’t wait for me or my friend, they just came crashing in. Sadly, I also felt that I had no excuse. I wasn’t the one in the hospital. I wasn’t struggling every day to fight a condition that overrides the brain. No, I was fine, or at least I wanted to be.
I wanted to be the rock that I always dreamed of. The empathetic friend who could care and help others without growing tired. The hero who could save the day and then relax as if it was just another day.
The issue is that doing so is rather impossible. To be empathetic is to feel for others. To take in their emotions and filter them out into a cleaner, purer vision. Yet sometimes the filter needs to be replaced. Occasionally it itself needs to be filtered, and that is always a bit tricky because how do you clean the thing that normally does the cleaning?
I write this piece to not discourage helping others, for that is the last thing I would even want to say, but to instead encourage helping everyone, even the heroes. Even the empathetics who spend their lives helping people. They are great at it, but if you care about them then I bet you would be pretty great at it too.
One person can not help all the time, but by taking turns someone can help all the time. I would not ask my hospitalized friend to help me at that moment, and I would not discontinue my trips and care for her. Yet I may reach out for someone else. A friend who is doing okay at the moment, and once my friend and I are stabilized, we can take turns returning the favor with someone else in need.
Of course, some of us are better at this job than others, but I believe we can all try to help one another. We can all try to show our empathy and sympathy for one another rather than relying on the heroes to do the job for us. Because the heroes are good, but they are not gods. They grow tired, therefore it is up to all of us to keep all of us safe and happy.
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