Saturday, November 13, 2010

My "Crisis"

So lately, I've been having this crisis.
A number of things are involved, including:

-As I have been working in a residential treatment center for adolescent girls with behavioral and psychological problems, I have noticed the often unending cycle of hospitalizations and placements that these kids have been facing for their childhood, teenaged years, and some of them will still be stuck in this cycle throughout the rest of their lives. As I go to work everyday dealing with stories of their past trauma, current struggles, self-esteem issues, medical issues, familial issues it strikes me as extremely unfair that these kids are being stigmatized as "sick", when really, much of their suffering is due to other people in their lives as well as some issues in our society that perpetuate their illnesses, trauma, and do little to improve their care. As much as I love seeing these girls everyday I work, it is becoming more and more draining to watch as these girls continue through the cycle of: trauma, hospitalization, placement in a facility (where education is minimal), then back into the home environment that caused the trauma (or into another placement facility)...trauma ensues (or lack of proper care)...and the cycle repeats. It's painful to watch and to be a part of it is completely frustrating.

-As I am preparing to travel to Zimbabwe in a couple of months I am reading a book about how to help without hurting in the process. Although I am not finished with the book, I am still dumbfounded by the amount of harm we can do while we feel that we are helping others. It's unintentional (most of the time), but still, it's something we should all be aware of. (I will work on a post specifically about this book when I am finished reading it.) Meanwhile, I have been thinking about all of the pain and suffering present in our very country (as I have been exploring social welfare policy history in school) and also in other countries (as I learn more about the pain and suffering in countries in and around Africa. It is overwhelming to think about. And although we are consistently taught that we can make a difference and that it starts with one's overwhelming to think of how much change is needed.

-I am feeling the weight of the pain and suffering others face and my extremely passionate desire is to do SOMETHNG even if that little something is only a little help to a couple people.

With all this said, my "little crisis" was not a fun one. For the past couple of days I have been asking questions like:
What could I possibly do that's meaningful to other people who are struggling far more than I ever will?
How can I get other people on board?
How much change is needed?
Is it more worth my time to love or to change? Is there a way to do both?
Are my goals and aspirations going to be helpful or hurtful?
Will I ever actually get to make changes that will impact others? Or will my efforts be in vain?
How can I possibly relate to someone who lives in a completely different set of cultural norms in completely different geographical area?
Will I ever stop feeling so small compared to all that needs compassion in the world?

And the conclusion that I came to is that I need to step out of my "little crisis" and start finding answers. What does God say about this. What does our country say about this? What do current and past politicians feel about this? What would change involve? What about Zimbabwe? How did that country become so impoverished and traumatized? So, I am going to research. I am going to share things I've learned and questions that I have and bring you, my readers, through the process of my "little crisis".

The first thing I am going to do is finish reading that book so I can bring you up to speed on what that book says...then it will be time for some more exploration & reflection. Hopefully I will learn something valuable and practical in order to give me a new perspective heading towards my trip to Zimbabwe, as I try to figure out how to escape the rutt I am in at work, and as I continue through my social work education at Rutgers.


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