There are two types of people who do the work you do, who care for the sick and the hurt and the lost.
Those who still care and those who have lost touch with why they got into this profession in the first place. And I expect people move between these states.
It’s impossible to not become desensitized. It’s impossible to not burn out from time to time.
And I have many a friend who had to leave their profession, some forever and some for a time. To heal. To feel again. To remember why they do what they do.
This may seem a strange thing to say to you.
But you have a gift.
It is clear you care, quite deeply. You cared then and you care just as much now.
No one else cared about that young man. A life of “falling through the cracks” and neglect. And you cared. And he took the time to let you know he knew.
He likely didn’t know what to make of someone who cared about him.
You gave him something of insane value.
Think of it. A life where no one cares. In such a world, caring would be an illusion, a trap, a way to control or get something one wanted.
To come face to face with true caring. That would be the most priceless and fascinating thing in the world.
And you didn’t fail him. You took the time to care when it would have been MUCH easier to just do your job and hate him for the anger he threw around.
And here’s where I come full circle.
Your greatest gift. That which you showed him a piece of. This is also your own treasure. You have to guard it and keep it safe so that it is there to give to those in need.
Those voices in your head. The movies playing and replaying this event in a hope to find and blame yourself. These are deadly. And they are bullshit.
It is you.
It is your voice.
And it is your gift and your heart. You have to speak up for your heart. You have to create a space where at least one person stands up and protects your gift.
Don’t allow those voices to win and create a crack that pulls you away from your work.