I’m Tired and So I’m Vulnerable

It seems like the hits just won’t stop coming. There’s been another shooting, this time a center that provided services for disabled individuals. I can’t even fathom what would possess someone to attack the most vulnerable people in our society, but I can’t fathom what would possess someone to shoot or kill another human being.

Each time it happens I get a little more tired. This week alone, there have been 3 shootings that I know of, all three related to things that I feel a personal connection to (one close to my home, one of a Planned Parenthood, and this latest, where people with autism receive services). They sap my energy to deal with my own life.

Brains only have so much capacity. Each little stressor that happens in your life makes you less capable of dealing with other things. Even if you manage to sort it out and get it swept off your plate, it still steals a few spoons. And of course, OF COURSE, the most vulnerable people in society are the ones who don’t have an excess of spoons to begin with. So it means the most vulnerable are the ones who get hit the hardest by acts of terror and violence.

I don’t have any raging thoughts anymore. I know what will happen next. The accusations of mental illness or the xenophobia. The way that white shooters are just sick. The way that anyone of color, or the disabled, whether they be victim or shooter, is seen as fundamentally wrong. I know what will happen and I feel numb.

What I have now is sadness, not just the sadness that of course we all carry for the people who are dead or injured and their families, but the sadness that comes from knowing that all the people who are already fighting the hardest battles every day just had their battles made that much harder. Because now they have the sadness and the shock to contend with. They have that much more fear infiltrating every day.

This is what terrorism is: it’s hearing the news and suddenly finding that you can’t quite function, that everything from a small criticism to the thought of cooking dinner leaves you broken and exhausted. It’s the way little tasks seem big. It’s the way your emotions are suddenly on hair triggers, so that one thing can send you spiraling.

I suppose it’s the fact that I don’t even know why I’m writing this because it seems ultimately pointless when I have such certain knowledge that there will be another shooting, if not tomorrow then next week, if not next week then this month. I have no confidence that we will make it to the end of this year without another attack.

I don’t know about other folks with depression, but that fact makes it intensely difficult for me to continue fighting my own little fights. Why bother? I don’t have hopeful words today. I have solidarity for people who are struggling, people who find that these things affect them more than others. I have guilt that I’m somehow making this huge tragedy about myself. I have the vulnerability that comes with all these little things adding up and just making me so, so tired.

I suppose what I have for you all today is validate that. Validate the fact that hearing about these things over and over, or even having a host of little problems, truly does add up. It truly does affect you. The science says it leaves you more vulnerable. Be gentle with yourselves.

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