The Weight of Caring

(For some reason this post looks like a big wall of text. I can’t figure out how to fix it. In the draft, there are three paragraphs. It just looks like one long paragraph when I publish. I’m sorry.)
This State Farm commercial hit me pretty hard, because it’s exactly how I feel every day. It’s exactly what is on my mind every day. When I first saw it, I showed my husband and he said, “Wow, that IS you.” Hungry, abused and neglected animals will stay on my mind all day. Sex trafficking victims will pop into my head and I’ll think about what they are enduring right then and start crying. War vets struggling with PTSD and/or physical pain not getting the help they need will come up in my thoughts and I will get so angry that my skin gets hot. And the next thing and the next thing and the next…
This is on top of carrying my own problems, worrying about all the different things that are affecting my family and my friends. Like everyone else, my family and I are dealing with emotional, financial, and health issues. That stresses me out like crazy. I have friends who are dealing with so much crap and I worry about them. One friend who is a recovering addict, doing amazingly in that area, is dealing with some heavy duty medical stuff that includes severe chronic pain. She’ll probably need surgery. I started crying thinking about her handling all of that without pain meds. I told her that I wish I could absorb her pain for her, even on top of my own, because I could take pain meds. I have a hard time dealing with suffering, whether it’s my own or someone else’s.
I’ve started pulling out my hair. I don’t mean that metaphorically. I mean I’ve actually started pulling out my hair. I recognize that this is a form of self-harm. I am actively trying to resist the compulsion, but I think I may need to talk to my therapist about it. I’ve always been a worrier. I’ve always cared about what is happening to everyone everywhere. I’ve always had a strong sense of empathy. I don’t know why it seems to be so much more intense lately.

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