Today was somewhat surprising for me. I knew I would have a busy day, working with people who have movement disorders all day and working at a restaurant all night. What I expected was to be rejuvenated by the work I do in music therapy and to be, well, annoyed by the work I do as a server at a restaurant.
What actually happened was that I arrived at the center where I do my music therapy work feeling sad and down. Nothing unusually upsetting occurred on my way to work, I simply felt sad for whatever reason. I recognized the same sense of sinking that I've been feeling the past week. I love the work I am privileged to do, and I truly enjoy most of the people with whom I do it. Each person with whom I work is an individual, though the fact that his or her disorder is slowly and certainly consuming every piece of the life once had is a shared experience among them. Some people openly cry, while others find laughter, saying, "Laughing is the only thing that gets me through the days." One person today asked if someone could help him with his dishes, though he didn't have any dishes in his hands. Watching his face fall when this information was explained to him made me feel heavy.
I believe in these people and admire the courage with which they live their lives. Talk about change-- the outstanding characteristic of the disorder is that there will be decline, change, in ability, cognitive and physical, to be certain.
I left my internship work today expecting to be ever-irritated by the restaurant-goers I would be serving the rest of the night, but I wasn't. Instead, I found that engaging in further conversation with fellow servers energized me. I am a person who typically finds satisfaction in relationships that are very strong and well-attended; I have a handful of excellent, close friends. Sometimes I am afraid to take time and energy to connect with people whom I do not expect there to be a long-standing friendship, but I was pleasantly surprised that tonight, while working at the restaurant, I benefited from doing just that. I am learning that the more connected I feel to people in any given place, the more grounded I feel. Maybe this is common sense to you, but this is new knowledge for me. I realize, however, that any kind of relationship takes a massive amount of emotional energy, and today I experienced both ends of the spectrum.
Thanks for reading.