Encouragement for Emotionally Exhausted Feral Caretakers

tnrmakessense

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The following was messaged to me, but was so moving that I printed it and have it tacked up next to my desk. I had posted that I was overwhelmed by the double whammy of caring for and advocating for feral cats, and dealing with major depressive disorder. I wanted to share it with everyone out there who is struggling.

The message read :

My apologies for having sent this directly rather than answering inside your thread in the TCS Lounge.

Most recent and current research suggests that only an extremely small percentage of Clinical Depression is biologically induced. No - it's not impossible, but in most cases where depression is caused by the physical world, that cause can be found by modern medicine.

Your world - TNR, working with Humans at a zoological garden, and speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves - is rooted in emotionalism - and even in cases when depression can be reduced to a lack of such monoamines as norepinephrine or serotonin, such deficiencies are seldom the whole root cause.

Look at your Life - you've spent it as an advocate for the unfortunate, the cast-off and for those born feral into a world which is decidedly unpleasant. Your stress level is doubtless higher than that of most of the people on the planet, because your "job" is in your head and your Heart as well as on the streets with your cats.

I know the whole of the local TNR community, and a good many others around the globe as well, and no medication - no psychoanalyst, psychiatrist nor medical Doctor - can change the connexion between your Heart and your Life's work.

The advice of a poor scholar who's likewise devoted much of his Life to feral cats? Have a chocolate bar now and again; listen more to your own Heart, and less - much, much less - to those who will not or cannot understand that Life - every single Life - is a precious gift. A woman or man of medicine will tell you that, "you cannot save them all." They don't understand that while we know this to be true, we must still try to save every one - and, "the trial is in the trying," to paraphrase Maimonides.

You're certainly welcome to respond, but your responce is neither presumed nor is it considered a necessity. Celebrate your Heart; to "solve" your 'depression' would require hardening that Heart to match the Heart of Everyman, and this would be the greatest of Sins.

עֲלֵיכֶם שָׁלוֹם
 

Jcatbird

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Thank you for posting that. If only everyone understood what it takes to be a caregiver and rescuer. That person does. I hope no caregiver hardens their heart. We need you and all others to join hands so we take this journey with support of those who care and understand. Thank you for posting and thanks to them for writing it. I’ll pass it on because I know it will help others too. No, we cannot save them all but every life counts. One less that is suffering is everything to that one and everything to us. :grouphug2::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump:
 
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tnrmakessense

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Thank you for posting that. If only everyone understood what it takes to be a caregiver and rescuer. That person does. I hope no caregiver hardens their heart. We need you and all others to join hands so we take this journey with support of those who care and understand. Thank you for posting and thanks to them for writing it. I’ll pass it on because I know it will help others too. No, we cannot save them all but every life counts. One less that is suffering is everything to that one and everything to us. :grouphug2::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump:
I couldn't agree more. It's knowing that people like you are out there that keeps me going.
 

di and bob

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As one who gets overwhelmed too at the suffering snd death that accompanies caring for the unwanted, countless cats in this world, all I can say is that once you open your eyes and see the suffering that they live with, there is no way you can turn your back on them. You can try to harden your heart against the pain, but each death brings extreme grief, and each life you save brings extreme joy. You just take one day at a time, pray for the best and prepare for the worst. No, you can't save them all, but the few you do manage to give a better life to are well worth the sorrow that comes with failing.
TNR is a Godsend. It seems overwhelming and way too expensive at first, but well worth it, in the end, to eliminate the countless hungry mouths to feed in the future. and the suffering that goes with it.....
Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like without all the worry, the expense, of caring for all these cats. Then I look into their eyes, I see the complete and utter joy of a kitten playing with a leaf, I see the sleek coats and the round tummies of the cats under my care, the happiness and love they fill my heart up with in return, and I can say without a doubt, Life without these beautiful creatures in it? IMPOSSIBLE to imagine......
 

Whenallhellbreakslose

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Thank you. I would also like to thank the person who wrote this. I have been through some very difficult situations. I had a load of community cats dumped on me and had a fallen out with another cat feeder who was lying to me.😕 I am on a tight budget and at times really struggle to get enough cat food for the kitties. I put up a thread here on TCS about these food shortages that have been happening because things were really looking bleak for a while. Anxiety and depression seem to hit me hard when I am worrying over my cats. I press on though because If I don't take care of the cats--who will? Too many ignore their plight. I am so happy all these kitties are tnred and overall are healthy. Despite feeling overwhelmed at times, I know I am blessed. It is a blessing having so many kitties trust you to take care of them. I am honored and it is a pleasure to do so. :catrub::redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump:
 

Jcatbird

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tnrmakessense tnrmakessense As I said, we support each other (I have been supported here too!) because we are the ones who understand the struggles and the greatest of rewards this world has to offer. To see a life made better, made happy, what more can any creature be given? I have met many here who have struggled with seeing the pain as well as being condemned for doing what we know in our hearts is the right thing to do. You know how often I have said that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. I don’t know why it falls to some of us to be called to “see” and do something to help but if you are a kitty guardian, you are a kitty hero. When the pain strikes, we endure but know that the next struggle could end with the joy and great relief of success. As fionasmom fionasmom says, we know the danger but as di and bob di and bob mentioned, we continue because “I look into their eyes and see complete and utter joy..” This is why we never give up. Joy overrides anything said to us. On the hard days, try to think of the joy in those innocent eyes. If you need help remembering, we are here for each other to provide the reminders. Whenallhellbreakslose Whenallhellbreakslose You too are not alone. tabbytom tabbytom If only we can Bless you and bless them all. I am grateful to be here on TCS so that we may find each other! I think that sharing this with as many cat caregivers and rescuers as possible will help a lot of people. Sharing it with those who do not understand may even open a few eyes to being able to “see clearly.” My gratitude and heartfelt thanks go out to every person with a heart like the ones reading and writing here.💕
 

SweetLittleKitty

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It can definitely be agonizing. After I had one six month old kitten die IN the house (partly because I was preoccupied with thinking about trapping the other ones that were out in the cold with Winter threatening) I now am glad for the ones I can account for in the moment. I count them every morning and dinner, and most of the time they all show up. Not tonight. The bonded pair (parents of the kittens) have not shown up. But all of the kittens are accounted for and I have to be glad about that instead of worrying so much over what I have no control over that I fail to be sufficiently glad for the ones I can account for.
 

catsknowme

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Just as most of us here, I am too familiar with Caregiver Burnout and Compassion Fatigue. We have the courage of warriors and the hearts of healers; sometimes soft strength is the strongest of all. My fellow TCSers are my islands of comfort, rest and encouragement as I travel upon the treacherous waters of life.
 
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