Rescue Journal

the fear factor

Carol  ·  Jul. 26, 2014

i think rescuers are highly emotionally sensitive people..we have to be otherwise how could we possibly dedicate our lives to helping so many helpless creatures. but that sensitivity that forces us to step up to help whenever and where ever we can is a two edged sword. it is impossible to be selectively sensitive so we are in fact sensitive on pretty much every level..including about ourselves.
this may be why we are sometimes written off as crazies.

i think for all of us it is hard to be judged, criticized, found lacking in some way..but i think for highly sensitive people it is even more difficult to deal with when it is our very passion, our whole life's work, our persons in their entirely that sometimes is under the microscope, opened up for discussion and dissection. poked, prodded, pinched, pushed...sometimes even punched. its like we somehow by virtue of who we are and what we do that leads to some weird kind of entitlement in our occasional unfair and hurtful personal abuse.

it has taken me years to learn how to build up the walls, draw the lines, set the boundries and repel the personal assaults that used to threaten to overwhelm me. years of self doubt, heartache and hurt.
and just because i finally know how to deal with it all...does not mean i still do not fear it. i fear it because despite the walls and boundries... highly sensitive people are easily hurt.

i have many fears...some of them i can control like my paralysing fear of heights. i keep my feet firmly on level ground where i am not afraid. i am afraid of being bitten by both dogs and cats but i have been bitten and bear the scars of so many bites now that i know getting bitten is only going to hurt for a few days (or weeks) but eventually it will stop hurting so its not that big of a fear anymore. i guess i am getting desensitized to some degree (but i still do try to avoid it as much as i can.)

i have a huge fear of failure..not so much failing you or me...but failing the animals in my care. interestingly enough...that fear of failure gives me the strength to stand firm against most of my other fears (except my fear of heights..if some animal falls down a cliff, i am NOT going to climb down to save them..i will find someone i can pay to go get them because it will NOT be me!)
and i also have a huge fear of not being good enough...not good enough as a person, not good enough as a nurse, not good enough as a parent, a grandparent, not good enough as a rescuer....but what can you do with those kind of fears except accept that they are part of being human and not a well oiled machine.

i think there are many fear factors in living and recognizing them in ourselves makes us even more sensitive to recognizing them in others. this does present us with the opportunity to be sensitive to others needs if we choose to open our hearts and minds and see.

however...we can't let our (or others) fears cripple us, we can't let them bind us in chains, we can't let them suck the very ability to move or work or love or trust from us. we have to learn how to force ourselves into being brave in their face and carry on the best that we can...(except with heights, with that fear i never want to even try to be brave and will find some other, less terrifying way.)



Genuine and authentic blog, Carol. Well done you for taking the risk and opening your heart.

One expression that keeps me from worrying about what others think is this:

"It's none of my business what you think of me"

(it's only my business what I think of me!) Keep that one handy when dealing with critics.

Each and every day you get up and set the intention for the day to look after your charges to the best of your ability - either two-legged hospitalized patients or four-legged shelter friends. It's a valiant quest and only an idiot would not recognize the sacrifices made daily to ensure proper care and attention is proffered to all who are fortunate enough to land at SAINTS.

I suspect you don't believe this, but I'm certain there IS a halo with your name on it.... :)


Thanks for letting us into part of you being. A life lesson. Fears can be chains and cripple us in our lives, it's how we deal with the fears. You have found the key that works for you, and others will have another key to unlock the chains. The battle is half won when we decide to work within our fears. We can let fear control us or we work with in our fears.


I'm with you on the height thing, Carol. I don't even like driving over high bridges. I think being human means we all have fears. Good blog.


What an honest and true entry today. Thank you for being brave enough to be vulnerable and for allowing us to see your fears. Isn't it wonderful that the animals we love & who love us don't know any of these things. They just see/feel/experience the love, compassion and care that we offer. They love us "warts & all". They always think we're good enough & I'm so grateful for that.