Narrative Sessions on Saturdays at 3 p.m. in May
Witness Fatigue is that particular exhaustion that comes from seeing awful things happen to others. Call it empathy fatigue and witness fatigue as well. Photojournalists, journalists, healthcare providers, first responders all experience this: exhaustion from seeing. While we cope with the changes of the quarantines we are also seeing horrific treatment of people—utter neglect and even active cruelty in which the vulnerabilities are taken advantage of and exacerbated. We are seeing reckless endangerment of “essential workers” and global public health. This fatigue is one of the many that we are communally enduring. It is one of many stresses in this moment.
Also, we are hearing of friends’ loved ones—and of the loved ones of strangers dying unwitnessed, alone, and how no funerals are happening, people are grieving unwitnessed.
We, too, are facing challenges and stresses we once could talk over with friends for hours in person. We experience them now for the most part unwitnessed.
So, we are witnessing a lot and we are in need of being witnessed. There are dimensions of witness. Witnessing ourselves, witnessing ourselves bearing witness, and bearing witness. This is a lot to carry without some means of processing.
This is a cornerstone of narrative medicine work. On Saturday at 3 pm Eastern, I will facilitate a Narrative Session in Zoom. I’ll post event. We will close-read a passage or a poem and then engage in an informal reflective-writing session. Then we will listen to one another in a entirely non-judgement and purely witnessing posture. After, we will feel we have processed some of this story and have an instrument to maintaining the witness stance and posture going forward.
Meeting will close at 3:10. Be on time.