14 Chapter One children and the quality of their life in general. They frequently use words such as the ones that follow to describe the combina- tion of barbed wire and butterflies swirling around their gut and head: “I tried to calculate in my head . . .” Some feel they relinquished control of their lives at some point along the way and desperately want to take it back. The tunnel vision that burnout brings leaves them feeling their op- tions are limited. They are so overwhelmed by the situation that they cannot see the world of choices available to them. “. . . how hard would I have to hit them . . .” Instead of seeing a world of options, their minds focus like lasers on the stress and tension eating away at them. Their sin- gular focus overshadows dreams and goals, clutters emotions, drains joyfulness, and kills relationships. “. . . to hurt myself enough to get some rest in the hospital but not quite kill myself.” Minds are often consumed with hurtful and dangerous thoughts meant to stop suffering and resuscitate dying smiles. “I thought it was the only way I would be able to find some calm and clear my head.” The first time a provider said she had contemplated driving into a clump of trees so she could get some rest and maybe get her smile back for a while during rehab, I was worried. When I heard an almost identical story from another provider a thou- sand miles away, I was shocked. Hearing a third version of the story from yet another caregiver was numbing. These same stories were not just a coincidence. They revealed the reality that the job of a caregiver can eat away at one’s happiness—for even the most dedicated caregiver—if that caregiver does not make a conscious effort to maintain his or her happiness. stressed anxious empty exhausted miserable hollow fearful tired broken scared scarred depressed drained panicky nervous gloomy jumpy sad